15 Apr
Pacifist Japan is gradually learning to love its military, with an apparent public relations campaign under way to soften its image, featuring online popularity contests, a much-touted soprano vocalist and dating events. (Japan Today)
11 Apr
Even by the standards of pop stars, Hatsune Miku is eccentric and protean, her mystique elusive. Her eyes are too round and blue to be real. She can be buxom or boyish, and almost painfully sultry - all in a droid-ish, understated way. (Global Post)
2 Apr
Spring in Japan brings explosions of pink and white cherry blossoms that provide a beautiful backdrop for picnics across this nature-loving country. But it also heralds a mass outbreak of facemasks and speciality goggles intended to fend off clouds of pollen that make noses stream and eyes itch. (The West)
24 Mar
Japan's biggest slum is visible just blocks from bustling restaurants and shops in Osaka, the country's second-largest city. But it cannot be found on official maps. (abcnews.go.com)
20 Mar
In Japan, cherry blossoms, or sakura, are the rock stars of the plant kingdom. People obsess over them, their rare public appearances send fans into a frenzy, and the most devoted enthusiasts will even follow their flowering tour as it spreads from Japan's warmer southern prefectures to the chillier north. (rocketnews24.com)
11 Mar
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant went into meltdown just 13 kilometres away from Naoto Matsumura's home. After being turned away from an overcrowded temporary shelter, he decided to take his chances back home in Tomioka city, Fukushima prefecture, and take care of his animals. (South China Morning Post)
7 Mar
The number of people belonging to Japan's notorious yakuza crime groups fell to an all-time low in 2013, slipping below the 60,000-member mark for the first time on record, police say. (The Guardian)
27 Feb
In an unusual move, the Japanese police have recruited a 'Robocop' on public trains to protect women commuters from perverts. (The Hindu)
22 Feb
Sure, Japan is a hard working society, and the spread of productivity-sapping sickness is always a concern at schools and workplaces, but that doesn't seem like reason enough for the proliferation of facial coverings that sometimes has Tokyo offices looking more like an operating room. (Japan Today)
19 Feb
If you like a cheeky festival then Hadaka Matsuri, aka Japan's naked festival is for you. (news.com.au)
14 Feb
Love is all around at this time of year, but on Valentine's Day in Japan it isn't so evenly distributed. The festival of romance has long suffered from a gender imbalance here: Feb. 14 is traditionally a day for women to give presents to men - not just their partners, but also often fellow students, coworkers, family members or other hangers-on (such gifts are aptly termed giri-choko, or "obligation chocolates"). (Japan Times)
4 Feb
Actor Junichi Okada, star of NHK TV's year-long period drama "Gunshi Kambei," scatters roasted soybeans at an annual bean-throwing festival marking setsubun at Naritasan Shinshoji temple in Narita, Chiba Prefecture, on Monday. (The Japan News)
25 Jan
Cherry blossoms are expected to bloom at about the usual time or earlier this spring from Kyushu to Kanto and in Hokuriku because temperatures are expected to be temporarily higher than usual in February, according to a weather information firm. (The Japan News)
18 Jan
With scant energy and mineral reserves of its own, and nuclear plants mothballed since the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan is investing heavily in exploring beneath the oceans for resources that will power its future. (dw.de)
14 Jan
Coming of Age Day ceremonies were held across Japan on Monday. The internal affairs ministry estimates that 1.21 million men and women turned 20 last year. It is the lowest number since the ministry began making estimates in 1968. The number peaked at 2.46 million in 1970. (NHK)
9 Jan
Japan's top sumo wrestlers paraded into a Tokyo shrine on Wednesday (January 8) to usher in the New Year with a traditional foot-stomping performance. (ntd.tv)
3 Jan
You might remember hearing about lingerie brand Wacoal's novel bra vending machines, which debuted in Japan this past year, and thinking, No woman will ever want to buy a bra without trying it on. You were correct. (thefrisky.com)
27 Dec
"Kumamon," a black bear mascot for Kumamoto Prefecture, southwestern Japan, generated economic effects worth 124.4 billion yen in the two years through October, the Bank of Japan's Kumatomo branch estimated Thursday. (Jiji Press)
22 Dec
Ikumi Yoshimatsu, former winner of the Miss International contest, has suffered pressure and harassment at the hands of Japan's yakuza. (france24.com)
17 Dec
The Imperial Palace in Tokyo will be open to the public for the first time ever in May and October next year, the Imperial Household Agency said Monday. (Jiji Press)
12 Dec
The annual "kanji" Chinese character of the year in Japan went to "ring" on Thursday, after Tokyo's successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics, often referred to in local print media as "five rings." (Straits Times)
9 Dec
The image of the Shinkansen bullet train streaking past Mount Fuji is a powerful part of the iconography of the resurgent post-war Japan. (CNN)
8 Dec
Speaking at an izakaya-style pub she runs in central Tokyo, Japan's first lady Akie Abe explained the transformation her husband has gone through since his disappointing first term as prime minister ended in 2007, just a year after he took office. (Wall Street Journal)
5 Dec
UNESCO's Intergovernmental Committee Wednesday approved Japan's application to add its "washoku" traditional cuisine to the global body's intangible cultural heritage list. (Jiji Press)
2 Dec
Yuma (悠真) was the most popular name for baby boys in 2013, while Yuina (結菜) was the most popular girls' name this year, according to a survey conducted by Meiji-Yasuda Seimei, a major insurance company in Japan. (Japan Today)
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