Chiaki Hara reaches out to cancer survivors

Feb 5, 2016

Chiaki Hara reaches out to cancer survivors

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Things were looking good for Chiaki Hara at the start of 2005. She was an accomplished actress, having starred in the 1997 tragic romance “Shitsurakuen” (“Lost Paradise”) and 2002′ drama “Aiki,” and her profile as a social commentator was also on the rise. Then, ...

Bringing Japanese folk dance into focus

Jan 30, 2016

Bringing Japanese folk dance into focus

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As with many cultures, before modernization the Japanese people relied heavily on agriculture, holding a spiritual affinity with and respecting the power of nature. Bountiful harvests were celebrated in festivities that played a significant role in community activities, and the distinctive folk rituals that ...

Meiji Shrine: grounds to ring in the year

Dec 24, 2015

Meiji Shrine: grounds to ring in the year

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As a relatively new place of worship, established less than a century ago in 1920, Meiji Shrine was originally based around the concept of wakonyōsai — a belief that treasured the Japanese "soul," while still embracing influences from the West. Its unusual omikuji, therefore, ...

Getting the year's first prayer in

Dec 24, 2015

Getting the year's first prayer in

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Whether we are Buddhists, followers of Shintoism or atheists, the first thing many Japanese do on ganjitsu (New Year’s Day) is go to their local shrine or temple for hatsumōde, a symbolic first visit of the year. If it’s not done on Jan. 1, ...

New Year's: perfect for snapshots

Dec 24, 2015

New Year's: perfect for snapshots

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Meiji Shrine is one of the most famous places of worship in Japan, partly because it is also one of the most photogenic. As the number of tourists is expected to rise before the Olympics, you may want to get your Shinto selfies off ...