The Japanese government recently unveiled new banknotes. They reflect Japan’s artistic traditions and embody the nation’s dedication to innovation and progress. The 5,000 yen banknote is especially remarkable as it features a woman whose impact transcends her time and leaves an enduring legacy. Her name is Tsuda Umeko, a Japanese educator and women’s rights advocate.(more…)
The language used in Kyoto’s geiko district is an old Kyoto dialect—and some words may sound bizarre even to a Japanese native. Even if you don’t speak Japanese, you may find it useful to get familiar with the basics of 花街言葉 kagai kotoba, the “geiko districts language”. Use them during your next trip to Kyoto’s Gion!(more…)
The global pandemic is not giving up. It is affecting the global economy, but some businesses are suffering more than others. Naturally, the world of traditional Japanese entertainment is facing a lot of problems at the moment. Let’s take a look behind the sliding door of a notable teahouse (お茶屋 ochaya) at the most famous geisha district of Kyoto, Gion Kobu. What is their story and how are they dealing with the coronavirus pandemic?(more…)
Last year was rough. 2018 is marked with tragedies, sorrow, happiness, surprises, big decisions, and even bigger disappointments. Kyoto is still standing strong, though, despite the fact that a kanji for “disaster” is haunting us from the head temple of Kiyomizu complex. Indeed—what I like the most about Kyoto’s culture is its peaceful stability against all odds. But, as this culture greatly relies on weather conditions, sometimes the sacred customs need to be adjusted slightly. For me, personally, the kanji describing last year is “change” and “humbleness”. These two words are imminently related.
We, as a media audience, have certainly witnessed quite a few important social issues within the past year. Some of them led to an unnecessary extreme, yet they all raised an important question—how to treat women, minorities, and traditional culture possibly in the most respectful way?