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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Landscape of Memory
If one thinks of Japanese civilization as a great tree, the most brilliant blooms and succulent fruits adorned branches represented by the cities Nara and Kyoto. To fully appreciate those flowers and fruits one must follow the course of investigation right to the roots. These are firmly set in the soil of the inaka, approximately in English, ‘countryside.’
I have come to believe that she is channeling Toscanini with her hands. Equally, I’m firm in the conviction that she is channeling a fabled Persian songstress with her soul.
Tea and Women’s Empowerment in Modern Japan
“Coffee–table” books about tea tend to offer pristine views of paradise and bowls of world peace. Page after page of steamy shadows and shadowy steam, dewy landscapes fashioned by gods with impeccable taste…Enough!
An impenetrable curse lay heavy on my heart. Call it an uneasiness, call it ill humors—like a hangover after drinking, you drink every day and there comes a time when it all might as well be a hangover. Well, that time had come.
A Child of All Time: Butoh Dancer Ohno Kazuo at 98
“The physical form I assume now is but the fruit of what I’ve inherited from those who have existed before me. What, you might ask, has become of our ancestors’ ideas and emotions? Where do you suppose our creativity springs from? There’s no way that it springs forth from our finite and limited knowledge of life.”
I slide my feet along the floor, the gray, smooth, one-hundred-and-fifty-year-old floor of plaster of lime and clay and gravel. I think of all of the feet, the generations of feet, that have shuffled across it, lived on it, of the people who’ve sipped tea standing in the same spot.
Cloudburst by Fujisawa Shuhei
In the daytime, Kakichi worked as a knife sharpener. He made his Edo rounds carrying a box of grindstones and files — the tools of his trade — and he sharpened kitchen knives, sickles, and scissors. Occasionally he was asked to set the teeth of a saw, and he carried the files for that purpose. And when a promising house caught his eye in the course of his rounds, he’d pay that house another visit in the dead of night.