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ARTS&CULTURE

ARTS&CULTURE February 21, 2018

A Short History of Karaoke in Japan

Of all the forms of contemporary Japanese entertainment that have reached international audiences, perhaps the most unique, and surely the most ubiquitous, is karaoke. The word is a portmanteau of shortened versions of the words for empty (kara) and orchestra (oke), creating karaoke, or “empty orchestra.” This poetic phrase well describes what are simply music […]

ARTS&CULTURE January 11, 2018

14 Japanese Authors You Should Know (And The Books You Need To Read)

Often dark but full of humor and valuable life lessons, Japanese literature has a long history of producing entertaining as well as intellectually stimulating authors. Here are 14 Japanese authors and some of their most notable works that are definitely worth a read. 14 Japanese Authors You Should Know (And The Books You Need To […]

ARTS&CULTURE December 14, 2017

A Brief History of the Tokugawa Shogunate

Public Domain, Link For the country’s entire history, even its prehistory, the official supreme ruler of Japan has been the hereditary head of the Imperial Family, usually the Emperor (or rarely, Empress). But the men wielding actual political and military power in Japan were not royals. The most famous leaders of Japan were the shogun […]

ARTS&CULTURE September 20, 2017

The Timeless Art of Japanese Woodblock Prints

Even those unfamiliar with various styles of woodblock printing from around the world, let alone Japan, are likely to be familiar with what is perhaps the most famous woodblock print in the world: Kanagawa-oki nami ura (The Great Wave Off Kanagawa), by ukiyo-e artist Hokusai. Created sometime between 1829-33, the print depicts what is thought […]

ARTS&CULTURE August 17, 2017

How Art Transformed This Island Into A Unique Must-Visit

Photo by cotaro70s There are a number of open-air art museums in the world, places where large works stand amid the elements, often situated harmoniously in the environment so that each is elevated by the other. And then there is Japan’s Naoshima Island. One of the roughly 3,000 islands located in the Seto Inland Sea […]

ARTS&CULTURE June 29, 2017

Six Japanese Martial Arts You Should Know

Although the popular imagination tends to focus on judo, karate and perhaps sumo as Japan’s key martial arts, the country is home to a staggering variety of these ritualized combat skills. Developed for the battlefield over the centuries by samurai and ninja, these days, Japanese martial arts – known by the umbrella term bujutsu, or […]

ARTS&CULTURE June 28, 2017

9 Museums You Must Visit Outside Tokyo

Japan is home to a large array of museums catering to nearly every possible taste, from enormous Tokyo collections of art and ancient artifacts to specialty museums all over the country honoring everything from bonsai to beer, natural disasters to instant ramen, kites to socks…there’s even a museum dedicated to artwork created out of sand. […]

ARTS&CULTURE June 27, 2017

9 Museums You Must See in Tokyo

Tokyo is the largest metropolitan area in the world, but it is more than that: It is a city so important to culture, commerce and history, that its name comes up as one of the crucial four international cities: London, Paris, New York, Tokyo. So it should come as no surprise that Tokyo boasts some […]

ARTS&CULTURE June 16, 2017

Commodore Perry and the Opening of Japan

pe of modern Japan more than the “opening” of the country by American naval commander Matthew Perry in 1853-4. Of those three epochal events, Perry’s mission was the first, and led in large part to the subsequent two. Commodore Perry’s mission, though military in nature, was driven by Western commercial expansion in the Far East, […]