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Ontake Erupts, Shows Difficulty of Predicting Volcanic Disaster

On September 27, 2014, Mount Ontake suddenly erupted. The 3,067-meter peak, which straddles the border between Nagano and Gifu Prefectures, is Japan’s second-highest volcano behind Mount Fuji and is listed as one of the nation’s “100 Famous Mountains.” Many climbers enjoying the fine weather of the autumn season were caught up in the disaster, which caused numerous fatalities. This is the first ti…

The Problems of Science Management: Riken Is No Isolated CaseSven Saaler

The recent revelations concerning irregularities in papers published by a number of researchers affiliated with the research institute Riken have caused a rare surge of media interest in the state of affairs of science in Japan. In fact, the situation has exposed problems not only in Japan’s scientific establishment, but also in science and research management in general. Media coverage has nar…

Keeping Mount Fuji at the Peak of Beauty

Mount Fuji has always been spectacular at a distance. But up close an excess of garbage has tarnished its beauty in recent years. This problem sparked a movement to clean up the mountain and conserve its natural environment. It’s an effort that’s more important than ever now that Mount Fuji has become a World Heritage site.

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.

Tateyama: Another World Above the Clouds (Photos)Yanagi Akinobu

The Tateyama mountain range in Toyama Prefecture is a special place, offering climbers access to a world of stunning snow-swept landscapes and a precious opportunity to see the ptarmigans that have lived here since the last Ice Age. Nature photographer Yanagi Akinobu presents a selection of his favorite images of the area.

Bonsai: Nature in the Palm of Your Hand

The cultivation and appreciation of bonsai trees or plants is on the rise, both in Japan and around the world. Here we introduce the aesthetic elements of this fascinating art that compresses nature without sacrificing its majesty and beauty.

The Woodland Oasis (Photos)Ōhashi Hiroshi (Photographer)

Yaho no Jōyama is a small area of woodland in Kunitachi, on the outskirts of the Tokyo metropolis. Just steps away from a residential area and busy train lines lies a self-contained oasis of tranquility and unspoiled nature.


Kobayashi Hikaru, former administrative vice-minister for the environment, talks about the potential for a distinctly Japanese approach to ecology rooted in a traditional emphasis on harmony with nature.

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