The life of Satoru Iwata, late Nintendo CEO, remembered in documentary

Thousands paid their respect when Nintendo company president Satoru Iwata passed away in July, facing the brunt of typhoon at his service in Kyoto or leaving notes and letters at The Nintendo World Store in New York and the Nintendo headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

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Edo-period ukiyoe woodblock prints of animals and mythical beasts now available for free online

Lovers of art, history and animals are celebrating the release of an exclusive set of ukiyoe woodblock prints from 1857 that are now free to download and share online.

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History’s worst job? Japanese noblewomen used to hire servants to take the blame for their farts

What would be the ultimate luxury in personal service for a highborn aristocrat? Someone to draw your bath? Peel your grapes? Fan you with palm fronds? How about a servant whose job it is to take the blame for your farts.

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Colorized photos of old-timey Philippines bring the past to life

Black and white photos of the Philippines from as far back as the late 1800s look shockingly modern with just a splash of color.

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China’s Dynasty Warriors are here to remind Yokohama commuters how to behave

If you take a seat on the Yokohama subway next month don’t be surprised if a warlord from China’s Three Kingdoms period advises you on proper public transport behavior.

Wei leader Cao Cao showing you how to give up your seat, or legendary warrior Lu Bu advising you not to run onto trains are but two of the nine posters recently previewed online. Let’s take a look at them all!

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37 amazing photographs of the people of old Japan living their daily lives 【Photos】

Earlier this month, we looked at a collection of photos taken by the late Kusakabe Kimbei that showed the cityscapes of Japan as they looked in the late 1800s, right before the country’s rapid modernization. But Kimbei didn’t just photograph Japan, he also photographed the Japanese, so today we’re taking another trip back in time, but with a more personal touch, with dozens of photographs that show what daily life was like for the people of Japan generations ago.

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These gorgeous photos of 19th century Japan might as well be a time machine 【Photos】

Take a trip back to 1800s Japan with this collection of breathtaking photographs.

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The “Nintendo PlayStation”: a look at the console that could’ve changed gaming history【Video】

For most modern gamers, the idea of rival video game giants Nintendo and Sony collaborating on a project is pretty much unthinkable. But believe it or not, back in the day when the Super Nintendo was king, Sony and Nintendo were supposed to team up to make a new console. Unfortunately the deal went sour, and it was thought that all prototypes of the mythical Sony-Nintendo console were gone.

Until now. A working copy of what has been dubbed the “Nintendo PlayStation” was recently brought to light and shown off online for the world to see. Join us after the jump to witness what could’ve been…

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First, possibly most ironic, underwater ruins discovered in Japan’s largest lake

On 4 November, Ei Nakayama of The University of Shiga Prefecture made a historic announcement that eight man-made pillars had been found standing upright at the bottom of Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture.

Despite the country’s long history and relatively changeable landscape due to seismic and volcanic activity, this is actually the first time ruins have ever been found underwater in Japan.

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French journalist’s photos of 1930s Shanghai take us back in time【Photos】

While much of the world is celebrating Marty McFly coming back to the future on October 21, 2015, some of us are taking a look back to the past. A Chinese newspaper recently republished a batch of famous photos by French photographer Louis-Philippe Messelier depicting 1930s Shanghai, bringing them back into the limelight.

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Working like a dog – Old-timey Japanese invention planned to turn pooch power into butter

Japan’s Meiji period ushered in revolutionary changes to the country. As over 200 years of self-imposed isolation came to an end, centuries of economic, political, and scientific advances came flooding into Japan, and the nation’s thinkers and entrepreneurs began scrambling to modernize. Thanks to their efforts, soon after the Meiji period began in 1868, Japan had its first railways, banks, and apparently a dog-powered butter-making machine.

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Hotel offers guests the chance to experience the 1,000-year-old lifestyle of the Heian Period

Japanese history can be a lot of fun to explore, from the Sengoku era to the modernization of Japan in the Meiji Period. We’re sure everyone has their own favorite time period, but one that doesn’t always get the respect it deserves is the Heian Period. Lasting roughly from 794 to 1185, the period was a relatively peaceful time in Japan that saw a blossoming of culture in everything from literature to music.

Unfortunately, we can’t just hop on a plane and go back in time to see everything for ourselves. But there is a hotel in Shikoku where you can experience a bit of the Heian life for yourself complete with period costumes, games, and architecture! So whether you’re a history buff or just need a major change of scenery, you’ll want to check out Gosho Yashiro no Mori!
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Samurai Studio: Tokyo’s new photo studio where you can get your picture taken in samurai armor

Even in the modern era, you’ll find plenty of occasions in Japan to dress up in kimono, such as for festivals, fireworks exhibitions, or other special events (and considering how relatively easy it is to do, it’s something you really should try at least once). But as much as Japan may love its traditions and history, there aren’t too many occasions when you get to strap on a set of samurai armor, so when life gives you the opportunity to do so, like at this new photo studio in Tokyo, you won’t want to let it pass you by.

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Sports car or fighter plane? American tuner’s Nissan GT-R looks like World War II’s Zero

Somewhere along the way, people started calling Nissan’s GT-R, the company’s flagship sports car, “Godzilla.” It’s a fitting nickname, since the GT-R is intimidatingly powerful, and also because with a curb weight of 1,740 kilograms (3,836 pounds), it’s not exactly svelte.

Still, one American turning shop thinks there’s an even more apt comparison to be made that to the King of the Monsters, and has created a customized GT-R with its appearance based on the Imperial Japanese military’s World War II Zero fighter plane.

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The surprising and little-known Japanese art of gyotaku: culinary prints made with real fish

Japan has a fascinating art history. From early cord designs on clay vessels in the Jomon period (c. 11000–c. 300 BC) through to picture scrolls, ukiyo-e woodblock prints, and the distinctive style of animation that exists today, people in Japan have always found unique ways to capture the world around them for the rest of the world to see.

One little-known art technique from the 1800s is now making a comeback, and while its roots are firmly planted in Japan’s traditional history, it’s a method of printing that people all around the world can enjoy. All you need is paper, some paint and a nice-looking fish.

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These Edo-period sketches of human skeletons are oddly adorable despite being totally creepy

The Edo Period was a time of great change for Japan, in just about every way possible. Perhaps one of the areas of biggest change, though, was science and medicine, thanks to the numerous scholars who spent years learning not only from Western sources but also from their own work.

One of the pioneers of medicine in the Edo Period was Toshuku Neguro, an ophthalmologist who sketched the first Japanese diagram of the human skeleton. While it was likely a fairly gruesome job, Neguro’s sketches are somehow almost…cute?!

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We explore the evolution of the toilet at Kitakyushu’s newly opened TOTO Museum

What would modern life be like without the humble toilet? Actually, we’d rather not think about that.

Many of us around the world should direct our thanks to TOTO Ltd., the world’s largest manufacturer of toilets and the very company that invented the washlet. In fact, Friday, August 28 marked the grand opening of the new TOTO Museum in Fukuoka Prefecture, where the company was originally founded in 1917.

Takashi Harada, our Japanese reporter who proclaims that he couldn’t survive a day without a washlet, immediately made a bee line to the new sanctuary to give thanks to the toilet gods and to learn a bit about the historical evolution of the toilet.

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Even samurai ran late! Newly discovered document shows one warrior’s excuse to his boss

We’ve all been there, waking up late after the alarm didn’t go off or just hitting the snooze button a few hundred times too many. Sometimes the excuses are legitimate and sometimes everyone knows you didn’t actually get food poisoning while rescuing a Girl Scout troop from a box of bad cookies. Still, calling in sick has a timed-honored tradition of hard (and lazy) workers for decades — and, in fact, for centuries!

A recently discovered document on display at the Tochigi Prefectural Museum reveals the reason why one daimyo (samurai warlord) was late to an important meeting with his boss, the famous Toyotomi Hideyoshi. We’re guessing “Sorry, boss, I have a sore throat!” probably didn’t cut it with one of Japan’s great unifiers…

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World War II ended 70 years ago — here’s the planned US invasion of Japan that never happened

On August 14, 1945, US President Harry Truman announced the unconditional surrender of Japanese Emperor Hirohito, thereby ending World War II.

The surrender came after months of bombing raids across the Japanese countryside, two atomic bombs, and the Soviet Union’s declaration of war on the island nation.

The iron resolve of the Japanese was a major factor the US anticipated while planning the invasion of mainland Japan. The culture known for literally putting death before dishonor with practices such as hara-kiri would not, by any stretch of the imagination, go softly into surrender.

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Disney’s Japanese Twitter account calls anniversary of Nagasaki bombing “Nothing Special Day”

It’s hard to overstate what an excellent job Disney does with its marketing in Japan. In a country that produces more mainstream animation than anywhere else on the planet, Disney still manages to stand out from the domestically made competition, winning the hearts of Japanese audiences and turning them into life-long fans.

At least part of that success is thanks to the company’s willingness to adapt to local tastes, as Disney’s two Tokyo-area theme parks put a greater emphasis on shows, parades, and seasonal events than their counterparts in the U.S. On the merchandising end, there are not only high-class items created specifically for Japan, but entire retail divisions.

Still, everyone makes mistakes, and Disney made a big one when it sent out a message from its official Japanese Twitter account declaring the date of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki to be Nothing Special Day.

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