Shorter pieces shedding light on the creativity underlying Japanese culture and technology and on lives and lifestyles in Japan.
- “Cool Traditions” Stay in Tune with Modern Life
Traditional art forms and aesthetics can be infused with new creativity as they are passed along from generation to generation. This series looks at some of these “cool traditions” that remain relevant by perfectly suiting contemporary sensibilities.
The Deep Stillness of a Raku Tea Bowl
Listening to the Voices of Trees: The Bonsai World of Kawabe Takeo
Outdoor Performances Bring Bunraku Back to Its Popular Roots
New Hokusai Museum Showcases Japan’s Most Celebrated Artist
Wood, Mold, and Japanese Architecture
Cai Guo-Qiang Makes a “Homecoming” to Japan
Tsuchiya Bag and the Art of the “Randoseru”: The Making of a Timeless Backpack
“Randoseru” Backpacks Shed Childish Image as They Win Global Fans
Craftsman Robert Soanes: Restorer of Samurai Armor
Fireworks by “Hanabishi” Masters Blossom in the Night Sky
Modern-day Artisans Carry On the “Ukiyo-e” Tradition
Glorious Fireworks Color the Autumn Sky
Ukiyo-e Prints Reflect the Popular Culture of Edo
Ōmagari Fireworks Bedazzle the World
Shunga: Japanese Erotic Art Takes London by Storm
Mining the Past for New Gold: Artist Yamaguchi Akira
Bonsai: Nature in the Palm of Your Hand
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
The Dolls that Sparked Japan’s Love of Robots: “Karakuri Ningyō”
Japan’s First Robot
Fukushima’s Radioactivity-Proof Cleanup Robot
Building a Bear of a Robot
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.
- 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?
- 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