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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    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.

  • "Moe" (萌え) and Amime & Manga

    "Moe" (萌え, mo’e), came out in 90th, is not a trendy concept something popping out of the blue, but an aesthetic sense that has intricately tied to the Japanese traditional aesthetic ideas.

  • 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.

  • Art techniques in Amime & Manga

    Managa is an art form in which expressive elements: drawing, typography, graphic design, and panel layout are highly integrated. The expressive techniques hold true for Anime, and make it a sophisticated art form.

  • The traditional line drawing technique

    Among Japanese traditional art techniques, line drawing has fundamental impact on today's Manga and Anime. "Drawn only with outlines, Manga who inherits the characteristic of Japanese-style painting made up of lines seem three-dimensional.

  • Basara (婆娑羅) and Amime & Manga

    Kabukimono (かぶきもの) personified basara (婆娑羅, basara, posing for dramatic effect dressed in imported gaudery form china.) and furyu (風流, fūrū, ostentatious flamboyant design).

  • 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

    Leaving Home : 街を離れる

    "The town has deep hold on me; almost all my memories are tied up with the place. Yet the spring I left town to enter university, I let out a sigh of relief from the bottom of my heart,"Haruki said in his novel.

  • 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

    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

    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.

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.