Shorter pieces shedding light on the creativity underlying Japanese culture and technology and on lives and lifestyles in Japan.

“Toire”: The Toilets of Japan

Japan’s toilets have become part of the nation’s appeal. Although complex at first sight, they have won over many skeptics and are now even sought by foreign shoppers hoping to use one at home. This series explores Japanese toilet culture.

Japan’s Top Restrooms

Other reports

Manga and Anime in Japan Today

Japan's manga and anime creators are increasingly finding a global audience for their works. Here we examine the rising stars of these creative industries, along with the masters of the past whose work continues to influence the output of artists today and fire the imaginations of the artists of tomorrow.

A Treasure Trove of Early Japanese Animation
Frederik Schodt’s Four Decades as a Manga Ambassador to the World
The Independent Vision of Anime Filmmaker Shinkai Makoto
The Classic Storytelling of Anime Director Hosoda Mamoru

Shodō: The Art of Calligraphy

Calligraphy began as a means of transcribing kanji—characters imported from China—using ink and brush. Today, shodō has evolved into an art form that not only conveys information but also serves as an eloquent medium of personal expression.

At Home With Calligrapher Kanazawa Shōko—Down Syndrome and Independence
Strokes of Purity: Kanazawa Shōko (Video)
Kanazawa Shōko: Woman with Down Syndrome Becomes Top Calligrapher

Water in Japan

Water is an invaluable resource for humanity. Japan is fortunate in having a bountiful supply and has developed an array of approaches for managing its water resources. In this series we look at such aspects as public water systems, agricultural and industrial uses, and measures to mitigate water-related disasters.

“Underground Temple” Safeguards Greater Tokyo from Floods
A Solution to the Global Water Shortage?
Drinking from the Tap: Tokyo’s High-Quality Water Supply

Japan’s Ancient Giants of the Forest

Japan’s woodlands account for 70% of the nation’s land area and boast a rich diversity of trees that have grown over the centuries to awe-inspiring height and girth. In this series we visit several of the Japan’s most famous "kyoju"—the ancient giants of the forest.

Venerable Blossoms: Daigozakura in Okayama
Venerable Blossoms: The Yoshitaka Sakura in Chiba
Venerable Blossoms: Miharu Takizakura in Fukushima
Venerable Blossoms: Three of Japan’s Most Revered “Sakura”

Japan’s Robots: Becoming More Human

Japan has long been a leader in robotics technology, particularly in the industrial sphere. Today, though, there is a growing focus on the “human side” of robots, such as their relationship with the people who use them and even their forms. In this series we introduce a wide spectrum of examples, from popular humanoid robots to the latest original research.

A Robotic Arm with a Sense of Touch
Robot Runway: Pepper’s Fashion Show Debut (Video)
Remembering AIBO
The Dolls that Sparked Japan’s Love of Robots: “Karakuri Ningyō”
Japan’s First Robot
Fukushima’s Radioactivity-Proof Cleanup Robot
Robot Soccer
Building a Bear of a Robot
Famous Faces
The Robot that Won’t Help You
Leading the World in Humanoid Robotics

The World of Zen

From its beginnings in ancient India to its efflorescence in medieval Japan and its latest Western incarnation as "mindfulness meditation," Zen Buddhism has had a profound and wide-ranging impact on human culture and spirituality. This series examines Zen's global journey, the meaning of satori (enlightenment), and the rise of meditation as an aid to psychological well-being in our age of chaos, confusion, and information overload.

The Language of Zen: Words for a World of Change
The Roots of Mindfulness: Hakuin Ekaku and the Art of Zen
Steve Jobs and the Rediscovery of Zen

Public Bathhouses: Take a Dip in Everyday Japan

Local bathhouses—known as sentō—used to be a familiar part of everyday life in Japan. But their numbers have declined steadily over the past few decades. Recently, efforts have begun to pass on the traditions of sentō culture to the next generation. What are the attractions of a traditional neighborhood bathhouse?

Tanaka Mizuki: The Young Woman Keeping the Tradition of Bathhouse Paintings Alive

Japanese Fruit: In Pursuit of Sweet Perfection

Fruit in Japan can be startlingly expensive by global standards. Strongly associated with luxury and commonly given as a gift, flawless Japanese melons and other produce are becoming increasingly popular elsewhere in Asia, too.

Europe Embraces the Japanese Citron: One Village’s “Yuzu” Crusade
Soaking and Seasoning: The Aromatic Pleasures of “Yuzu”
Seeking Peach Immortality in Fukushima
Japanese Muskmelons: A Cut Above the Ordinary
Do I Dare to Eat a Peach? Behind Japan’s Freakish Fruit Prices

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