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HIDDEN JAPAN

Abdullah Ibrahim pianist Kyoto Japan portrait Brian Covert interview

Senzo: The Japan Cosmology of Abdullah Ibrahim

December 2, 2019

‘For me, the application of the concepts of budo is the same as we play in jazz music. Musashi Miyamoto said, “Under a sword lifted high, there’s hell to make you tremble.” It’s basically the same principles when you play jazz music.’

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Japan’s Other Emperor

October 23, 2019

With the sokuirei (Ceremony of Ascension) for Emperor Naruhito having taken place on Oct. 22, 2019—the grandest of celebrations marking a new future for the Chrysanthemum Throne—we’re looking back a piece from KJ Issue 9 (Winter 1989), “Japan’s Other Emperor.” Author David Kubiak presents a lively and engrossing romp through Japan’s history of imperial ascension,…

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Stone Wall

September 16, 2019

The Japanese countryside is full of stone walls. They are not freestanding grey lines used for dividing property but rather buttresses that hold back the mountains and shape them into something that can be lived on and farmed.

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Making a Life—Not Merely a Living

September 8, 2019

“I think all mature people know they have to live with some level of contradiction, especially in our current society. The question is: how do you use your own creativity and resourcefulness to provide for your needs without relying entirely on the cash economy?”

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Capturing Wellbeing: Behind the Scenes of the KJ95 Cover Shoot

August 30, 2019

Sisters Reylia and Johnna Slaby, interviewed for KJ95: Wellbeing, were tasked with creating a stunning cover in a collaborative work of photography and painting.

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Luck or Curse? The Stories of Two Hibakusha

August 15, 2019

“I worry somewhat that people in this country still think that by dropping those bombs we hastened the termination of the war and also saved a million lives of soldiers. I’m a little worried about that perception.”

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Inspired by Japan

August 11, 2019

A look at the work of foreign artists inspired by Japan: Denis Guidone, Elaine Cooper, Alessandro Bellegarde, David Stanley Hewitt and Deborah Davidson.

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Cold War Modern and the Nagasaki Triptych

August 9, 2019

The photographs in the old wire-bound album that record the occasion leave a lot to be desired when it comes to print quality. The small gathering on the steps outside the entrance to St Francis Xavier church on Sanjo in Kyoto, in the autumn of 1965, was celebrating the baptism of our newborn daughter; and…

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Memory and Empathy in a Japanese School Lunch

July 7, 2019

This March 11th, as in recent years, schools throughout the country honored lives lost and a region destroyed through special meals which acknowledge loss and endeavor to strengthen community. The meals are a unique ritual for students to explore insecurity and encourage empathy.

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Found in Translation: Teaching the art of the Japanese garden

June 17, 2019

Setting out to share with gardeners outside of Japan the skills, knowledge, techniques and philosophies that have resided mainly in the hands and hearts of Japanese gardeners for centuries is a provocative undertaking.  But it’s one that’s taking root at the Portland Japanese Garden with its Waza to Kokoro: Hands and Heart intensive training seminar in Japanese garden arts. 

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Landscape of Memory

April 29, 2019

If one thinks of Japanese civilization as a great tree, the most brilliant blooms and succulent fruits adorned branches represented by the cities Nara and Kyoto. To fully appreciate those flowers and fruits one must follow the course of investigation right to the roots. These are firmly set in the soil of the inaka, approximately in English, ‘countryside.’

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A Child of All Time: Butoh Dancer Ohno Kazuo at 98

April 15, 2019

“The physical form I assume now is but the fruit of what I’ve inherited from those who have existed before me. What, you might ask, has become of our ancestors’ ideas and emotions? Where do you suppose our creativity springs from? There’s no way that it springs forth from our finite and limited knowledge of life.”

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Concretizing the Japanese Dream: Alex Kerr on State-sponsored Vandals, True Romance and Contemporary Genii

March 28, 2019

“A revolution of a sort must take place but I am not at all sure that will happen in Japan. Part of the problem in Japan is that in some ways it’s very comfortable. Japan needn’t really do anything and could go right on as it is and no one would notice.”

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On Learning Pottery in Japan

March 22, 2019

We never talked about our own work in aesthetic terms. I never asked, and they never volunteered. We never talked about the “significance” of our work, or its place in society. There seemed to be no place for the pained self-consciousness that afflicts so many American potters and students.

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Tanuki! Tanuki!

March 19, 2019

The popularity of the tanuki has much to do with its humorous and winsome image. With its plump body, awkward movements and simple-minded trickery, the tanuki presents a comical, safe and manageable impression compared to the cunning fox, the other trickster.

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Mizuki Shigeru: Giving form to kehai

March 1, 2019

“A ghost doesn’t just all of a sudden appear out of nowhere; they are of necessity, always announced prior to their actual appearance by a sensa­tion of kehai or something eerie. In other words, without the feeling of fear no ghost will make its presence known.”

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Second Harvest Japan

Re-evaluating Connections Between Food Waste and Hunger

February 18, 2019

The Japanese government reports food surplus at 3-4 million tons each year. In comparison, annual rice consumption is roughly 8 million tons. This is the equivalent of one bowl of rice being discarded for every two bowls eaten. Food banks will never be able “overfish” the vast ocean of food surplus that is available.

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The Garden on the Table

February 18, 2019

Frozen pea and potato chip casserole. Long before I came to Japan, that dish, symbolic of all those Family Potluck church dinners of childhood, had cemented in my mind the basic incompatibility of religion and good food. Years, later, the experience of Japanese temple food, or shojin ryori, came as a revelation to me…

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Satori in the Conbini

February 16, 2019

I stopped at the neighborhood 7-Eleven conbini on my way home nearly every night. It became a strange little ritual. Each night I could shed my mousy English-teacher-in-Japan existence with fellow worshippers at the altar of consumer goods..

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Wendy Nakanishi Kitchen Tales Yasmin Flett illustrations

Kitchen Tales

February 12, 2019

I left the comfortable and unchallenging world of my childhood when I was in my early twenties, eventually settling in Japan where I married a farmer. We are resident in rural Shikoku, and I have got acquainted with the roots of cooking through my relationship with my husband’s mother, whom I call Okaasan.

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Yakushima

January 28, 2019

The Jomon sugi is so mammoth, and contains so many crooks and crannies in its branches and trunk, and such an abundance of rotted pockets, that it is host to a number of other trees and bushes growing high up in the air. And within breathing room of the Jomon sugi are other giants, also harboring their own families of trees.

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Before you go, be sure to check out our latest issue:

KJ 95: Wellbeing