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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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Parent: Kawaguchi Mao / video artist
Child: Kawaguchi Kanoko / college student

Oyako: An Interview with Bruce Osborn

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’s Gion Festival: Warding Off Epidemics for 1,150 Years

Thanks to their treasures, the Gion Festival floats have been famously referred to as “Moving Museums.” Like any museum, to stay vibrant the Gion Festival requires a quest, an investigation. Otherwise they risk becoming morgues of artifacts, meaningless to most people.

Afuru Nagatome Mugen Ryokan Kyoto Irwin Wong photography

Afuru Nagatome: Ryokan owner

Afuru didn’t set out to simply create a comfortable, authentic space, she wants to bring the people staying in her guesthouse together, as well as introduce them to the locals of the area, who often pop in to chat or drop off some produce.

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Walking the Kumano Kodo

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…

Taiwan urban flower

Land and Money

“When my mother burns incense to honor the ancestors, it’s for those of my father’s family, the Wang, not her own, the Liu,” Shuyuan said as we mounted the steps of the factory. “She feels that neither she nor any of us children ever got anything from the Liu, its village or its land. Everything we have came from my father and this factory.”

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Food from beyond the bridge of dreams

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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Talking Architects

This collection of interviews, artwork, and newly-translated essays by and about 12 diverse postwar Japanese architects provides a fascinating “oral history” of Japanese society during the 1960s and 1970s, a period when the nation’s attention shifted from rebuilding from the ashes of war to finding its place in the international community.

Chieh-Ting Yeh portrait

“I thought we were China”: Ketagalan Media’s Chieh-Ting Yeh

It’s easy to assume that Chieh-Ting would be cynical about Taiwan’s future. But despite the many challenges he’s faced during the years he’s worked to support it, Chieh-Ting is cautiously hopeful, a fact that only further accentuates his affection for the small island he still calls home. 

cutting back leslie buck

Pruning the Branch: Pruning the Mind

Reading Cutting Back taught my untrained eye to more fully appreciate the complexities of Japanese formal gardens and the folks who are entrusted to maintain them.

Wu Weicheng

Wu Wei-Cheng and the laissez-faire world of Taiwanese Tea

Wu insists that for a ceramic artist engaged primarily in making tea pots, the time spent imbibing tea far exceeds that of fashioning clay.

The beautiful sunrise landscape of Lanyang Plain at Yilan, Taiwan

Taiwan, the hot spring paradise you never knew existed

Densely packed into an area barely the size of Switzerland are an astonishing one hundred hot springs that invite you to indulge in their restorative, mineral-rich waters.

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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.

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…”

Book of Tea original

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…

ghosts of the tsunami richard lloyd parry

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.’

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

KJ 95: Wellbeing