Well hello, dollies: Hina Matsuri 2016

Mar 3, 2016

Well hello, dollies: Hina Matsuri 2016

In the run-up to Hina Matsuri (Girl's Day), people traditionally display "hina" dolls at home — and, it is believed, they must be taken down by March 4 to prevent a late marriage. The centuries-old tradition has both persevered and evolved. Here's how it ...

Sakura 2015: one nation under a pink canopy

Apr 16, 2015

Sakura 2015: one nation under a pink canopy

Spring in Japan brings a wave of blossoming cherry trees that is celebrated through the nation for a short few weeks. Despite a spell of strong winds and heavy rain this year, most trees hung on to their petals for a memorable sakura season. ...

Takuboku Ishikawa: engaged observer

Apr 11, 2015

Takuboku Ishikawa: engaged observer

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The society of Takuboku Ishikawa’s era was in dramatic political flux, and its complex issues became his personal obsessions. After his death, Takuboku’s preoccupations came to be seen as a symbol of the social and emotional upheavals of his times. The key word in ...

Feb 4, 2015

'Setsubun no hi' in Japan — a day full of beans

"Setsubun," literally meaning "season time," is a celebration of the coming spring. Traditionally, on "setsubun no hi," held on Feb. 3, people throw beans to ward off bad spirits and then eat beans to bring them good luck. Here's a selection of scenes from ...

Coming-of-Age Day in Japan 2015

Jan 14, 2015

Coming-of-Age Day in Japan 2015

This week in Japan, people are enjoying a shorter working week thanks to "Seijin no Hi" (Coming-of-Age Day), a day on which anyone who happens to have turned 20 between April 2 of last year and April 1 this year celebrates the so-called rite ...

Most read Life stories of 2014

Jan 1, 2015

Most read Life stories of 2014

From cannabis growers to tips on learning Japanese, these were some of the most read Life section articles of 2014. Cannabis: the fabric of Japan When Junichi Takayasu was 3 years old, a picture book about ninjas changed his life forever. What fascinated him ...

Public protest in Japan: Power to the people?

Dec 20, 2014

Public protest in Japan: Power to the people?

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“Freedom of assembly and association as well as speech, press and all other forms of expression are guaranteed.” — Article 21, Constitution of Japan “I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine.” — Henry David Thoreau, ...