HIDDEN JAPAN

The True Japanese Art Form: “If it’s not Doublethink, it’s not CM”

April 21, 2017

Certainly in terms of television commercials, the importance placed upon CM — “Commercial Messages,” as we Japanese call them — Japan is without parallel on the face of the earth.

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Patriotism

November 2, 2016

Walking on these stones, I feel the life of the mountain sinking into me — as I plant my own life into it…. I feel the mountain slowly inhabiting my muscles and bones.

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Japanese Courtyard Gardens

April 18, 2016

The tsubo garden is contained inside a building, like a jewel in a box…

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harkor ainu restaurant tokyo cuisine japanese

Where Ainu food, culture, and community meet: Interview with Teruryo Us

October 30, 2015

“Ainu food is more based on the natural flavors of ingredients, rather unlike Hokkaido foods, which rely on strong flavors. We just use salt for seasoning; no additives. Nowadays more and more people, kids and adults alike, have allergies… Kids with wheat or butter allergies can eat our dumplings or rataskep here safely.”

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The Bride of Boneyard Kitaro

October 16, 2015

When Nunoe’s uncle told the family he’d found a match for her in a 39 year-old veteran who’d lost his left arm in the war and wrote comic books in Tokyo, Nunoe’s father rubbed his chin and said “make it happen.”

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The Crisis of Japanese Democracy

October 4, 2015

The basic and ongoing challenge to any democracy is that its citizens need to have free and open access to unbiased information. They must further be presented with alternative domestic viewpoints and varying historical narratives as well as being engaged in critical dialogue with the larger world beyond

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The Art of Setting Stones

October 3, 2015

In Japan, garden materials—plants, stones, lanterns, and the like—make rounds through gardens like bees at flowers, and though their journey is less fleet, like them they occupy any one spot only temporarily. Those that remain in place for centuries are rare; most are destined by the vagaries of history to a more transient life.

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Even in “Just Enough” There is Abundance

September 28, 2015

For nearly 40 years Masanobu Fukuoka’s classic work, “The One-Straw Revolution” has lured people back to a traditional life of farming. Yoshikazu Kawaguchi, considered the leading proponent of Natural Farming in Japan, began his approach to farming by adapting Fukuoka’s method of forgoing plowing, fertilizers, weeding, and chemicals…

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The Lists of a Lady-in-Waiting

August 5, 2015

A thousand years ago a lady-in-waiting in the imperial court at Heian Kyo (modern-day Kyoto) dipped her brush into the well of her inkstone and watched the bristles swell with ink. She lowered the brush onto the paper spread in front of her and moved her hand rapidly…

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A Small Restaurant on the Edge of Life

July 25, 2015

Dread clouded the joy that surged in Tomé’s heart when she heard the voice call out “Obachan, I’m back.” In May, 1945, the only pilots who came to Chiran were volunteers for the Special Attack Corps, boys who rammed their fighters into the American ships off Okinawa.

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Japanese Tattoo

July 3, 2015

I had become entranced with irezumi, more elegantly known as hori-mono, the Japanese tattoo. Yet I had known, from its first vague awakening, that my interest somehow lay deeper than my skin…

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The Optimistic Vision of Kitagawa Fram and the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale

March 18, 2015

The Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale in the mountainous Niigata region of Japan has become a model, yet an underappreciated one, for expansive social art practices.

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We All Have Our Own Truths: An Interview with Gwendolyn Hoeffel

December 2, 2014

“As the years passed, I was very aware of Japan becoming more prosperous, more accepting of Western values and customs, which has been detrimental in certain ways. Obviously we have to move on, and the traditional, gracious way of living that I experienced in 1964 is going to move on.”

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Christmas in Tohoku with OGA for AID

November 25, 2014

What one child called a “dark wall” rising from the sea crashed down on Minami-Sanriku, destroying the city hall, and washing away everyone and everything in its path. People’s lives were turned upside down. Relatives and friends died. Houses were torn apart. Businesses and employment floated out to sea. Following the destruction of the 3.11…

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Origami Lion

October 16, 2014

He asked, “Are you really going to fight?”
“Yes,” I answered tentatively. He looked at me askance, then nodded dismissively. The wrestlers hustled me out of the room.

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Article 9 and Japan’s Future

May 21, 2014

Article 9 can also be seen as a gift to humanity, simply denouncing war. Simply doing that.

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Freedom Within Bounds: A Conversation with Donald Richie

April 17, 2014

Unlike many writers on Japan, Donald Richie advances no social theories. By portraying Japanese as individuals, and by doing so with insight and often with sympathy, Richie gives the lie to conventional notions of uniformity.

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Jacques Payet Aikido Kyoto Journal

The Enlightening of Aikido: Jacques Payet on training, practice and teaching

April 17, 2014

“Through time the student would become a better person; one who is more aware of weak points, more courageous and more honest, through a body-to-body and heart-to-heart experience…”

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79 Tennō-ji (天皇寺)

Calligraphy and Stamps from the Shikoku 88-Temple Pilgrimage

November 10, 2013

Pilgrims who follow in the footsteps of Kobo Daishi around Shikoku record their journey by collecting these goshuin, single sheets of paper, or in book form (nokyocho), from each of the temples along the way.

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Chasing Deer

August 15, 2013

I had just cycled over seven hours through Mie Prefecture and was now stuck on this deserted mountain road somewhere in the Kasagi Mountains, approximately 10 kilometers northeast of Nara city, searching for a campsite I had circled in my Kansai Mappuru guidebook when planning the trip from home weeks before. I thought of home now back in Kanagawa, and my wife Rui, who would be sitting at the table eating dinner at about this time. Make sure you take pictures of the deer in Nara, she would remind me every evening.

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Even in “Just Enough” There is Abundance

June 29, 2013

For nearly 40 years Masanobu Fukuoka’s classic work, “The One-Straw Revolution” has lured people back to a traditional life of farming. Yoshikazu Kawaguchi, considered the leading proponent of Natural Farming in Japan, began his approach to farming by adapting Fukuoka’s method of forgoing plowing, fertilizers, weeding, and chemicals…

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

KJ 92: Devotion