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Interviews with the figures, both Japanese and foreign, whose thoughts and actions inform the course Japan takes today.

Kuroda Haruka: Japanese Combat Instructor a Big Hit on UK Stage and Screen

Japanese-born Kuroda Haruka is a London-based actress. In a varied and busy career, she has voiced the character Noodle in the virtual pop band Gorillaz, appeared as a presenter on UK children’s TV, and worked as a comedy actress. She is also a British Academy of Dramatic Combat instructor, choreographing fights for stage and screen and running workshops for drama students and other young people.

Medicine on the Front Lines: An Interview with Shirakawa Yūko, Field Nurse for Doctors Without Borders

Since joining Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) in 2010, Japanese nurse Shirakawa Yūko has braved bullets and bombs as part of medical aid missions to combat zones in countries like Iraq, Syria, and South Sudan. In this interview she shares the challenges and rewards she has experienced in the field.

Maruwaka Hirotoshi: Seeking a Future for Green Tea and Japanese Culture

As a restorer of Japanese culture who breathes fresh life into traditional Japanese crafts with new, modern values, Maruwaka Hirotoshi has redefined tradition as something other than that which is simply handed down. Now he is turning his attention to bringing Japanese tea to the attention of the wider world.

Bringing Babysitters Mainstream in Japan: Kidsline Founder Tsunezawa Kahoko

Entrepreneur Tsunezawa Kahoko used her experience as founder of marketing firm Trenders and as a mother to establish her second company, babysitter-matching service Kidsline. Tsunezawa talks about what led her to set up the service, how it works, and what she envisions for the company going forward.

Sculpting the Subject’s Innate QualitiesSculptor Okumura Nobuyuki and His Three Papal Busts in the Vatican

Okumura Nobuyuki is the first Japanese artist to produce a bronze bust of a pope for display at the Vatican. He has dedicated statues of three popes to the Vatican to date. We met with him in his studio near Rome to ask him about the development of his art that has brought him to where he is today.

Manabe Daito: Pushing the Boundaries Between Art and Technology

We sat down with Rhizomatiks chief Manabe Daito to talk about his work with drones and augmented reality and how he is using them to push the boundaries of artistic expression forward.

Sake, Wine, and the Theoretical Physicist Who Brings Them TogetherAn Interview with Sugiyama Asuka

Sugiyama Asuka, the sommelier with a PhD in theoretical physics, is a woman of action. Falling head over heels in love with both wine and Japan’s own sake, she spends her life with the globe as her stage, commuting between Tokyo and Paris every two weeks to pursue her passion to convey the appeal of wine to the Japanese public and the joy of sake to France. We asked Sugiyama what drives her philosophy of work.

Miyazaki Yoshifumi Explores the Healing Power of the Forest

Shinrin-yoku, literally “forest bathing,” is a Japanese term that means relaxing in the forest to improve health. The term was first coined in the 1980s, but is now attracting increasing attention around the world. Miyazaki Yoshifumi has been researching shinrin-yoku for three decades and is the author of a new book detailing the scientific evidence for this and other nature therapies.

Restoring Angkor Wat: An Interview with Japanese Scholar Ishizawa Yoshiaki

Award-winning Japanese scholar Ishizawa Yoshiaki is one of the world’s leading authorities on Khmer inscriptions of the Angkor period (802–1431). His honors include the Ramon Magsaysay Award, sometimes described as the “Asian Nobel,” for his contributions over the course of half a century in restoring to the Cambodian people a sense of pride in their cultural heritage. We spoke to him about his long career working on the monuments at Angkor and his efforts to train a new generation of Cambodian conservators.

Body and Soul: An Interview with Master Swordsmith Miyairi Norihiro

Japanese swords are admired throughout the world for their legendary quality and long tradition of craftsmanship. For centuries the symbol of samurai honor and authority, their appeal is as powerful as ever. We visit one of Japan’s leading swordsmiths to learn more about the timeless magic of the Japanese sword.

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