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Stories of Forgetting, Remembering and Ritual

How do you deal with trauma until this or that civil society organization and tribunal comes to you with promises to heal your wounds? Mãnoa’s Maps of Reconciliation is a compendium of writings and images that grapple with this very difficult question.


All the Times in the World

Time…is one of those currencies we exchange every time we cross a border. An hour in Japan (where everything is clockbound, and even televisions show the hour) is equivalent to a day in laid-back India…


Going Geisha

After returning from Japan, I was surprised to see that the States was in a lather over “geisha chic.” Chopsticks were stuck in heads fair and dark. Fashion magazines urged women to “Geisha-ize”…


Bright Road


In the beginning was the yearning — to seek what could be sought, find what could be found, learn what could be known — to go beyond mountains, know beyond deserts, discover beyond oceans…


Dear Leader


…They met one afternoon in February twenty-three days after she left North Korea. An ethnic Korean marriage broker named Bong-il drove her to her new home near Yanji… “If you run away, we will find you, understand? He is paying good money for you, and we are men of our word….


Synthetic Dreams: The Art of Mariko Mori

Mariko Mori’s themes are eclectic, embracing the fantasies of post-everything Japan and its extreme experimentation while recontextualizing traditional customs, mannerisms, and trends…


Furuhashi Teiji and Dumb Type

“It’s more difficult to do creative theater in Tokyo. There is less pressure in Kyoto so we can be more free, more adventurous. Kyoto people are more open to something experimental…”


The Joy of What’s Fleeting

The area in which I make my home, doing its best to approximate to the San Fernando Valley, has no temples or shrines or narrow winding streets of the kind, when young, I associated with the “real Japan.“


Katsura Kan: Butoh Dancer

At 36, Kyoto-born butoh dancer and choreographer Katsura Kan has survived as an independent dancer, working outside the established butoh companies…


Sano Toemon: Gardener

In the center of Maruyama Park there is a very large cherry tree… It was cultivated by the grandfather of Sano Tōemon, the sixteenth generation of a line of Sagano gardeners.


The Lists of a Lady-in-Waiting

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…


The Mystery of Mastery

It is not a coincidence that disciples of Zen who have achieved an intuition that is spiritual and transcendental and yet strikes decisively at the very heart of the physical world, are referred to as Masters…


Nishikawa Senrei: Nihon Buyo

“You have to tear down the old completely sometimes to build the new in the spirit of the old. When I revive a piece, everything changes. Even if the performers are all the same, we’ve grown, so through repetition the piece will change.”


They Who Render Anew: Japanese-English literary translators reflect upon their calling

Literary translations, and translators, remain central to the spread of Japanese culture and thought — especially in the West, where Japan is seldom covered in the mass media.


Along the Silk Road Today

We sat in the little space, ringed by snowcaps, under a pulsing moon, 10,000 feet above the sea, and many hours from what the Eagles might consider civilization, and we tried to jolly into being all their songs of hard women in Los Angeles, the dangers of cocaine.


My Part in the Downfall of Ferdinand Marcos

Tabasco sauce? Great topping for ice cream. Jalapeños? Mild, mouth-refreshing chewing gum… I’d graduated, man. Nothing could touch me now…


Long Knowledge

Heading down the winding road this morning under lowering mountain clouds as the sun was just dawning above the lake, its long rays edging sideways into the dark wedge of space beneath the thick clouds, I was perfectly placed to receive the gift of fresh light livening all the dew the night had draped on the mountainside…


Red Pine: Dancing With Words

When I first saw Red Pine’s translation of “The Poems of Cold Mountain,” I remember thinking, “This is something important — who’s this Red Pine?”

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

KJ 92: Devotion