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The East Asian Textbook IssueKawashima Shin

Japan has repeatedly experienced friction with its neighbors, particularly China and South Korea, over the contents of its history textbooks. Kawashima Shin, a scholar specializing in Asian diplomatic history (and a member of the Nippon.com editorial committee), puts this sticky problem in historical perspective.
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University Reform and the New Basic Act on EducationYūki Akio

Yūki Akio, a civil service veteran with a scientific background, introduces the reform initiatives he has promoted since becoming president of a national university. He also discusses issues in elementary and secondary education, calling for a renewed focus on “education of the heart.”
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Snow in Akihabara: Haiku RevisitedIrmela Hijiya-Kirschnereit

In many countries of the world, haiku seems to function as a standard icon of Japanese culture, in line with other examples like the tea ceremony, Japanese gardens, or the nō and kabuki theater arts. So it may not seem particularly exciting to take another look at that “bonsai genre” of Japanese literature that is alternately termed Japan’s most famous literary export and the world’s shortest lyri…
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Opening Up Japanese Fashion

The current state and future of Japanese fashion cannot be summed up in one simple statement, but we bring together three observers who share a deep insight and close connection to the field to freely exchange their thoughts on the subject.
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Alexander von Humboldt and 150 Years of Diplomatic Relations Between Germany and JapanSven Saaler

The Prussian scientist Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) was one of the founders of modern science. He undertook a classification of all living things in an attempt to gain a unified understanding of the world and the universe as a whole. With his magnum opus Kosmos he made a major contribution to the understanding of nature through systematic science. In Germany, his name is preserved, among oth…
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Furiously Becoming a LionKato Yuko

Did the Japanese people in the Edo period (1603–1868) ever see an actual lion? The celebrated artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) of “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” fame made it a routine in his later years to draw a lion each day, but the pictures he drew don’t exactly resemble the lions that we know. A Hokusai drawing of a lion from his Nisshin joma (A Daily Charm Against Evil) series. (From…
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Making the Most of Cultural DiplomacyWatanabe Hirotaka

In December 2011 I was invited to be a panelist at a Paris symposium on cultural diplomacy hosted by the Institut français, a new organization that is expected to play a central role in France’s cultural diplomacy. The Institut français came into being early in 2011 following the merger of CultureFrance, an organ of the Ministry of Culture and Communication, with the external relations and cultura…
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Mount Fuji in Edo Arts and MindsTakashina Shūji

Nippon.com greets 2012 with this reprinted article from Japan Echo on Mount Fuji, held to be the most auspicious object to appear in the first dream of the New Year. Takashina Shūji explores the mountain in art, culture, and history.
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