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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header img Nonomiya first act Kyoto 2017 Photo Fabio Massimo Fioravanti

Behind the Mask

In 1960, noh actor and mask carver Udaka Michishige was the last to be taken as an uchi-deshi, or live-in apprentice, into the home of Kongō Iwao II, the head of the Kongō School.

Hachise Tokaido Hiroshige woodblock print Kisokaido Otsu Hyakucho renovated machiya

An Old Posttown Makes a Comeback

The City of Otsu and Hachise, a realtor specialising inmachiya renovations, are exploring ways to restore Otsu’s glory as a station on the old Tokaido overland route

The Northern Shoveler-hat2

A Definitive Ranking of the Ducks of Kamogawa

We’ve taken the liberty of identifying the most common species of duck inhabitants on the Kamo River, and ranking them from ugliest little duckling, to virtual bird of paradise. 

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Kato Shuichi on Everything – one of Japan’s Last Renaissance Men

Cultural critic, literary historian, novelist, poet and dramatist, Katō is one of Japan’s major post-war figures.

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Behind the Scenes of Miyazaki’s Magic

Alpert was employed at Ghibli’s parent company Tokuma Shoten and was tasked with making its films as successful abroad as they are in Japan.

Tale of Genji

The Passing of Beauty and Glory

What does the Tale of Genji suggest about sensitivity to the fleeting nature of human existence?

Alex Kerr

Demons, Misinformation and Kimochi

“This is a book that gives voice to the Japanese who feel exactly as I do, and who exist by the millions. Japanese bookshelves are filled with angry books all of on these subjects.”

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The Shigeno Family of Dyers: Learning from the Past

The Shigenos’ expertise is Kyo-kanoko shibori (Kyoto’s fawn tie-dye) —a technique named for its characteristic dyed patterns which resemble the white spots on a young deer.

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Japan’s Peacemaker: Shidehara Kijuro and the Origins of Article 9

In his book “Japan In The World: Shidehara Kijûrô: Pacifism and the Abolition of War,” peace historian Klaus Schlichtmann illuminates the true story behind Article 9, spotlighting the decisive role played by Shidehara Kijuro, Japan’s pacifist foreign minister.

Year of Meats

My Year of Meats: An excerpt

It was Kato, my old boss at the TV production company in Tokyo where I had gotten my first job, strangulating English sound bites into pithy Japanese subtitles. Now, he said, he had a new program and could use my help.

DT Suzuki Museum

The view to Mt. Sumeru: Donald Richie on D.T. Suzuki

‘I think that Dr. Suzuki is for Zen what St. Paul is for Christianity. He was “a publicist.”’

Harold Wright meets Showa Emperor

Meeting the Emperor Meiji

I wasn’t totally sure I understood. It seemed like a strange thing to say — “Do you want to meet the Emperor Meiji?” I did know the Emperor had been dead since 1912…But this was Japan, where things are not always clear…

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Last Man Standing

These young fellows nowadays, I tell you—not an iota of respect for their betters! These whippersnappers are so horrid, so horribly rude: they’ll look past you on the road, they won’t take any notice of you at all…

geek in japan

KJ Spring 2020 Reads: Titles from Tuttle

Our reviews of the latest Japan travel and culture-oriented titles from the Asia specialist, Tuttle Publishing.

10. 京セラスクエア 夜景

The Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art

After three years of much-needed renovation, the large Neoclassical building (with a “Japonesque” roof) located across the street from the Museum of Modern Art Kyoto, next to the Heian Shrine Otori,  is re-opening as the Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art on May 7th, 2020.

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Carving new paths for Tokyo artisan culture

Many artisans of traditional Japanese crafts are facing a growing problem: difficulty attracting apprentices to carry on the work in addition to decreasing sales as younger populations eschew traditional items for cheaper, trendier alternatives.

Parent: Ohno Kazuo / butoh dancer; Child: Ohno Yoshito / butoh dancer

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.

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