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

Filmmaker Ōbayashi Nobuhiko: War and Peace and Cinema

Veteran director Ōbayashi Nobuhiko was told he had terminal cancer just before the filming of his latest film, Hanagatami, but lived to see it completed and is still thinking about his next project. In this interview, he talks about cinema and its connections with war and peace.

Veterinarian Tokuda Ryūnosuke: Postdisaster Help for Pets and Owners Alike

Veterinarian Tokuda Ryūnosuke has worked tirelessly to improve postdisaster quality of life for both humans and animals. In addition to opening an evacuation shelter for pets and their owners after the Kumamoto Earthquakes, he has promoted TNR (trap, neuter, return) to reduce culling of stray cats in Japan and participated in a rabies eradication campaign in Bali, Indonesia. What is the driving force behind these activities?

Cooking Guru Yukimasa Rika: Spreading the Gospel of Stress-Free Excellence

An entrepreneur with extensive experience abroad, Yukimasa Rika has employed a variety of media to share her secrets for living the good life in today’s busy, cosmopolitan world. Having gained a devoted following among Japanese working women with her simple but tasty recipes, she is now eager to spread the word about Japanese cooking.

The Freewheeling Yamazaki Mari: Citizen of the World and Bestselling Manga Artist Kiyono Yumi (Interviewer)

Yamazaki Mari is best known as the author of time-travel manga Thermae Romae, about an ancient Roman architect who gets ideas for bathhouse innovations during trips to modern Japan. She first visited Italy on a solo journey when she was just 14 years old. Since then, an unconventional life has taken her to numerous countries, including Syria, Portugal, and the United States.

The “Yōkai” Art of the MasterBringing Toriyama Sekien’s Monstrous Encyclopedias to Modern Readers

Toriyama Sekien was an influential Edo-period artist who taught some of the giants of the ukiyo-e world. Today he is best known for his collections of yōkai illustrations, which he released in four books in 1776–84 as a form of mass-produced popular literature. We spoke with the translators who have made his work available to Spanish and English readers about the artist and the impact he continues to have to this day.

Shedding Light on “Formosa’s Betrayal”: Kabira Chōsei on George Kerr and Taiwanese History

Soon after World War II ended, the February 28 Incident rocked the island of Taiwan. The diplomat and scholar George Kerr explored this bloody chapter in Taiwanese history in his book Formosa Betrayed. We spoke with Kabira Chōsei, an Okinawan broadcaster raised in Taiwan under Japanese rule, about George Kerr—who taught him English in his school days—and his take on Taiwan’s past and present.

Japanese Natural Farming Guru Kawaguchi Yoshikazu

For decades now, Kawaguchi Yoshikazu has been challenging conventional agricultural wisdom by rejecting not only chemicals but also machinery, organic fertilizer, and tillage. We asked Kawaguchi to share his wisdom on natural farming and stewardship of the planet.

Josh Grisdale and Accessible Japan: Helping Disabled Visitors Follow Their Travel Dreams

Canadian-born Josh Grisdale has used a wheelchair since he was four years old. For the past decade, he has been living and working in Japan, where he gained citizenship last year. His website Accessible Japan encourages disabled tourists to visit the country by providing information on accessibility and reviews of attractions.

Akahoshi Takayuki: Leading Innovator in Cataract Surgery

Cataracts—the clouding of lenses in the eye—remain the leading cause of blindness worldwide. Although the condition can be cured with surgery, many patients in developing countries cannot receive treatment. In March 2017 Dr. Akahoshi Takayuki, developer and practitioner of a safe and quick procedure for cataract surgery, received the Kelman Award, presented by the Hellenic Society of Intraocular Implant and Refractive Surgery to ophthalmologists who have contributed internationally to this field.

Kunō Sachiko: Fostering Talent to Change the Future

Earning her fortune with a startup drug company, Kunō was recently named among the top 50 foreign businesswomen to have succeeded in the United States by the prestigious US business magazine Forbes. Currently based in Washington DC, Kunō is now pouring her boundless energy into supporting the work of young artists and social entrepreneurs.

Video highlights

New series

  • From our columnists
  • In the news