Interviews with the figures, both Japanese and foreign, whose thoughts and actions inform the course Japan takes today.

The Samaritan of Kabukichō: Nippon Kakekomidera Head Gen Hidemori

Located in Tokyo’s red-light district of Kabukichō, the Nippon Kakekomidera is a refuge for the overwhelmed. The office welcomes visitors with a wide range of problems; many come out of total desperation and even on the verge of suicide. We interview Gen Hidemori, who heads the organization, about his efforts to help people suffering in the darkest corners of society.

“Villain” Author Enters a World of RageYoshida Shūichi Talks About Bringing His Latest Novel to the Screen

Bestselling author Yoshida Shūichi has won Japan’s most prestigious literary awards. Many of his works have been filmed, including Akunin (trans. Villain), which won a best actress award at the Montreal World Film Festival in 2010. With the film version of his novel Ikari (Rage) about to open, we met him to talk about the inspiration for his work.

Architect Kuma Kengo Shares His Thinking Behind Japan’s New National Stadium Design Kiyono Yumi (Interviewer)

Kuma Kengo made up his mind to become an architect after seeing the Yoyogi National Gymnasium designed by Tange Kenzō for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. And now he has been selected as the architect of the main stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In this interview he explains the ideas informing his design.

Learning Japanese with Manga Author Umino Nagiko

Umino Nagiko’s bestselling manga Nihonjin no shiranai Nihongo (The Japanese the Japanese Don’t Know) was based on her experience teaching Japanese to international students. In an interview with, she gives learning tips and shares unusual words from the fringes of the Japanese language.

A Positive Review for Indo-Japanese Ties

Two years into Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration, India’s ties with Japan are growing stronger on the diplomatic, security, and economic fronts. spoke with Dr. C. Raja Mohan, a specialist in Indian foreign policy and regional affairs, about his takes on the India-Japan relationship, prospects for multilateral cooperation, and more.

The Japanese Historian Honoring Hiroshima’s American DeadNew Documentary Film Portrays Mori Shigeaki’s Life Work Julian Ryall

The August 6, 1945, atomic bombing of Hiroshima also ended the lives of 12 American POWs held in the city. Amateur historian Mori Shigeaki has spent over 40 years identifying them and locating their families, a process that drew the attention of US filmmaker Barry Frechette, whose Paper Lanterns chronicles Mori’s work.

Supporting Children’s Entitlement to Family-Based CareAn Interview with Human Rights Watch Japan Director Doi Kanae

Doi Kanae opened Human Rights Watch’s first office in Asia seven years ago. Today she is actively engaged in drawing attention to the plight of children who are institutionalized because they are unable to live with their parents and promoting their right to receive family-based care.

Woman Arborist Heals Trees, Parks, Souls Julian Ryall

Tsukamoto Konami, Japan's first female certified tree doctor, has treated and transplanted hundreds of giant trees, including 130-year-old wisteria. We visited Tsukamoto at Hamamatsu Flower Park, where she is reviving the garden and helping isolated youngsters adjust to society.

From “Porco Rosso” to the Red Bull Air Race: Pilot Muroya Yoshihide’s Route to the Top

In 2009, Muroya Yoshihide became the first Asian pilot to take part in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship. In an interview with, he talked about his path to becoming one of the world’s leading aerobatic aces.

On the Frontline of Gender and TechnologyEngineer Abe Reiko Brings Japanese Know-How to Asia’s Rail Infrastructure

Civil engineer Abe Reiko travels the world applying her expertise in ensuring safety and quality on a wide variety of rail projects in Asia, including construction of metro lines in India and high-speed trains in Taiwan.

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