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ARTS&CULTURE

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. […]

ARTS&CULTURE April 19, 2018

LGBT Weddings in Japan

Photo by specchio.nero via Flickr As in virtually every culture in the world, weddings are fundamental in Japan. They are also big business, as the bridal industry in Japan is estimated to generate roughly $25 billion a year. This enormous industry is dedicated to making sure that every detail of the perfect wedding is done […]

ARTS&CULTURE March 16, 2018

Japanese Cultural Values and How to Fit in as a Foreign Traveller

It is always important to adhere to the customs and values of the country you are visiting, and this is especially true when visiting Japan. Unlike many other western cultures which are a melting pot of ethnicities, Japan’s population consists of mostly ethnic Japanese. In homologous societies such as this, it becomes more expected that […]

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 […]