The Dalai Lama speaks during a recent interview with The Asahi Shimbun in Gifu city. (Taku Hosokawa)
INTERVIEW: Dalai Lama says inter-religious dialogue key to ending terrorism
GIFU--Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, said terrorism carried out in the name of religion is a “very sad” reality facing the post-Cold War world and urged religious leaders to promote interfaith dialogue to break the chain of violence.
Holly Helt, left, and Alex Sanson display items on the menu at Chiki Tea in Nakatsu, Oita Prefecture, on Feb. 27. (Masahiko Urabe)
Foreign couple offers delights of Japanese tea in cafe in Oita
NAKATSU, Oita Prefecture--When Holly Helt and Alex Sanson discovered the perfect tea leaves in Japan, it gave them the idea of popularizing the unique taste of Japanese tea.
Johnnie Xu (Photo by Satoshi Ukai)
Culture shock leads to Taiwanese magazine about Japanese culture
Johnnie Xu first visited Japan two years ago to see a concert by an Irish band. He left the country more impressed by the tomes in Tokyo than the tunes of the group.
Former Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara during a news conference in Tokyo on April 23 (Takeshi Tokitsu)
'Bad guy' Ishihara on recipient list for esteemed decoration
Shintaro Ishihara, a popular four-term Tokyo governor who has also ruffled feathers with his outspoken style, will receive a prestigious government award for contributions to the nation and society.
Stefan Schauwecker (Photo by Naoki Tsuzaka)
Want the latest tourist tips on Japan? Then Stefan Schauwecker's website is a must
Swiss-born Stefan Schauwecker is something of a Japanophile, having made this country his home, and visiting well over 1,000 tourist destinations around Japan.
Yauemon Sato stands before a bank of solar panels at his company's Oguni power plant in Kitakata, Fukushima Prefecture. (Rei Kishitsu)
Determined sake brewer seeks to revive Fukushima with renewable energy
KITAKATA, Fukushima Prefecture--Yauemon Sato’s determination to forge ahead with his ideas, no matter how unorthodox, has led fellow workers to describe him as “a dump truck with broken brakes.”
Tidying-up consultant Marie Kondo (Provided by Sunmark Publishing Inc.)
Cleanup guru Marie Kondo among Time's 100 most influential people
Marie Kondo, a “tidying-up consultant” whose style has become an international phenomenon, was selected as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine.
Koho Kawagoe, the chief priest of a Zen Buddhist temple in Toyama city, celebrates the 400th broadcast of his 730 Night Hour on Feb. 23. The radio show is designed exclusively for inmates of Toyama Prison. (Takeshi Terawaki)
Veteran DJ a Buddhist priest who mentors prison inmates
TOYAMA--Koho Kawagoe tries to keep the mood light during his radio show, reading messages on air and playing songs that resonate with listeners.
J-pop producer Tsunku performs on the guitar during an entrance ceremony at Kinki University in Higashi-Osaka, Osaka Prefecture, on April 4. (Takashi Ishihara)
J-pop mogul stuns alma mater with announcement of loss of vocal cords
HIGASHI-OSAKA, Osaka Prefecture--In a surprising and poignant appearance at his alma mater, popular J-pop producer and rock star Tsunku revealed on April 4 that he had his vocal cords removed due to a recurrence of laryngeal cancer.
Misao Okawa (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
World's oldest person dies in Osaka at 117
Misao Okawa, recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest living person on the planet, died on April 1. She was 117.
Hatsuno Goto with her first book in hand at her home in Tokyo's Sumida Ward in January. (Provided by Hatsuno Goto)
Book offers peek into active life at age 111
At the ripe age of 73, Hatsuno Goto took up painting in hopes of keeping her brain active to prevent dementia. Nearly four decades later, and still with her wits about her, Goto received a pre-copy of her book featuring a number of her artworks.
Umpire Sujeewa Wijayanayake signals that a runner is safe at second base during a game on March 23 at the National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture. (Toshiyuki Hayashi)
Sri Lankan man's Koshien dream comes true behind the second base bag
NISHINOMIYA, Hyogo Prefecture--While all Japanese high school baseball players dream of playing in hallowed Koshien Stadium, a Sri Lankan man on March 23 got his wish to umpire a game there.
Lee Kuan Yew in Tokyo in June 1992 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Lee Kuan Yew, founder of modern Singapore, dies at 91
SINGAPORE--Lee Kuan Yew, who founded modern Singapore and was both feared for his authoritarian tactics and admired for turning the city-state into one of the world's richest nations, died on March 23, the government said. He was 91.
Kazuto Seike trains himself for swordfighting scenes in samurai movies and dramas at Toei Kyoto Studios in Kyoto’s Ukyo Ward. (Noboru Tomura)
Samurai bit actor plays the part in quest to be swordfighting master
KYOTO--They are usually on screen for just minutes. And then, they are killed. But the unique role of "kirareyaku" in samurai dramas--typically the principal villain's sidekicks--takes years to perfect.
“Rakugo” storyteller Katsura Beicho gives a performance in Osaka in January 2009. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
‘Rakugo’ master Katsura Beicho, a national treasure, dies at 89
“Rakugo” storyteller Katsura Beicho, credited with reviving the Kansai style of the comic art form, died of pneumonia on March 19. He was 89.
Mao Asada shows off her diploma from Chukyo University in Nagoya on March 19. (Minako Yoshimoto)
Figure skater Asada graduates from university, remains undecided on career
NAGOYA--Three-time world figure skating champion Mao Asada graduated from Chukyo University on March 19, but she declined to say if she would return to the sport that made her an icon in this country.
Dai Dali, the oldest pole dancer in China (Nanae Kurashige)
At 69, Chinese dancer gains pole position
CHENGDU, China--Wearing long, shiny black boots and a tight top, Dai Dali spins, twirls and gyrates around a vertical steel pole to the rousing applause of audience members.
Yoshiomi Tamai celebrates his 80th birthday with former recipients of the Ashinaga Ikueikai scholarship on Feb. 7 in Tokyo. (Hikaru Uchida)
Head of Ashinaga child charity turns 80, pledges to broaden reach
The founder of a scholarship fund that has helped educate bereaved children for several decades turned 80 last month, but he’s not letting age get in the way of his life’s work.
Doga Makiura at a warehouse in Rwanda where bags of food have piled up (Provided by Doga Makiura)
Young humanitarian worker wants developing countries to help themselves
In his teenage years, Doga Makiura helped to ease a humanitarian crisis that had stumped even the United Nations.
Masako Yamamoto talks about her memories of her late husband in her home in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward. (Akira Nakano)
Film explores lives, 2 homelands of Masako Yamamoto, artist husband Lee Joong-seop
The life of Masako Yamamoto has been beset with separation and tragedy, having been deeply impacted by World War II and the Korean War.

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