Home > Hot topics
Saving Edo from War: The Political Insights of Yamaoka TesshūDemachi Yuzuru

The Zen temple Zenshōan in the Yanaka district of Tokyo has long been a place of reflection for the political elite, including several prime ministers. The second installment of this two-part series looks at the role its founder Yamaoka Tesshū played in ensuring the peaceful handover of Edo Castle to imperial troops in the spring of 1868, when the nation was locked in a civil war.

Harmony and Hygiene: An Environment for ImprovementMokutan Angelo

The essential nature of the tea ceremony can be applied to everyday life. The third of a series introducing the language of Zen through easy-to-understand manga strips examines the phrase和敬清寂 (wakei seijaku).

A Path to Peace: Knowing Enough Is EnoughMokutan Angelo

Accepting life as it is, rather than chasing constantly multiplying desires, is a route to tranquility. The second of a series introducing the language of Zen through easy-to-understand manga strips examines the phrase 知足安分 (chisoku anbun).

Meditation and Neuroscience: New Wave of Breakthroughs in Research on Meditative Practices

Zen, mindfulness, and meditation in general are believed to promote psychological and physical well-being. But why? An emerging generation of neuroscientists is fast unveiling the hidden workings of meditation.

Zen and Politics: The Counsel of Yamamoto GenpōDemachi Yuzuru

Located in Tokyo’s Yanaka district, Zenshōan is a Zen temple that has often been a sanctuary of reflection and meditation for some of Japan’s most influential figures, including several prime ministers. The temple’s role as a place of contemplation for the powerful can be traced to the enlightened samurai Yamaoka Tesshū and the Zen priest Yamamoto Genpō. The first installment of this two-part series looks at Genpō’s role as an adviser to several important political leaders during the wartime and postwar periods.

The Language of Zen: Words for a World of ChangeMokutan Angelo

Familiar people and places surround us, but we should recognize that each encounter is different. The first of a series introducing the language of Zen through easy-to-understand manga strips tackles the phrase 一期一会 (ichigo ichie).

The Roots of Mindfulness: Hakuin Ekaku and the Art of Zen

Zen Buddhism has had a profound impact on Japanese society and culture. Today the influence of Zen “mindfulness” is felt throughout the world. In this article we look at the human side of the great Zen masters of the past and the ways in which Zen continues to be relevant to people in contemporary society.

Steve Jobs and the Rediscovery of Zen

Coming of age at a time when the counterculture was embracing Eastern mysticism, Steve Jobs ended up as a lifelong practitioner of Zen meditation. Through the lens of Jobs’s amazing life, career, and posthumous impact, we examine the evolution of Zen-style meditation from a spiritual pursuit into a practical health-maintenance tool.

Fukuoka: The Ancient Gateway to Japan

Fukuoka is the largest city in Kyūshū. From ancient times, the city’s proximity to the mainland has made it an important gateway for cultural influences from China and Korea. Two members of the Nippon.com editorial team visited the city in search of traces of its ancient links to the continent.

Aiya: Innovation and Tradition Bring Matcha to the World

The city of Nishio in Aichi Prefecture is Japan’s foremost producer of matcha, the finest of all Japanese green teas. We visit the region’s top producer to hear about how quality and safety have helped it bring matcha to a new range of consumers around the world.

Video highlights

New series

  • From our columnists
  • In the news