TRADITIONAL

The Ninja Crisis: What Is the Reason Behind the Shortage of Ninja in Japan?

Ninja (忍者) is one of the famous images that represents Japan. They are known to many as agents who specialized in espionage and infiltration during the olden days of Japan. So much so that it is even portrayed in popular culture in the West like in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the G.I. Joe series, and…

A Beginner’s Guide to the Japanese Martial Art of Kendo

Have you ever heard of kendo (剣道)? It’s a type of Japanese martial arts. A kendo player wears armor and fights with a bamboo stick called “shinai (竹刀).” By hitting your opponent in the right place with the shinai, you will gain a point. There are four parts of the body that you should aim…

How Many of These 5 Facts About Japanese Hot Springs Do You Know?

Have you ever experienced bathing in a hot spring or onsen (温泉) in Japan? In the summer of 2016, I took my European husband to an onsen ryokan (温泉旅館), a Japanese-style hotel with hot springs. Apparently, his expectations were hugely betrayed in many ways. He had heard about onsen many times before but imagined something…

The Mythical Couple Who Gave Birth to Japan’s 800+ Shinto Deities

Approximately 90% of the Japanese population are followers of Shintoism (神道), Buddhism (仏教) or both. This can be attributed to the high regards paid by the Japanese towards their ethnic origins as well as the value they put on ancient traditions. Shintoism, in particular, has been popular both in traditional and pop culture thanks to…

Do You Know This Traditional Japanese Art of Braiding Shown in ‘Your Name’?

Your Name (君の名は。) is now officially the highest-grossing anime film of all time. The continuous popularity and success of Makoto Shinkai’s (新海誠) soul-swapping, gender-bender fantasy movie inspired the creation of exclusively designed bus and travel tours, a limited themed cafe, and even a fancy jewelry line. The movie’s universal theme of love and longing touched…

Which Superb Restaurants in Japan are Spreading Their Dishes Overseas?

As we know, there are many Japanese restaurant branches in other countries. However, these restaurants may have changed their recipes from the original dishes offered in Japan. This might be because ingredients of certain dishes are hard to come by, or because restaurant owners decide to tailor to the respective country’s locality by changing and…

What is Japanese Flower Arrangement and How Can It Help Us Heal?

One of the noticeable characteristics of Japanese culture is “discipline.” This is seen in all aspects of their lives, from waking up in the morning to going to bed at night. They also practice it in flower arranging, or Ikebana (生け花), which is another representative aspect of Japanese traditional art. What is Ikebana, what does…

Rakugo: Japan’s Centuries-old Comedic Solo Storytelling

If there is one Asian country that pays very high regards to cultural heritage and traditional practices, Japan would have to be one of the obvious picks. It is very much apparent, even when you take a random stroll on any city street. From old castles to gorgeous, old-style ryokan (inns; 旅館), you’ll see how…

Learn the Traditional Art of the Beautiful Japanese Hakone Marquetry

One of the most beautiful forms of art in Japan is the art of inlaying woods known as “marquetry.” It is a typical woodwork which can be found in Hakone (箱根), a town in Kanagawa Prefecture (神奈川県). It can often be found on the finest furniture and can also be seen in elaborate patterns and…
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