Japan helps too few refugees: UNHCR chief

Nov 18, 2014

Japan helps too few refugees: UNHCR chief

The ongoing conflicts in Syria and Iraq have produced more than 12 million refugees and internally displaced people. They are flooding across borders in the region, and some neighboring states have reached their limit. One-third of Lebanon’s population now comprises refugees. Meanwhile, Japan, a ...

Kendama: a whole new ball game

Nov 8, 2014

Kendama: a whole new ball game

Almost every child that has grown up in Japan has seen a kendama, a wooden traditional Japanese toy consisting of a ken (sword) and tama (ball) connected by a length of string. The ken has three cups and a spike that fits into a ...

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 ...