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Seihan Mori, the chief Buddhist priest of Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto, writes the kanji character "zei," meaning "tax," with a calligraphy brush to announce the Kanji of the Year.
Dec 15, 2023
Despite a taxing year, 2023's top kanji still draws questions
In a year of major crises around the world, Japanese voters pick the kanji for "zei," meaning "tax," based on a plan yet to be implemented.
While Hayao Miyazaki’s return to filmmaking, “The Boy and the Heron,” did not attain the ¥10 billion milestone that the beloved animator’s movies had once routinely surpassed, it debuted at the top of the North American box office and became the first original anime film to lead the box office in the United States and Canada.
CULTURE / Film / 2023 in Review
Dec 15, 2023
Japan’s auteurs and anime triumphed in 2023
From Hayao Miyazaki's “The Boy and the Heron” to Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Monster,” the box-office hits kept coming.
A still from The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
PODCAST / deep dive
Dec 14, 2023
Big in Japan 2023: Anime, Murakami and The Legend of Zelda
Our guests tell us why anime dominated in 2023, which books stood out among a lackluster crowd and why the Zelda franchise is experiencing a renaissance.
Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Boy and the Heron” received Golden Globes nominations for best animated motion picture and best original score for a motion picture this week.
CULTURE / Entertainment news
Dec 12, 2023
'The Boy and the Heron' and 'Godzilla Minus One' win over U.S.
While both Japanese films broke records at the North American box office, Hayao Miyazaki's latest also received two Golden Globes nominations.
Seihan Mori, chief priest of Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto, writes "zei" (taxes), which was chosen on Tuesday as the kanji of the year.
Dec 12, 2023
Talk of taxes spurs choice for Japan’s kanji of the year
The choice came as tax hikes and cuts were heavily covered in the news and discussed among policymakers.
The former lead singer of The Pogues, Shane MacGowan, attends the funeral service of his mother in Silvermines, Ireland, in January 2017.
Dec 6, 2023
The life of the Pogues' frontman and the ‘banality of crazy’ in U.S. politics
The current focus on performative acts in politics diminishes serious policy debates, leading to social and political divides.
Hayao Miyazaki came out of retirement this year with “The Boy and the Heron,” which opened to critical acclaim and has so far earned ¥8.56 billion — a good showing but not enough to take the top spot at the box office for the year.
CULTURE / Film / 2023 in Review
Nov 30, 2023
The year that defined the post-Miyazaki era
The success of “Oshi no Ko,” “Detective Conan” and “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” proved that anime is the mainstream now.
An Albanian communist hangs a banner with Enver Hoxha's image in a public cemetery in Tirana in April 2012 to mark the anniversary of the hard-line Stalinist dictator's death.
Oct 27, 2023
When freedom does not bring about justice
From communism to capitalism, Lea Ypi's book,"Free: Coming of Age at the End of History" reflects on Albania's transition to freedom.
Singer-songwriter Aina The End (center) plays a young woman who strives to overcome her hardscrabble life and become an indie musician in “Kyrie.”
Oct 12, 2023
'Kyrie': Musical melodrama celebrates youth
Shunji Iwai's film about indie musicians and female friendships may have an overstuffed plot, but it also has a visual energy unique to the director.
Mori Building's Azabudai Hills complex in Tokyo's Minato Ward, which will house offices, shops, apartments, hotels and a school, is set to open in November
Oct 2, 2023
While Manhattan’s offices stay empty, Tokyo keeps building
Remote working has decimated offices in cities like New York and London. But Tokyo's workspaces have bounced back, also thanks to new builds.
The Mikomotojima Lighthouse in Shimoda, Shizuoka Prefecture, was designed by Richard Henry Brunton, a Scotsman who was employed by the Meiji government to build lighthouses across Japan in the 19th century. In "The Japan Lights," author Iain Maloney connects his personal travels and experiences in Japan to Brunton's pursuits.
Oct 1, 2023
'The Japan Lights' traces a journey of self-discovery in the wake of 3/11
Iain Maloney's wise book connects his travels in Japan to the pursuits of Richard Henry Brunton, a Scotsman who built lighthouses across the country.
The Toronto International Film Festival opened on Sept. 7 with admiring applause for "The Boy and the Heron," Japanese animation master Hayao Miyazaki's latest movie — a meditation on love, loss and the horrors of World War II.
Sep 16, 2023
Hayao Miyazaki has ideas for next project after 'The Boy and the Heron'
Junichi Nishioka, Studio Ghibli's vice president for international distribution, says the director "shows the willingness to create something new."
Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Boy and the Heron” follows a young boy who enters a strange realm on a quest to find his missing stepmother.
Sep 4, 2023
‘The Boy and the Heron’ hype ramps up ahead of English release
Pairs of tickets to the Hayao Miyazaki film’s international debut at the Toronto International Film Festival are reselling for as much as ¥45,000.
A woman carries food to customers at a Japanese restaurant in Hong Kong on Wednesday.
Aug 27, 2023
Hong Kong turns to tycoons to get party scene back on track
The government is urging major property groups to help boost the nighttime economy via drink coupons, free events and later shopping hours.
Bob Barker, host of the television game show "The Price is Right," in December 2006
CULTURE / TV & Streaming
Aug 27, 2023
Beloved U.S. game show legend Bob Barker dies age 99
Barker was a prominent animal activist, once donating $5 million to the anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd, which named a vessel after him.
A woman stands on one side of the wall texting in front of a nightclub while, on the other side of the wall, a man works in an izakaya.
PODCAST / deep dive
Aug 24, 2023
One night out in Tokyo
As the last trains leave the central hubs of Shinjuku and Shibuya for the suburbs, much of the city heads home. However, Tokyo never sleeps.
An Air Koryo plane is reflected in a glass structure of the airport in Pyongyang in April 2017.
Aug 22, 2023
North Korea sees first passenger flight in three years
An Air Koryo flight from Pyongyang landed in Beijing early Tuesday for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns began in 2020.
Reader opinions have been mixed on Haruki Murakami's latest novel, “The City and Its Uncertain Walls.”
Aug 20, 2023
Haruki Murakami’s latest has readers and reviewers perplexed
Following the arrival of the renowned author’s first full-length novel in six years, critics and readers have been left scratching their heads.
Fans in Tokyo take pictures of the poster for "The Boy and the Heron."
CULTURE / Entertainment news
Aug 18, 2023
Hayao Miyazaki's final film to open San Sebastian festival
Miyazaki's "The Boy and the Heron" will open two film festivals in September, a rare feat for any director.
Michael Oher (left) has accused Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy of cheating him out of earnings from "The Blind Side," a film based on his life story.
Aug 17, 2023
'Blind Side' couple responds to Michael Oher's lawsuit
Oher, whose life story was the subject of the film "The Blind Side" accused the pair of tricking him into signing away control of his financial affairs.


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