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Ōmagari Hanabi―the Pinnacle of Japanese Fireworks Displays (Photos)Izumiya Gensaku (Photographer)

Around 500 firework displays are held every year throughout Japan, mostly in summer. The famous Ōmagari National Fireworks Competition held at Daisen in Akita Prefecture is the biggest of them all. The beauty of fireworks is introduced here through the work of a photographer who specializes in capturing the fleeting beauty of fireworks.

Ōmagari Fireworks Bedazzle the World

Ōmagari in Daisen, Akita Prefecture, has long been a popular place for fireworks, and is familiar to millions of people as the host city of the famous Ōmagari National Fireworks Competition, which draws pyrotechnicians from all over the country. We take a look at the proud history and exciting present of the country’s leading fireworks competition.

Mining the Past for New Gold: Artist Yamaguchi AkiraBrigitte Koyama-Richard (interviewer)

Yamaguchi Akira is an artist who uses the techniques of traditional Japanese painting to explore new possibilities for contemporary art. With its humorous and contempory sensibility, his work has beguiled audiences around the world. In this interview, a French scholar of Japanese art looks at the roots of Yamaguchi’s creativity.

Yamaguchi Akira’s World (Photos)Yamaguchi Akira

Artist Yamaguchi uses the technique and approaches of traditional Japanese painting to open up new possibilities for contemporary art. His superbly detailed paintings reward close inspection. Take a closer look!

“Nōgaku” Drama Kept Alive by Family TraditionsMatsuoka Shinpei (Interviewer)

Nōgaku, consisting of and kyōgen dramas, is the world’s oldest surviving theatrical art, dating back some 700 years. How has this ancient art (designated an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO) managed to remain a living art into the twenty-first century? For insights on this, a leading nōgaku scholar interviews Kanze Kiyokazu, the twenty-sixth grandmaster of the Kanze School.

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.

Thoughts on Martial Arts, Education, and ValuesKōno Yoshinori

A new guideline requiring martial arts instruction in Japanese junior high schools has provoked considerable controversy on safety grounds. Taking a historical and philosophical perspective, martial arts instructor and scholar Kōno Yoshinori challenges the very premises of the government’s policy.

Aiya: Innovation and Tradition Bring Matcha to the World

The city of Nishio in Aichi Prefecture is Japan’s foremost producer of matcha, the finest of all Japanese green teas. We visit the region’s top producer to hear about how quality and safety have helped it bring matcha to a new range of consumers around the world.

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