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Featured image for Tanabata in Sendai: An Old-School Star FestivalBackground image for Tanabata in Sendai: An Old-School Star Festival

Tanabata in Sendai: An Old-School Star Festival

Tanabata is one of Japan's most famous holidays. In northern Sendai, however, it's a little extra special. Discover the story of Sendai Tanabata.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for The Disappearance of Meiji: Why it’s Hard to Find Tokyo’s Recent PastBackground image for The Disappearance of Meiji: Why it’s Hard to Find Tokyo’s Recent Past

The Disappearance of Meiji: Why it’s Hard to Find Tokyo’s Recent Past

In Tokyo, the recent past is often obscured beneath endless concrete. Take a journey through the city's history to discover why.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for How Nihon Became Japan: the Etymology of Japan in EnglishBackground image for How Nihon Became Japan: the Etymology of Japan in English

How Nihon Became Japan: the Etymology of Japan in English

Most languages use a variation of the name Japan - except for Japan itself! Learn the etymology of Japan, and the reason for the difference.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Japan’s Gender Gap Widens, According to 2022 Global Gender Gap ReportBackground image for Japan’s Gender Gap Widens, According to 2022 Global Gender Gap Report

Japan’s Gender Gap Widens, According to 2022 Global Gender Gap Report

The 2022 annual Global Gender Gap Report by the WEF ranks Japan's gender gap at 116 of 145 countries. What accounts for this downward trend?

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Mr. Yakult: Shirota Minoru, the Microbiologist Behind Japan’s Favorite Health DrinkBackground image for Mr. Yakult: Shirota Minoru, the Microbiologist Behind Japan’s Favorite Health Drink

Mr. Yakult: Shirota Minoru, the Microbiologist Behind Japan’s Favorite Health Drink

Learn how tragedy inspired Shirota Minoru, father of popular Japanese drink Yakult, to pursue a career in preventive medicine.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for In Japan, Anger at Anti-LGBT Booklet Issued by Ruling LDPBackground image for In Japan, Anger at Anti-LGBT Booklet Issued by Ruling LDP

In Japan, Anger at Anti-LGBT Booklet Issued by Ruling LDP

Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party courted controversy when it circulated an anti-LGBT tract at a recent pre-election conference.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Japanese Star Shelly Defends Trans People in Abortion RemarksBackground image for Japanese Star Shelly Defends Trans People in Abortion Remarks

Japanese Star Shelly Defends Trans People in Abortion Remarks

A Japanese talent defends her use of transgender-inclusive language in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Abuse in the Geisha World: Former Maiko Speaks OutBackground image for Abuse in the Geisha World: Former Maiko Speaks Out

Abuse in the Geisha World: Former Maiko Speaks Out

A former apprentice who spent years in a Kyoto geisha house created a flurry of online activity after describing abuses in the traditional industry.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Handsy Japan Innovation Party Politician Draws Online IreBackground image for Handsy Japan Innovation Party Politician Draws Online Ire

Handsy Japan Innovation Party Politician Draws Online Ire

A Japan Innovation Party politician raised eyebrows when filmed being a bit too touchy-feely with a candidate while giving a stump speech.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Stranger in the Shogun’s City is Masterful History and StorytellingBackground image for Stranger in the Shogun’s City is Masterful History and Storytelling

Stranger in the Shogun’s City is Masterful History and Storytelling

In Stranger in the Shogun's City, Dr. Amy Stanley brings the story of one 19th-century Japanese woman to life.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Japan Still “Shackled” by Internet Explorer as Support EndsBackground image for Japan Still “Shackled” by Internet Explorer as Support Ends

Japan Still “Shackled” by Internet Explorer as Support Ends

Support for Internet Explorer officially ended in June 2022. So why are some workplaces in Japan still writing code for it?

Unseen Japan

Featured image for This Randoseru Backpack Rethink Angered Some Grumpy Grown-UpsBackground image for This Randoseru Backpack Rethink Angered Some Grumpy Grown-Ups

This Randoseru Backpack Rethink Angered Some Grumpy Grown-Ups

Adults in Japan took to social media to lambaste a new randoseru backpack accessory. And then the kids who designed it clapped back.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Modern Pachinko: The Game That Definitely Isn’t Gambling!Background image for Modern Pachinko: The Game That Definitely Isn’t Gambling!

Modern Pachinko: The Game That Definitely Isn’t Gambling!

How the modern game of pachinko, become one of Japan's primary forms of legalized...well, let's not call it gambling, shall we?

Unseen Japan

Featured image for NHK Fee Change: Pay Up – Even If You Don’t Own a TV!Background image for NHK Fee Change: Pay Up – Even If You Don’t Own a TV!

NHK Fee Change: Pay Up – Even If You Don’t Own a TV!

A revision to Japan's Broadcasting Act might make it impossible to avoid the NHK guy slapping you with the NHK fee.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Review: Shin Ultraman is no Shin Godzilla – But That’s Not a Bad ThingBackground image for Review: Shin Ultraman is no Shin Godzilla – But That’s Not a Bad Thing

Review: Shin Ultraman is no Shin Godzilla – But That’s Not a Bad Thing

Shin Ultraman, Anno Hideaki and Higuchi Shinji's second modern tokusatsu adaptation, isn't exactly deep - but it's a tremendous amount of campy fun.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for This Japanese Nursing Home Has a Stable of Bodybuilding NursesBackground image for This Japanese Nursing Home Has a Stable of Bodybuilding Nurses

This Japanese Nursing Home Has a Stable of Bodybuilding Nurses

Faced with a caregiver shortage, one Japanese nursing home is recruiting new nurses from Japan's fitness world.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Many in Japan Say They’ll Keep Masking UpBackground image for Many in Japan Say They’ll Keep Masking Up

Many in Japan Say They’ll Keep Masking Up

Even as hot and humid weather descends on Japan, many say they won't be removing their masks any time soon.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for A Revision to Japan Border Controls Recognizes Same-Sex PartnershipsBackground image for A Revision to Japan Border Controls Recognizes Same-Sex Partnerships

A Revision to Japan Border Controls Recognizes Same-Sex Partnerships

A statement by Takako Suzuki, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, offers hope to same-sex partners wanting to reunite in Japan.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for The Surprising Health Drink That’s Taking Japan by StormBackground image for The Surprising Health Drink That’s Taking Japan by Storm

The Surprising Health Drink That’s Taking Japan by Storm

A venerable Japanese company's latest product reputedly packs a punch. The down side? You'll have to find it first.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Right-Wing Party’s Comfort Women Exhibit Sparks OutrageBackground image for Right-Wing Party’s Comfort Women Exhibit Sparks Outrage

Right-Wing Party’s Comfort Women Exhibit Sparks Outrage

A grotesque "art exhibit" by a staunchly anti-Korean right-wing Japanese party has led to a harsh backlash in the country.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for The Town of Abu vs. The GamblerBackground image for The Town of Abu vs. The Gambler

The Town of Abu vs. The Gambler

A small town accidentally gave a man a small fortune. What the man did next has made national headlines in Japan.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Acceptance for “Kira Kira” Names? How Japan’s Koseki Rules May ChangeBackground image for Acceptance for “Kira Kira” Names? How Japan’s Koseki Rules May Change

Acceptance for “Kira Kira” Names? How Japan’s Koseki Rules May Change

The rise of JPN kira kira names with unexpected kanji readings has sparked controversy. Will altering the family register system change all that?

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Lost and Restored: The Equestrian Statue of Date MasamuneBackground image for Lost and Restored: The Equestrian Statue of Date Masamune

Lost and Restored: The Equestrian Statue of Date Masamune

A massive earthquake struck northern Japan, damaging the famed statue of Date Masamune in Sendai. But Date - and Sendai - are nothing if not resilient.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Abortion In Japan: A HistoryBackground image for Abortion In Japan: A History

Abortion In Japan: A History

A look at how abortion in Japan evolved throughout the ages, from a financial necessity to a call for the acknowledgment of women's rights.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Volunteer Efforts May Help Save Historic Yuki Sake BreweryBackground image for Volunteer Efforts May Help Save Historic Yuki Sake Brewery

Volunteer Efforts May Help Save Historic Yuki Sake Brewery

After a fire devastates historic Japanese cultural landmark, Yuki Sake Brewery, volunteer efforts commence to aid its revival.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Yabai! The Most Versatile Word in the Japanese Language?Background image for Yabai! The Most Versatile Word in the Japanese Language?

Yabai! The Most Versatile Word in the Japanese Language?

There's no Japanese word quite like yabai: the extremely popular slang term can mean anything from "awful" to "risky" to "excellent, dude!"

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Japan’s Tourism Reopening: What We Know So FarBackground image for Japan’s Tourism Reopening: What We Know So Far

Japan’s Tourism Reopening: What We Know So Far

Last week, Prime Minister Kishida announced Japan would reopen to tourism from June. The actual details are a bit more complex - and remain murky.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Tokyo Rainbow Pride Protest Raises Questions About LGBTQ-Friendly Workplace PoliciesBackground image for Tokyo Rainbow Pride Protest Raises Questions About LGBTQ-Friendly Workplace Policies

Tokyo Rainbow Pride Protest Raises Questions About LGBTQ-Friendly Workplace Policies

A certain realization led one Tokyo Rainbow Pride participant to protest, and call attention to one company's much-needed policy updates.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Shigenobu Fusako, Japanese Red Army Leader, to be Released from Prison this MonthBackground image for Shigenobu Fusako, Japanese Red Army Leader, to be Released from Prison this Month

Shigenobu Fusako, Japanese Red Army Leader, to be Released from Prison this Month

After twenty years, Shigenobu Fusako, the face of the infamous international Japanese Red Army, will see the end of her prison sentence.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Saboru: The Strange Origins of “Cutting Class” in JapaneseBackground image for Saboru: The Strange Origins of “Cutting Class” in Japanese

Saboru: The Strange Origins of “Cutting Class” in Japanese

The creation of the 8-hour workday, an early 20th-century vogue for foreign words - all led to the most popular Japanese word many don't even realize is foreign…

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Tokyo Vice (The Book): Everything You Wanted To Know but Didn’t Ask Because You Were Too Busy Watching The ShowBackground image for Tokyo Vice (The Book): Everything You Wanted To Know but Didn’t Ask Because You Were Too Busy Watching The Show

Tokyo Vice (The Book): Everything You Wanted To Know but Didn’t Ask Because You Were Too Busy Watching The Show

Jake Adelstein reflects on Tokyo Vice, his true-to-life memoir on the Japanese underworld that spawned the hit HBO show.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for FamilyMart Rainbow Socks Arrive In Continuation Of LGBTQ+ Inclusivity EffortsBackground image for FamilyMart Rainbow Socks Arrive In Continuation Of LGBTQ+ Inclusivity Efforts

FamilyMart Rainbow Socks Arrive In Continuation Of LGBTQ+ Inclusivity Efforts

Popular Japanese convenience store launches FamilyMart Rainbow Socks in support of the LGBT+ community in Japan.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for How Sakura Blossoms Gained Cultural Significance in JapanBackground image for How Sakura Blossoms Gained Cultural Significance in Japan

How Sakura Blossoms Gained Cultural Significance in Japan

The sakura (cherry blossom) is practically synonymous with Japan. Here's a deeper look at the history of this fascinating flower's popularity

Unseen Japan

Featured image for UN Women Calls Out Sexualized “Getsuyoubi no Tawawa” Newspaper AdBackground image for UN Women Calls Out Sexualized “Getsuyoubi no Tawawa” Newspaper Ad

UN Women Calls Out Sexualized “Getsuyoubi no Tawawa” Newspaper Ad

A full-page spread run by The NIkkei advertising a popular ecchi manga has caused backlash - including from the New York-based UN Women.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Tokyo Vice’s Jake Adelstein: Everything You Wanted To Know (But Were Mildly Afraid To Ask)Background image for Tokyo Vice’s Jake Adelstein: Everything You Wanted To Know (But Were Mildly Afraid To Ask)

Tokyo Vice’s Jake Adelstein: Everything You Wanted To Know (But Were Mildly Afraid To Ask)

In an Unseen Japan exclusive, Jake Adelstein, reporter and basis of HBO's new series Tokyo Vice, lays down the facts about his life.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Cherry Blossoms, Miyagi Style: The Shiogama-sakuraBackground image for Cherry Blossoms, Miyagi Style: The Shiogama-sakura

Cherry Blossoms, Miyagi Style: The Shiogama-sakura

On the grounds of Shiogama City's Shiogama Shrine are very special double-cherry blossoms. Here, we introduce you to their story. 💮

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Director Sono Sion Sexual Assault Incident Reignites #MeToo Movement in JapanBackground image for Director Sono Sion Sexual Assault Incident Reignites #MeToo Movement in Japan

Director Sono Sion Sexual Assault Incident Reignites #MeToo Movement in Japan

Recent sexual assault allegations against Japanese director Sono Sion arrive amongst a slew of incidents that have revived Japan's #MeToo movement.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Japan to End Entry Ban on 106 Countries; Tourists Not Yet IncludedBackground image for Japan to End Entry Ban on 106 Countries; Tourists Not Yet Included

Japan to End Entry Ban on 106 Countries; Tourists Not Yet Included

Japan's government has announces that a slew of countries will no longer be subject to their wide-ranging entry ban, yet the practical effect remains limited.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for In Japan, Rental Family Services Let You Hire Actors to Play Family RolesBackground image for In Japan, Rental Family Services Let You Hire Actors to Play Family Roles

In Japan, Rental Family Services Let You Hire Actors to Play Family Roles

Would you hire a stranger to be your spouse or your parent? For some in Japan, the rental family is the answer to avoiding awkward social situations.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Rep. Shiomura Ayaka Pushes Against Teenage Pornography; Colleagues LaughBackground image for Rep. Shiomura Ayaka Pushes Against Teenage Pornography; Colleagues Laugh

Rep. Shiomura Ayaka Pushes Against Teenage Pornography; Colleagues Laugh

Representative Shiomura took to the Diet floor to discuss protecting high schoolers from recruitment into adult videos - and was laughed at for her efforts.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Japan’s Most Liveable Cities – Ranked with DataBackground image for Japan’s Most Liveable Cities – Ranked with Data

Japan’s Most Liveable Cities – Ranked with Data

By collecting extensive data on 119 large Japanese cities and scoring them on a variety of factors, we found an answer to a tough question.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for The Last Samurai Vendetta: The Revenge of Usui RokuroBackground image for The Last Samurai Vendetta: The Revenge of Usui Rokuro

The Last Samurai Vendetta: The Revenge of Usui Rokuro

In 1873, Japan banned the age-old practice of kataki-uchi: blood revenge. Years later, the son of a murdered samurai would take his vengeance nonetheless.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Renewed Tension in the Southern Kuriles Amidst Ukraine WarBackground image for Renewed Tension in the Southern Kuriles Amidst Ukraine War

Renewed Tension in the Southern Kuriles Amidst Ukraine War

Rhetoric on the southern Kuriles, long disputed between Japan and Russia, is again on the rise. We help you get up to speed.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Ambassadors and Armor: Gusoku and the Ukraine WarBackground image for Ambassadors and Armor: Gusoku and the Ukraine War

Ambassadors and Armor: Gusoku and the Ukraine War

A viral tweet claims that the Japanese ambassador to Ukraine stayed in Kyiv in his ancestral armor. Much as we love gusoku, it's not true.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for The Fish with One Sleeve: A Short Film on a Japanese Trans ExperienceBackground image for The Fish with One Sleeve: A Short Film on a Japanese Trans Experience

The Fish with One Sleeve: A Short Film on a Japanese Trans Experience

The Fish With One Sleeve, by director Tsuyoshi Shoji, is a film about a Japanese trans woman returning to her hometown to see old friends.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for The White Saviors (and White Poodles) of Japan’s Far RightBackground image for The White Saviors (and White Poodles) of Japan’s Far Right

The White Saviors (and White Poodles) of Japan’s Far Right

Guest authors Robert Whiting and Jake Adelstein call out the white savior complexes of Japan's far-right foreign mouthpieces.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Bankara – Meiji Japan’s Anti-Fashion MovementBackground image for Bankara – Meiji Japan’s Anti-Fashion Movement

Bankara – Meiji Japan’s Anti-Fashion Movement

As the era of the samurai ended and Japan rushed towards modernization, a rough-scrabble fashion movement called the Bankara rose in opposition.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for “Night in the American Village” Gives the Women of Okinawa a VoiceBackground image for “Night in the American Village” Gives the Women of Okinawa a Voice

“Night in the American Village” Gives the Women of Okinawa a Voice

In Night in the American Village, Akemi Johnson has created a great work of social and oral history granting primacy to the experiences of Okinawan women.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Japan Weighing Major Changes to Border, Quarantine Policy in MarchBackground image for Japan Weighing Major Changes to Border, Quarantine Policy in March

Japan Weighing Major Changes to Border, Quarantine Policy in March

Japanese government sources give those stuck outside Japan or planning re-entry reason for cautious optimism.

Unseen Japan

Featured image for Drive My Car: Oscar-Nominated Film is a Meditation on GriefBackground image for Drive My Car: Oscar-Nominated Film is a Meditation on Grief

Drive My Car: Oscar-Nominated Film is a Meditation on Grief

The first Japanese film nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, Hamaguchi Ryusuke's Drive My Car is slow moving - but powerful.

Unseen Japan