HIDDEN JAPAN

Kyoto-Journal-Hakone-Yosegi-marquetry-wood-craft-Japan-Irwin-Wong-Nihon-Ichiban (10)

Kiro: Carving out the Future of Hakone Yosegi Marquetry

November 24, 2020

The name of Kiro, a workshop specializing in Hakone yosegi marquetry, rendered using the kanji characters for “wood” and “path,” seems fitting for an art form that has seen remarkable innovation over generations and whose artisans continue to forge a path forward into the future. 

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Climate Crisis Sparks a Revival of Youth Activism in Japan

October 11, 2020

Youth climate activists are faced with the challenge of engaging a relatively complacent student population on an issue that seems much less immediate and visible than the presence of the US military in the 1960s did: environmental pollution and the emission of greenhouse gases.

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A Culture of Simplicity

September 28, 2020

The simplicity of wabi-sabi is best described as the state of grace arrived at by a sober, modest, heartfelt intelligence.

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Infinity sea shrine Loscar Numael Japan

Seeking Ma

September 10, 2020

“There is something magical about a torii gate floating in the middle of a lake or shoreline. Once I got more immersed in the study of Japanese culture and religions I developed a parallel appreciation and respect for the symbolism and cultural importance they have to the Japanese people.”

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Stephen Mansfield

Some Gravel, Some Stones: Nature, Art and Spirit in Japanese Gardens

September 10, 2020

Stephen Mansfield interviews Marion Poschmann, whose novel set in Japan, The Pine Islands, was winner of the Berlin Prize for Literature and shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize.

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A Critical Moment for Japanese Art Curation

June 12, 2020

Morse warned that in 2020, over 75% of specialists in Japanese art would be at retirement age. She called on the museum community to focus on developing a new generation of curators in response to the impending exodus of experts from the field.

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The Life and Times of Okada Torajiro and his Seiza Method of Self-Harmonization

June 5, 2020

To actually practice Seiza, one needs no group or leader, no visualization, vocalization, counting, or mantra repetition, and no special symbolic objects, apparatus, or vestments. Seiza is truly more zen than Zen.  

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Tadashi Nakajima: Encountering the God of Darkness

May 25, 2020

Cradled, we were slowly merging. This I knew, looking up at the dusty stars, losing all feeling in arms, in legs, smelling the hot rice odor which was now mine as well. I, the man I thought I knew, was gone, become a thousand others.

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Sacred Desire Notes on Tamotsu Yato: Photographer

May 25, 2020

Tamotsu Yato embodied the erotic gaze — he was one of the earliest to do so openly. At the same time the gaze involved much more than simple erotics and it is this, no less, which merits our attention.

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An Old Posttown Makes a Comeback

May 20, 2020

The City of Otsu and Hachise, a realtor specialising inmachiya renovations, are exploring ways to restore Otsu’s glory as a station on the old Tokaido overland route

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Kato Shuichi on Everything – one of Japan’s Last Renaissance Men

May 18, 2020

Cultural critic, literary historian, novelist, poet and dramatist, Katō is one of Japan’s major post-war figures.

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Tale of Genji

The Passing of Beauty and Glory

May 11, 2020

What does the Tale of Genji suggest about sensitivity to the fleeting nature of human existence?

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Alex Kerr

Demons, Misinformation and Kimochi

May 4, 2020

“This is a book that gives voice to the Japanese who feel exactly as I do, and who exist by the millions. Japanese bookshelves are filled with angry books all of on these subjects.”

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The view to Mt. Sumeru: Donald Richie on D.T. Suzuki

April 20, 2020

‘I think that Dr. Suzuki is for Zen what St. Paul is for Christianity. He was “a publicist.”’

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Harold Wright meets Showa Emperor

Meeting the Emperor Meiji

April 15, 2020

I wasn’t totally sure I understood. It seemed like a strange thing to say — “Do you want to meet the Emperor Meiji?” I did know the Emperor had been dead since 1912…But this was Japan, where things are not always clear…

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The Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art

April 8, 2020

After three years of much-needed renovation, the large Neoclassical building (with a “Japonesque” roof) located across the street from the Museum of Modern Art Kyoto, next to the Heian Shrine Otori,  is re-opening as the Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art on May 7th, 2020.

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Carving new paths for Tokyo artisan culture

April 6, 2020

Many artisans of traditional Japanese crafts are facing a growing problem: difficulty attracting apprentices to carry on the work in addition to decreasing sales as younger populations eschew traditional items for cheaper, trendier alternatives.

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Oyako: An Interview with Bruce Osborn

April 3, 2020

Bruce Osborn’s Oyako (parent and child) series of portraits led to the establishment of an annual ‘Oyako Day’ (Oyako-no-hi), celebrated on the fourth Sunday of July in Japan.

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Kyoto Time Slip: Reliving Japanese History in 3rd Grade

March 27, 2020

In apparent contrast to ongoing governmental campaigns to internationalize its citizenry and promote futuristic technologies, Japan’s primary education has long endeavored to prepare students to face present-day challenges by imbuing them with mores and practices from a century or more ago.

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Walking the Kumano Kodo

March 1, 2020

The Kumano region was long considered to be one of the most sacred regions in Japan, its three shrines attracting pilgrims so numerous that they were said to resemble a line of ants…

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Food from beyond the bridge of dreams

February 29, 2020

Although most people think of the ‘traditional’ Japanese cuisine as having its roots in the kaiseki of the late Muromachi and early Edo (1603-1868) periods, Japan and its way of eating are far older. To find out how and why the Japanese came to ‘eat with their eyes,’ it is necessary to cross a bridge of dreams.

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

KJ 98: Ma