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.
- FICTION, POETRY & REVIEWS
- HIDDEN JAPAN
- IN TRANSLATION
- INSIGHTS FROM ASIA
- OUR KYOTO
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,…
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: 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.”
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?”
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).
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.
“We all have a brush”
“In Aikidō, the other guy may be big and strong, and you may be thrown down. But you have a chance to throw down the opponent, too. We had the nuclear arms race, that was probably the worst scenario of global collective suicide that we had faced as humanity, and we reversed it.”
Capturing Wellbeing: Behind the Scenes of the KJ95 Cover Shoot
Sisters Reylia and Johnna Slaby, interviewed for KJ95: Wellbeing, were tasked with creating a stunning cover in a collaborative work of photography and painting.
For the love of neko
The Neko Project is a book that pays homage to Japan’s unyielding love of cats through its thoughtful and expansive photography. It is the result of an open call to their network of Japanese photographers on the theme of cats and features all the projects that were submitted, alongside historical anecdotes and insightful commentary in both French and English.
Surrounded by Trees
When I was six, I developed a grass-like skin disease around my neck after my family and I visited a hilly area in Tagaytay. My grandfather, Tatay Marcial, who believed it was a punishment from a naughty dwende (elf), warned me against expressing my admiration for plants, especially those that grow in the wild.
Exiled – A Tibetan’s Tale
“I was concerned about the many differences between India and China — the ways of thinking, for one — and India was not really up to confronting China. If I stayed in India, maybe I wouldn’t be able to do the kind of things I really wanted to do to help Tibet.” He eventually set his sights on Japan, with its own brand of Buddhism and spirituality, as his next home in exile.
Luck or Curse? The Stories of Two Hibakusha
“I worry somewhat that people in this country still think that by dropping those bombs we hastened the termination of the war and also saved a million lives of soldiers. I’m a little worried about that perception.”
Re-opening Our Eyes
Naoyuki Ogino describes his work as “…documentary in the broadest sense. I am trying to omit fiction as much as I can in order to capture the very moment of non-fiction. I want to document …people, within their histories, societies, cultures, neighborhoods, atmospheres, environments or weather.”