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Records on Korean Missions to Japan Join UNESCO Memory Register (News)

Tokyo, Oct. 31 (Jiji Press)—UNESCO said Tuesday that it has added historic materials documenting diplomatic missions from the Korean Peninsula to Japan from the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries to its Memory of the World Register. Also inscribed on the list were Three Cherished Stelae of Ancient Kozuke stone monuments erected from the seventh to eighth centuries in an area now included …

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Sophia University Professor Ishizawa Wins Magsaysay Award (News)

Manila, July 27 (Jiji Press)—Ishizawa Yoshiaki, who worked for decades to save Cambodia's Angkor archaeological site, is among the winners of this year's Ramon Magsaysay Award, known as Asia's version of the Nobel Prize, the award organizer said Thursday. Born in Obihiro in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaidō, the 79-year-old professor at Japan's Sophia University has been engaged in resear…

Sacred Island Selected for UNESCO List: An Overview of World Heritage Sites in Japan

The Sacred Island of Okinoshima and Associated Sites in the Munakata Region has been registered by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. It is the twenty-first Japanese location to be added to the prestigious list.

Okinoshima, Related Sites Added to World Heritage List (News)

Krakow, Poland, July 9 (Jiji Press)—Okinoshima, a sacred island, and related religious sites in Fukuoka Prefecture were inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List on Sunday. In May, the International Council on Monuments and Sites, or ICOMOS, recommended additions to the cultural heritage list of only Okinoshima and three rocks belonging to the island, rejecting the Japanese government's reque…

Keeping the “Ama” Tradition Alive in the Seas of MieJulian Ryall

Mie Prefecture is home to around 1,000 ama, the women freedivers who keep alive a 3,000-year-old way of fishing. Today there are only around double this number in all of Japan, a sharp decline from more than 17,000 half a century ago. As the ama population ages, what can be done to keep this traditional occupation afloat?

Okinoshima Alone Set to Make World Cultural Heritage List (News)

Tokyo, May 5 (Jiji Press)—A UNESCO advisory body has made a recommendation to put the island of Okinoshima, an ancient religious site in Japan, on the World Heritage list, the Japanese Cultural Affairs Agency said Friday. But the International Council on Monuments and Sites, or ICOMOS, rejected the Japanese government's request for inscription in the heritage list of other religious monuments i…

A Blazing Vernal Rite: Nara’s Tōdaiji Celebrates Omizutori Festival (Japan in Photos)

A time-lapse photo captures the course of monks as parishioners carry kagotaimatsu (pine torches) along the corridors of the Nigatsudō of Tōdaiji in Nara Prefecture in the late hours of March 12, 2017. The Omizutori, or “water-drawing” festival, is part of Shunie, a series of spring rites held each year from March 1–14. Sparks from the torches are thought to drive away malicious forces and ens…

Yōmeimon Gate Reopens to Public at Nikkō’s Tōshōgū Shrine (Japan in Photos)

The Yōmeimon gate at Tōshōgū Shrine in Nikkō, a UNESCO World Heritage site, reopened to the general public on March 10, 2017, after four years of extensive repairs. Some 500 sculptures were restored on the structure, one of the most prominent buildings of the sprawling shrine, which is dedicated to Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shōgun of the Edo period (1603–1868). (© Jiji)

Outdoor Performances Bring Bunraku Back to Its Popular Roots

A project launched in 2015 aims to tackle the declining popularity of Japan’s traditional bunraku puppet theater. Outdoor performances at which audience members can eat and drink while they watch help to recreate the casual atmosphere of the Edo period.

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