Unseen Japan

The Japan You Don't Learn About in Anime.

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.

Two old people getting the respect they deserve.

What is Respect for the Aged Day (敬老の日)?

By Emma Ford  ·  September 14, 2018 • Tagged with news, holidays, culture

What is Respect for the Aged Day (敬老の日)? And why do those lucky suckers in Japan get a day off for it?! Emma Ford provides an overview of next week's holiday, including its origins and related cultural myths.

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.

Manhole cover of Chibi Maruko-chan.

Remembering Sakura Momoko: The Very Japanese Life of the Creator of "Chibi Maruko-chan"

By Emma Ford  ·  September 12, 2018 • Tagged with news, people, manga, entertainment

The life of the legendary cartoonist and essayist Sakura Momoko was one of juxtaposition between traditional and modern Japan. A look back at the creator of Chibi Maruko-chan.

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.

頑張れ、日本!(Ganbare, Nippon!)

Let's Hail the Calm and Collected Sportsmanship of Osaka Naomi (大坂なおみ)

By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  September 09, 2018 • Tagged with news, sports, culture

In the controversy surrounding the US Open match, let's focus on the positive and laud Osaka Naomi's talent, tact, and sportsmanship.

A torii battered by a storm.

After the Storm: Japanese Social Media Captures Pictures from Typhoon 21 ("Jebi")

By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  September 05, 2018 • Tagged with news, weather, disasters

From toppled trucks to dumpsters and vending machines "driving" down streets, Japanese social media users captured some amazing footage of "Jebi", a.k.a. Typhoon 21.

Aragaki Yui (

Zero-Second Chicken Ramen?! How Instant Ramen's Creator is Bringing Sexy Back to Its Products

By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  September 05, 2018 • Tagged with news, entertainment, food

How do you boost sales of an instant noodle product that's been around for 60 years? Nissin found a way.

Is Disneyland Japan's Latest "Black Industry"? Employees Sue Company Over Alleged Mistreatment

By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  September 03, 2018 • Tagged with news, business

Disneyand Japan becomes the latest in a long line of Japanese companies accused of abusing employees.