For Katherine Whatley's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Jun 25, 2019
May 21, 2019
For many Tokyoites, Shinjuku is inextricably linked with the 1960s and '70s and with jazz. "There used to be jazz kissa (cafes) everywhere," says Dug cafe owner and jazz photographer Hozumi Nakadaira. During these decades, the district came to be known as a Mecca for young people and a jazz and avant-garde art haven.
May 7, 2019
'When I was in elementary school, I was taking a nap under a tree in my garden. Then I had a dream, that would later come true, of having an exhibition as a painter and being an artist. That felt very real, and I realized this was foreshadowing my future. I felt that if I continued on the same path, I'd become an artist like in my dream."
Apr 17, 2019
Japan's rural towns have mainly been facing the same big challenge for the past decade: A migration to urban centers for work has left them with declining populations, which leads to a further decrease in job opportunities that makes them less attractive places to live if you're young and starting a family.
Mar 26, 2019
I'm sitting in Koen-Dori Classics, a darkened club in the basement of a church on Koen-dori, in Tokyo's Shibuya district. The audience is small, seated in a few rows facing the performers at the front. Silence, then the performance begins. Textured sounds emanate from the guitar, keyboard, laptop. Then the koto joins in, and a world of sound like nothing you've heard before is created.
Feb 27, 2019
'There are just so many records in Japan," says Yusuke Ogawa, owner of Universounds, a used record shop selling jazz, soul and funk in the Western suburbs of central Tokyo. Now, with the rise of internet sales as well as the increasingly interconnected music world, buyers worldwide are catching on to Japan's stockpile of good quality, rare records. Ogawa is one key point in this international record buying culture.
Feb 22, 2019
Though Kenji Miyazawa was little-known in his lifetime, since his death he has been heralded as one of the most important Japanese poets of the early 20th century and one of Iwate Prefecture's most treasured sons. Miyazawa lived in and around Morioka for much of his life and, even now, there remain whispers of him throughout the city.
Feb 19, 2019
Jan 2, 2019
Nov 23, 2018
At the height of the splendor of the Heian Period (794-1185), lady-in-waiting to the Imperial Court, Murasaki Shikibu, wrote "The Tale of Genji," the story of imperial officer Hikaru Genji falling in and out of love with his various suitors. After centuries of war, city-wide fires, rebuilding and tourist development, does anything from Genji's Heian-kyo still remain in modern Kyoto?
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