Gunkanjima: an abandoned coal mining town like no other

Students of Japan's modern industrial history may have heard of Gunkanjima.  Fans of James Bond movies may recognize it as villain Raoul Silva's abandoned island hideout in Skyfall. Whatever it is, it sure is different! Gunkanjima's real name is Hashima.  Coal was discovered on Hashima, a rocky outcrop some 4.5 kilometers west of Nagasaki Peninsula, … Continue reading Gunkanjima: an abandoned coal mining town like no other

Kanamaruza: the historic Kabuki theater of Kotohira

I recently blogged about Kabuki, one of Japan's more modern performing arts.  Kabuki is highly entertaining wherever it is performed, but it is often said that there is nothing like seeing a Kabuki play performed in an historical theater in order to truly get the feel of the art. The trouble is, there aren't that … Continue reading Kanamaruza: the historic Kabuki theater of Kotohira

Kabuki: Japan’s historic theatre art

Japan has many great traditional performing arts, some with over a thousand years of history.  Perhaps the best known of these is kabuki, a form of theatre developed "only" about 400 years ago.  The plays involved relate-able stories, elaborate costumes and clever staging, making kabuki immediately popular across all social classes (must to the displeasure … Continue reading Kabuki: Japan’s historic theatre art

Exploring early industrialization in Izu

Japan's rapid industrialization during the Meiji Period (1868-1912), when the country was re-opened to international trade after more than 250 years of isolation, was nothing short of remarkable.  The various achievements of the period were recognized by UNESCO in 2015 when it listed 23 components at 11 sites as "Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution: … Continue reading Exploring early industrialization in Izu