Feature Story : Books & Ideas

  • Japan's Unique Food Culture

    Japan has a unique food culture: various good fresh ingredients of sea and mountains, seasonings that adds to the dishes’ tastiness, Japanese sense of taste represented by umami and intense curiosity about savoring variety of foods.

  • National Passion for Foods

    The Japanese perhaps are the world's best connoisseur of food exhibiting great curiosity about gastronomy.

  • Diversity of Japanese Restaurants

    Tokyo is a rare city you can try various kinds of cuisine from all over the world. The diversity is not only found in their origins but also can be seen in menu or in atmosphere - store size and facilities.

  • Adaptation of Foreign Foods

    Japanese have never been conservative about trying unforeknown foods or ingredients but incorporated imported food from across the world, and have historically adapted many to make them their own.

  • The "official" introduction of Buddhism to Japan

    Even after Empress Suiko openly encouraged the acceptance of Buddhism, the ancient belief had not be taken over by Buddhism but has survived for centuries to this day.

  • The abolition of Buddhism during the Meiji Restoration

    The official policy of separation of Shintō and Buddhism caused great damage to Buddhism in Japan.

  • Japanese beliefs

    Kami, Japan’s indigenous religion and foreign Buddhism never quite fused, but a combination of Buddhist and Taoist elements, and the incorporation of shamanistic features of the indigenous religion remained however inextricably linked all the way to the present day.

  • Shintō soon became a reason for Japanese nationalism

    Meiji rulers made Shintō the official religion, creating a form of Shintō known as State Shintō by merging Shrine, Folk, and Imperial Household Shinto.

    Anime & Manga

    Anime and Manga shape an art form ideally explores contemporary sensibilities. It is the most advanced mode of expression with sophisticated and imaginative ways.

  • Violence in Amime & Manga

    Violence is another prominent feature of Japanese Manga and Anime. Besides the works whose main theme is violence itself, those for younger target depict violence with no restraint as well.

  • The sexual expression in Amime & Manga

    “In certain contexts, Japanese culture can combine the auras of sexual energy and violence without creating an atmosphere of seedy perversity or provocation.” Roland Kelts

  • Japan's time-honored aesthetic values in Amime & Manga

    Japanese aesthetics, in its nature covers a broad spectrum in comparison with the explicit formulation of 'aesthetics' in the Western sense, and is seen as an integral part of daily life.

  • The ukiyo-e (浮世絵 perspective

    With the rise of popular culture in the Edo period, a style of woodblock prints called ukiyo-e characterized by the aesthetic two-dimensional forms, the absence of western notion of perspective became a major art form.

  • The "Ghost" in the Shell

    In the Ghost in the Shell universe, "ghost" means soul, essence, being, mind that separates humans from robots and Ais. If a cyber-brain can generate its own ghost, then there is no particular importance to be placed on “the human.”

  • Haruki Murakami

    The Lost Sea : 失われた海

    In his novels and essays, Murakami expressed his deep emotional attachment to the sea that was close to him throughout his adolescence years.

  • Haruki Murakami

    Family Ties : 親子関係

    Young Haruki would often hear his parents discussing eighth-century poetry or medieval war takes at the dinner table. Haruki said, “Throughout my teens I became hate ‘Japanese literature’ and ‘teachers’.”

  • Haruki Murakami

    Junior High School Years : 中学時代

    Of his middle-school years, Murakami has written that all he remembers is being beaten by his teachers. He didn't like them and they didn't like him because he wouldn't study.

  • Haruki Murakami

    The River :

    "The road by the river had been one of my favorites. I could walk at the same speed as the river. I could feel it breathing. It was alive. The town belonged to the river from the very beginning, and it would always be the way."

  • Haruki Murakami

    The Town :

    Let's start with the town, where Haruki grew up and his stories came from. The sea out in front, hills behind, and right next door, major port.

  • Haruki Murakami

    Books and Music : 本と音楽

    Haruki was permitted to buy books on credit at the local bookstore, as long as he avoided comic books or trashy weekly magazines, and he became a voracious reader.

cool japan
発掘!かっこいいニッポン

  • What is Cool Japan?
    The keywords, "Cool Japan," are flying all around the world.
    From fashion, anime, games, and food, various cultures that the Japanese take for granted are being accepted as cool and trendy by foreigners.
    "COOL JAPAN Discovering what makes Japan cool," uses the sense of foreigners to the fullest, to dig up and examine the appeal and secrets of these cool cultural aspects.

JAPAN'S GROSS NATIONAL COOL

  • In a 2002 article in Foreign Policy entitled "Japan's Gross National Cool," Douglas McGray wrote of Japan "reinventing superpower" as its cultural influence expanded internationally despite the economic and political problems of the "lost decade."
    Surveying youth culture and the role of manga, anime, fashion, film, consumer electronics, architecture, cuisine, J-pop, and phenomena of cuteness such as Hello Kitty, McGray highlighted Japan's considerable soft power, posing the question of what message the country might project.
    He also argued that Japan's recession may even have boosted its national cool, due to the partial discrediting of erstwhile rigid social hierarchies and big-business career paths.