Benshi Midori Sawato

| Dec 25, 2012

Benshi Midori Sawato

by Judit Kawaguchi

Midori Sawato is a benshi, a unique kind of performer who provides live narration to silent films at the movie theater. The benshi brings the characters in films alive using different voices and vocal expressions. They sit to the side of the screen, watching ...

Bar Aoyagi owner Reiko Yoshimura

| Nov 27, 2012

Bar Aoyagi owner Reiko Yoshimura

by Judit Kawaguchi

Reiko Yoshimura is the owner of Aoyagi, a tiny bar in the basement of Tokyo’s Shimbashi station. Built in 1966, the retro Shimbashi Ekimae Biru Ichigokan (Shimbashi Station Building No.1) is home to dozens of inexpensive drinking establishments that cater to salarymen and the ...

Hunter Shoji Kuramochi

| Aug 28, 2012

Hunter Shoji Kuramochi

by Judit Kawaguchi

Shoji Kuramochi, 73, is one of Japan’s few surviving hunters, and he may be the only one with 100 trained hunting dogs. Besides being a hunter of wild boars and deer, he’s also an expert at the traditional Japanese art forms of bonsai cultivation ...

Jul 1, 2012

Lesley Downer: Love, war and geisha

by Victoria James

Lesley Downer’s seven books range widely in genre and subject. Here she reflects on their inspiration and her experiences writing them. “On the Narrow Road to the Deep North: Journey into a Lost Japan” (1989): Downer’s first book, a travelogue, recounts a journey she ...