N°135 [CULTURE] Chef Noda Kotaro

Very sensitive to the issue of waste, Noda Kôtarô is also committed to creating a cuisine that takes this factor into account. / Benjamin Parks for Zoom Japan With the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, the restaurant industry, which for a long time was forced to a standstill, is up and running, and a [...]

No.106 [COMMERCE] The secret and art of renewal

Sakanaya Marukama fishmonger’s sells ultra-fresh produce and much more besides. / Sekiguchi Ryôko for Zoom Japan Thanks to the commitment of local people, a fishmonger has opened in a neighbourhood in decline. In Japan, as elsewhere, local businesses are rapidly being replaced by large supermarke[...]
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The art of watching sumo – The july 2023 Tournament

The July tournament in Nagoya from Sunday 09/07 to Sunday 23/07/23  Resurrection, promotion and new hope are perhaps the terms that best sum up the last two months in the world of sumo. Resurrection, that’s how you could describe the return of yokozuna Terunofuji to the dohyo. However, t[...]

No.105 [CULTURE] Cinema Paradiso in Motomiya

Despite the ravages of time and nature, the Motomiya Eiga Gekijo is still standing after 109 years. / Eric Rechsteiner for Zoom Japan Even though it shows signs of age, Motomiya Eiga Gekijo refuses to succumb. Hidden treasures and forgotten stories can be found in the most unexpected places. Take Mo[...]

N0.104 [TV] The camera explores times past

On the set of Dosuru leyasu? at the Kadokawa Daiei studio in Chofu. / Gianni Simone for Zoom Japan Every Sunday since January, NHK has been broadcasting a drama series about Tokugawa leyasu. May 2023 number 104 ZOOM JAPAN 5 CULTURE On a chilly February afternoon, I follow a horse inside a huge squar[...]
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The art of wetting sumo 12 – The may 2023 Tournament

The May tournament in Tokyo from Sunday 14/05 to Sunday 28/05/2023 The world of sumo is currently going through a period of doubt and disillusion, but also of hope. Though some wrestlers are having a difficult time, others seem to be on their way to the top. Among the most eagerly anticipated, Kirib[...]

No.103 [PHOTOS] Ghosts of March 2011

Dwellings abandoned after the disaster and still standing in 2021 have finally been demolished. / Eric Rechsteiner for Zoom Japan Our photographer has visited the region surrounding Fukushima Daiichi. He updates us on the changes made. Visitors travelling along National Route 6 today, which links To[...]
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The art of wetting sumo 11 – The January 2023 Tournament

The January championship in Tokyo from Sunday 08/01 to Sunday 22/01/2023 2022 was a special year as each tournament was won by a different wrestler. So what’s in store for us in 2023? Though it’s impossible to predict the results, this year has already started with an unusual situation in the ra[...]
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The art of watching sumo – The November 2022 Tournament

The tournament in Fukuoka from Sunday 13 to Sunday 27 November 2022 The final tournament of the year is fast approaching and it should be exciting to follow for several reasons. First and foremost, Tamawashi’s previous performance was incredible. Already victorious in 2019, this veteran who will [...]
Sumo NHK World Japan Yokozuna Dosukoi

The art of watching sumo – The September 2022 Tournament

The September Tournament in TokyoSunday 11 to Sunday 25 September 2022 Here we are in September already, and for sumo enthusiasts that means a date with the autumn tournament. For a better understanding of what’s in store for us, let’s look back briefly at the previous tournament. We’ll start [...]
Sumo NHK World Japan Yokozuna Dosukoi

The art of watching sumo – The July 2022 Tournament

The July tournament in Nagoya from Sunday 10 to Sunday 24 July 2022 The July tournament in Nagoya from Sunday 10 to Sunday 18 July 2022 The previous tournament was a bitter blow for some.  Indeed, several wrestlers who had obtained very good results in March fell by the wayside in May.&nbs[...]

NHK WORLD JAPAN’S focus in May is Okinawa

NHK WORLD-JAPAN program The Power of Champuru Explore the champuru, mixed cultural heritage of Okinawa, fifty years after its reversion to Japan!Find all programs on Okinawa on VOD! Program NHK DocumentaryCivilians in the Crossfire: The Battle of OkinawaMay 14 (Sat.) 16:10 Barakan Discovers: OKINAWA[...]
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The art of watching sumo – The May 2022 Tournament

The May tournament in TokyoSunday 8 to Sunday 22 May 2022 The March tournament was eventful and very exciting with suspense running high until the last moment. We look back at the highlights. There are some wrestlers who rise slowly but surely rising through the rankings. Wakatakakage is o[...]

A Cat’s-Eye View of Japan on NHK WORLD-JAPAN

NHK WORLD-JAPAN program A Cat’s-Eye View of Japan Globe-trotting wildlife photographer and filmmaker, Iwago Mitsuaki, offers the best of a vast collection of cat footage he took in Japan. On this unique trip around the country, discover the lesser-known charms and customs of regions through the ey[...]

The art of watching sumo – March 2022

The Spring Sumo Tournament: 13-27 March 2022 in Osaka The health crisis cast doubt on the staging of the March tournament. Several high-ranking wrestlers were even infected recently, but it appears that the championship will take place now. Mitakeumi has finally become an ozeki, just [...]

The art of watching sumo – January 2022

It’s been a busy few months in the world of sumo with some major changes at the top of the rankings! Here are some of the most significant. The greatest champion in the history of the sport has stepped down. The legendary yokozuna Hakuho announced his retirement, but not without first winning [...]

October’s focus is on Aomori on NHK WORLD-JAPAN

NHK WORLD-JAPAN program Meet the Beat of the Far North October 22 (Fri.) 18:45 UK Time no art, no life plus Tsushima Koya, Aomori Outsider artists like Tsushima Koya are gaining recognition around the world. Although he creates mainly for himself, others have taken notice. See how these artists live[...]

The art of watching sumo 2021

2021 is proving to be a year full of surprises and sumo has also had its fair share. The year began with a new champion, Daieishô, a contender few people thought would win. But his results have been less than brilliant since his triumph in January. The legendary yokozuna (Grand Champion) Hakuhô ma[...]


NHK WORLD-JAPAN program GRAND SUMO Highlights The best of today’s sumo! Enjoy daily highlights of this dynamic sport with background info and play-by-play commentary adding to the excitement!  On your screen – Daily during tournament From Sunday 12th to Sunday 26th September 2021 UK[...]

Fukushima Monologue on NHK WOLRD-JAPAN

NHK WORLD-JAPAN program Fukushima Monologue Following the March 2011 accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, everyone within a 20 km area was ordered to evacuate. Matsumura Naoto alone stayed put. For 10 years, he has taken care of animals abandoned by those who left. Only a[...]

The Future of Kyogen on NHK WORLD-JAPAN

NHK WORLD-JAPAN program Someone from this Area The Future of Kyogen, Three Generations and Beyond Nomura Yuki is the scion of a family dedicated to kyogen, a Japanese performance art with a 650-year history. Training rigorously to debut a challenging solo piece, he carries the weight of tradition on[...]


MISHIMA Yukio dreamed of being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. A great admirer of the author of Confessions of a Mask, the novelist is also a leading expert on his work. HIRANO keiichiro, one of the youngest recipients ever of the prestigious Akutagawa Prize, says that he wouldn’t be a nov[...]
NHK WORLD-JAPAN: The Tale of Granny Mochi: Kuwata Misao

The Tale of Granny Mochi 2021: Kuwata Misao, 93-year-old confectioner

NHK WORLD-JAPAN program The Tale of Granny Mochi: Kuwata Misao The Tsugaru peninsula lies on the northern part of Japan’s main island, and is home to some of the country’s most untamed landscapes. For more than 30 years, 93-year-old Kuwata Misao has made over 50,000 Sasa-mochi rice cakes[...]

No.83 [CINEMA] Nothing to get excited about

Made in 2014 by director HIROKI Ryuichi who began his career in pinku eiga (pink film), Kabukicho love hotel (Sayonara Kabukicho) takes place in a love hotel. Since the end of the Second World War, the approach to sex in films has changed radically. Sex and eroticism permeate every aspect of Japanes[...]

No.83 [STORY] STORYHASEGAWA Chisa, pink film princess

In 2019, HASEGAWA Chisa appeared in 6 pinku eiga. “Pink films” are one of the pillars of Japanese film production. One of its actresses tells her story. “Only in Japan” is a phrase that is often used to highlight Japan’s supposed unique and somewhat weird culture. But when it comes to cine[...]
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NHK WORLD-JAPAN: Art is trash without social impact

NHK WORLD-JAPAN program Art is trash without social impact “I don’t have talent like Picasso,” says Tomokazu Matsuyama. Yet, he’s acquired quite a following since moving to the U.S. in his 20s. His work is in numerous collections, including that of Bill Gates. 2020 was suppos[...]

NHK WORLD-JAPAN: Run for the planet

NHK WORLD-JAPAN program Great Race:You’ll never run alone In a year when countless sporting events were canceled, an unprecedented long-distance race was born: “UTMB for the planet.” Online participants ran a set distance at places around the world. Top pros from Ultra-Trail du Mon[...]

NHK WORLD-JAPAN: Sapiens and Pandemic

NHK WORLD-JAPAN program Sapiens and Pandemic : A Special Discussion with Yuval Noah Harari Join historian Yuval Noah Harari, author of the best-selling book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, as he engages with young people studying in Japan. How should we interpret the changes that COVID-19 has[...]

NHK WORLD-JAPAN to explore Mega-Tsunami

NHK WORLD-JAPAN program 3/11 – The Tsunami 10 years after: First-hand footage, insights, eyewitness reports NHK WORLD-JAPAN, the 24-hour international English-language TV channel from Japan’s public broadcaster NHK, will show an exclusive 2-part series on the devastating tsunami which sh[...]
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[DISCOVERY] In the footsteps of Nagai Kafu

“An invitation to plunge into a journey through time”. Mibu Atushi knows how to attract readers wanting to now more about Nagai Kafu. /Eric Rechsteiner for Zoom Japan Mibu Atsushi’s extensive knowledge allowed us to plunge into the world of this lover of Tokyo. Forget Murakami Haruki and other[...]
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Masterpieces of NHK Symphony Orchestra

NHK WORLD-JAPAN is the international service of Japan’s public media organization NHK. It provides the latest information on Japan and Asia through television, radio and online to a global audience. – Masterpieces of NHK Symphony Orchestra – A selection of top performances with wor[...]

Reclaiming Traditions of the Ainu People

NHK WORLD-JAPAN is the international service of Japan’s public media organization NHK. It provides the latest information on Japan and Asia through television, radio and online to a global audience. Broadcasters’ Eye Notebooks of Heritage: Reclaiming Traditions of the Ainu People (Docume[...]

NHK WORLD-JAPAN: Dreaming of Great Hauls: Passing the Baton

NHK WORLD-JAPAN is the international service of Japan’s public media organization NHK. It provides the latest information on Japan and Asia through television, radio and online to a global audience. Broadcasters’ Eye Dreaming of Great Hauls: Passing the Baton A dive into everyday life in[...]

No.78 [VISIT] Analysis of Made in Japan design

The current exhibition invites visitors to discover the creative process of the greatest Japanese designers.   A must-see exhibition in the magnificent 21_21 Design Sight museum created by ANDO Tadao. In the early 2000s Roppongi, in the heart of Tokyo, transformed its image into a trendy neighb[...]

No.77 [BOOK] Japanese garden as you never read

Tuttle Publishin In this outstanding work, the authors take readers on an incredible journey into the heart of Japanese beauty. Steve Jobs echoed the thoughts of many of us when he described Japanese gardens as “the most sublime thing I’ve ever seen”. If you’ve ever visited a Japanese garden[...]

No.76 [KNOW-HOW] The Japanese are up to the mark

There’s been a growing movement in South Korea over the past few months to boycott Japanese products./All Rights Reserved According to TASAkI Shin’ya, one of the best wine experts, Japanese wine production is remarkably characterful. When talking about Japanese wine, few people are as knowledgea[...]

No.76 [CULT] Wine at the heart of pop culture

La Sommelière is the work of duo Jo Araki and Hori Kenichi, and is illustrated by MATSUI Katsunori. The appearance of manga, novels and films about wine illustrates Japan’s current interest in the subject. Japan’s love affair with wine might be a recent phenomenon, but manga, novel and film wri[...]

No.75 [VISIT] When truth is stranger than fiction

Fifty-nine 18-metre-high pillars weighing 500 tons support this underground superstructure./Jérémie Souteyrat for Zoom Japan Built to prevent catastrophic flooding in the capital, the G-Cans Project can’t fail to impress. What’s the use of a football field in the middle of nowhere? And why i[...]


MUSIC UK-JAPAN Bridge Together This is a special collaborative event, featuring the UK-based Japanese singer SUZUKI Naomi performing with the UK jazz-funk group the James Taylor Quartet. Bridge Together Project is an event produced by SUZUKI Naomi to celebrate the Japan-UK Year of Culture, and it ai[...]

No.74 [BOOK] A travel guide like no other

If you are looking for a book to accompany you on your visit to Tokyo, we have found the one you need.   Now here’s something you don’t see too often. A travel guide that’s not only practical, but also fun to read. As the title suggests – A Manga Lover’s Tokyo Travel Guide –, this b[...]

No.73 [EVENT] London – the capital of manga

The organisers have found excellent ways to attract the attention of visitors. The British Museum is hosting the largest exhibition about manga ever organised. it’s not to be missed.   after France enjoying an outstanding season of Japanese cultural events, it’s Great Britain’s turn to be[...]

No.71 [ENCOUNTER] Sounds from the north

A major figure in the Japanese electro music scene, TAKAHASHI Kuniyuki discusses his musical background. DJ and sound engineer TAKAHASHI Kuniyuki works under many different aliases (Kuni, Koss, etc.), and for several years has been one of the most exciting music creators from Japan. His particular b[...]

No.70 [FOOD] Learning to eat well in Fukuroi

This city of 88,000 inhabitants has decided to gamble on the future and teach children the art of eating well. Meals are served in the classrooms by the pupils themselves.   When the lunch bell rings in konan elementary school in Fukuroi, in Shizuoka Prefecture, everyone knows what to do. As in[...]

No.69 [HISTORY] Out of the shadows into the light

In Sakitsu’s streets, here and there you can catch sight of Christian religious items.   The Amakusa islands were one of the principal centres of Christianity in Japan. Located in the south of Shimoshima, which alongside Kamishima is one of the two largest Amakusa islands, the little fishing [...]

No.69 [HERITAGE] For better or worse

Built with bricks imported from Great Britain, these buildings are 110 years old.   The region took an active part in the economic development of the country at the turn of the 20th century. For most tourists, Kumamoto Prefecture is known for its nature, its magnificent Kumamoto Castle and for [...]

No64 [PRODUCTION] Japanese sake, brewed in the UK

A venerable Osaka sake brewer decided to build a new brewery in the bucolic English countryside. Owner & founder, Yoshihide Hashimoto (right) and sake brewing manager, Tony Mitchell.   It was two years ago that London’s sake enthusiasts first began to hear rumours about the Dojima brewery[...]

No60 [THEATRE] From Last Samurai to King of Thailand

Watanabe Ken will perform The King and I from the end of June in London. He gave us his views on his work. Don’t miss the opportunity to see one of the best Japanese actor on stage.   This June, the musical The King and I, starring Kelli O’Hara and Watanabe Ken, will arrive in London follow[...]

[DESTINY] The Ainu are fighting back

Maya (left), accompanied by her father, is proud of her Ainu origins.   Forced for a longtime to keep quiet about their origins, these indigenous people are fighting for their existence. Not many people stop in Nibutani, a rural Hokkaido village two hours drive south-west of Sapporo. Truck driv[...]

[REVIEW] An inspiring collection of essays

Filipino author, video maker and scriptwriter Rey Ventura won the 2015 National Book Award for his third collection of essays, Cherry Blossoms in the Time of Earthquakes and Tsunami (Ateneo de Manila University Press), but by some strange twist of fate you’ll find very little information on this b[...]

[DESTINY] An incredible experience

  Rey Ventura, from the Philippines, agreed to revisit the places where he lived as an immigrant in Japan Ishikawacho Station on the JR Negishi Line is very well known to tourists, gourmets and weekend ramblers. Located less than four kilometres south of Yokohama Station, it’s a useful starti[...]

[CINEMA] Wes anderson’s vision of Japan

Mayor Kobayashi is the spitting image of Mifune Toshiro, Kurosawa’s favourite actor, in High and Low (Tengoku to Jigoku, 1963)   A winner at the Berlinale, Isle of Dogs illustrates the extent to which the American film-maker has penetrated the Japanese soul. At first glance Isle of Dogs, Wes [...]
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No57 [BOOKS] Tokyo – centre of world fashion

In her comprehensive book, Philomena Keet paints a picture of Japans’s capital as you’ve never seen it before Tokyo – together with Paris, New York and London – is one of the most exciting fashion centres in the world. However, in comparison to those cities, Tokyo has a wider diversity of st[...]

No56 [BOOKS] A vade mecum of japanese history

  Jonathan Clements book is a tour de force, which summarizes all the key elements you need to understand Japan. Ask any class of Japanese high school students which is the most difficult subject on their curriculum and many will answer Japanese History. This is largely due to the endless litan[...]

No55 [MEDIA] Humility has has its downside

Launched in 2015, and edited by MATSUOKA Ryota, this bi-monthly magazine has become very popular.   The number of TV shows and publications extolling the Japanese and their culture is increasing. What lies behind this trend? However surprising it may seem, the Japanese, who are known for being [...]

No54 [ENCOUNTER] The politically engaged Keiichiro

Hirano Keiichiro is not just an immensely talented novelist; he is also very interested in politics and writesmany essays on the subject. The novelist is an acute observer of society. He never hesitates to express his views when he thinks it’s necessary. author and Akutagawa Prize winner Hirano Ke[...]

No53 [Book] Tokyo, the capital of pop culture

Our colleague Gianni Simone has released an original and thorough guide, which will delight lovers of manga, anime and games. Throughout all the years he has worked with us, Gianni Simone, a contributor to Zoom since its inception, has demonstrated his deep knowledge of Japan and the Japanese people[...]

No52 [ANIME] What a masterpiece !

Katabuchi Sunao had a lot of difficulties to make his film, but he never gave up. Despite the success of Your Name, Katabuchi Sunao’s film was released to well deserved critical acclaim. After six difficult years in which it often seemed that it would never be completed, Katabuchi Sunao’s In Thi[...]

No52 [MUSIC] Watch out! Wolves are out!

Hungry like the wolf. We spoke to the leader of man with a mission in advance of their performance in London on June 22nd.   According to the story, five half-man, half-wolf creatures emerged from their deep-frozen state in 2010 due to global warming, and after some travelling around ended up i[...]

No51 [MUSIC] A fresh look at the J-music

Ian F. Martin runs Call and Response Records. In one of Tokyo’s trendy districts,we met up with someone who’s an expert on the Japanese rock scene. For English-speaking pop and rock music fans,it’s always been difficult to find reliable information on Japanese bands new and old. That’s espec[...]

No50 [EXHIBITION] Kusama Yayoi retrospective

The Tokyo National Art Centre is holding an exhibition dedicated to this exceptional artist until the 22nd of May. When asked to name internationally famous Japanese artists, most people will probably answer Ono Yoko (whose brilliant career is perennially obscured by her being Mrs John Lennon) or Ku[...]
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No49 [MISSION] A man who wants to remember

On the 6th of August 1945 at 8.15am, Hiroshima was the target for the first atomic bomb attack in history. Three days later, it was Nagasaki’s turn. Hayashida Mitsuhiro has decided to fight to keep alive the memory of the atomic bomb victims. For many years, the long-running campaign to ban nuclea[...]

No49 [Well-being] The zazen experience

At first glance, sitting with a good posture to meditate looks difficult, but it’s actually quite easy. Just be careful not to doze off. Nothing helps you recharge your batteries like a session of mindfulness meditation. Shinsho-ji is the ideal place to practise it. In recent years, more and more [...]
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No48 [Cinema] Japan as you have never seen it

Two worlds collide in Okita Shuichi’s The Mohican Comes Home (Mohikan kokyo ni kaeru, 2016). The Japan Foundation is offering an interesting perspective on Japanese society for its 2017 Touring Film Programme. In Japan, I often get the impression that cinema is on its death bed. It’s not any[...]
Sejima Kazuyo, Hokusai museum

No47 [Exclusive] First visit to the Hokusai museum

The design of the new Tokyo Museum was entrusted to Sejima Kazuyo. Open to the public since November the 22nd, the new Hokusai museum welcomed Zoom Japan for an exclusive visit. The Sumida Hokusai Museum opened its doors on November the 22nd, in a popular neighbourhood of Tokyo. Located close to the[...]

No46 [Encounter] The amazing Kakuta Mitsuyo

Kakuta has written a wide variety of novels and depicted the lives of many different types of women through her characters. Having received a number of literary awards during her career, Kakuta Mitsuyo is now considered as one of the leading authors representing Japan today. Her 2004 work “Woman o[...]
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No45 [Interview] For those with nowhere to go

The author Yu miri, as someone who had nowhere to go herself, has continued writing for people in the same situation. In 2018, two translations of author Yu Miri’s works will be released in the U.K. Living a mere 23km from the troubled nuclear plant in Fukushima prefecture, what does Miri see now,[...]

No43 [Tradition] Fertility pure and simple

Every spring Kawasaki welcomes thousands of visitors who come to celebrate sexuality. At the Kanayama shrine, a group of around twenty people are gathered in front of an altar upon which rice moulded into the shapes of two penises and vaginas have been placed. These intimate symbols of fertility are[...]

No43 [Music] Very Japanese…?!

These two unique Japanese artists made a great success of their recent performances at London comic con. MCM Comic Con was recently held in London from the 27th to the 29th of May. This event was a great success, seeing over 130,000 visitors, and was also the stage for impassioned performances from [...]

No42 [Trend] Secondhand goods are so good

Secondhand shops are part of life in Japanese cities, and people love to visit them. It’s 4pm in the bohemian district of Shimokitazawa. Here, to the northwest of Tokyo, the streets are full of secondhand shops. People come here to look for a bargain with a touch of style that won’t break the ba[...]

No41 [Interview] In the shadow of the superheroes

after playing the key character in Ultraman’s first series, kurobe Susumu still remains very popular 50 years later. Since the beginning of the Ultraman saga 50 years ago, many actors have played Ultraman’s human alter ego, but few people can compete in popularity with Kurobe Susumu, aka the[...]

No41 [Cinema] Iwai Shunji, multi-talented genius

On the release his new picture; The Murder Case of Hana & Alice, the filmmaker reveals what motivates his work. Ten years after Hana & Alice (the 2004 film that consolidated his fame as one of Japan’s top directors), Iwai Shunji has finally managed to fulfil his dream of making another w[...]

No41 [Memory] Q-chan, or the testimony of a fan

Since the character was first shown in 1966, the various Ultraman series have enjoyed a unprecedented level of popularity in Japan. The good folk who live in Soshigaya, a quiet district in the Tokyo suburbs, can sleep peacefully, as Ultraman watches over the neighbourhood. The superhero’s red and [...]

No41 [Encounter] A unique skill

President of Tsuburaya Productions, Ooka Shinichi looks back on his career and the incredible longevity of his superhero.   Though most movie fans are interested only in the people who appear in front of the camera, film making is very much a team effort and the invisible crew working in the ba[...]

No41 [Focus] Happy birthday Ultraman!

Ultraman, a hero created by Tsuburaya Productions, inspires nostalgic memories in Japan. At a time when Hollywood superheroes are increasingly invading our screens, to the extent that some of them even appear to be fighting among themselves now, Japan is about to celebrate the 50th anniversary of it[...]

No40 [Art] It’s Setouchi’s Triennial again

Over a million visitors are expected to come to the Inland Sea islands this year to celebrate contemporary art. A giant bamboo dome is one of the major installations of the Setouchi Triennial art festival this year. It required around 5,000 bamboo trees to be woven together by hand, in record time. [...]

No39 [Culture] Hara, muse of democracy

Ozu Yasujiro’s favourite actress, who died in 2015, left her mark both on the history of cinema and on Japanese society. Tourists on their way to a nearby Buddhist temple walk past a Japanese style house, almost completely hidden by a high bamboo hedge. Situated around two kilometres from Kamakura[...]

No38 [Music] Bowie’s love affair with Japan

The world famous musician’s interest in Japan and the connections he forged helped create his legend and international renown. In front of David Bowie’s childhood home, 39 Stansfield Road, Brixton, London, numerous mourners placed flowers, candles and messages. Among them is a message from Kanak[...]

No37 [Event] Experience Japan through cinema

Ikiru: the highs and lows of life in Japanese cinema takes Kurosawa’s film Ikiru (1952), a humanistic portrayal of a salaryman facing a terminal illness, as a starting point. This programme challenges the incredibly broad question of human existence by looking at the way in which Japanese filmmake[...]

No36 [Exhibition] Erotic art rediscovered

For the first time in 60 years, erotic wood etchings (shunga) are being shown in Tokyo, and have aroused great enthusiasm. In the old Eisei-Bunko building, which houses a large collection of oriental works of art, around thirty people are queuing impatiently accompanied by the sound of the last cica[...]

No35 [Series] The oyster of friendship

Japan’s oyster economy, severely impacted like many other sectors of industry, is now recovering with the help of French people. The French city of Royan, located in the department of Charente-Maritime, has a population of 17,000 people. It’s an international tourist destination situated[...]

No35 [Traditional] Autumn leaves and celebrations of childhood

November sees the people of Japan searching out autumn leaves and celebrating three big milestones of childhood. November is the time of year to enjoy autumn leaves turned golden yellow and fiery red. The “koyo gari” or “autumn leaf hunt” is one of Japan’s classic seasonal leisure pastimes[...]

No35 [Event] Yesterday’s techniques, today’s perspectives

With surface Tension, a group exhibition bringing together work by Masaya Hashimoto, sachiko Kazama, Kumi Machida and Hidenori yamaguchi, the white Rainbow gallery offers a wonderful introduction to Japanese artistic output, which is both traditional and contemporary in outlook. Most of the artists [...]

No34 [Series] The unsinkable boats

We thought they had disappeared forever, but some boats have reappeared thousands of miles away from their port of origin. More than four years after the earthquake on the 11th of March 2011, wrecked fishing boats carried away by the tsunami continue to wash up on the coasts of Okinawa and Hawaii. F[...]

No34 [Culture] Japan sound Portrait

BBC DJ and broadcaster nick Luscombe has come up with a great event idea that will run in conjunction with the Rivers of the world exhibition. Both different and original, it entails being transported over 6,000 miles away from London to the Sumida River in Tokyo, listening to short poems (haiku) b[...]

No34 [Movie] The grand return of Dragon Ball z

It’s no surprise to anyone that Resurrection F signals the return of the saga’s most symbolic protagonist. Years after Trunks crushing victory, the remnants of the tyrant’s army have not disappeared completely but remain at the edge of the galaxy. Its new leader a rather ridiculous despot call[...]

No34 [Book] Akira Kurosawa seen from inside

Script writer for Rashamon and Seven Samurai among other classics, Shinobu Hashimoto recalls his days working with one of the most celebrated Japanese directors. At 97 years old, Shinobu Hashimoto’s memory is still excellent – which is a boon for those who interview him. Scriptwriter for Aki[...]

No34 [Book] Post-mortem of a worldwide success

One of the most characteristic works of Japanese art is undoubtedly Kanagawa Oki no namiura (under the wave off Kanagawa), better known today as The Great wave off Kanagawa. This woodblock print was produced in the 1830s by Katsushika Hokusai, a great print master, and over time it has come to symbo[...]

No34 [Exhibition] Manga at the British museum

The museum is welcoming three of the finest mangaka. An opportunity to highlight the importance of this form of expression. From a European perspective, Japanese culture has for a long time been seen as the reflection of an ancient, sophisticated and spiritual tradition. This might explain in part w[...]

No32 [Manga] Tokyo Ghoul, a nice surprise

Ishida Sui’s first published work is a success. It particularly critiques our prejudices and our rejection of what is different. Promoted as part of the zombie manga genre, Tokyo Ghoul portrays a type of monster that isn’t quite one of of the living dead: a ghoul. This creature comes fro[...]

No32 [DVD] More of Oda’s winning formula

The mangaka has supervised the making of One Piece Z. The result reflects his involvement. As they are sailing towards the New World, Luffy and his crew save a mysterious person from drowning. He hides behind sunglasses, sports a mechanical arm, and is only referred to as “Z”. The man is in fact[...]

No31 [DVD] Harlock turns 45 and he’s doing fine

This film adaptation of the cult series created in 1969 proves to be a great success – despite some imperfections. First created in 1969 as a manga, the animated version of Space Pirate Captain Harlock arrived in Europe soon after it first discovered Japanese animation. However, in contrast to[...]

No31 [Book] Welcome to my place

Photographer Kawamoto Shiori invites you to immerse yourself in the world of otaku in this must-read book. In the past, the iconic group known to the world as “otaku” used to be portrayed – particularly in Japan – as an antisocial bunch of nerdy guys sporting flannel shirts, dirty hair and s[...]

No30 [Movie] a very well crafted work

            With The Little House, Yamada Yoji has at last received international recognition. Several veterans of Japan’s old studio system, which began to fade away in the early 1960s with the advent of television, are still working. The 83-year-old Yamada Yoji, ho[...]

No25 [Train] 50 years at high speed

The shinkansen celebrates its fiftieth birthday this year. It is a technological success that has found its place in society. October 1964 will remain a historical benchmark for many Japanese citizens. In addition to the Tokyo Olympic Games that allowed the country to regain acceptance worldwide jus[...]

No24 [Anime] Are you ready to be controlled Sybil?

Psycho-Pass is an animation series produced by Production I. g. and distributed across Japan between 2012 and 2013. It is dystopian science fiction that also borrows from the thriller/ crime genre. The story is set set in the 22nd century, in a futuristic Japan under the control of the sybil system:[...]

No22 [Literature] Discovering Natsume Soseki

Published a century ago, Kokoro is still very popular in Japan in 2014. The Asahi Shinbun newspaper, that first published it in serial form, has started republishing this wonderful novel in the same format, choosing the same date, the 20th of April, to relaunch it. A young man is living and studyi[...]

No21 [Manga] Taniguchi at his best

The author of A Distant Neighbourhood gives adventure a try with his new masterpiece. In 1924 two mountaineers, Mallory and Irvine, attempt the first ascension of Mount Everest. Odell, a geologist, is part of the expedition but he isn’t chosen for the difficult ascent. He is the last one to see th[...]

No21 [Cinema] When Miike Takashi goes wild

Japan’s most out-there film maker makes a come back with a feature that recalls his earlier works. If one hopes for controversial cinema, is Miike Takashi’s new film “Lesson of the Evil” him at his best or at his worst? With a filmography that is as varied in quality as it is[...]