Unseen Japan

The Japan You Don't Learn About in Anime.

Woman sitting on counter
Kaminari Gate (雷門) at Sensouji (浅草寺).

The History and Traditions of New Year's Celebrations in Japan

By Krys Suzuki  ·  December 27, 2018 • Tagged with culture, celebration, holidays, new year

How the oldest celebrated holiday in Japan has changed throughout the years, and the traditions that have come along with it.

A house of yen in flames

Mottainai Culture: The History and Philosophy of Waste in Japan

By Krys Suzuki  ·  December 20, 2018 • Tagged with culture, society, waste, environment

Though sometimes honored more in the breach than the observance, Japan's philosophy of "waste not, want not" strongly influences everyday culture.

Kimura Komako Marching in New York

Kimura Komako: The Dancing Feminist

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

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.

The Inari Shrine in Fushimi district, Kyoto, Japan.

Shinto: Japan's Non-Religious Religion?

By Krys Suzuki  ·  December 14, 2018 • Tagged with religion, faith, spirituality, society, culture

Shinto is more than a religion - it's also an indelible part of Japanese culture. Krys Suzuki discusses the structure, beliefs, and complex history of Japan's native faith.

How Japan Re-Branded Christmas

By Krys Suzuki  ·  December 11, 2018 • Tagged with holidays, christmas, new years, celebrations, events, culture, religion

How did a non-Christian nation make a holiday rooted in Christian tradition its own?

Prince Akishinonomiya and his wife, Kiko, at a press conference.

The 2 Billion Yen Ascension: Japan's Budget-Busting Royal Ritual

By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  December 10, 2018 • Tagged with religion, shinto, politics, culture, emperor, royal family, daijousai

When the new Emperor takes his throne in 2019, Japan’s taxpayers will spend billions on a Shinto religious rite. Some - including a Prince - say that’s unconstitutional.

Akutagawa Ryunosuke

Akutagawa Ryunosuke: A Life of Intense and Fleeting Genius

By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  December 05, 2018 • Tagged with literature, culture, writing, people, Showa era, whos who, history

A brilliant author. A tragic trajectory. A powerful legacy. Learn more about the writer whose works inspired one of Kurosawa's most famous films.

A saisenbako, or change collection box used at Shinto shrines.

QR Code of the Gods: Will Tech Save Religion in Japan?

By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  November 28, 2018 • Tagged with religion, faith, culture, shinto, buddhism, technology

From drone-riding Buddhas to monk rentals on Amazon, Japan's temples and shrines are finding unique ways to stay solvent during uncertain times.