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Local Branding in Rural Japan: Justin Potts

Japan’s rural communities today face a difficult task: they must create a local brand to get their unique products noticed. Helping them do this is American Justin Potts, an international business development director at Umari Inc. With an emphasis on connecting people and ideas, Potts works to promote the unique and abundant resources found in rural communities through a variety of innovative projects and events.
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Leading Kyoto’s New Charm Offensive

The tradition-rich city of Kyoto has been honing itself in recent years to become an even more desirable tourist destination. Nippon.com sat down with the city’s mayor, Kadokawa Daisaku, to learn more about how Kyoto is changing for the better, while preserving its unique charm.
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Orchestrating Translations: The Case of Murakami HarukiIrmela Hijiya-Kirschnereit

On January 12, 2014, Japan’s “global author,” as he has been termed, celebrates his sixty-fifth birthday. Two days earlier was chosen for the publication of Murakami Haruki’s most recent novel in German: Die Pilgerjahre des farblosen Herrn Tazaki, which has been eagerly awaited by readers and the press since October 2013, when the publication date was announced. The rest of the story is predictabl…
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2013: The Winning WordsPeter Durfee

Previously on this blog we introduced the 50 terms selected by Jiyū Kokumin Sha as the "words of 2013." Today the company announced its top 10 picks, along with the winners for the year—four of them this year, the most ever selected by the company. The four top terms of 2013 are:  今でしょ — Ima desho. "Why not now?" is the answer that exam prep school teacher Hayashi Osamu provides to his own que…
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The Words of 2013Peter Durfee

UPDATE: The winning words have been announced. Click here to learn what they were! Each year Jiyū Kokumin Sha, publisher of the popular annual reference Gendai yōgo no kiso chishiki (Basic Knowledge on Contemporary Terminology), selects its "most popular word of the year" along with a top-ten list. The terms are those that have captured the popular imagination that year—the words on everyone's li…
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Taiwan’s Complicated Love Affair With JapanHari Kyōko

In the late 1990s, a new group of “super fans” of Japanese culture began to emerge in Taiwan. Hari Kyōko, one of the movement’s leading figures, tells the story.
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Japanese Soccer Gains from SpainHosoda Haruko

Recently I have noticed that several Japanese soccer players are thriving in Spain. One example is Kubo Takefusa, an elementary school student from Kanagawa Prefecture who has played for the Barcelona Football Club’s cantera (the club’s youth academy) since the 2011–12 season. Already Kubo has scored over 100 goals. The cantera is principally for local Spanish boys above seven years of age, wit…
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Japanese Cinema Turns the Tables on HollywoodIshiyama Shin’ichirō

For decades filmgoers in Japan tended to prefer foreign films—especially Hollywood blockbusters—to their home-grown cinema. But in recent years, Japanese films have been making a comeback. Film critic Ishiyama Shin’ichirō takes a closer look at the factors behind this reversal of fortunes.
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Mount Fuji’s Servant: Ōyama Yukio

Mount Fuji was recently registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Of course, all Japanese people are familiar with their country’s highest mountain—but one man has spent his life getting to know it better than anyone else. We talked to photographer Ōyama Yukio about nearly 40 years spent in pursuit of the mountain’s deepest secrets.
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Crusading for Beauty: Lewis Biggs, Curator of the Aichi Triennale

From August 10 to October 27, 2013, the cities of Nagoya and Okazaki will host the Aichi Triennale—a festival of contemporary art. We talk to Lewis Biggs, one of the curators, about the ability of art to revitalize cities and improve people’s lives.
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