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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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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…

Ima Tenko Irwin Wong

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.

Hideous Ugliest Orange Toad's Last Bolero/Viagra Falls, Masami Teraoka

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.

lana slezic afghanistan women photography kyoto journal bhurka

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.

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Stone Wall

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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When the Envoys Returned

After thirty years of cresting mountain-high surges, the envoys brought back eagle-wood, ambergris, and an essence distilled from rose petals.

somushi korean teahouse kondaya genbei sign minechika endo

Somushi: The Story of Kyoto’s First Korean Teahouse

“I wanted to create a space where people could have their senses stimulated by using natural material all around. At the start, I purposely didn’t put up signs for the restrooms, nor did we have a menu. I wanted people to use their instincts and figure stuff out — to think before immediately asking for what they wanted.”

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Making a Life—Not Merely a Living

“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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Kazuki Takizawa’s Color From Green

While KJ is not primarily a literary publication, poetry has always been a vital component in our content mix. This poem by Elena Karina Byrne, along with others by Jane Hirshfield, Arkaye Kierulf, Tamara Nicholl-Smith and (in translation) Shinkichi Takahashi, is featured in KJ 95 (Wellbeing).

another kyoto alex kerr kathy sokol

Dream Landscapes in 3D: An excerpt from Another Kyoto by Alex Kerr

Another Kyoto is a “spoken” book which resulted from conversations between Alex and Kathy Arlyn Sokol as they explored temples and gardens over the years.

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

KJ 95: Wellbeing