Nakanobu Furusato Matsuri: neighborhood festival put on hold

As a general matter, Autumn is festival season in Japan. Alas, the pandemic has forced cancellation of festivals across the nation, some for the first time in centuries, others for the first time in decades. Since 1989, the Tokyo neighborhood of Nakanobu has hosted a "Furusato Matsuri" (hometown festival) on Nakanobu Skip Road, a 330 … Continue reading Nakanobu Furusato Matsuri: neighborhood festival put on hold

Kinema in Kamata: a piece of Japan’s cinematic history

One hundred years ago, two brothers, Shirai Matsujiro and Otani Takejiro decided to make movies. The brothers had already been in the entertainment business for 25 years, having started in 1895 with a Kyoto kabuki theater and growing their business from there to a chain of theaters with various kinds of live entertainment in several … Continue reading Kinema in Kamata: a piece of Japan’s cinematic history

Katsu Kaishu: living history by thinking future

In mid-March 1868, Katsu Kaishu (1823-1899), Army Minister for Tokugawa Yoshinobu, last of the Tokugawa shoguns, was returning to his home in Edo (present day Tokyo) after successfully negotiating for the peaceful surrender of Edo Castle to troops representing the new government of the Emperor Meiji (1852-1912). The negotiations had taken place at Shoto-en, on … Continue reading Katsu Kaishu: living history by thinking future

Miles to Go and Promises Unkept: Women’s Rights in Postwar Japan

This article is a bit unusual for this blog--a perspective on women's rights in post-war Japan with particular emphasis on what rights did, and did not, make it into Japan's postwar constitution. Definitely part of the Japan jigsaw puzzle! It's in the September issue of the No. 1 Shimbun in honor of the record number … Continue reading Miles to Go and Promises Unkept: Women’s Rights in Postwar Japan