Unseen Japan

The Japan You Don't Learn About in Anime.

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.

New notes on currency

The Revolutionary Faces of Japan's New Currency

By Alyssa Pearl Fusek  ·  May 09, 2019 • Tagged with history, currency, money, business

Japan may be pivoting to a cashless society, but cash is still king - and the figures chosen for its new currency express both the nation's pride in its past and its hopes for the future.

Carp streamers at Tokyo Tower commemorating Children's Day

A 10-Day Vacation: Behind Japan's Epic "Golden Week"

By Alyssa Pearl Fusek  ·  April 22, 2019 • Tagged with holidays, vacation, travel, work, economy, emperor

How did Japan's notoriously long yearly holiday get even longer? Inside the holidays that make up Golden Week.

Woman in scarf

Burakumin: Japan's Hounded "Untouchables"

By Alyssa Pearl Fusek  ·  April 01, 2019 • Tagged with equality, society, discrimination, equal rights

While Japan has no formal caste system today, one "underclass" still finds itself routinely hounded and persecuted.

Entrance to the Ainu Museum in Shiroai, Hokkaido

Why Japan's Ainu Recognition Bill Upsets the Ainu

By Alyssa Pearl Fusek  ·  March 18, 2019 • Tagged with ainu, hokkdaio, indigenous, history, law, equality

After all these years, the Japanese government officially recognized the Ainu. Here's why the Ainu can't take them seriously.

Sign posts of smart phone game characters in Akihabara, Japan

Not So Kawaii: How Japan's "Culture of Cute" Traps Japanese Women

By Alyssa Pearl Fusek  ·  March 11, 2019 • Tagged with equality, feminism, women, women's rights

It rakes in trillions for Japan, but is kawaii culture forcing Japanese women into a no-win situation?

Man firing arrow from a horse in a display of yabusame, the traditional form of Japanese horseback archery

Yabusame: The Art and Ritual of Japanese Horseback Archery

By Alyssa Pearl Fusek  ·  February 21, 2019 • Tagged with archery, sports, history, tradition, culture

Ancient. Colorful. Hard as hell. Learn how the samurai's "way of the bow and horse" evolved into a beautiful art form.

Woman in distress

The Shocking Consequences of Mental Illness Stigma in Japan

By Alyssa Pearl Fusek  ·  February 06, 2019 • Tagged with mental health, psychology, health, wellness, society

While Japan has made strides in recent years, a stigma around mental illness lingers - with sometimes horrifying consequences.

Japanese delegation arrives to sign Japan's declaration of surrender.

Resistance and Acceptance in the Allied Occupation of Japan

By Alyssa Pearl Fusek  ·  January 28, 2019 • Tagged with history, culture, society

How the Allied Occupation plunged Japan into a national Five Stages of Grief - and how it permanently changed Japanese society and government.

A Militarized Japan? The Quest to Revise Article 9 of Japan's Constitution

By Alyssa Pearl Fusek  ·  January 18, 2019 • Tagged with justice, crime, law, constitution

Will Japan move from maintaining a pure self-defense force to creating an army that can go on the offense?

The Emperor's Residence at night

Dawn of a New Era: Why Japan's Calendars Will Change With the New Emperor

By Alyssa Pearl Fusek  ·  January 11, 2019 • Tagged with news, emperor, imperial era, heisei, government, politics, imperial family

When Crown Prince Naruhito becomes Emperor this year, a new era will literally dawn in Japan. Alyssa Pearl Fusek explores the history of era names in Japan.