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Ramen Takes Off as Global Soul FoodRamen Goes GlobalIshiyama Hayato

Ever since falling in love with ramen in his high-school days, Ishiyama Hayato has been submerged in the soupy, slurpy world of this popular noodle dish. Here he considers how ramen evolved to become a Japanese favorite that is winning overseas fans too.

“Sentō”: Japan’s Public BathhousesJapan Glances

Enjoying a long soak in a warm bath is a much-loved practice in Japan. Traditional “sentō” (public bathhouses) as well as large commercial facilities feature a wide variety of amenities for bathers to enjoy as they relax, both in and out of the tub.

“Yatai” Food StallsJapan Glances

“Yatai” stalls are a great place to find Japanese street cuisine. These mobile eateries are common at festials as well as on the streets of Fukuoka and other cities around the country.

A Guilty Verdict for the Last Aum Defendant: What We’ve Learned About Mind Control Over the Past 20 YearsA Pivotal Year: Japan in 1995Egawa Shōko

Takahashi Katsuya was the last member of the murderous Aum Shinrikyō cult to face justice. The guilty verdict returned against him in April is a watershed in the legal proceedings that followed the cult’s sarin gas attack on Tokyo subways in 1995. This is thus an apt time to think anew about how Aum transformed formerly upright young people into criminals.

Weddings in JapanJapan Glances

Traditional Japanese weddings were secular and held in the home, but today they usually involve some kind of religious-style ceremony, based on a traditional Shintō or Christian theme.

Maid CafésJapan Glances

Originating in Akihabara, Japan’s otaku capital, maid cafés, or meido kissa, feature young women dressed in maid uniforms and offering patrons a distinctive style of service.

Ramen vs. “Washoku”: The Changing Face of Japanese CuisineRamen Goes GlobalBarak Kushner

Ramen has gone global, with more and more shops opening up worldwide in the twenty-first century just as they spread rapidly throughout Japan in the twentieth. Yet the upstart noodle dish’s place within Japanese cuisine is still ambiguous. It stands as a kind of rival to the more established tradition of "washoku," recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage in 2013.

Observing Ramadan in JapanIslam in Japan

Ramadan is an important time for Muslims, but the religious custom is relatively unknown in Japan. While Muslims in Japan may find it challenging to observe the month of fasting, it can also offer a chance to deepen community ties.

Limited Exercise of Collective Self-Defense Is Not UnconstitutionalTalking About Security

The deputy chief of Komeito, the LDP’s partner in the ruling coalition, argues that in today’s world it is not possible to seek peace for Japan alone. Kitagawa Kazuo explains that limited exercise of the right of collective self-defense is necessary and does not violate the Japanese Constitution.

“Zazen” (Seated Meditation) WorkshopsJapan Glances

There are many workshops available in Japan teaching zazen, the traditional Zen form of meditation.

The Social Custom of Gift GivingJapan Glances

Gift giving (zōtō) is a long established tradition with many forms, such as expressing appreciation and giving encouragement. As an important part of Japan’s system of social exchange, the seasonally timed offerings help keep business and personal relations running smoothly.

Japan’s Resurgent Toy MarketJapan Data

The toy business in Japan is on the upturn. Japanese consumers’ purchases of toys stagnated for most of the past 10 years as the nation’s population of children shrank. But the market expanded 9% to ¥736.7 billion in fiscal 2014, driven by burgeoning sales of toys related to the Yo-Kai Watch video games and products based on the Disney movie Frozen.

A Quarter-Century of Developments in National Security LegislationJapan Data

Japan’s national defense policy has evolved as a cumulative response to world events since the end of the Cold War. It has gained new aspects through a series of conflicts, crises, and terrorist acts, including the Gulf War of 1991, the first North Korean nuclear crisis of 1993, the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001, the counterterror military action in Afghanistan, and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Funerals in JapanJapan Glances

Japan has taken on a variety of different religious practices, such as Christian-styled weddings and native Shintō rituals. But sōshiki, or funerals, are generally Buddhist affairs carried out by priests at homes or temples.

“Tanabata” (Star Festival)Japan Glances

According to legend, each July 7 the weaver star and cowherder star traverse the Milky Way to renew their ancient bond of love. In Japan, the lovers are celebrated with lively decorations and wishes written on long, narrow strips of colored paper. Observed throughout the country, many cities, including Sendai in Miyagi Prefecture, have become famous for hosting elaborate celebrations.

The Opposition Stance on Security PolicyTalking About Security

Nagashima Akihisa, an expert on security issues from the Democratic Party of Japan, explains that while the top opposition party cannot go along with the security legislation proposed by the Abe administration, it does not totally reject the idea of exercising the right of collective self-defense.

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