As Sign of Goodwill, President Putin Returns Swords to Japan

The sword presented by Russian President Putin to Prime Minister Abe was displayed at the Dai Token Ichi on November 2017.   During a summit meeting in Vladivostok, Russia, in September 2016, Russian President Vladamir Putin presented Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with a Japanese sword. Abe also presented Putin with an antique samurai helmet. […]

An Interview with Kazuo Ishiguro: Manga, AI, and Other Sources of Inspiration

Kazuo Ishiguro speaks at the Banquet in the Blue Hall of the Stockholm City Hall on December 10, 2017.   After being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature 2017, Kazuo Ishiguro—a Japanese-born, British novelist and screenwriter—talked with members of the press in Stockholm, Sweden on December 6, just four days prior to the award ceremony. He […]

Japan’s Imperial Family and Britain’s Royals: A Tradition of Friendship and Understanding

Princess Kako began her studies at Leeds University in September    Ever since the Meiji restoration in 1868, the Japanese and British governments have seen the importance of good relations between the Japanese Imperial and British Royal houses. The two governments have taken every opportunity to cement the relationship, which has played an important role in […]

Colors and Traditions at the Chichibu Night Festival

  The Chichibu Night Festival took place on December 3rd in Saitama’s Chichibu city, approximately 90 minutes north of central Tokyo. Starting from the Chichibu Shrine, men and women dressed in happi (traditional festival clothing) paraded four gorgeous and exquisite floats and two kasaboko (a float with willow-like fronds descending in a giant umbrella shape), […]

Usagi Juku: Preserving Japanese Armor Culture and Tradition

Every year, on the 23rd of November, the Yoroi Kizome ceremony is held at the World Heritage-listed Kamigamo Shrine in Kyoto, Japan. Families from several generations, from grandparents to grandchildren, can participate and proudly wear their handmade yoroi (armor) and kabuto (battle helmet). The backdrop is during the peak of Kyoto’s foliage season, making the […]

Inside the Niinamesai: The Emperor’s Most Difficult Ritual

 The Emperor continues to privately conduct the Niinamesai rituals. This picture was taken by the Imperial Household Agency in November 23, 2013, when he celebrated his 80th birthday.    Labor Thanksgiving Day is a Japanese national holiday celebrated on November 23rd. Even within Japan, however, most people aren’t aware this particular date was inherited from a pre-1945 imperial […]

Sword Fittings of the Mitsumura Collection on Exhibit November 3 to December 17

Matching pair of sword guards Design by Kongosai (Matsuo) Gassan (1815-1875). 19th C. Nezu Museum, formerly Mitsumura Collection.   From November 3rd until December 10th, 2017, Nezu Museum is holding an exhibition of some of the most exquisite swords and sword fittings in Japan. It features the collection of Toshimo Mitsumura, a Meiji period businessman and […]