Walking down the approach to Shonai Shrine is a test in concentration. To the sides, flowers tempt with their intoxicating scents and vivid colors, and – if you do a full 180…

On this day 76 years ago Sadako Sasaki was blown out of her house window by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Though feared dead, she remarkably survived without any visual injuries.…

Puerto Rican rapper, singer and songwriter Bad Bunny’s mega-hit “Yonaguni” has a few surprising Japan-related Easter eggs. His playful lyrics reference the anime Naruto, he (politely) raps in Japanese, and, during the…

Located in a lush valley in Oita Prefecture’s western Sarayama district, Ontayaki Pottery Village moves to a steady rhythm of its own. There’s no mistaking its distinctive sounds — rushing water, a…

No one ever said life was meant to be easy, but some people lead lives straight out of a bad Hallmark movie (or a particularly good episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race.) Whether…

Let your mind conjure the image of the stoic sullen craftsman. Furrowed brow, few words, sunk in his world. Kimiaki Kono, a Tokyo shamisen craftsman, takes that image, considers it for a…

One of Japan’s most renowned living artists, Hiroshi Senju is based in New York but often spends time in Japan. He’s known globally for his famous waterfall paintings using the traditional Nihonga painting…

Sonic the Hedgehog turns 30 today and to celebrate we thought we’d look at some Japanese video game characters who have become global icons. As well as the speedy blue hedgehog, we’ve…

Even if you don’t know what the word “kawaii” means, you’re surely aware of kawaii culture. It pervades almost every aspect of life in Japan. When a girl is girly, she’s deemed kawaii. When a…

We are all different, we are all equal. It’s more important than ever to remember this as we mobilize the fight against racism, discrimination, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance. Having diverse perspectives and…

With past Japanese songs such as “Plastic Love” by Mariya Takeuchi and Miki Matsubara’s “Mayonaka no Door: Stay with Me” suddenly becoming international hits in the last few years, we thought we’d…

As has been pointed out here before: People are different and they learn languages differently. Some feel motivated by a colorful gamey approach. Others like to mingle with locals to see how…