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An example of Gyotaku art.

Gyotaku: A Unique Japanese Tradition in Which a Fish Becomes a Work of Art

Gyotaku is a traditional Japanese art form that is highly unique, and some may even say bizarre. The word Gyotaku itself is a combination of two separate words – Gyo , which means ‘fish’, and Taku ,...
Japanese erotic art. Credit: fotoember / Adobe Stock

Sex, Scandal, and Allure: The Erotic Art of Shun-ga from Edo to Early Modern Japan

In the year 1770, within a large village house by the bustling city of Edo, Japan (modern day Tokyo City), a large collective of apprentices studied under their teacher, Utagawa Toyoharu, in...
The team of five paddlers crossed 200 kilometers of open ocean and the Black Stream in a primitive log boat. Source: National Museum of Nature and Science/Tokyo

Five Bold Navigators Master the Deadly ‘Black Stream’ Migration After 32,000 Years

A brave Japanese and Taiwanese rowing team has successfully replicated a 32,000-year-old ancient sea migration route in a traditional dugout canoe. After two failed attempts on Sunday afternoon, one...
The practice of Onmyōdō. Source: Epiximages / Adobe Stock.

The Oriental Magical Practice of Onmyōdō and Its Checkered History

The practice of Onmyōdō has a contentious history in Japan and, for reasons that will become clear, was outlawed for some time along with its close cousin, Shugendō (修験道). Onmyōdō, means literally, ‘...
Emperor Jimmu – the first ruler of the Chrysanthemum Throne, saw a sacred bird flying away while he was in the expedition of the eastern section of Japan. Source: Evening.star / Public Domain.

The Chrysanthemum Throne: A Two and a Half Millennia History of Divine Imperial Rule in Japan

The Chrysanthemum Throne is the throne of the Emperor of Japan and a metonym referring to the Japanese monarchy itself. The Japanese imperial family has recently been in the news, due to the...
Samurai armor is both brutal and delicate.

The Brutality and Delicacy of Samurai Armor: Superior Protection with a God-like Aesthetic

The Samurai class was officially dissolved over 150 years ago. Nonetheless, the warriors’ elaborate armor is still recognized globally as an iconic emblem of Japanese military strength and virtue...
Yoshitoshi, Ushiwaka Maru learns Martial Arts from Sojobo, King of the Tengu, 1880

The Dogs of Heaven - Tengu and the Secret Practice of Buddhism

The Tengu ( 天狗 ) are possibly the most recognizable of all the Japanese yokai , with their enormous black wings and faces of either a large crow or a red-faced, long-nosed, goblin . They are often...
The Norimitsu Odachi.

Norimitsu Odachi: Who Could Have Possibly Wielded This Enormous 15th Century Japanese Sword?

The Norimitsu Odachi is a huge sword from Japan. It is so large, in fact, that it was said to have been wielded by a giant. Apart from the basic knowledge of it having been forged in the 15th century...
Picture of a Shinigami

Shinigami: The Grim Reaper and God of Death in Japanese Folklore

Shinigami are Japanese death gods or death spirits. They are akin to the Grim Reaper in many ways, however these supernatural beings may be somewhat less frightening and they arrived later on the...
Antique Japanese daishō, the traditional pairing of two Japanese weapons which were the symbol of the samurai, showing the traditional Japanese sword cases (koshirae) and the difference in size between the katana (bottom) and the smaller wakizashi (top).

Unknown Weapons of the Samurai: The Forgotten Warrior Arsenal from Feudal Japan

The Katana sword was considered as the Samurai soul. That is why some people treat Samurai and katana as synonymous words. It is true that a Samurai and his sword is inseparable, but believe it or...
Shinto painting from manuscript of Todaiji, Nara, Japan

Purification as the Core of the Ancient Shinto Faith

A ritual based religion, Shintoism is defined as "the way of the gods" in Japan, from the Chinese Shendao. It is the indigenous religion of the country, and survives today as the state religion,...
An old peach pit. Are the thousands of peach pits found in Japan the remains of fruit eaten in a lost kingdom?

Peach Pits, Peach Boy and the Lost Kingdom of a Shaman Queen

Thousands of peach pits have been found at a Japanese archaeological site. It seems there is more to the story than simply a fondness for the fruit - sources suggest that the ancient peaches were...
CT scan of Monju Bosatsu statue conducted by Nara National University.

Hoard of Scrolls and Artifacts Discovered in Antique Japanese Statuette

According to the Japanese State Broadcaster NHK, experts have made an astonishing discovery in a Buddhist statuette in Japan. Investigators, from the Nara National University examined the statuette...
A cuirass known as a “tanko” and preserved in excellent condition, and a stone coffin, left, have been unearthed in Shibushi, Kagoshima Prefecture.

Workers Paving a Japanese Road Unearth Remarkable 1,500-Year-Old Armor and Sword

Could you imagine? You are tired after working for hours on fixing a roadway when you suddenly find a strange slab of stone. This gives you a jolt of energy and you call a coworker over. Together you...
Ninja warrior

Ancient Psycho Secrets of Ninja Assassins

Ninjas or shinobi ("to sneak”) have become kings of popular culture and their acrobatic trained-killer antics have been featured in hundreds of movies and television series. These deadly mercenary...
A tsunami stone.

Japanese Tsunami Stones: These Centuries-Old Monuments Save Lives Today

Japan is often struck by earthquakes due to its position on the Pacific Ring of Fire. At times, these seismic activities result in tsunamis - a ‘seismic or tidal sea wave’. Although such a deadly...

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