Feature Story : Books & Ideas

  • Japan's Unique Food Culture

    Japan has a unique food culture: various good fresh ingredients of sea and mountains, seasonings that adds to the dishes’ tastiness, Japanese sense of taste represented by umami and intense curiosity about savoring variety of foods.

  • National Passion for Foods

    The Japanese perhaps are the world's best connoisseur of food exhibiting great curiosity about gastronomy.

  • Diversity of Japanese Restaurants

    Tokyo is a rare city you can try various kinds of cuisine from all over the world. The diversity is not only found in their origins but also can be seen in menu or in atmosphere - store size and facilities.

  • Adaptation of Foreign Foods

    Japanese have never been conservative about trying unforeknown foods or ingredients but incorporated imported food from across the world, and have historically adapted many to make them their own.

    Arts & Crafts

    Over time the Japanese developed the ability to absorb, imitate, and finally assimilate those elements of foreign culture that complemented their aesthetic preferences.

  • The "Ghost" in the Shell

    In the Ghost in the Shell universe, "ghost" means soul, essence, being, mind that separates humans from robots and Ais. If a cyber-brain can generate its own ghost, then there is no particular importance to be placed on “the human.”

  • Basara (婆娑羅) and Amime & Manga

    Kabukimono (かぶきもの) personified basara (婆娑羅, basara, posing for dramatic effect dressed in imported gaudery form china.) and furyu (風流, fūrū, ostentatious flamboyant design).

  • The traditional line drawing technique

    Among Japanese traditional art techniques, line drawing has fundamental impact on today's Manga and Anime. "Drawn only with outlines, Manga who inherits the characteristic of Japanese-style painting made up of lines seem three-dimensional.

  • Japan's time-honored aesthetic values in Amime & Manga

    Japanese aesthetics, in its nature covers a broad spectrum in comparison with the explicit formulation of 'aesthetics' in the Western sense, and is seen as an integral part of daily life.

  • The ukiyo-e (浮世絵 perspective

    With the rise of popular culture in the Edo period, a style of woodblock prints called ukiyo-e characterized by the aesthetic two-dimensional forms, the absence of western notion of perspective became a major art form.

  • Haruki Murakami

    High School Years : 高校時代

    Haruki would play Mahjongg almost every day, fool around with girls, spend hours in jazz cafés and cinemas, smoke, skip school, read novels during class, and so forth, but his grades were never terrible.

  • Haruki Murakami

    Hanshinkan Boy : 阪神間少年

    Hanshinkan, the area between Osaka and Kobe, was a comfy place to spend Haruki's boyhood to the adolescent period.

  • Haruki Murakami

    Junior High School Years : 中学時代

    Of his middle-school years, Murakami has written that all he remembers is being beaten by his teachers. He didn't like them and they didn't like him because he wouldn't study.

  • Haruki Murakami

    Family Ties : 親子関係

    Young Haruki would often hear his parents discussing eighth-century poetry or medieval war takes at the dinner table. Haruki said, “Throughout my teens I became hate ‘Japanese literature’ and ‘teachers’.”

  • Haruki Murakami

    The River :

    "The road by the river had been one of my favorites. I could walk at the same speed as the river. I could feel it breathing. It was alive. The town belonged to the river from the very beginning, and it would always be the way."

  • Haruki Murakami

    Leaving Home : 街を離れる

    "The town has deep hold on me; almost all my memories are tied up with the place. Yet the spring I left town to enter university, I let out a sigh of relief from the bottom of my heart,"Haruki said in his novel.

cool japan
発掘!かっこいいニッポン

  • What is Cool Japan?
    The keywords, "Cool Japan," are flying all around the world.
    From fashion, anime, games, and food, various cultures that the Japanese take for granted are being accepted as cool and trendy by foreigners.
    "COOL JAPAN Discovering what makes Japan cool," uses the sense of foreigners to the fullest, to dig up and examine the appeal and secrets of these cool cultural aspects.

JAPAN'S GROSS NATIONAL COOL

  • In a 2002 article in Foreign Policy entitled "Japan's Gross National Cool," Douglas McGray wrote of Japan "reinventing superpower" as its cultural influence expanded internationally despite the economic and political problems of the "lost decade."
    Surveying youth culture and the role of manga, anime, fashion, film, consumer electronics, architecture, cuisine, J-pop, and phenomena of cuteness such as Hello Kitty, McGray highlighted Japan's considerable soft power, posing the question of what message the country might project.
    He also argued that Japan's recession may even have boosted its national cool, due to the partial discrediting of erstwhile rigid social hierarchies and big-business career paths.