African group drums up a party

Aug 8, 2013

African group drums up a party

The African drumming theater is back, providing people with a fun and entertaining way of letting off some steam and experiencing a new culture. “Drumstruck,” a Johannesburg-born musical, is an interactive experience where each member of the audience will be provided with a 61-cm-tall ...

Koki Mitani adds comedy to bunraku

Aug 7, 2013

Koki Mitani adds comedy to bunraku

Koki Mitani is Japan’s top comedy writer, having written a number of stage plays, TV dramas and films. He also loves working with puppets, and has put together a serialized puppet drama for public broadcaster NHK. Despite a love of puppets, however, it was ...

Cautionary tales from one not afraid to risk all

| Aug 3, 2013

Cautionary tales from one not afraid to risk all

In December 1990, journalist Toyohiro Akiyama made headlines the world over when he blasted off aboard a Soviet rocket to become the very first “space correspondent” in history. The Soyuz capsule with the 47-year-old Tokyo Broadcasting System reporter strapped inside later docked with the ...

<em>Hentai</em> animation night at YCAM

Jul 25, 2013

Hentai animation night at YCAM

The word “hentai” has two meanings in Japanese, referring both to “metamorphosis” and “abnormality/perversion.” On Saturday, Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media will screen a series of 13 hentai films — covering the wackiest, weirdest animated shorts in which the characters also undergo various ...

On the trail of bear hunters' heritage

| Jul 20, 2013

On the trail of bear hunters' heritage

Takashi Yoshikawa is no easy man to figure out. Trim and well tanned, the 63-year-old owns a small ryokan (traditional inn) nestled in the foothills of the beautiful Shirakami Mountains which straddle 130,000 hectares of Aomori and Akita prefectures, and whose 17,000 hectares of ...

Experiments in the wild

Jul 11, 2013

Experiments in the wild

Ten years ago, when a new cultural facility opened in the western Japan city of Yamaguchi, its founders sought to fulfill a role quite different from those museums in the countryside. Unlike many public museums in rural Japan that function as touring venues for ...

Abe wants to gut public protections: expert

Jun 29, 2013

Abe wants to gut public protections: expert

If the Liberal Democratic Party succeeds in rewriting the Constitution, it would severely scale back fundamental human rights and strip the public of various civil liberties, a prominent constitutional scholar warns. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, while focusing for now on his economic policies, looks ...

The neglected stars of Norwegian design

Jun 25, 2013

The neglected stars of Norwegian design

What do you think of as a typical example of Scandinavian design? The massively copied 1950s bentwood chair series “Seven Chairs” by Danish architect Arne Jacobsen? The vividly colored Unikko poppy patterns by the Finnish textile company Marimekko? Or the ready-to-assemble furniture available at ...

June blooms decorate Japan

Jun 21, 2013

June blooms decorate Japan

While the ongoing rainy season means staying indoors to some people, for others, it is a chance to get out and enjoy the beautiful tapestry of ajisai (hydrangeas), whose colors vary from white to blue to pink to purple — and all shades in ...

Family-crest master fears he's one of a dying breed

| Jun 16, 2013

Family-crest master fears he's one of a dying breed

Dressed in a black kimono and wearing a pair of eye-catching black, triple-framed spectacles, Shoryu Hatoba straightens his back as he sits on the tatami floor of his quaint studio in Ueno, central Tokyo, holding a pair of bamboo compasses fitted with a brush ...