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Surrounded by Trees

When I was six, I developed a grass-like skin disease around my neck after my family and I visited a hilly area in Tagaytay. My grandfather, Tatay Marcial, who believed it was a punishment from a naughty dwende (elf), warned me against expressing my admiration for plants, especially those that grow in the wild.

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Luck or Curse? The Stories of Two Hibakusha

“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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Re-opening Our Eyes

Naoyuki Ogino describes his work as “…documentary in the broadest sense. I am trying to omit fiction as much as I can in order to capture the very moment of non-fiction. I want to document …people, within their histories, societies, cultures, neighborhoods, atmospheres, environments or weather.”

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Confessions of a Sushi Boat

I’m so tired of them washing me, or not washing me properly. The grains of rice tend to get stuck between my wooden planks. But when Chef Jiro Sakamoto does it, it’s always different. He gives me proper care and attention, pays heed to the details of my grooves and curves…

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Inspired by Japan

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

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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A Familiar Environment

“Women authors in Japan are more or less par for winning the big prizes, and they’re publishing easily as much as men, but they’re not appearing in translation. There’s a movement to try and do something about it.”

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Mastery of Movement

Shodō is the Japanese word for calligraphy. It means not just penmanship, but the Way, or Path of writing. In China and Japan, Shodō has long been regarded as one of the most important forms of art.

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KJ Summer 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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Memory and Empathy in a Japanese School Lunch

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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Tumbling Assumptions

The author says she embarked on this year in Japan in order to undertake a spiritual practice of her own. She must occupy herself while her husband seeks Soto Zen priestly credentials by training in a nearby monastery, so she joins a pottery class as a deshi (disciple) of the elderly female teacher. But she cannot seem to make the dirt and water come together to make a smooth clay, either physically or metaphorically.

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Kyoto Women Entrepreneurs: Kumakura Seiko

Kumakura Seiko first worked in theatre to increase awareness of societal issues in an appealing way. As an activist and a mother she has since used her experience to launch trailblazing community projects in Kyoto.

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Meiji Poor

Huffman focuses his inquiry on the very poorest of Japan’s urban poor—the hinmin, or paupers, who flooded into Tokyo at a rate of up to 1,000 people each week in the late 1800s and early 1900s, victims of government policies that pushed farm families to starvation and forced their sons and daughters to seek jobs in the swelling cities.

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Found in Translation: Teaching the art of the Japanese garden

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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Growing up in a rural New England suburb, the only thing different about our family was that we ate rice every night and that our ancient Taiwanese grandfather would practice tai chi on the lawn.

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Monpan Shokudo

Monpan Shokudo is a homey and creative restaurant in Kyoto serving Mongoru Pan—Mongolian bread—alongside fusion recipes from around the world. There’s a particular character about Monpan, one that is difficult to describe, but that emerges through the life story of its co-owner, Haruhisa Kato.

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Kazuo Ishiguro on Asian-British Writers

“Apart from a transient business community, there’s nothing in England that could be called a Japanese society. In addition, when I arrived in 1960, there were very few Japanese in England at all. Therefore, as I grew up, the problem of which society I belonged to never arose.  I now accept the fact that I am a mixture, a cultural compound.”

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KYOTOGRAPHIE 2019: A review

KYOTOGRAPHIE has been successful partly because photographic images have the ability to transcend linguistic differences through ishin denshin: wordless communication, heartstrings vibrating in harmony.“Vibe,” which situates ishin denshin within a specific locale, is a fitting theme for the photography festival, now in its seventh year.

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

KJ 94: Inspired by Kyoto