Unseen Japan

The Japan You Don't Learn About in Anime.

Japanese lighthouse on Sakhalin (a.k.k. Karafuto)

Karafuto: Japan's Lost Prefecture

Essay   By Noah Oskow  ·  April 03, 2019 • Tagged with history, hokkaido, sakhalin, russia, meiji, russo-japanese war, WWII, indigenous, ainu

The story of how, for a brief period of time, an island controlled by Russia became an official part of Japan.

Fetishizing German Ad "Based on Japanese Culture" Draws Fire Across Asia

News   By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  April 02, 2019 • Tagged with equality, racism, commercial, television

Is it Dolce & Gabbana all over again? German company Hornbach's attempt to lampoon a sexual fetish has sparked an online protest across Asia calling for its removal.

Woman in scarf

Burakumin: Japan's Hounded "Untouchables"

Essay   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.


Is Time Running Out for Japan's Idol Culture?

News   By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  March 29, 2019 • Tagged with music, entertainment, idols, women, women's rights, feminism

A high profile abuse case has the Japanese press saying to idol groups: Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

A group of cosplayers in Harajuku.

Where Have Japan's Fashion Subcultures Gone?

Essay   By Krys Suzuki  ·  March 27, 2019 • Tagged with fashion, culture, harajuku, internet

Why have wild fashion subcultures largely disappeared from Tokyo's streets? Blame Uniqlo and the Internet.

Woman looking at her checkbook in shock

Why Do Japanese Programmers Get Paid So Little?

News   By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  March 26, 2019 • Tagged with business, technology, software, money

Programmers, systems engineers, and software architects can command great salaries around the world. Japan, however, is a different story...

Russia, Japan, and Sakhalin/Karafuto

Sakhalin Island: Japan's Final Frontier

Essay   By Noah Oskow  ·  March 25, 2019 • Tagged with history, hokkaido, sakhalin, tokugawa, russia, meiji, indigenous, ainu

How Japan's discovery of a large northern island devastated the island's native population - and how Japan lost control when Russia muscled in.

Drowning in a Sea of Trees: Understanding Aokigahara, Japan's "Suicide Forest"

Essay   By Krys Suzuki  ·  March 21, 2019 • Tagged with society, psychology, health, mental health, travel

Why has Aokigahara, a forest full of legend and history, gained notoriety as a haven of death? (TRIGGER WARNING: Sensitive material)

Man in handcuffs

Will Japan Outlaw Corporal Punishment?

News   By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  March 20, 2019 • Tagged with society, psychology, health, mental health

A series of high-profile deaths of kids has led the Abe admin to proffer a ban on corporal punishment. Is this going too far - or an idea whose time has come?

Cars and avatars

Nissan Wants an Avatar in Every Car by 2025

News   By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  March 19, 2019 • Tagged with technology, business, economy

Will people be projecting themselves into your car in six years? Engineers at Nissan are betting yes.