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.

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

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 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.

Kaminari Gate (雷門) at Sensouji (浅草寺).

Hatsumōde: Japan's First Shrine Visit of the New Year

By Alyssa Pearl Fusek  ·  January 01, 2019 • Tagged with new years, holiday, culture, religion

How Japan's most popular New Years custom has changed over the centuries.

Kimura Komako Marching in New York

Kimura Komako: The Dancing Feminist

By Alyssa Pearl Fusek  ·  December 18, 2018 • Tagged with women, feminism, history, culture, women of japan

Born in an era in Japan when women's rights were more oppressed than ever, Kimura Komako never gave up the fight - even when that meant taking the fight overseas.

Lonely child on swing

Life in Limbo: How Japan is Failing its Institutionalized Children

By Alyssa Pearl Fusek  ·  December 06, 2018

Alyssa Pearl Fusek on how Japanese law and cultural attitudes leave foster kids in limbo.