Unseen Japan

The Japan You Don't Learn About in Anime.

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Ninja scaling a wall
A diagram of the different cuts of the horse from Rocky, a horse specialty restaurant a short walk from Shibuya Station in Tokyo.
A woman holding her well-gained money.

A Tansu Full of Dollars: Why Japan Has Such a Hardcore Savings Culture

Essay   By Emma Ford  ·  September 25, 2018 • Tagged with essay, culture, money

Why do people in Japan save more compared to people in other countries? Emma Ford discusses how a saving ethic became built into the culture.

Tsukimi poster

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

Essay   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?

Essay   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.

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

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

Essay   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.

Shhhh...

Silence is Golden? Moving from "Quiet" Japan to the Wild, Wild West

Essay   By Emma Ford  ·  August 13, 2018 • Tagged with essay, culture

Japan as an island nation is known to be respectful and quiet. Emma Ford describes what it's like to live this reality as a child growing up in the country - and then to suddenly find herself in a mirror world.

The nightmare remnants of a coaster in Nara Dreamland.

How Japan's Nara Dreamland Became a Nightmare

Essay   By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  July 22, 2018 • Tagged with essay, tourism, travel, business

Why did Japan think it needed its own version of Disney World? And why do its ruins still haunt the city of Nara?

Kasamori Osen, in a classic Japanese pin-up shot.

Kasamori Osen: The Idol Star of Edo Japan

Essay   By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  July 05, 2018 • Tagged with essay, history, people, Edo era

Before AKB48, there was Kasamori Osen, the original idol star of Edo Japan.

Kuroki Nana (left) and Kobayashi Mao.

A Tale of Two Cancers: The Short, Full Lives of Kobayashi Mao and Kuroki Nana

Essay   By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  July 02, 2018 • Tagged with essay, culture, health, people, cancer, wellness

The very similar lives of two Japanese women and their battles against a terrible disease.