Current Issue KJ 90

Old roads, revisited

INSIGHTS FROM ASIA

Kyoto Journal is an award-winning
quarterly magazine founded in Kyoto,
presenting cultural insights from
all of Asia since 1987.

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Christ reflection Japanese magic mirror maker

The Magic Mirror Maker

When light is directed onto the face of sacred magic mirror, or makkyo, and reflected to a flat surface, an image magically appears. Kyoto Journal sits down with the man rumored to be the last remaining makkyo maker in the world — Yamamoto Akihisa.

*naturefeature

Nature and Culture in Japan

VALUES
BY ALLAN G. GRAPARD

Japanese cultural tradition hides a vast storehouse of notions and practices that may be helpful in establishing a culturally-grounded eco-philosophy…

*morifeature

The Art of Mariko Mori

ART
BY ROBERT JARRELL

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

mejiro2FEATURE

The Pillow Book

Most people in Japan can reach back to their school days to unhesitatingly recite the famous opening lines of the thousand-year-old classic known in English as The Pillow Book. The sounds roll off the tongue like poetry…

MASAKO

A Princess Ever, an Empress Never?

BY JUSTINE BORNSTEIN

These days, a woman probably has more prospects of flying to the moon than becoming a titled member of one of the few remaining royal families, whose duties are much less glamorous…

*MAfeature

MA: Place, Space, Void

Place is the product of lived space and lived time, a reflection of our states of mind and heart…

tsuboniwa.featured

Japanese Courtyard Gardens

BY MARC P. KEANE

The tsubo garden is contained inside a building, like a jewel in a box…

*yakuza.feature

Insider Outsider: The Way of the Yakuza

During my first interviews, O-oyabun was particularly eager to talk about ideology: The ‘Way of the Yakuza,’ ‘violating the law’ or ‘doing wrong things.’

barber.feature

The Barber

VIETNAM
BY DUSTIN LEAVITT

My goatee and shaved head perplex many Vietnamese because in their country beards are for venerable old men like Uncle Ho and bald heads for monks, and I am neither.

Latest blog entries

Practice with his son

Invitation to Noh

Ataka reveals an aspect of unique Japanese spirituality. Further, while it is a challenging performance for actors that requires subtle skills instructed orally by a master, the story structure involves a powerful psychodrama, and I think the roles and the presentation evoke the audience’s emotions directly by the senses without depending completely on the words. For instance, there is a scene in which I (as the shite, Benkei) beat Yoshitsune (played by a child, my son).

Exploring Shiga

KJ’s Anna Malpas and Minechika Endo spent the day exploring glorious Shiga, just a short train ride away from Kyoto! We were treated to some of the incredible tastes of Shiga, from the delicious Matsu no Hana sake, to a local delicacy called funazushi – a fish that has been packed in rice and fermented for up to four years. We also enjoyed amazing views from the Biwako Terrace after an incredibly speedy trip on the Biwako Valley Ropeway.

Torii gate in the waters of Lake Biwa.