Unseen Japan

The Japan You Don't Learn About in Anime.

Cashless financial transaction.
Inoue Junk as Princess Banana
Mariko Kai and Sally Field.

How Netflix's MANIAC Makes (Some) Strides Melding Cultures

By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  October 02, 2018 • Tagged with news, entertainment, movies, tv

Netflix's Maniac, directed by Japanese-American auteur Cary Joji Fukunaga, melds Japanese and American cultures convincingly. But in other ways, the series still shows how far Hollywood has to go.

A diagram of the different cuts of the horse from Rocky, a horse specialty restaurant a short walk from Shibuya Station in Tokyo.

Looks Like Chicken: My First Time (Accidentally) Eating Horse in Japan

By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  October 01, 2018 • Tagged with essay, food, drink, japanese

The first time I ate raw horse in Tokyo, it was all a big linguistic misunderstanding.

Book being tossed in garbage

Japanese Magazine That Published Anti-LGBT Screed Did It for the Money, Says Writers

By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  September 28, 2018 • Tagged with news, LGBT, politics, government

The magazine that published a politician's piece calling LGBT people "unproductive" halts publication as some Japanese experts decry the publishing industry's drift to the far right.

A man praying at a home before cleaning it.

Dying Alone in Japan: Why "Kodokushi" (孤独死) Is On The Rise

By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  September 24, 2018 • Tagged with news, society

"A congealed, black pool of blood spread out from the body in the bathtub." As Japan's population ages, more people are dying alone. Can anything be done?

Tsukimi poster

Tsukimi (月見), The Season of Moon Viewing, Begins on September 24th

By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  September 20, 2018 • Tagged with essay, holidays, culture

Tsukimi, the season of moon viewing, starts next week in Japan. Learn more about this day's origins, how to make Tsukimi Dumplings, and why the rabbit in the moon is pounding a rice cake.

Dazaifu Tenmanguu Shrine in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture.

Why Are the Japanese Not Religious?

By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  September 18, 2018 • Tagged with essay, culture, society, religion

Why, in a country littered with shrines and temples, does the majority of the population claim to practice no religion? I examine some pet theories on how history and culture have shaped worship (and the lack thereof) in Japan.

Retiring Amuro Namie to Japanese Press: Back Off My Family

By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  September 13, 2018 • Tagged with news, entertainment, music

The retirement of Amuro Namie has given us proof that, no matter how "polite" your culture is, the press are pretty much a-holes everywhere.

A clerk performing dogeza, a traditional deep bow of supplication or apology.

Japanese Business Experts Decry Japan's "Customer is God" Mentality

By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  September 11, 2018 • Tagged with essay, business, society

Japan's customer service is world famous, but some Japanese commentators wonder whether the country has gone too far.