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In the new Disney+ series “House of the Owl,” Min Tanaka (left) plays a powerful political fixer, or “kuromaku,” who has a troubled relationship with his adult children, particularly his idealistic son, played by Mackenyu.
CULTURE / TV & Streaming
Apr 18, 2024
'House of the Owl' brings Hollywood values to Japanese TV
Min Tanaka plays a powerful political fixer in the 10-episode show, which centers on the behind-the-scenes machinations of "kuromaku."
Historically, kabuki was considered the entertainment of the merchant and peasant classes, a far cry from how it is regarded today.
LIFE / Travel / Longform
Apr 15, 2024
For Japan's oldest kabuki theater, the show must go on
After a five-year absence, kabuki has returned to Kotohira. Can it be the draw that this tourism-hungry town desires?
As of December 2022, the village of Zamami, Okinawa Prefecture, had in its stockpile six of the nine items listed in a survey as necessary for women and 10 of the 11 items listed as necessary for babies and infants, doing much better than other municipalities in the prefecture.
JAPAN / Society / Regional Voices: Okinawa
Apr 1, 2024
Municipalities push gender-inclusive disaster risk management
Some areas in Okinawa involve more women in decision-making and make an effort at stockpiling relevant items.
"Godzilla Minus One" director Takashi Yamazaki (second from left) celebrates with members of his visual effects team after they won the Oscar for best visual effects.
EDITORIALS
Mar 15, 2024
The night Godzilla trampled Hollywood
The humanity behind visual effects and animation won in the end, and Japan should be proud.
New series "Shogun" focuses on power struggles during Japan's samurai era, with warlord Toranaga (Hiroyuki Sanada) finding himself in danger of being bested — and perhaps beheaded — by rival Lord Ishido and his allies.
CULTURE / TV & Streaming
Mar 9, 2024
New ‘Shogun’ series is a cut above the original
From the 1980 original to ‘Last Samurai’ to now, Hollywood is getting better at depicting Japan.
"The Boy and the Heron" won the Animated Film prize at the 2024 British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
CULTURE / Entertainment news
Feb 19, 2024
Hayao Miyazaki's 'The Boy and the Heron' wins BAFTA
The film also won the Animated Prize at the Golden Globes and is a nominee for Best Animated Feature at the U.S. Academy Awards.
The title monster in “Godzilla Minus One” is a threat, of course, but the real story is about finding community in the wake of destruction.
CULTURE / Film
Feb 3, 2024
‘Godzilla Minus One’ stomps into ‘Oppenheimer’ territory
Those movies, along with “The Boy and the Heron,” are essentially in conversation about the moral weight of American and Japanese actions in World War II.
A man holds a poster for "The Boy and the Heron" at a movie theater in New Mexico in December.
CULTURE / Film
Jan 24, 2024
Miyazaki anime and Godzilla film among Oscar nominees from Japan
An anime directed by Hayao Miyazaki and the latest Godzilla movie were among the Japanese films nominated for U.S. Academy Awards.
A cinema employee checks a display showing a digital poster (right) for Hayao Miyazaki's most recent film, "The Boy and the Heron," in Tokyo on July 14.
CULTURE / Film
Jan 8, 2024
Anime giant Hayao Miyazaki's 'The Boy and the Heron' wins Golden Globe
Miyazaki, an Oscar-winning animator, announced his retirement in 2013 after producing "The Wind Rises" but began making the full-length film in 2017.
U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Woodside, California, in November. After another year marked by great-power rivalries and rising security risks, the role of hegemonic, middling and rising powers has become more fluid than at any time since the end of the Cold War.
COMMENTARY / World
Jan 4, 2024
The shape of power in 2024
Thinkers ponder whether the coming year will confirm that the world is quickly moving toward greater multipolarity or “nonalignment.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin and China's President Xi Jinping after a reception following their talks at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 21. China has refused to push back against the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine, in the hopes that the war would weaken the United States and NATO.
COMMENTARY / The Year Ahead
Dec 11, 2023
Europe’s Chinese new year
The last year has solidified China’s status as one of the most salient foreign-policy challenges facing Europe. But it has been a long time coming.
Members meet for a United Nations Security Council meeting on Ukraine on July 17. Between the carnage in the Middle East and a permanent member of the Security Council waging a war of aggression against its neighbor, there is ample reason to doubt that a consensus on U.N. reform is reachable.
COMMENTARY / The Year Ahead
Dec 31, 2023
The outlook for multilateralism in 2024
What matters most in the coming year is whether global issues can still be addressed simultaneously and in unison.
Republicans have been extraordinarily successful in shaping the electoral battlefield to their advantage and depicting U.S. President Joe Biden as too old.
COMMENTARY / The Year Ahead
Dec 30, 2023
American anxiety builds ahead of 2024 vote
The outcome of next year's election may hinge on the economic outlook, which in turn will partly depend on how the Middle East conflict evolves.
When Chinese President Xi Jinping came to power, he inherited a China that was enjoying prosperity, but also succumbing to gilded-age excesses.
COMMENTARY / The Year Ahead
Dec 29, 2023
The moral of the China story
Even if China is no longer “winning,” it would be short-sighted to dismiss its recent experience as irrelevant.
The Dvorak Dreams project leveraged AI to retrieve, synthesize and extend the legacy of an earlier cultural pioneer.
COMMENTARY / The Year Ahead
Dec 28, 2023
The AI question we should be asking
Artists working with AI can map out a path for the technology’s role across society more broadly.
A Ukrainian soldier looks out from a tank as he holds his position near to the town of Bakhmut, in Ukraine's Donetsk region, on Dec. 13.
COMMENTARY / The Year Ahead
Dec 28, 2023
The battles Ukraine has already won
Many of the nation's key victories began long before Russia’s latest assault.
Next year, U.S. President Joe Biden will seek a mandate to govern into his mid-80s. His likely opponent, former President Donald Trump, is only three years younger.
COMMENTARY / The Year Ahead
Dec 27, 2023
Making or breaking democracy
As 2024 approaches, one milestone looms menacingly on the horizon: The U.S. presidential election on Nov. 5.
While Magic: The Gathering is popular with card game aficionados the world over, the community in Japan is split along some unexpected lines.
LIFE / Lifestyle
Dec 23, 2023
Diehards and casuals clash in Tokyo’s Magic: The Gathering community
The Commander format is widely popular across Europe and the United States, but Japan’s Magic community hasn’t quite followed the same path.
Fans praised Nintendo for following up one of the best open-world games ever made with The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, a worthy sequel that introduced enough new mechanics to keep the experience fresh for players new and old alike.
CULTURE / 2023 in Review
Dec 22, 2023
Zelda was a gem among many in a crowning year for gaming
Japanese studios’ hits included: Street Fighter 6, remakes of Metroid Prime and Resident Evil 4, and Super Mario Bros. Wonder, to name a few.
In Hayao Miyazaki's films, characters often experience life-changing revelations in midair, such as Haku and Chihiro in "Spirited Away."
CULTURE / Film
Dec 19, 2023
How Hayao Miyazaki’s films continue to take us to the skies
When characters take flight in the films of the master animator, there is always a deeper meaning.

Longform

Historically, kabuki was considered the entertainment of the merchant and peasant classes, a far cry from how it is regarded today.
For Japan's oldest kabuki theater, the show must go on