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.
“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
- 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.
- Frightfully Fun: Japan’s Ghosts, Ghouls, and Haunted Houses
Summer in Japan is the season for scary stories—when you can’t escape the heat, you shiver with fear at tales of ghosts and yōkai. Here we introduce some of the country’s creepiest culture, from its haunted houses to its supernatural-themed art and more.
- Contemporary Culture Going Global
Japan’s pop culture is making inroads in overseas populations and product markets and populations. As seen in this section, this is often on the strength of its creators’ dedication to careful craftsmanship, rather than due to a calculated global marketing strategy.
Wonder Festival 2016 (Photo Gallery)
“Dragon Quest Museum” Celebrates 30 Years of Classic RPG
Bending Metal: Marty Friedman Takes on the Babymetal Invasion
The Manga City Where Japan’s Spirits Dwell
Farewell, Naruto: The Curtain Closes on the World’s Best-Loved Ninja
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s J-Pop “Kawaii” in Paris
Manga Artist Brings Bushidō Spirit to France
French Manga Fans Inspire the Work of Tsutsui Tetsuya
“Anime” and “Manga” Take Root in China
Decoding the Charm of Japanese Video Games (Part Two)
A Soccer Hero Adored Around the World
Decoding the Charm of Japanese Video Games (Part One)
Lasting Popularity for a Tough Watch
If It’s Not “Kawaii,” How Can It Be Smart?
Rokkaku Ayako: An Artist with the World at Her Fingertips
- “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.
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
- Rhythms of Nature
Deep interaction with nature reveals truths about the human condition and provides insight on our place in the natural environment. Explore the world as it is, and as Japanese observers have captured it, in this series. (Banner photo: Caribou ford a river in Alaska. Photograph by Hoshino Michio and provided courtesy of Hoshino Naoko/Hoshino Michio Office.)
- 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.
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
- What’s Next on the Ghibli Storyboard?
Less than three years after Miyazaki Hayao announced that The Wind Rises (2013) would be his last feature animated film, the legendary director and animator is quietly at work on a new project. Studio Ghibli producer and chairman Suzuki Toshio, Miyazaki’s longtime collaborator, offers a tantalizing glimpse of the studio’s near- and long-term future as it grapples with the challenges of a new era. In the meantime, fans will have ample opportunity this summer to immerse themselves in the world of Studio Ghibli with the opening of the Ghibli Expo in Tokyo and a special exhibit, All Aboard! The Cat Bus to the Ghibli Forest, at the Ghibli Museum, Mitaka.
Ghibli Museum, Mitaka (Photo Gallery)
Adults Also Welcome on the Cat Bus to the Ghibli Forest
Ghibli Expo: Three Decades of Studio Ghibli Films
What’s Up at Studio Ghibli? Catching Up with Producer Suzuki Toshio
- 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.
“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
- Learning and Loving the Japanese Language
Some 4 million people are studying Japanese around the world. Whether you’re an anime and manga fan who wants to get closer to the real thing, a lover of arts, crafts, and other traditional culture, or a person who wants to live in Japan or work at a Japanese company, there are many reasons to learn. In this series we present diverse approaches to the language and stories from those who have tackled it successfully.