Kyoto Journal, a non-profit quarterly established in 1987, reaches far beyond Japan's ancient capital to be your gateway to understanding and appreciating the lifestyles, cultures and societies of Asia.
Our 92nd issue is out now! SPECIAL SECTION: DEVOTION
KJ92 was inspired by the symbols and practices of devotion that are so ubiquitous in our own city. But devotion, wherever practiced, in whatever tradition, transcends the self, and is a commitment to something less momentary, more closely aligned with the eternal...
When KJ looks for insights concerning Asian cultures, we try to be specific. Rather than presenting generalizations on “the Japanese,” for example, we try to present individuals who express fresh ideas in their own words. Thus, interviews have always been an absolutely essential element of KJ’s “perspectives from Asia.” In addition, we have published numerous profiles of interesting people, both well- and lesser-known, from contemporary life, and history.
Connections with spiritual values are an everyday part of existence in Kyoto. Aspects of Shinto, Buddhism, and especially Zen are so strongly manifested in our surroundings that they blend into our approach to KJ, whether by intention or simply subconsciously. Looking beyond Kyoto, we see awareness of spirit as a key element in most Asian societies.
To ‘sustain’ essentially means to provide sustenance—which is almost by definition what our basic life support system, the natural world, does… or used to do. We are sustained by things we can’t necessarily name or accurately describe, all bound together by myriad tangled invisible interconnections of cause and effect...
cover: macoto murayama right image: erik linton
INSIDE THE ISSUE
"Sustainability isn’t about permanence, but about the endless flows within which living beings exist. These are not unchanging flows. Aging naturally is, I feel, the essence of sustainability. If human beings were never to get old, that would not be really living." — superstar architect Kengo Kuma talks to Thomas Daniell
pictured: the portland japanese garden extension by KKAA; photo by jeremy bitterman
"People really appreciated millet and served it to the gods as an expression of gratitude. But now that millet is gone from our culture, even the culture of prayer, that heart of giving and serving the gods, is gone as well." —Naoko Nakasone, proprietor of the Okinawan restaurant, Ukishima Garden, speaks to Ananya Mayukha
"It turns out that there is a slice of Japanese society who are deeply interested in nature and kominka [farmhouses] after all. It’s just that they hadn’t seen kominka that were sensitively restored with modern comforts. They lived in fear of mold, and cold, and darkness, and horrible toilets. Once they experience these houses, they can’t get enough." —Alex Kerr on what can be done to save the Japanese countryside
pictured: tenippou, a house renovated by the chiiori trust in tougenkyo village, iya valley
"The only art book artist Daniel Kelly could afford at City Lights Books was a paperback by Kyoto woodblock artist Tomikichiro Tokuriki...And as luck would have it, that slim paperback art book had the artist’s address and phone number printed in the back. This was the start of Kelly’s artistic future." — Leanne Ogasawara on the long-time Kyoto resident and artist Daniel Kelly