In the small town of Otsuchi in northern Japan, 2,000 residents were lost in the tsunami in 2011.
One resident, who had already been grieving his cousin before the tsunami hit, had the idea of placing an old phone booth at the bottom of his garden with a disconnected rotary phone.
He would ring his cousin's number and his words would "be carried on the wind" as he spoke to him.
After the tsunami hit, and word about the wind phone spread, many more people have come to Otsuchi in Iwate prefecture, to call those they have lost.
You can find out more about the wind phone by listening to the World Service's Heart and Soul programme, https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csz4jr
see also 2016 radio (online playback or download mp3) segment,
or the radio show's transcript, https://www.thisamericanlife.org/597/transcript
Nobuko Yoshiya's stories of frustrated, forbidden love helped establish a genre read by millions.
by Sabrina Imbler April 04, 2019
The Haunting Beauty of the Reconsecration of Shinto Shrines
Photographer Yukihito Masuura spent more than a decade documenting rituals that connect past and present.
by Jessica Leigh Hester April 05, 2019
For Masuura, this old wood represents the tug of the past in the present.
Yūbari King Melon
The most expensive melon in the world is a status symbol in Japan.
Prior to the Meiji period, era names were decided by court officials and were subjected to frequent change. A new era name was usually proclaimed within a year or two after the ascension of a new emperor. A new era name was also often designated on the first, fifth and 58th years of the sexagenary cycle, because they were inauspicious years in Onmyōdō. These three years are respectively known as kakurei, kakuun, and kakumei, and collectively known as sankaku. Era names were also changed due to other felicitous events or natural disasters.
In historical practice, the first day of a nengō (元年 gannen) starts whenever the emperor chooses; and the first year continues until the next lunar new year, which is understood to be the start of the nengō's second year
Featuring in-depth interviews from 1994 to the present, three generations
of Zainichi Korean women-- those who migrated from colonial Korea before or
during WWII and the Asia-Pacific War-- and their Japan-born descendants share
their version of history, revealing their lives as members of an ethnic
minority. Discovering voices within constricting patriarchal traditions,
the women in this book are now able to tell their history. Ethnography,
interviews, and the women's personal and creative writings offer an
in-depth look into their intergenerational dynamics and provide a new way
of exploring the hidden inner world of migrant women and the different ways
displacement affects subsequent generations.
... ...Fukui Prefecture's regulations for enforcing the Road Traffic Law state that driving a vehicle in clothing that might affect safe driving is prohibited. The police officer is believed to have decided that the monk's robe violated this regulation and so cited him with a traffic ticket.
According to local reports, the monk was driving to a memorial service when he was stopped in Fukui on Sept. 16 around 10 a.m. The monk was told he could not wear kimono to drive and received a ticket with a ¥6,000 fine. The violation, according to the ticket, was "driving in attire that hinders vehicle operation."
The monk is refusing to pay the fine and said he would like to "clearly state at a trial that I can drive safely in a monk's robe."
glimpes of life and language, video Clips: Fukui-ken, Kii Peninsula and Kansai area in 2018 and 1998
One recording is with a former workmate in Fukui who has actively protested nuclear power each week at the kencho. That conversation is in Japanese.
And as a curious experiment, one conversation illustrates Code Switching: we jump back and forth between Japanese and English. In my early days of learning Japanese it felt confusing to switch so freely, but now there feels like almost no boundary between the languages anymore. Maybe other non-native speakers have a similar experience, too.
I will send this link to my social studies colleagues, too, but first I want to share the clips with students of Japanese life and language.
kamishibai frame and audience, https://www.flickr.com/photos/gpwitteveen/33460093082
video clip (2.5 minutes), opening scene, https://www.flickr.com/photos/anthroview/33487732021
-young protagonist talks with wise priest, https://www.flickr.com/photos/anthroview/32774310484
-transformer demon (at first a meek human but now!), https://www.flickr.com/photos/anthroview/33576066156
-wise priest, https://www.flickr.com/photos/gpwitteveen/32774079664
-video clip, demon in disguise meets acolyte, https://www.flickr.com/photos/gpwitteveen/33604153865
-video clip, dramatic climax, https://www.flickr.com/photos/anthroview/33487725241
cross-posting today from H-Japan email list: Monday, July 30, 2018
...a Condensed Visual Classroom Guide titled:
Thirteen Buddhist Deities of Japan - Exploring Their Origins & Roles in Japanese Death Rites & Funerary Art
- WEB (HTML) VERSION = http://www.onmarkproductions.com/13-Butsu/
- PDF VERSION = http://www.onmarkproductions.com/13-Butsu/Japan-13-Buddhist-Deities-July-2018-Mark-Schumacher.pdf
Summary: The Thirteen Buddhist Deities (Jūsanbutsu 十三仏) are a purely Japanese convention. The standardized group of thirteen emerged in the mid-14th century, but in its formative years (12th & 13th centuries), the group's composition varied significantly and included only ten, eleven, or twelve members. The group is important to all schools of Japanese Buddhism. Even today, the thirteen are invoked at thirteen postmortem rites held by the living for the dead, and at thirteen premortem rites held by the living for the living. As shown herein, the thirteen are associated with the Seven Seventh-Day Rites 七七斎, the Six Realms of Karmic Rebirth 六道, the Buddhas of the Ten Days of Fasting 十斎日仏, the Ten Kings of Hell 十王, the Secret Buddhas of the Thirty Days of the Month 三十日秘仏, and other groupings. The Thirteen provide early examples of Japan's medieval honji-suijaku 本地垂迹 paradigm, wherein local deities (suijaku) are recognized as avatars of the Buddhist deities (honji). This classroom guide is unique in three ways: (1) it presents over 70 annotated images, arranged chronologically and thematically, from the 12th to 20th century, including extant art outside Japan; (2) it offers four methods to easily identify the individual deities; and (3) it provides visual evidence that the thirteen are configured to mimic the layout of the central court of the Womb World Mandala 中台八葉院. █ KEYWORDS. 十三仏 or 十三佛・十王・七七斎・七七日・中有・中陰・六齋日・六道 ・十斎日仏・三十日秘仏・本地垂迹 ・兵範記・中有記・ 預修十王生七経 ・地蔵十王経 ・佛説地藏菩薩發心因縁十王經・弘法大師逆修日記事 ・下学集. █The Adobe PDF version is printable and searchable. The web version is not.
Contents of the Slideshow:
Table of Contents
Thirteen Buddhist Deities in a Nutshell
Seven Seventh-Day Rites & Ten Judges of Hell
Non-Standard Groupings (12th, 13th, 14th centuries)
Standard Grouping (mid-14th century onward)
Other Related Deity Groupings
Extant Art Outside Japan
Pilgrimages to the Thirteen Inside Japan
Mark Schumacher, Independent Researcher, Kamakura, Japan
Discussion published by Mark Schumacher on Saturday, July 28, 2018
This 11 minute Youtube has some surprises even for long-time Japan residents, it seems!
By Elif Batuman, https://www.newyorker.com/
Japan's Rent-a-Family Industry People who are short on relatives can hire a husband, a mother, a grandson. The resulting relationships can be more real than you'd expect.
Recent story that contrasts the Japanese experience of building or buying ready-made residential property, rather than to seek previously owned houses to remodel or rennovate, https://www.rethinktokyo.com/2018/06/06/depreciate-limited-life-span-japanese-home/1527843245
A recent article at Japan-Times introduces some of the writers of Japan and ends by announcing a series of feature stories, beginning in June.
For many of us, this will be a chance to expand our own cultural literacy & social proficiency.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Pictures Reveal the Isolated Lives of Japan's Social Recluses
Here is a collection of early color photos taken in postwar by GHQ staffers,
The National Diet Library in Tokyo caught attention this autumn when it published color photos taken immediately after the end of World War II by a staffer at the General Headquarters (GHQ).
For even older visual history, browse these photos copied from Library of Congress in Washington, DC at the Prints and Photograph room, http://old-japanphotos.wikispaces.com/ (and the companion project for comparison, http://old-koreaphotos.wikispaces.com/ )
Japan Times (7 Sept 2017) gives a good overview of "Whale of a Tale," the newly released story with builds in local villagers point of view for the annual killing in the Taiji cove that was forcefully presented by the lenses of "The Cove." Excerpt of online news article follows, with URL to full article and movie URL.
"The issues of Fukushima are very complicated and delicate, and there is no easy way to explain what the problem actually is. The mass media especially tends to create TV programs which are unnecessarily sensational, and they consciously edit those programs to make viewers emotional. So, now, I refuse the offer to do interviews for those programs. Also, Fukushima has changed much since the disastrous events occurred. Locals hesitate to speak about it. It's because of resignation to the unchanging conditions, or fear of exacerbating the situation within the community by speaking to outsiders. It seems better not to talk about anything.
In such conditions, I think 'Threshold: Whispers of Fukushima' became a very unique work. Toko omitted explanations, as much as possible, and connected people's calm honest talk (like they're speaking to themselves) and live music performances by the interviewees, to allow them to tell their life stories. Perhaps this is not even really a movie about "Fukushima". Even if she shot it in Fukushima, the theme of the film is not "the accident" nor "lost home", rather, it is a fundamental human theme: "what is 'living one's own life?'". Each individual has their own purpose in life, joy, and goal. Everyone is different from each other. Therefore, no one can truly say "my way of living is right or yours is wrong." After experiencing the confusion created by the accidents in Fukushima, I deeply feel this. How interesting that everyone in this movie, including me, said this same thing, although by coincidence.
And lastly, here is the message clip from the leader of the clip about the movie: https://www.facebook.
--cross-posting from H-Japan of July 12, 2017,
A blog about life in everyday Japan written by a British professor
Re-Envisioning Japan is an open-ended recuperative project based on an original collection of tourism, travel and educational ephemera in a wide range of media.
Synopsis: Creative digital curation of an original physical collection of travel and educational ephemera about Japan
Content type: High resolution images, moving images, audio materials, interactive timeline
---[Pr. David Plath writes, 6/2017]
So Long Asleep (60 minutes) follows an international team of East Asian volunteers as they excavate, preserve and repatriate the remains of Korean men who died doing slave labor in Hokkaido during the Asia-Pacific War. On the 70th anniversary of the end of the war we travel with them as they carry 115 sets of remains on a pilgrimage across Japan and over to Korea for reinterment in the Seoul Municipal Cemetery. Using a dark past to shape a brighter shared future the project offers an upbeat model for remembrance and reconciliation that could be adapted widely.
The film and the repatriation project are featured in a 4-page special segment of the Spring 2017 issue of Education About Asia.
See the DER website to view a trailer. Dialogue is in English, Korean and Japanese; in the DER edition the dialogue carries English subtitles. Separately, project participants have prepared editions with subtitles in Korean and in Japanese. For the Korean version, contact Professor Byung-Ho Chung (bhc0606at gmail) and for Japanese contact Professor Song Ki-Chan (kichans at hotmail).
An extended essay by Pr. Chung about the project appears in Asia-Pacific Journal; Japan Focus online magazine, as well, http://apjjf.org/2017/12/Chung.html
1. Excavation. A chance encounter drew me into the work of excavation and repatriation of the remains of Korean forced labor victims in Hokkaido.
LINK to Facebook album, https://www.facebook.com/pg/umcjs/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1278945605481806
|screenshot 5/2017 from U-Michigan Center for Japanese Studies, Facebook|
平成. 29. 年5月 次官・若手プロジェクト. 不安な個人、立ちすくむ国家 〜モデル無き時代をどう前向きに生き抜くか〜
There are limitations on language learning online, but here is one way to gain more Japanese exposure and experience, newly launched and likely to have updates as users chime in, http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/duolingo-helps-you-learn-japanese/
Duolingo has been helping people learn languages since 2011. However, it doesn't yet offer courses in every language, including Japanese. Until now...
Story from March 12, 2017 at Japan Times
The artist, Ueda Miyuki (site requires Flash support, so IE browser), uses traditional materials (ink, brush, washi Japanese paper) for today's themes with her dancing sumi-e brush performance event - meaning very large pieces of Japanese paper and live music to motivate the artist - note that she paints with left hand but later was writing address information with right! Among the collected video clips, below, the last one with Tibetan singing bowls is particularly riveting.
For more than a decade Miyuki Ueda has combined live music and innovative visual art made from traditional materials (Japanese washi paper, ink and brush; surfaces…
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