Unseen Japan

The Japan You Don't Learn About in Anime.

About Unseen Japan

Torii, or Shinto gates.
A set of *torii*, or Shinto shrin gates, meant to symbolize the separation of the lowly world of humans from the world of the *kami* (神), or gods. Photo by Jay Andrew Allen.

Welcome to Unseen Japan - "the Japan you don't learn about in anime". Our site focuses exclusively on long-form, in-depth content about Japanese people, history, and culture. Our goal is to help educate people about the real Japan. Our posts are largely based on original Japanese sources, both to minimize distortion, as well as to bring you, the reader, the views and concerns of Japanese people in their own words. We also work to fight misconceptions and prejudices about Japan that exist in the English speaking Western world.

Publisher/Writer: Jay Andrew Allen

Jay Andrew Allen
Me at the Noto Milk Factory in Watami, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan. Photo by Aya Allen.

I'm a long time software product manager who has had a passion for Japan since middle school. And yes, full confession: the first thing that got me into studying Japan and Japanese was anime. My tastes these days, however, lean more toward news, variety, drama, and modern Japanese literature. I currently hold a Level N1 Certification in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT; 日本語能力試験), which I earned in August 2018. I am currently working towards additional certifications, such as the Kanji Kentei.

I also use my Japanese languages skills as a technical program manager for large tech companies by helping teams bridge cultural and language boundaries to complete large-scale software projects. If you have need of such skills, please feel free to contact me on LinkedIn.

My aim is to continuously improve my Japanese skills so that I can facilitate communication and cross-cultural exchange between Japan and the English-speaking West. I hope this blog accomplishes that to some small degree. Note: I am still learning and perfecting my Japanese. Any mistakes found in this site are my own, and corrections are welcome.

Staff Writers

We have a number of different writers who submit great content for us. If you're interested in writing for Unseen Japan, check out our guidelines, and contact us!

Krys Suzuki

Krys is a Japanese-fluent, English native currently based in the US. A former Tokyo English teacher and translator for several Japanese companies, Krys now works full time as a freelance artist, writer and translator with a focus on subjects related to Japanese language and culture.

Alyssa Pearl Fusek

Alyssa Pearl Fusek is a freelance Japan and mental health content writer living in Chico, California with her partner and one cat. She graduated in 2015 from Willamette University with a B.A. in Japanese Studies and continues to improve her Japanese language skills. She is also a published poet and fiction writer. You can check out her freelance writing work at The Japanese Pearl.

Noah Oskow

Noah Oskow is a professional Japanese translator and interpreter who holds a BA in East Asian Languages and Cultures. He has lived, studied and worked in Japan for nearly seven years, including two years studying at Sophia University in Tokyo and four years teaching English on the JET Program in rural Fukushima Prefecture. His experiences with language learning and historical and cultural studies as well as his extensive experience in world travel have lead to appearances at speaking events and popular podcasts. Noah is currently working on his Masters Degree in Global Studies at Leipzig University in Germany.

Emma Ford

Emma holds an MA in Advanced Japanese Studies from Sheffield University. The child of a Japanese mother, Emma grew up in Japan as well as England, and is fully fluent in both Japanese and English. Emma contributes essays based on her experiences growing up as a child of two cultures.