Kendama: spin doctors

Nov 8, 2014

Kendama: spin doctors

On the streets of Tokyo, Zoomadanke’s “Kodaman” (Takeshi Kodama) and “Easy” (Hiroki Iijima) look like any other young men in their 20s or 30s. The second they start playing kendama, however, the pair will put on a performance that completely redefines the traditional wooden ...

Antique fair offers a hunt for treasure

Nov 6, 2014

Antique fair offers a hunt for treasure

When you see an antique, what catches your attention? Some people imagine the history or story behind it, perhaps there’s a bit of romance or mystery involved. Some people look at the object and see dollar signs, and some see a piece of art. ...

New tech brings cinema to the deaf and blind

Nov 1, 2014

New tech brings cinema to the deaf and blind

The lights dimmed inside the theater at the Tokyo International Film Festival and the audience quieted down. As Masayuki Suo’s film “Maiko wa Lady (Lady Maiko)” began, the viewers were ready — with glasses-shaped head-mounted displays and earpieces designed to make cinema accessible to ...

Vaccination: a choice between two unknowns

Oct 4, 2014

Vaccination: a choice between two unknowns

Yoshimi Kawabe’s daughter was 2 years old in 2008 when an unusual rash broke out on her hands and feet. Her family doctor at first thought the rash was caused by hand, foot and mouth disease — a contagious viral infection common in young ...

'It's as if time has stopped since the vaccine'

Oct 4, 2014

'It's as if time has stopped since the vaccine'

Cancer is the leading cause of death in Japan. But what if there was a vaccine that could prevent a certain type of cancer? And what if it was free? Mika Matsufuji’s daughter received a free vaccine to prevent cervical cancer from Suginami Ward ...

Film festival hopes to present refugees as more than just victims

Oct 2, 2014

Film festival hopes to present refugees as more than just victims

From Syria to Afghanistan to South Sudan, conflict this year has pushed the number of people seeking refuge around the world to numbers not seen since World War II. According to the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the number ...

'No child ever deserves to be abused like this'

Sep 13, 2014

'No child ever deserves to be abused like this'

Images of Koyuki Higashi’s childhood came back to her in flashes. She was almost always in the bathroom; sometimes she caught a glimpse of the stool she used to sit on while taking a shower, other times she saw her father and her, bathing ...

Kodomo no Ie: home away from home

Sep 13, 2014

Kodomo no Ie: home away from home

The sound of giggling fills a room at Kodomo no Ie, a children’s institution in northern Tokyo, as a group of half a dozen girls work on their homework while waiting for dinner to be served. It’s the same situation that is typically played ...

Waking up to child abuse

Sep 13, 2014

Waking up to child abuse

With reported cases of child abuse topping 70,000 per annum for the first time in August, Masami Ito examines the nation's changing attitudes toward violence at home.

Dealing with addiction: Japan's drinking problem

Aug 30, 2014

Dealing with addiction: Japan's drinking problem

We admit we are powerless over alcohol and we need help to break the habit. We will participate in meetings and speak frankly about ourselves. We will reflect on our mistakes and accept the damage that alcohol has caused. We will strive to change ...