Browsing Category

ARTS&CULTURE

ARTS&CULTURE December 12, 2018

Differences to Know Between Japanese Weddings and American Weddings

Photo by Jon Connell via Flickr While Christian-style “white weddings” that are found in western cultures may be becoming more adopted by Japanese couples looking to tie the knot, there still remain many differences between American weddings and their Japanese counterparts. The differences are even more apparent when you look at more traditional Japanese Shinto […]

ARTS&CULTURE November 22, 2018

Japan’s Demographic Time Bomb

Photo by Freedom II Andres via Flickr Underlying Japan’s placid, efficient and affluent surface are some hard realities that do not bode well for the nation in the long run. The economic crisis of the 1990s, combined with the relentless rise of China, has shaken Japan’s dominant economic position in Asia. The economy remains strong, […]

ARTS&CULTURE October 19, 2018

The Great Japanese Empire, 1868-1947

The period after the Meiji Restoration of 1868 is known as the beginning of modernization in Japan; but what occurred during that period went well beyond men adopting Western-style suits and the introduction of streetcars and factories. That’s because many of those factories also quickly went to work building weapons of war, and in the […]

ARTS&CULTURE September 20, 2018

Sento Baths: The Everyday Onsen

By sanmai – Flickr: Modern sento at Takayama, CC BY 2.0, Link The love of a hot bath has been a part of Japanese culture for centuries, in part because of the volcanic nature of the archipelago, which often means hot springs, also in part because of the Japanese love of communal activities, and ultimately […]

ARTS&CULTURE August 22, 2018

The Individual and the Group In Japan

There is an old saying in Japanese which translates as “The nail that protrudes will be hammered down,” and it says much about the place of the individual in Japan’s group-oriented society. All cultures must balance the often-conflicting needs of the individual to be happy, and of the society to function. But in Japan, historically […]

ARTS&CULTURE August 9, 2018

Traditional Japanese Wedding Dresses (Shinto style)

Photo by Marco Mastrojanni via Flickr You will find four major styles of wedding celebrated in Japan including Shinto, Christian, Buddist, and non-religious. In the past, it was the Shinto style wedding that dominated Japan. This style of wedding became popular in the early 20th century before it was replaced by the more westernized Christian […]

ARTS&CULTURE July 20, 2018

How Baseball Came to Japan (and Became Japanese)

Photo by takako tominaga via Flickr Though one might naturally assume that baseball came to Japan during the U.S. occupation after World War II, this quintessential American sport was actually one of Japan’s earliest Western imports, during the Meiji Restoration, having arrived in the archipelago in 1872. Brought by an American, the sport was quickly […]

ARTS&CULTURE June 20, 2018

The Ubiquitous Power of Shikata

Photo by Dick Thomas Johnson via Flickr The Japanese word shikata is often translated to mean “shape” or “form,” or in other translations, “way of doing things.” Familiar book titles such as The Way of Zen or The Way of the Samurai, touch on this. But in Japan, numerous kata – the word used for […]

ARTS&CULTURE May 19, 2018

Bowing In Japan – A Basic Formality

Bowing is a fundamental human motion, a way of paying respect that has had expressions in nearly every culture in the world. While it has largely disappeared in Europe and was never common in the Americas – but where entertainers still bow to their audience – it remains widely used in Asia. Nowhere, however, is […]

ARTS&CULTURE May 10, 2018

Understanding Shinto – Japan’s Ancient Religion

Photo by Jeffrey and Shaowen Bardzell via Flickr The traditional religion of Japan, nearly 80% of the country’s population take part in Shinto practices or rituals. Shinto is Japan’s major religion alongside Buddhism and the country is home to over 80,000 Shinto shrines. So what exactly is Shinto and what are its beliefs and rituals. […]