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

Insider’s Guide to Shintō Shrines

Amid all the change that has swept Japanese society in modern times, the position of the Shintō shrine remains rock-solid. There is always something drawing local residents to the neighborhood shrine, whether it be an annual celebration like New Year’s Day or just the hope of warding off bad luck. Foreign tourists also feel the pull of these hallowed spots, which somehow instill a sense of awe in even the most casual visitor. Through images and words, this series offers information and insights that will challenge your preconceptions and make your own shrine visit that much more meaningful.

Shintō’s Sacred Forests and Japanese Environmentalism
Nature Worship in Old Shintō
“Shōzoku”: The Shintō Vestments
“Shamusho”: The Shrine Office
“Shintai, Shinboku”: The Divine Object or Tree
“Honden”: The Main Sanctuary Structure
“Tamagaki”: Fence Around the Sacred Space
“Haiden”: The Hall of Worship
“Komainu”: The Shrine’s Guardian Figures
“Temizuya”: The Cleansing Ritual
“Shimenawa”: The Sacred Rope
“Sandō”: The Worshipper’s Path
Torii: Gates to the Sacred Spaces
Your Virtual Guide to the Shintō Shrine

Other reports

Budō: Japan’s Martial Arts

Japan boasts of a wealth of martial arts, including judo, kendo, karate, and aikido. They all allow practitioners to not only polish the skills needed vanquish an opponent but also attain personal growth. This series presents some of the martial arts in Japan that have won a global following.

The Global Allure of Karate

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.

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

New Perspectives on Miyazawa Kenji

Miyazawa Kenji was born in August 1896 in Hanamaki, Iwate Prefecture. He wrote a host of poems and children’s stories before his death at the age of 37 in September 1933. He drew inspiration from the Lotus Sutra and worked to improve the lives of local farmers, while battling illness for many years. This series of articles looks back at Kenji’s life and works on the 120th anniversary of his birth.

Dreams of Ihatov: Miyazawa Kenji’s Land of Imagination
Illustrating Miyazawa Kenji (Photo Gallery)
Miyazawa Kenji and the Art of the Picture Book: The Work of Kobayashi Toshiya
Miyazawa Kenji: A Literary Life in Northern Japan
Miyazawa Kenji’s Answers for Japan and the World

The Tokusatsu Entertainment Genre that Godzilla Spawned

Godzilla first appeared on the big screen 60 years ago, with the release of the 1954 film of the same title. This anniversary coincides with the 2014 release of a popular new Hollywood film also titled Godzilla. In this series, we take a closer look at the so-called tokusatsu style of special effects that Godzilla spawned as well as the movies and TV series that emerged in the six decades that followed, while also speculating on what the future might hold for this genre.

Sympathy for the Monsters: Ultraman’s Minority Perspective
Resurgent Godzilla Back to Trample Tokyo
“Attack on Titan” Invades Movie Theaters: An Interview with Director Higuchi Shinji
(Video) Godzilla’s Second Tour of Duty
Being Godzilla: An Interview with Nakajima Haruo, the Man Inside the Suit
Godzilla’s Analog Mayhem and the Japanese Special Effects Tradition

Japan’s Popular Tourist Destinations

Japan has tourist spots appealing to many different kinds of visitor, whether they are looking for natural beauty, historical sites, contemporary architecture and shops, or the latest attractions. This series takes you to some of the most interesting places around Japan.

Japan’s Christmas Lights for 2016 (Photo Gallery)
Umeda Sky Building (Photo Gallery)
Dramatic Architecture and Views at Osaka’s Umeda Sky Building

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.

Drinking from the Tap: Tokyo’s High-Quality Water Supply

Anime in the Post-Ghibli Era

Miyazaki Hayao was the undisputed champion of the animation world. Following his announced retirement from feature filmmaking, an era dominated by the productions of Studio Ghibli has come to an end. What comes next for Japanese animation?

The Independent Vision of Anime Filmmaker Shinkai Makoto
The Classic Storytelling of Anime Director Hosoda Mamoru

Japan’s Rail Network

Japan is a railfan’s delight, boasting not only leading-edge technologies like those featured in the Shinkansen and the maglev but also an increasing number of unique rail services in localities around the country.

All Aboard the Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Train!
“Dragon Quest” Theme Rings Out on Shibuya Trains (Video)
Tokyo’s New Restaurant Train Offers Haute Cuisine on Wheels
Kyoto Railway Museum (Photo Gallery)
Kyoto Railway Museum: A Showcase of Japan’s Rail Heritage

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