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EXPLORE THE KYOTO JOURNAL

Discover quality writing from Asia in our award-winning magazine. Stimulating interviews and profiles; excerpts of works translated from Asian languages; fiction, poetry and book reviews, as well as a fresh look at the city KJ calls home.

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Invitations to Stillness: Japanese Gardens as Metaphorical Journeys of Solace

The practice of garden-making in Japan has a long history and over the last 1500 years, there have been many changes in perceptions of what constitutes a garden. Although Japanese gardens have been influenced and inspired by the introduction of new religions and philosophies, we can surmise that there has always been a spiritual dimension to Japanese landscaped space.

Christopher Marley

Six Thousand Lessons

During these years of travel, my understanding of what diversity means has changed. I began with an intuition, that the world was, from place to place and from culture to culture, far more different than I had been led to believe. Later, I began to understand that to ignore these differences was not simply insensitive but unjust and perilous.

History of the Kaifeng Israelites

By Any Other Name…

Tiberiu Weisz contends that contact between the Hebrews and the Chinese started probably sometime around 980BCE. If this is true, Israelite presence would have left traces in the historical records kept by the Chinese since their earliest dynasties.

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Matsumoto Hajime of Masutomi Soba Restaurant

“After the war, flour was rationed in Kyoto, so a fixed number of noodle manufacturers was established. The result is that all udon and soba noodles in Kyoto are basically alike…”

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From Abacus to Zen: A Short History of Tuttle Publishing

The Tuttle story stretches back to the printer Richard Tottel (1553-1593) of Fleet Street, London, who first published Thomas Moore’s Utopia, and compiled the first English poetry anthology, Songes and Sonettes…

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Confronting Disaster

In Ghosts of the Tsunami, Richard Lloyd Parry confronts us with the startling human reality of this astonishing disaster. Parry’s chief concern is with the harrowing events that transpired at Okawa Elementary School in Ishinomaki, a heartbreaking drama that is notorious in Japan but perhaps less well-known internationally.

Abdullah Ibrahim pianist Kyoto Japan portrait Brian Covert interview

Senzo: The Japan Cosmology of Abdullah Ibrahim

‘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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Glossary of Japanese Onomatopoeia for Gaijin

While living in Hokkaido and studying for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, my friends and I surrendered to laughter every time we encountered Japanese onomatopoeia. Connecting these unique expressions with daily life as JET teachers became a useful, stress-free way to memorize them… 

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The World in English

For Levy Hideo, the first Western author to write Japanese literature, the past speaks in tongues…

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Ima Tenko: Butoh dancer

Ima Tenko believes that transforming butoh performance from a big-budget spectacular, as it was with Byakkosha, into the intimate encounter she performs today is much more sustainable.

Japanese Foods that Heal

KJ Autumn/Winter 2019 Reads: Titles from Tuttle

As part of their 70th-year anniversary celebrations, KJ has teamed up with Tuttle Publishing, the Asia specialist, for this four-part series.

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Daijosai and Shikinen Sengu: First Fruits Twice Tasted: Renewal of Time, Space and Man in Japan

Through its rituals, Japanese society marks both historical time, that is, progressive irreversible time, and natural time, the cyclic eternal rhythm. Historical time was originally reckoned by counting the years from the enthronement of each emperor.

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Painting in the Light of Two Suns

The evolution of Teraoka’s oeuvre now can be explored in the monumental 400-page Floating Realities: The Art of Masami Teraoka, almost a catalogue raisonné. In addition to beautifully printed full color reproductions, the book includes a forward by Mike McGee.

Emperor Godaigo, Notional Treasure, Oaitokuji-so

Japan’s Other Emperor

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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The Natural Harmony of Mindfulness and Mind-Wandering

With unprecedented snowfall in Australia’s subtropical state of Queensland, hail storms in Mexico City and record high temperatures in Paris (45.9C) and Churu Rajasthan (50.8C), it is increasingly difficult to close our eyes to the consequences of global heating. When we see self-serving politicians and big business leaders in flagrant collusion, displaying no inclination toward implementing…

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Words Necessary and Unnecessary

Translating out of one’s original language into a second language is a risky endeavor. In the case of translator Goro Takano, with this exquisite and slightly quirky bilingual chapbook-object, he acquits himself well.

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Hearing their Voices: the Afghan Women’s Writing Project

In 2004 when Masha Hamilton first visited Afghanistan, Afghan women sought to begin careers, get educations and participate in public life…when she returned, life in Afghanistan had become more difficult, and opportunities for women were increasingly scarce. She established the Afghan Women’s Writing Project to create a forum for both women’s education and their voices.

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Watching Kyoto Animation’s ‘A Silent Voice’ in the Aftermath of the Studio Attack: A Reflection On Loss

Watching A Silent Voice with the sober awareness that some of the artists who created it may have been slain is an unsettling perspective.* It is a burden of knowledge that coalesces into a lens of loss. This lens warps every scene, adding extra heartbreak to the sad moments and extra shock to the violent ones.

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

KJ 95: Wellbeing