Unseen Japan

The Japan You Don't Learn About in Anime.

Awkward English only conversation
Cats mingle with the residents of Aoshima.
Grand Executive Room in the Hotel Grassino and Urban Resort, Shinjuku, Tokyo.

The Evolution of Japan's Love Hotels

By Krystle Suzuki  ·  October 18, 2018 • Tagged with romance, relationships, society, culture, business

Why do love hotels exist in Japan? And how have they evolved to change with the times? Krystle Suzuki examines the 400-year history of this cultural phenomenon.

Inoue Junk as Princess Banana

Return of the Banana Princess: How a Fruit-Clad Cosplayer Came to Represent a Southern Japanese City

By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  October 09, 2018 • Tagged with culture, society, cosplay, kyushu

A popular city mascot resumes her vaunted role. Learn about Japan's history of "discount banana hawking", and how it gave birth to Princess Banana, the tourist symbol of Kitakyushu City.

A woman putting on makeup in a garbage pile.

Are The Japanese Really THAT Clean?

By Emma Ford  ·  October 04, 2018 • Tagged with cleaning, souji, household, society

The stereotype holds that Japan is a meticulously clean country. Emma Ford looks at the difference between public and private behavior, and separates fact from fiction.

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?

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.

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.

Various Japan Government Agencies Caught Falsifying Disabled Employment Data

By Emma Ford  ·  September 03, 2018 • Tagged with news, society, politics, government, scandal

The Abe cabinet comes under scrutiny again following yet another scandal. Is the Japanese public losing confidence in their government?


Japanese Court Reaffirms Right to Contract Out Breaking Up Your Ex's Relationship

By Jay Andrew Allen  ·  August 29, 2018 • Tagged with news, true crime, society

A man paid a detective agency to break up his ex so he could get back together with her - and then tried to stiff the detective agency on the bill.