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Battle of Sekigahara: a war set in stone

Travel Mar 19, 2016

Battle of Sekigahara: a war set in stone

by Stephen Mansfield

The open valley basins of Gifu Prefecture at the very center of Honshu, where the town of Sekigahara lies, were easily co-opted as theaters of war. It's no coincidence, given the martial history of the region, that the town of Seki was once known ...

National Jun 22, 2015

Christian warlord Takayama Ukon to be beatified

The Vatican has agreed to recognize Takayama Ukon, one of Japan's best-known Christian warlords, as beatus or "blessed," the stage before being declared a saint, Vatican sources said. A beatification ceremony will be held next year in Japan following an official announcement later this year ...

Commentary / World Aug 4, 2014

Christian heritage of Japan

by Simon Hull

The government's announcement of its intention to make Christian sites in Nagasaki its official candidate for UNESCO World Heritage status in 2016 spotlights a side of Japanese history that many around the world have little awareness of.

Under the beat of the Taiko in Kyoto

Travel Mar 29, 2014

Under the beat of the Taiko in Kyoto

by Ted Taylor

Kyoto's long history has ensured that it has seen its fair share of giants. Yet few of these legends have marked the city's physical appearance to the extent of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, despite the man's reputedly smallish stature. The most obvious of these landmarks was the ...

Chishaku-in: a Kyoto garden of deep repose

Lifestyle Mar 29, 2014

Chishaku-in: a Kyoto garden of deep repose

by Stephen Mansfield

As a garden, Chishaku-in has many of the attributes of Japanese landscape design that should attract a good number of visitors. The fact that the temple in Kyoto's southeastern Higashikawara-cho district is rarely crowded, and that scant attention is paid to it in guidebooks, ...

Sweet times beside a scary Kyoto mound

Travel Nov 2, 2013

Sweet times beside a scary Kyoto mound

by Alon Adika

"You have big hands, so make it a little larger," Kataoka-san said, referring to the piece of sweet mochi (glutinous rice cake) I'd been shaping as dexterously as I could manage. After stretching it out a little more, I again showed it to her. She ...