Three ways to say "I Love you"

"Ti Amo, I love you" How do you say that in Japanese? There are so many kinds of love, why should we express love only one way? The Japanese know a lot, they know that every kind of love needs a way to be expressed, a completely personal way.

Ti Amo / I Love you, here's how to say it in Japanese

Author: SaiKaiAngel | Source: SoraNews24

All this, you think, happens in a country that is seen as "cold and distant". Perhaps, thinking about this, we should understand that cold and distant is not, indeed. It is a country that gives the right importance to history, tradition and feelings.

Let's start looking at all the ways of showing love in Japanese, let's analyze them one by one.

1. Suki - I like you

This is the most used and most famous way because it is found in many conversations of Japanese animation. We analyze it first also because it is the least "deep", in fact, more than love, it can also mean "I like". You can safely say "Ramen ga suki desu" that no one will see you as a fool in love with a plate of ramen, but everyone will understand that you like ramen. So you can use suki to express an appreciation for a singer or an actor too.

That's why suki can be confusing. If you hear this word, you might run into the question of whether you really like us as a person or just as a ramen dish. It's a very flexible meaning, not at all secure, yet it is used at the beginning of every love story. When you want to propose to someone, you can use suki desu to do so. Very important at that point, it will be the WAY in which you do it, you have to make the other person understand that you have serious intentions and you are not just a dish of ramen. It takes conviction in the voice, it's not a simple "I like". With a great conviction, then you will have the right colour of falling in love.

2. Koi - I love you

Ti amo I love you

We're not talking about the carp, but the second way the Japanese use to talk about love. We're in the field of romantic love here. Koi is the young and passionate emotion, but it's rarely used to say "I love you". Maybe we can bring it closer to "I love you" by Americans, which can mean both "love you" and "deeply care about you". However, the verb koi suru is closer to "to be in love" or "to be romantically involved". In fact, the word Koi is used for Koibito meaning lover.

3. Ai - Ti Amo

Ti amo I love you

And here we come to the most famous, the most used term for the word Love.

Ai is a noun that means "love", but it can be used for something more than just romantic affection. Ai or the variant aijo, are also used to talk about the concepts of love for the family, for a platonic love or for all humanity. Used as a verb, it becomes ai suru.

Then why do we use suki desu to confess our love? Simply because ai is a much more serious and committed feeling. Ai suru would be a bit... frightening, especially for a story that's just begun. We have to go step by step and Suki desu is what allows us to do that. It would also be better to change the verb suru to shiteiru. By telling your partner to the shiteiru, you're showing an ongoing love, not just an initial crush. As far as I'm concerned, it's the term I like best, also because it's the first one I've ever heard.

Ti amo I love you

What does that tell us? That Japanese is a very romantic language despite what you hear. Are Japanese cold? All impression. Japanese can give the right meaning and depth to anything, even love. What term would you use for your love?

Japanese Patterns

The Japanese are famous for their style and patterns related to kimono fabrics, pocket handkerchiefs and other items that have made history and remain one of the symbols of the land of the Rising Sun. Today we share with you some of the most famous patterns and we will try to analyze them together.

Traditional Japanese patterns, what they are and their meaning

Author: Erika | Source:

The Japanese tradition wants kimono, but also soft towels and other small Japanese objects to be decorated with precise fabrics. In fact, we often find very precise decorations on this type of fabrics. Every decoration and every pattern has a precise name and a well-defined origin that reveals hidden meanings with precise purposes. Here is a shortlist of the most traditional patterns.

Pattern: Uroko (Scales)

Created through the combination of triangles, this fabric resembles the skin of a snake or fish. In tradition, samurai wore clothes with this pattern as a protective talisman against evil.

Kōjitsunagi (Interlaced Kō Characters)

As we often find also in Western culture, the decorations of many fabrics correspond to a precise character repeated in a graphic way. In fact, this model takes its name from the use of the character 工 (kō), repeated interlocking so that the characters seem to stretch infinitely. This type of pattern is associated with luck and is a typical drawing used in materials to create kimonos.

Pattern: Asanoha (Hemp leaves)

Literally called Hemp Leaves, this Japanese pattern has a strong vitality just like the fibre of the same name. Hemp is a plant that grows vigorously without much care. In fact, this is the focus of the pattern that is often used in the creation of kimonos for children and infants in the hope that they too will grow strong.

Yabane / Yagasuri (Arrow feathers)

This Japanese pattern is based on the stylization of hawk, eagle and other birds feathers used in the manufacture of arrows. Behind this type of fabric, as always, we find a deep symbolism. In fact with the pointing to the target, arrows have long been used as a good omen. However, once shot, the arrows do not return, and for this very reason, in the Edo period, brides were given kimonos with this design as a good luck charm. In fact, this pattern was a kind of good luck charm to make sure that new brides didn't have to return to their family home.

Also, in the late seventies, this pattern became famous thanks to Benio, the main character of Haikara-san, a manga for teenagers. In fact, she wore this type of kimono at school and this led to the combination with burgundy hakama, a type of split skirt. This led teenagers to make this Japanese pattern a popular combination at graduation ceremonies.

Pattern: Same Komon (shark skin)

Thanks to the superimposed arcs in small dots, this Japanese pattern is reminiscent of shark skin and hence its name. In the tradition we often find it used by the Kishū Tokugawa family, to which belonged the Shōgun Tokugawa Yoshimune (1684-1751).

Seigaiha (Blue ocean waves)


One of our favourites, this model is reminiscent of the fan waves of the open sea. The name comes from the ancient gagaku court dance called Seigaiha. During these ancient performances, the dancers wore costumes with this very motif.

Shippō (Seven treasures)


With circles that overlap in quarters resembling petals, their centre forms a shining star. This pattern is given the meaning of good omen for the prosperity of your descendants, good relationships and to bring harmony into your lives.

Pattern: Kikkō (Turtle)


Another auspicious pattern, this design comes from the shape of the turtle shell (hexagon) and that's where it takes its name from. This not only represents luck but also longevity. Depending on how it is composed, the hexagons form different variations for this type of design, including Kikkō hanabishi and Bishamon kikkō. In the former, the centre of the hexagons forms flowers, while the latter is formed by joining three hexagons.

Ichimatsu (chequered)


With several coloured squares arranged alternately, this pattern is very similar to ginkgoam. A common fabric since ancient times, this pattern became famous as Ichimatsu in the 18th century thanks to the kabuki actor Sanogawa Ichimatsu. In fact, the artist loved to use this fabric on his hakama costume. Today we find it in the official logos of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Tachiwaki / Tatewaki (rising steam)

With two curved lines representing the steam rising in a stylized way, this pattern was often used in kimonos for noble and high-ranking people in the Heian period. The way these curved lines are formed serves to create variations called Kumo tatewaku (cloud) and Sasa tatewaku (bamboo).

Karakusa (Winding Plant)

Introduced in Japan with the arrival of the Silk Road, vines and spirals extending in all directions symbolize longevity and prosperity. However, this pattern became famous as a design for furoshiki cloth that thieves used to take away stolen goods. This suggests that this pattern was very popular because in every house you could find a furoshiki with this design.

Kanoko (Fawn)

Resembling the spotted back of a fawn, this pattern is created by hand using a special dyeing technique. However, the laborious process makes it a highly sought after fabric, in fact, kimonos with an all-over kanoko pattern are considered objects of great luxury.

Hishi (Diamond)


Pattern with geometric shapes, this pattern is created when two parallel lines intersect. We often find it on the ceramics of the ancient Jōmon period. Moreover, we find this pattern in different variations that include Waribischi, four diamonds combined to form a single diamond, and Hanabischi, where the petals of the flowers are shaped in diamonds.

Mameshibori (Mame Tie-dye)


This patter was the most common pattern on bath towels in the Edo period. In fact, the name comes from a play on words that means both peas or beans, is robust and healthy. This pattern represents the hope to stay healthy and most of the patterns of the time are created with stencil dyeing or printing techniques. However, under the name of shibori, we can understand that originally the design was made by hand with a particular dyeing technique. In fact, we note that in antiquity, these shapes were much more irregular than the prints of today.

Things to do in quarantine: Building a miniature Akihabara

Building miniature Akihabara in your home

written by: Erika | source: TimeOut Tokyo

Although things are starting to get better here in Italy, we continue our section on things to do in quarantine, and today we share with you how to build a mini Akihabara.

Akihabara Akihabara

Akihabara is one of the favorite destinations for all otaku and fans of Japan, a historic district dedicated precisely to everything that is manga, anime, and video games. In this delicate moment, we are not yet allowed to travel. However, there is no need to take the plane to get to know new places and visit the ones we have already seen. In fact today we share with you the opportunity to recreate miniature Akihabara directly from your home!

In Akihabara, there are not only many places dedicated to that world that we would call nerd, but there are also many clubs and shops dedicated to various hobbies. One of them is the Mansei Club, a corner offering a variety of fun games, origami instructions, and paper models all for free.

If you're still stuck at home and don't know what to do, you can now recreate the iconic Tokyo neighborhood with these detailed paper models. In fact, the streets of Akihabara are all reported in these detailed scale reproductions. Creating this model is very simple, just follow the instructions listed in these PDFs available for free for download. In fact, these reproductions perfectly show the buildings of Akihabara and also where these buildings must be positioned. Although the instructions are in Japanese, it is actually very simple to follow them also thanks to the various illustrations.

Akihabara Akihabara

However, if building an entire neighborhood seems too complicated for you, don't worry there are many other possibilities. In fact, Niku no Mansei offers more than 50 paper models that you can download for free. With a design that varies from reproductions of famous Samurai up to reproductions of the most famous Japanese foods. In short, here we find the opportunity to satisfy every taste and every type of hobby! You just have to choose your model, download it, and get to work! We are curious to see the results!

Things to do in quarantine: Learn Japanese cuisine

Learn Japanese cooking with 5 YouTubers

written by: Erika | source: TokyoWeekender

We continue our column on things to do in quarantine and today we talk to you how to learn Japanese cuisine with the help of 5 YouTubers.

cucina giapponese

In these lockdown days, we are all trying our hand at new recipes and experimenting with new combinations of flavors. Here are 5 YouTubers to follow in order to learn Japanese cuisine and try out some dishes at home!

Tasty Japan

They are our favorites. A lot of simple recipes to follow, with all the ingredients easily recoverable in any part of the world you live in. From desserts to first courses, from quiches to second courses. Authentic and fun, Tasty Japan engages the viewer with educational videos and many guests. Almost all the videos have English subtitles and all the presenters are very funny and full of energy, making even the most complicated dishes easy to do. Videos that fall into the #foodporn category par excellence, make sure you're on a full stomach when you try to cook these delights.


Mother of two, the protagonist of the channel Ochikeron creates dishes to allow the whole family to cook together. In fact, the simplest dishes on the channel can be cooked together with the little ones too. However, more complicated dishes that require more time and energy are available for all those fearless enough to try all these new recipes. All this makes this channel a unique world for all those kitchen projects to be created together. Furthermore, if you are fed up with the usual dinners, this is the right place to find new ideas.

Japanese Cooking 101

With a huge selection of videos, Japanese Cooking 101 not only offers dishes easy to make, but more complicated processes can also be found. From Karaage to fried rice with chanko nabe, a perfect hot-pot style dish for the winter, this youtube channel is a real catalog of Japanese cuisine. In fact, we can find a lot of recipes to experiment and each video shows a complete list of ingredients together with instructions on how to create the dish. Although other channels have some entertainment, Japanese Cooking 101 has a more didactic and dry approach, but very easy to follow.

Diaries of a Master Sushi Chef

If, however, like many Westerners you love sushi too, Hiroyuki Terada's channel is the one for you! The diaries of this master sushi chef will teach you how to juggle knives, fillets, and much more. In fact, on this channel, you will find methods to create delicious sushi but also dishes such as chicken teriyaki and many other izakaya-style delights. With collaborations of the caliber also of Chef Ramsey, this is the channel for all those who want to seriously try their hand at learning the art of sushi.

Aki’s Japanese Recipes for Vegans

Vegan and vegetarian restaurants are difficult to find in Tokyo, this has led to the creation of various YouTube channels including that of Aki. In fact, on this channel, you can find the best recipes for all those who love unconventional cuisine. A real sensorial experience in HD for an accessible channel and with the instructions written in Japanese and English. In addition, Aki, the protagonist of the channel, always takes the time to better explain his recipes and ensure that the dishes always look good.


Things to do in Quarantine: the best podcasts about Japan

The best Podcast about Japan

written by: Erika | source: TimeOut Tokyo

Let's continue our feature on things to do in quarantine and today we talk to you about some podcasts dedicated to Japan.


The COVID-19 emergency has practically made it impossible to plan trips for at least another year. However, for all fans of Japanese culture, today we share with you an easy and fun way to learn more about this topic. In fact, there are several podcasts that can fill this void by helping you discover Japan's many facets. In fact, through these audios, it will be possible to discover the many hidden aspects and facets of the Rising Sun without having to face crowded flights and trains.

For example, are you aware of why spider lily flowers are located near Japanese cemeteries and rice fields? Do you know who the pioneering women of the Rising Sun were? These podcasts will not only delve into the food, history, and legends of this country but will also answer questions you didn't even know you had. So, in this moment where we cannot go out and travel, let these podcasts take you on a few minutes journey through Japan.

Japan Eats - Learn about Japanese cuisine

Podcast giappone

Japan Eats is a podcast of a historic Brooklyn-based radio focused on food. Presented by Akiko Katayama, Japanese cuisine journalist and director of the New York Japanese Culinary Academy. Here we talk about everything from the various trends of Japanese cuisine, to drinks and much more. In one of the recent episodes, Akiko focused even on how to live a vegetarian life in Japan, the art of the Yakitori and more. The podcast already has more than 180 episodes with a new one every week.

Uncanny Japan - All Japanese legends in one podcast

Podcast giappone

Theresa Matsuura, an American author who has lived half her life in a fishing village in Japan, presents Uncanny Japan. In this podcast, Matsuura talks about those parts of Japanese culture that are often invisible or inaccessible to anyone who does not speak the language. At the same time, it offers an insight into local customs, legends, folklore and superstitions of the rising sun. Ready to immerse yourself in the imaginative and sometimes even spooky Japanese fairy tales?

History of Japan - Learn Japanese history


Isaac Meyer, a teacher with a PhD specializing in modern Japan, leaves nothing hidden in this historical podcast. From ancient to modern Japan, passing through poets, political scandals, economic booms, samurai, geishas and much more. Indeed, this podcast is an in-depth look through the history of the rising sun in each episode. Informative but also fascinating to hear, History of Japan has more than 300 episodes that can keep you company in this lockdown period.

Voices in Japan - Life in Japan


Ben and Burke, expats in Japan who live in Hokkaido, share their life experience in the land of the Rising Sun. The podcast Voices in Japan talks about their life from work to studying the Japanese language, and also learning the customs of the nation and much more. The weekly episodes include general topics related to living in Japan such as a look at the Japanese health system. In addition, the talk also revolves around the love of technology, Sumo and the potential benefits of the Japanese diet. Whether you live in Japan or just want to hear more about life experiences, this podcast is ready for you.

Sake on Air - All about the world of Sake

Podcast giappone

For all fans of Sake and shochu, Sake on Air is the podcast made for you. The experts of this famous Japanese drink share their knowledge in each episode, inviting us to this virtual dinner. In fact, in each episode, we find a different topic such as new trends in manufacturing, stories from producers but not just this. We can also learn about the various flavors, the difference between the rice used and how to combine the various flavors of Sake with food. So, if you are also curious, arm yourself with a glass of wine or your favorite sake and listen to this podcast!


Things to do in Quarantine: create an edible Zen garden

Creating an edible Zen garden

written by: Erika

The world is still in lockdown and in the absence of things to do we can give ourselves crazy joy in the kitchen, that's why today we share a new idea with you, create an edible zen garden!

giardino zen giardino zen

In Japan there are mixes made specifically to share this experience with the whole family, even together with the little ones. Instead, today we offer you a variant to be created directly at your home with ingredients easily available in any supermarket.

In every self-respecting Zen garden we find rocks, sand or gravel, greenery and some stones to be able to cross it without disturbing its tranquility. By following our instructions, you can recreate exactly this atmosphere.

Step 1: The Rocks

As you well know, a fundamental ornament of the Zen garden are these huge stones present inside. In our recipe, we are going to create stones with simple brownies.

Brownies - Ingredients

  • Dark chocolate 265 g
  • Eggs (approx. 4) 200 g
  • Whole peeled hazelnuts 175 g
  • Room temperature butter 135 g
  • 00 flour 135 g
  • Sugar 255 g
  • Pinch of salt

Brownies are easy to make and won't take too long, so start chopping the chocolate coarsely and melt it in a water bath. When it is almost melted, add the soft butter cut into small pieces.
Stir thoroughly until everything melts in a water bath and then remove it from the heat. Then let it cool, stirring it occasionally.

While you wait for the chocolate to cool, take the hazelnuts and let them toast in a preheated oven at 180° for about 7/8 minutes. Once out of the oven, let them cool in order not to burn you, then chop them coarsely and keep them aside.

giardino zen brownie

Let's move on to the next step, put the eggs in a bowl and begin to beat them and then add the sugar. It is not necessary to whip the mixture, but continue to beat only until the sugar is well dissolved. At this point, add a pinch of salt and let it dissolve too. Still with the whips in action, slowly add the chocolate and butter mixture that will have cooled down by now.

As soon as everything is mixed, stop whipping. Take a narrow mesh strainer and sift through the flour. Then, mix everything with a spatula until the flour is absorbed uniformly. Then take the chopped hazelnuts and mix everything.

After having greased and lined a baking sheet, pour the dough inside by leveling it with a spatula so that it is evenly distributed. Bake in a static and preheated oven at 180° for 25 minutes, then take out of the oven and leave to cool. At this point, with a knife, you can create the rock-shaped pieces for your zen garden!

Step 2: The gravel

Another fundamental element for a Zen garden is gravel, a symbol of tranquility and purity. But let's see our suggestions to create this element!

Almond crumble - Ingredients

  • flour 0 60g
  • Finely chopped almonds 60 g
  • Brown sugar 60 g 
  • Butter 50 g
  • Half vanilla bean
  • Icing sugar

With the crumble, we are going to create most of our zen garden so we start by preheating the oven to 180°. As the oven heats up, we take the almonds and start peeling them. Then, we take a baking sheet and place it on the baking tin.

Next, we toast the almonds for 7/8 minutes inside the oven, then let them cool and finely chop them with a knife. Afterward, we take the 0 flour and mix the chopped almonds inside with the brown sugar. When we have an amalgamated mixture, we take the butter and cut it into cubes and then add it inside the same mixture together with the vanilla seeds.


Work the whole mixture with your fingertips until a grainy mixture is obtained. Alternatively, it is also possible to prepare all this with a mixer but the crumbs that we are going to get will be coarser.

At this point, you should have obtained a mixture that is somewhat reminiscent of shortcrust pastry. Leave it to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, then spread it on the oven paper and then bake it for about 15 minutes at 180° in a preheated oven. Once the cooking is complete, let it cool and then crumble it inside your dish ready for presentation. Cover everything with icing sugar to recreate the effect of the white gravel typical of Zen gardens.

Step 3: Green

Japan is one of the greenest lands and all major Japanese cities are full of large parks. Of course, even in our edible zen garden you can't miss a green area.

Matcha Chiffon Cake - Ingredients

  • Granulated sugar 300 g
  • 00 flour 280 g
  • Matcha green tea powder 20 g
  • 1 sachet of baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 sachet of cream of tartar
  • Sunflower oil 130 m
  • Hot water 180 ml
  • 1 teaspoon of natural vanilla extract

This is the most difficult part of our recipe, but don't be afraid, if you follow the instructions step by step you will be able to complete this part too. Let's start by preheating the static oven to 150° and preparing an aluminum cake mold. Make sure this mold is tall enough as our chiffon cake will rise a lot.

Separate the yolks from the egg whites and in a clean bowl add the egg whites with the cream of tartar, whipping the mixture until you get firm crests.

giardino zen chiffon cake matcha giardino zen

In another bowl sift the green tea, the flour, the baking powder, salt and sugar and with a metal whisk by hand make sure that everything mixes well. In a separate bowl, combine the water, oil and vanilla extract. Once you have everything well mixed, pour the yolks and the mixture with the water and oil into the bowl with the flour and green tea.

Mix everything with the metal whisk by hand until a uniform mixture is obtained. Then transfer 1/4 of the whipped egg whites into your dough and mix with a spatula to lighten all the contents. Whipped egg whites should always be mixed with a movement that starts from the bottom so that they do not lose the whipping. Next, incorporate the rest of the egg whites into three other additions.

giardino zen torta té matcha giardino zen

When you have the mixture well amalgamated, pour the mixture into the pan that should not be buttered or floured. Put everything in a preheated oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes and when cooked, remove the pan and turn it immediately upside down.

giardino zen matcha giardino zen

Let it cool slightly and then remove the cake from the pan. Once ready, you can cut thin slices to decorate your Zen garden.

Step 4: The Pathway

In some Zen gardens, we also find flat stones that allow us to cross the garden leaving it undisturbed. Here is how we will create them.

Mini Meringues - Ingredients

  • Egg whites (about 3 medium eggs) at room temperature 100 g
  • Icing sugar 220 g
  • Lemon juice just enough

The trick in preparing the meringues is all in the eggs, in fact, the trick is to have fresh eggs and at room temperature. Then separate the yolks from the whites, pouring them into a large enough bowl. In this case, we won't use the yolks, but do not waste them and keep them aside, you will surely find a way to use them in the kitchen.

Make sure there are no residual yolks inside the bowl otherwise they will not mount. Then take the electric whips and operate them at medium speed. Alternatively, you can also carry out this process inside a planetary mixer, if available. While you are whipping the eggs, gradually pour the sugar into the bowl together with a few drops of lemon juice.

To create perfect meringues, the egg whites will have to be whipped very firmly and to understand if you are doing everything correctly there are two tests. The first is the visual one, in fact, the mixture must always be shiny and frothy. You can do the second test with the whips. In fact, detaching the latter you should notice a tuft of egg white with the tip. Everything must be similar to a sort of frothy and shiny cloud.

giardino zen meringhe

Prepare a baking tray with a baking sheet and then transfer all the mixture into a sac-à-poche with a round hole nozzle. Form small disks from 2 to 4 cm in diameter (this depends on the size of your final zen garden) well spaced apart. Then put them in the static oven preheated to 75° for about 2 hours.

Your meringues will have to dry slowly in the oven and as soon as they are completely dry, take the pan out of the oven and let it cool completely before removing it from the pan.

Step 5: Serving the Zen Garden

Now you can let your imagination run wild and build your edible zen garden according to your preferences! In case you want some ideas, below you will find some reference images. If you decide to try this recipe, send us your photos in the comments below or on our social pages, we are curious to see your creations!

[ngg src="galleries" ids="3" display="basic_thumbnail" thumbnail_crop="0"]Sources:,, Pinterest, Wikipedia

Things to do during Quarantine: Watching the Kabuki Theater

Kabuki theater classics available for free online

written by: Erika | Source: SoraNews24

The coronavirus pandemic and lockdown continue all over the world, but today we share with you the classics of Kabuki theater available online to spend time in quarantine.


The Origins

For those who do not know what we are talking about, the term kabuki (歌舞伎) indicates a type of theatrical representation that arose in Japan at the beginning of the seventeenth century.
The origins of this theatrical form are traced back to 1603 and refer to dances performed, on the banks of the Kamo river in Kyōto. The word Kabuki is made up of three ideograms: 歌 ka (song), 舞 bu (dance), 伎 ki (ability). The ideograms chosen to form the name are the phonetic equivalent of the word kabuki, derived from the verb kabuku ("to be out of the ordinary"). This indicated the appearance and clothing in vogue at the time of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and characteristic of the so-called kabukimono.

Originally, the Kabuki theater was interpreted only by women, however, following the prohibition on grounds of morals, it was passed to a male only interpretation also for the female parts. The actors specialized in female roles are called onnagata. This theatrical tradition enchanted the emerging bourgeois class of the city and consequently became very popular. The novelty of these works consisted in the representation of facts, usually dramatic, that really happened. In fact, often very little time passed between the event and the performance, constituting a real means of mass communication.

The structure

The structure of Kabuki is very different from the scheme of western theater and the works never deal with general issues, existential questions or philosophical reflections. So there are no Shakespearean monologues or considerations of the protagonists on political issues. With a very fragile story and characters, the works are often written by several hands.

Also for this type of theatrical form, the principle of not assigning preponderance to verbal communication, in opposition to western culture, applies. In fact, for a long time, it was hard for us westerners to be able to read difficult and subtle situations. The events expressed through the emotions of the individual characters always prevail over moral considerations, creating a strong emotional tension.

5 hours of Kabuki theater online


In contrast to the Noh and Bunraku theater, the Kabuki theater has worldwide resonance especially for the traditional and exaggerated facial makeup together with the dramatic costumes. Most of these performances take place in important places, so to attend a Kabuki opera you have to be in the right place, at the right time and an economic possibility at your disposal. In fact, some performances such a niche that they can only run for one time. Furthermore, if we add the closure of the theaters we can understand how the problems arise for this type of art.

After the cancellation of Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura (Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees), a performance scheduled for March 3, Japan's National Theater took the opportunity to create something even more special. In fact, the performance with no audience will be published on the theater's Youtube channel. Divided into three videos, the theatrical performance is available for viewing until April 30 at 15:00 JST.

Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura

Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura has five acts and would usually take two days to perform in its entirety. As such, these videos portray the story in separate stages. Performance A covers the parts "Torii Mae", "Tokaiya" and "Daimotsu-Ura" of the work, the performance B includes the portions "Kokingo Uchijinishi", "Shiinoki" and " Sushiya ". Also, performance C manages the "Michiyuki Hatsune Tabi" and "Kawatsura Hogen Yakata" for a total of five hours of entertainment.


Although this is one of the most famous ancient epic operas, Kabuki theater can also be enjoyed with limited or absent Japanese language skills. Indeed, costumes, performances, and atmospheric music help to provide a broad context. In addition, Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura is one of the three most famous Kabuki shows, so the material for finding your way through the story is also available to foreigners.

To watch all the performances, check out Japan's National Theater YouTube channel.

Japan History: Toyotomi Hideyoshi

Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the great unifier of Japan

written by: SaiKaiAngel | translation: Erika

Toyotomi Hideyoshi

photo credits:

Toyotomi Hideyoshi (March 17, 1537 - September 18, 1598) was a samurai, as well as daimyō, the successor of Oda Nobunaga as "great unifier" of Japan, ending the Sengoku period. The period of his dominion is called Momoyama, from the name of Hideyoshi castle. It appears that his birth was in Owari province, the home of the Oda clan (present-day Nagoya in Aichi prefecture). Son of an ashigaru peasant named Yaemon. It seems that his childhood name was Hiyoshi-maru. His father died when Hideyoshi was 7 years old.

Hideyoshi was sent to study in a temple as a young man, but he refused that life to go on an adventure hunt. Under the name Kinoshita Tōkichirō he joined the Imagawa clan for the first time as a servant of a local ruler named Matsushita Yukitsuna. He traveled to the lands of Imagawa Yoshimoto, daimyō of Suruga province, and served him only to escape with a sum of money entrusted to him by Matsushita Yukitsuna.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi

photo credits:

The young Toyotomi Hideyoshi led a small group to attack the castle on Mount Inaba and in 1558, he joined the Oda clan, led by Oda Nobunaga, as ashigaru (lit. "light feet" who were employed in the conflicts of feudal Japan by the samurai caste.)
He became one of Nobunaga's sandal bearers and was present in the battle of Okehazama in 1560 when Nobunaga defeated Imagawa Yoshimoto to become one of the most powerful warlords in the Sengoku period. He also appears to have overseen the repair of Kiyosu Castle by running the kitchen.

In 1561 Hideyoshi married the adopted daughter of Asano Nagakatsu. He made repairs on Sunomata Castle with his younger brother Toyotomi Hidenaga, Hachisuka Masakatsu and Maeno Nagayasu. He built a fort in Sunomata, at night also discovering a secret way to Mount Inaba

Siege of Inabayama Castle

Hideyoshi was very successful as a negotiator. In 1564, he managed to convince the warlords Mino to desert the Saitō clan. He then approached many samurai convincing them to follow Nobunaga.

Nobunaga's easy victory at Inabayama Castle in 1567 was largely due to Hideyoshi's efforts and for this he became one of Nobunaga's most illustrious generals, eventually taking the name of Hashiba Hideyoshi. The new surname included two characters, one each of Oda's other two men, Niwa Nagahide and Shibata Katsuie.

Battle of Anegawa

Hideyoshi led the troops to the battle of Anegawa in 1570 in which Oda Nobunaga allied himself with Tokugawa Ieyasu to besiege two fortresses of the Azai and Asakura clans. He participated in the siege of Nagashima in 1573 and in the same year, Nobunaga named Hideyoshi daimyō from three districts in the northern part of the Ōmi Province. Afterward, he moved to Kunitomo and renamed the city of Nagahama in homage to Nobunaga. Later Hideyoshi moved to the port of Imahama on Lake Biwa and took control of the nearby Kunitomo firearms factory which had been set up a few years earlier by the Azai and Asakura families, increasing its production.
Furthermore, he fought in the battle of Nagashino after which Nobunaga sent Hideyoshi to Himeji Castle to conquer the Chūgoku region by the Mori clan in 1576.

In 1577, he fought in the battle of Tedorigawa, in the siege of Miki, in the siege of Itami (1579) and in the siege of Takamatsu in 1582.

Battle of Yamazaki and conflict with Katsuie

After the murders of Honnō-ji of Oda Nobunaga and his eldest son Nobutada in 1582 at the hands of Akechi Mitsuhide, Hideyoshi, seeking revenge for the death of his beloved lord, made peace with the Mōri clan and defeated Akechi in the battle of Yamazaki.

Subsequently, being in a good position, he called the powerful daimyo to Kiyosu so that they could determine Nobunaga's heir. Oda Nobukatsu and Oda Nobutaka quarreled, then the heir became Samboshi, Nobunaga's grandson. Having won the support of Oda's other two elders, Niwa Nagahide and Ikeda Tsuneoki, Hideyoshi took the position of Hidenobu and his influence on the Oda clan. He distributed the provinces of Nobunaga among generals and formed a council of four generals. The tension between Hideyoshi and Katsuie resulted in the battle of Shizugatake the following year in which Hideyoshi destroyed Katsuie's forces. By then Hideyoshi had faced most of the Oda clan and control of 30 provinces.

Building of Osaka Castle

In 1582, Hideyoshi began building Osaka Castle on the site of the Ishiyama Hongan-ji temple destroyed by Nobunaga; this became the last stronghold of the Toyotomi clan after Hideyoshi's death.

Battle of Komaki and Nagakute

Oda Nobukatsu, hostile to Hideyoshi, allied with Tokugawa Ieyasu and the two sides fought in the battle of Komaki and Nagakute. Eventually, it resulted in a stalemate, although Hideyoshi's forces suffered a severe blow. Finally, Hideyoshi made peace with Nobukatsu, ending the pretext for war between the Tokugawa and Hashiba clans. Ieyasu eventually agreed to become a Hideyoshi vassal.

Hideyoshi never obtained the title of shōgun, but made sure to get adopted by Konoe Sakihisa, one of the noblest men belonging to the Fujiwara clan and ensured a succession of high court titles including, in 1585, the prestigious position of Imperial Regent (kampaku). In 1586, Hideyoshi officially received the name of the new Toyotomi clan from the imperial court and built the Jurakudai, a sumptuous palace, in 1587 entertaining the reigning emperor, Go-Yōzei, the following year.

Japan unified under Toyotomi Hideyoshi

Subsequently, Hideyoshi subjugated the province of Kii and conquered Shikoku under the Chōsokabe clan. He then took control of Etchū province and also conquered Kyūshū.
In 1587 Hideyoshi banned Christian missionaries from Kyūshū to exercise greater control over Kirishitani daimyōs.

In 1588 he forbade the peasant townships to possess weapons and began to confiscate them. Swords were cast to create a Buddha statue. This measure effectively stopped peasant revolts and ensured greater stability at the expense of the freedom of the individuals.

Siege of Odawara

The siege of Odawara in 1590 against the Hōjō clan in the Kantō region eliminated the last resistance to Hideyoshi's authority. His victory meant the end of the Sengoku period. During this siege, Hideyoshi offered Ieyasu the eight provinces governed by Hōjō in the Kantō region in exchange for the submission of the five provinces of Ieyasu, who accepted this proposal.

In February 1591, Hideyoshi ordered Sen no Rikyū to commit suicide, probably in one of his outbursts of anger. Rikyū had been a trusted supporter and master of the tea ceremony under Hideyoshi and Nobunaga. He also made significant changes to the aesthetics of the tea ceremony which had a lasting influence on many aspects of Japanese culture. Even after Rikyū died, Hideyoshi is said to have built his many construction projects based on the aesthetics promoted by Rikyū, perhaps suggesting that he regretted his actions.

After Rikyū died, Hideyoshi brought the tea ceremony to Noh, who studied since he became imperial regent.
The stability of the Toyotomi dynasty after Hideyoshi's death was questioned with the death of his son Tsurumatsu in September 1591. The three-year-old boy was his only son. When his half-brother Hidenaga died shortly thereafter, Hideyoshi named his nephew Hidetsugu his heir, adopting him in January 1592. Hideyoshi resigned as kampaku to obtain the title of taikō and Hidetsugu succeeded him as kampaku.

Houkokubyo (Toyotomi Hideyoshi Mausoleum) Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto

As his health began to falter, Hideyoshi carried on the dream of Oda Nobunaga, that of a Japanese conquest to China, arriving at the Ming dynasty through Korea.
Hideyoshi asked Koreans for a ride to China in 1587, but without success, because Korea was allied with China and in April and July 1591 he also refused the request to pass through Korea for fear of jeopardizing security. Then, in August 1591, Hideyoshi ordered preparations to begin an invasion of Korea.

photo credits:

First campaign against Korea

In the first campaign, Hideyoshi appointed Ukita Hideie as marshal and sent him to the Korean peninsula in April 1592. Konishi Yukinaga then occupied Seoul on June 19. After the fall of Seoul, Japanese commanders held a war council and determined submission targets called Hachidokuniwari from each corps. In just four months, Hideyoshi's forces made their way to Manchuria and occupied much of Korea. Korean King Seonjo fled to Uiju and asked for military intervention from China. In 1593, Ming China Emperor Wanli sent an army under General Li Rusong to block the planned Japanese invasion of China and recapture the Korean Peninsula. The Ming army of 43,000 soldiers led by Li Ru-Song continued to attack Pyongyang.

On January 7, 1593, Ming's relief forces under Li still captured Pyongyang and surrounded Seoul, but Kobayakawa Takakage, Ukita Hideie, Tachibana Muneshige and Kikkawa Hiroie won the Battle of Byeokjegwan on the outskirts of Seoul. At the end of the first campaign, the entire Japanese navy was destroyed by Korea's Admiral Yi Sun-sin, whose base was located in a part of Korea that the Japanese could not control. This, in fact, put an end to Japan's dream of conquering China as the Koreans simply destroyed Japan's ability to resupply their bogged down troops in Pyongyang.

Succession dispute

The birth of Hideyoshi's second son in 1593, Hideyori, created a succession problem. To avoid this, Hideyoshi exiled his nephew and heir Hidetsugu to Mount Kōya and then ordered him to commit suicide in August 1595. Members of the Hidetsugu family who did not follow his example were later murdered in Kyoto.

In January 1597, Toyotomi Hideyoshi had twenty-six Christians arrested as an example of Japanese who wanted to convert to Christianity. They are known as the twenty-six martyrs of Japan. They included five European Franciscan missionaries, one Mexican Franciscan missionary, three Japanese Jesuits and seventeen Japanese, including three young boys. On February 5, they were executed in Nagasaki for public crucifixion.

Second campaign against Korea

After several years of negotiations, Hideyoshi appointed Kobayakawa Hideaki to conduct a renewed invasion of Korea, but their efforts on the peninsula were less successful. Japanese troops got stuck in Gyeongsang province. In June 1598, Japanese forces repelled several Chinese offensives to Suncheon and Sacheon, but were unable to make further progress as the Ming army prepared for a final assault. Koreans continually harassed Japanese forces, while the battle of Hideyoshi in Sacheon was a great victory for Japan.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi died on September 18, 1598. He was delusional and his last words, delivered to his closest generals, were “I will depend on you for everything. I have no other thoughts to leave behind. It is sad to part with you. '' His death was kept secret by the Council of Five Elders to preserve morale and Japanese forces in Korea were ordered to withdraw to Japan by the Council of Five Elders (Tokugawa Ieyasu, Maeda Toshiie, Uesugi Kakekatsu, Mori Terumoto, Ukita Hideie).

Since they had failed to capture Korea, Hideyoshi's forces were unable to reach China either. The fighting force ran out, his vassals clashing over responsibility for failure and the clans that were loyal to the name Toyotomi weakened. The dream of a Japanese conquest of China has been put on hold indefinitely. The Tokugawa government later not only prohibited further military expeditions to the Asian mainland, but closed Japan to almost all foreigners during the Tokugawa shogunate years. It was only at the end of the 19th century that Japan again fought a war against China through Korea, using more or less the same path used by Hideyoshi's force.

After his death, the other members of the Council of Five Regents were unable to control Tokugawa Ieyasu's ambitions.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi

photo credits:

Toyotomi Hideyoshi's Cultural heritage

Toyotomi Hideyoshi has changed Japanese society in many ways.

Class reforms have affected citizens and warriors. During the Sengoku period, it had become common for peasants to become warriors or for samurai to cultivate because of the constant uncertainty caused by the lack of centralized government and ever-provisional peace. After taking control, Hideyoshi decreed that all the peasants were completely disarmed and that the samurai left the land to settle in the castle towns. This strengthened the social class system for the next 300 years.

In addition, he ordered a complete census of Japan. After this, he asked all the Japanese to stay in their respective han (fiefdoms) unless they had obtained official permission to go elsewhere.

In 1590, Hideyoshi completed the construction of Osaka Castle, the largest in all of Japan, to protect western approaches to Kyoto. In the same year, he banned "non-free labor" and slavery, but the forms of contracts and forced labor continued equally.

Hideyoshi also influenced Japan's material culture. He spent time and money on the tea ceremony, collecting tools, sponsoring sumptuous social events and sponsoring acclaimed masters. As interest in the tea ceremony grew among the ruling class, not only were large quantities of precious ceramic items confiscated, but many Korean craftsmen were forcibly transferred to Japan.

Inspired by the dazzling golden pavilion of Kyoto, he had the Golden Tea Room built, which was covered with a gold leaf and lined inside with a red gossamer. Using this mobile innovation, he was able to practice the tea ceremony wherever he went, forcefully projecting his power and status unmatched upon his arrival.

Politically, he established a government system that balanced the most powerful Japanese warlords. A council was created to include the most influential gentlemen.

Shortly before his death, Hideyoshi hoped to establish a stable enough system to survive until his son became old enough to become the next leader. A council of five elders (go-tairō) was formed, consisting of the five most powerful daimyō. After Maeda Toshiie's death, however, Tokugawa Ieyasu began to form alliances, including political marriages. In the end, pro-Toyotomi forces fought against the Tokugawa in the battle of Sekigahara. Ieyasu won and received the Seii-Tai Shōgun title two years later.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi's Names

At birth, he was given the name Hiyoshi-Maru. In genpuku, he took the name Kinoshita Tōkichirō. Later, he was given the surname Hashiba and the office of the honorary court Chikuzen no Kami, as a result, Hashiba Chikuzen no Kami Hideyoshi was designated.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi had received the nickname Kozaru, meaning "little monkey", from his lord Oda Nobunaga because his facial features and lean shape resembled that of a monkey. He was also known as the "bald rat".

Hideyoshi left an influential and enduring legacy, including the samurai's restriction on weapons possession, the construction and restoration of many temples, some of which are still visible in Kyoto, and the Japanese invasions of Korea (1592-1598 ).