Kawasaki Reading Room: A Japanese Culture Center for Nebraska

Sitting on the top floor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center, the Kawasaki Reading Room is a culture and resource center dedicated to all things Japanese. A cultural connection between Japan and the American Great Plains feels unlikely, but in fact, the Kawasaki Reading Room is a busy little space that is … Continue reading Kawasaki Reading Room: A Japanese Culture Center for Nebraska

Seattle Japanese Garden: a place where samurai could stroll

Step through the wooden gate of Seattle's Japanese Garden and you may think you have been instantly transported to Japan. This garden, opened in 1960 but conceptualized five decades earlier, is well-established with trees and shrubs that thrive in both the climate of Japan and Seattle's climate. It symbolizes the close relationship between two nations … Continue reading Seattle Japanese Garden: a place where samurai could stroll

A German Advisor and Japan’s Hot Spring Connection to Europe

During the late nineteenth century, when Japan was modernizing/Westernizing, many European and American were invited to Japan to advise the government and business. One such individual was Dr. Erwin von Baelz (1849-1913), a German physician who came to Japan in 1876 to teach medicine at the Imperial University (now known as the University of Tokyo). … Continue reading A German Advisor and Japan’s Hot Spring Connection to Europe

A Japanese Garden à la française: The Jardin Japonais of Toulouse

Japanese gardens, with their strolling paths offering different views of the landscape at every turn, seems to hold a special fascination with people all over the world. Indeed there are many Japanese gardens outside of Japan, replicas to allow fans of the genre to enjoy the placid serenity of a Japanese garden even when they … Continue reading A Japanese Garden à la française: The Jardin Japonais of Toulouse

Putting Nature Into Perspective: The Photographs of Norbert Schoerner

It is often said that a deep and abiding respect for nature is a fundamental part of the Japanese psyche. Yet, Japan is also well known for its attempts to bend and control nature, for example through intense shaping of the landscape for purposes of agriculture, flood control or protection from tsunami and landslides. One … Continue reading Putting Nature Into Perspective: The Photographs of Norbert Schoerner

Remembering Japan’s wartime occupation of Singapore

On the afternoon of February 15, 1942, Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival and members of his senior staff made their way under the Union Jack and a flag of truce from his headquarters at Singapore's Fort Canning to the headquarters of the Japanese Imperial Army at the Ford Factory on Bukit Timah hill.  There, following a brief … Continue reading Remembering Japan’s wartime occupation of Singapore

Putting a different face on Japan’s historical forays into colonialism

In the late 19th century, Japan, which had isolated itself from the outside world for two and a half centuries, was confronted with the need to rapidly modernize, and even Westernize, to ensure its survival.  As it did so, it was awakened to the value of  increased trade with its neighbors and territorial expansion to … Continue reading Putting a different face on Japan’s historical forays into colonialism