Kitsunebi Matsuri, when folklore comes to life

In ancient Japanese folklore, the Kitsunebi (狐火, foxfire) was a yōkai that, overnight, suddenly appeared as a glowing red-orange and sometimes blue light.

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Japan History: Kusunoki Masashige

Shimazu Takahisa was born May 28, 1514, son of Shimazu Sagami no kami Tadayoshi, adopted by Shimazu Katsuhisa. He became the lord of Kagoshima after Katsuhisa's escape in 1526.

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The Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri and the rampant euphoria

Every year, generally during a weekend in mid-September, the streets of Kishiwada, a small town near Osaka, are invaded by the fervor and euphoria for the Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri (岸和田だんじ祭).

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Japan History: Kusunoki Masashige

Kusunoki Masashige, (1294 - 4 July 1336) was born in Minato-gawa, province of Settsu, and was a 14th century samurai who fought for the Emperor Go-Daigo in the Genkō war.

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Hiroshima and Nagasaki, not to forget

Behind the sad story that unites these two cities, there is the great strength of a Nation that has always known how to rise back up. Hiroshima and Nagasaki are historical testimonies that we wanted to remind you of and that too often are considered…

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Japan History: Takeda Shingen

Takeda Shingen (Takeda Harunobu December 1, 1521 - May 13, 1573), firstborn of warlord Takeda Nobutora, was born in the powerful Takeda clan.

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Yuki-Onna: the mysterious incarnation of the Japanese winter

In the endless world of yokai (supernatural creatures of the Japanese tradition), the figure of Yuki-Onna (雪女) stands out. Legendary snow woman, with her icy and lethal charm, embodies the terrible beauty of winter in the mountains of Japan.

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Tanabata, the legend and modern times

Tanabata: on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month we celebrate one of the five gosekku (五節), the most important festivals of the year.

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Japan History: Sakamoto Ryōma

Sakamoto Ryōma (January 3, 1836 - December 10, 1867) is still recognized as one of the most important figures of the Tokugawa Shogunate and one of the greatest heroes of the Edo period.

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Japan Folklore: Oni

From a benevolent creature to an evil one. This is the slow transformation of the Oni (鬼), the Japanese mythological creatures that we Westerners call "demons", "trolls" or "orcs".

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Japan Modern Culture: Studio Ghibli

If you are among those who love Studio Ghibli productions, then you are in the right place! Today we talk briefly about this fantastic world and a particular exhibition!

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Japan Modern Culture: 令和 ReiWa, the new Era

Exactly one month ahead of Prince Naruhito's accession to the throne, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced the beginning of the new Era for Japan. Reiwa, formed by the kanji 令 (rei) "auspicious", "ordered" and 和 wa "harmony", "peace",…

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Japan Folklore: Nippombashi Street Festa

Every year since 2005, between early days and mid-March, the streets of Den Den Town located between Ebisucho Station and Nihonbashi are closed to car traffic for the biggest cosplay event in all of Japan: the Nippombashi Street Festa…

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Japan Folklore: Versailles no bara, the best-selling manga

In 1972, Riyoko Ikeda created what became the manga and, later, the most famous anime of all time: "Versailles no Bara" The Roses of Versailles, known in Italy as Lady Oscar. The talented mangaka, whose meticulous and elegant style has come to stand…

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Japan Folklore: Setsubun, how to drive away the demons of winter to welcome spring

Traditional Japanese culture has always been characterized by a constant and loving observation of the natural world, its manifestations and its seasonal cycles. Therefore, the attention given to spring, the special moment when nature awakens in all…

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Japan Traditions: Wakakusa Yamayaki Matsuri

One of Japan's most famous matsuri is the Wakakusa Yamayaki Matsuri held in the city of Nara on the fourth Saturday of January. The Yamayaki festival (burning mountain) comes from superstitions to calm the spirits of the dead at the Uguisuzuka Kofun…

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Japan Travel: The imperial Palace & Gardens

I’ve been to Tokyo a few times now and one of my favourite spot in the whole city are the Imperial East Gardens in the Chiyoda area. whenever I’m in the city, I always find a moment (sometimes even more than one) to visit this amazing place, a green…

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Japan History: Tokugawa Ieyasu

Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川家康, Jan. 30, 1543 - June 1, 1616) was the founder and first shōgun of the Tokugawa shogunate, who effectively commanded the Battle of Sekigahara in Japan in the 1600s until the reconstruction of Meiji in 1868.

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Japan Modern Culture: The New Tsukiji Fish Market opens and is called Toyosu Market

All the fans of Japan have heard of the Tsukiji Fish Market at least once. Tsukiji's wholesale fish market (in Japanese 築地市場, Tsukiji shijō) was the largest fish market in the world. It was in Tokyo, in the Tsukiji district, and it moved to the…

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Japan Folklore: Kanamara Matsuri

The Kanamara Matsuri (かなまら祭り) is often welcomed by foreigners as yet another quirk from Japan, but in fact, the origins of this festival are very old and they are related to Shinto religion. It all began in the Edo period, in 1603, when the town of…

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Japan Folklore: Miko

We have seen them in many different anime: Rei Hino, the brave Sailor Mars from Bishōjo senshi Sērā Mūn, the mysterious Kikyō from Inuyasha, or the cheerful Hiiragi twins from Lucky Star. All these characters shared the same occupation: they were…

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Japan Folklore: Hōnen Matsuri

The Honen Matsuri is celebrated every year on March 15 throughout Japan. The most famous one takes place at the Tagata Jinja, in the small town of Komaki, outside Nagoya, with photos and videos available on the Internet. But in other parts of Japan,…

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Japan Folklore: Tennin

The roots of Buddhism in Japan are very deep and follow the history of the country itself, thus evolving together with it. In fact, Japanese Buddhism largely consists of the continuation or evolution of ancient schools of Chinese Buddhism. Some of…

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Japan Modern Culture: Kimi no Na wa – Your Name

Your name (original title: 君の名は。- Kimi no Na wa.) is the popular Japanese animated film directed by Makoto Shinkai and produced by CoMix Wave Films. Between 2016, year of the release, and 2017 it has become a big box-office hit not only in Japan but…

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Japan Folklore: Christmas Traditions

In Japanese “Merry Christmas” is translated as “Meri Kurisumasu”, written both in Hiragana (めりーくりすます) and in Katakana (メリークリスマス). Santa Claus, the chubby man dressed in red, is known as  Santa-san (サンタさん、サンタクロース), name imported directly from the…

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Japan Folklore: Botan Dōrō

There are many stories where unlucky lovers are separated by destiny that sometimes leads them to death together (Romeo and Juliet and Tristan and Isolde are the most famous). But none is like the story Botan Dōrō or The Peony lantern……

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Japanese Culture: Ramen

Until a few years ago, for ethnic cuisine enthusiasts, going to a Japanese restaurant strictly referred to taste Sushi: a dish made of raw fish and rice. This dish, with its colorful and evocative shapes, winks at the most fashionable diners (but…

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Japanese Folklore: The Ring

The Ring is the fortunate American horror movie with Naomi Watson in the role of the protagonist that in 2002 haunted cinemas all around the world. Earning more than $250 million dollars at the box-office it revived a suffering genre giving the…

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Japanese Culture: Lolita fashion

Probably, those who have a romantic vein suspended in an undefined past, would like to be like a beautiful porcelain doll. Maybe they would like to have lovely dresses that would rival those of Marie Antoinette ad go to a dreamy Tea Party. All this…

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Japan History: Uesugi Kenshin

Uesugi Kenshin,( 上杉 謙信) "The Dragon of Echigo" , powerful war lord and brilliant strategist, wise administrator and man of honor. Many are the names he used in his intense life, many the battles and the enemies he fought. Among them Takeda Shingen…

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Japanese Tradition: Oiran

In ancient Japan ‘women of pleasure’ were called Yūjo (遊女). This word identified their job and also marked the difference between common prostitutes and courtesans, also called Oiran (花魁). The figure of the Oiran is the one we will analyze in this…

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Japanese Culture: Geisha & Maiko

The most representative and mysterious artistic figure of the 'Country of the rising sun' is the Geisha (芸者 "Person who embodies art"). She is often confused with the Maiko (舞妓 "Dancing girl") that is the apprentice and aspiring geisha. To become a…

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Japanese Folklore: Kappa

A Kappa is a funny chimera, its true appearance is still unknown, a bit human a bit monkey-like. But most of the times it is depicted with the face of a tortoise with a yellow beak. From tortoises it borrowed the shell and the scaly skin with its…

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Japanese Culture: Vampire Knight

Which are the most fascinating and feared creature of the darkness of all times? The answer is simple and obvious: the Vampires. In the common imaginary vampires have their origins in the inland Europe, but ...

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Japanese Culture: Shingeki no Kyojin

This time we will talk about Shingeki no Kyoujin (進撃の巨人), translated in English as Attack on Titans, the revelation of this past few years. It's an action horror shōnen manga series already recognised as a cult among anime and manga fans.……

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Japan History: Oda Nobunaga

Oda Nobunaga is the son of Oda Nobuhide one of the daymio from the Owari province. When his father died in 1551, he started to go completely crazy taking the distance from the Oda clan allies, preferring his brother Nobuyuki. Even if he was…

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Japanese Folklore: Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon

If I tell you that her hairstyle is famous all around the world for its blonde pigtails tied up into cute Odango (lit. Meatballs) can you guess who I'm talking about? No? Her outfit is a mix between a school uniform and a sailor's one and it doesn't…

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Japan Folklore: Kitsune

Clever, sly, with a beautiful fur the color of the Autumn leaves, a thick tail and a lovely face that makes them look like they are smiling. Foxes are in many cultures associated with slyness, but in Japan they have something more. In fact they have…

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Japan Culture: Harajuku Girls

Harajuku girls - We've heart about the Harajuku girls (原宿ガール Harajuku gāru) at least once, if not for Gwen Stefani's melodies. The singer in 2004 managed to climb the international charts with this hit making this clothing style famous all over the…

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