Feature Story : Murakami Haruki

  • Cool Japan Illustrated

    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.

  • 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 abolition of Buddhism during the Meiji Restoration

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

  • The growth and decay of the Buddhist warrior monks

    Enryakuji, the temple complex of Tendai became a sprawling center of power, attended not only by ascetic monks, but also by brigades warrior monks who fought in the temple's interest.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    Japanese religious belief

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Animism and Amime & Manga

    "Animation" is a compound word of"Anima" ("Animal" comes from "Anima") and Animate. Few Japanese Manga and Anime don't contain any animistic connotation.

  • 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

    Hanshinkan Boy : 阪神間少年

    Hanshinkan, the area between Osaka and Kobe, was a comfy place to spend Haruki's boyhood to the adolescent period.

  • Haruki Murakami

    High School Years : 高校時代

    Haruki would play Mahjongg almost every day, fool around with girls, spend hours in jazz cafés and cinemas, smoke, skip school, read novels during class, and so forth, but his grades were never terrible.

  • 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

    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

    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.

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.