Hisahiko Okazaki (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Okazaki, conservative adviser to Abe, dies at 84
Hisahiko Okazaki, a former diplomat, staunch conservative and close aide to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, died on Oct. 26. He was 84.
Rapper Kang Chun-hyuk, a North Korean defector, in Seoul (Atsushi Hiroshima)
Defector turns to rap music to tell reality of his former life in N. Korea
SEOUL--When Kang Chun-hyuk first arrived in South Korea, the 15-year-old left behind a life under the terror of a totalitarian regime, where friends and neighbors would seemingly vanish in the night.
Takumi Sato makes his "karakuri-ningyo" doll weave textiles during an event at Miwajinja shrine in Kiryu, Gunma Prefecture, on Oct. 25. (Yumiko Baba)
Kiryu man produces first textile-weaving 'karakuri-ningyo' to honor city's history
KIRYU, Gunma Prefecture--Mechanical "karakuri-ningyo" dolls have for centuries served tea, shot arrows and performed other amusing feats, but a local doll-making enthusiast may have crafted the first one that can weave textiles with a loom.
Lee Yea-da (Izumi Sakurai)
S. Korean conscientious objector finds new life in France
Lee Yea-da couldn't stomach the thought of mandatory military service. So he fled South Korea and sought asylum in France, an action that is almost unheard of in his country.
Yuta Minagawa, right, at his junior high school’s judo club in Uonuma, Niigata Prefecture on Oct. 14 (Shintaro Egawa)
2-year-old miracle survivor of 2004 quake seeks career saving people
UONUMA, Niigata Prefecture--When 12-year-old Yuta Minagawa sees TV coverage of natural disasters in Japan, he prays that every victim will be rescued. Ten years ago, it was Yuta at the center of a miraculous rescue shown on live TV after being trapped for 93 hours in a landslide triggered by the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake.
Eiko Kawasaki (Photo by Ryuichi Kitano)
Defector seeks return of Japanese from North Korea
Eiko Kawasaki hid her true identity and face for years in Japan to protect the family members who remained abroad. But by the time she became 70 years old, she asked herself, “Is it OK for my life to end while keeping such things secret?”
Photographer Makiko Ui stands next to her pictures of Ainu people. (Hiroki Nishida)
Making 'invisible' Ainu visible is photographer's labor of love
Makiko Ui has made it her life's work to capture the indigenous Ainu people in photographs under a project called "My portrait Myself."
Bruce Campbell's home in Oregon is a converted Boeing 727 jetliner. (Provided by Bruce Campbell)
American living in Boeing 727 hopes jetliner home project finds wings in Miyazaki
MIYAZAKI--Bruce Campbell's home in the woods of the Pacific Northwest looks as if it is set to take off for the friendly skies.
Iwao Hakamada and his sister, Hideko, shortly after they started living together in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, in late June. (Cho Tsuin)
Sister of freed death-row inmate says family’s half-century battle continues
HAMAMATSU, Shizuoka Prefecture--The sister of a former death-row inmate vowed to officially clear his name in hopes that he can become the man he was before 48 years behind bars shattered his mental state.
Yuji Miyamori, who exhibited his collection at the recent Milan Fashion Week, shows off his works at his workshop in Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefecture. (Natsuki Edogawa)
Fukushima fashion designer rebounds from 2011 disaster to shine at Milan Fashion Week
MINAMI-SOMA, Fukushima Prefecture--Up-and-coming local designer Yuji Miyamori hopes his recent exhibition at Milan Fashion Week will draw attention to the fashion he believes is still waiting to be discovered in the Great East Japan Earthquake-devastated region.
Morisuke Makino talks about his years serving as a personal attendant to Emperor Showa. (Ayako Nakada)
Long-time personal attendant reveals human side of Emperor Showa
Emperor Showa emerges as a thoughtful and forgiving man who kept a tight rein on his emotions and found humor in the most unlikely situations, according to those who worked closely with him.
Akira Isogawa holds a wedding dress overlaid with delicate fabrics. (Michele Mossop)
AKIRA ISOGAWA: Using Asian aesthetics, designer becomes Australian ‘legend’
SYDNEY--Despite a hectic schedule that he juggles on his own, fashion designer Akira Isogawa took time out recently to enjoy a bowl of pho (noodle soup) at a Vietnamese restaurant in western Sydney with a reporter.
Haruki Murakami fans at a cafe in Tokyo react after the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature is announced. (Louis Templado)
‘Harukists’ stay positive after Murakami overlooked by Nobel again
The news came hard for a coterie of hard-core fans packed inside a Haruki Murakami-themed cafe in Tokyo. Their beloved writer would not receive this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature.
Akio Nakanishi supported Haruki Murakami in the author's failed bid for leadership at their junior high school. In the background is the Shukukawa River in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture. (Louis Templado)
Rooting for the boy in their midst who became literary giant Haruki Murakami
Editor's note: This article is part of The Asahi Shimbun AJW's series on internationally acclaimed writer Haruki Murakami.
Participants on a Sept. 28 walk through the Hyogo Prefecture cities of Nishinomiya and Ashiya, both connected to the early life of Haruki Murakami, pause in front of a clock that was stopped by the Great Hanshin Earthquake on Jan. 17, 1995. (Louis Templado)
DRAWER OF MEMORIES: Retracing Haruki Murakami's steps through the quake-damaged past
Editor's note: This article is part of The Asahi Shimbun AJW's series on internationally acclaimed writer Haruki Murakami. The article is titled "Drawer of Memories," intended to depict his younger days and places associated with his works.
Nakamura’s painting featuring a dinosaur and Mount Fuji (Provided by Shuhei Nakamura)
Disabled artist uses thumb, toe to pursue dream
HAMAMATSU--Shuhei Nakamura watches the computer screen as the big toe on his left foot moves the trackball of his mouse. When the cursor reaches the right place, his right thumb clicks the touchpad controller.
Jeroen Lamers (Photo by Go Takayama)
Former Dutch diplomat toils after hours in bringing samurai warlord to Western readers
BEIJING--Though most people he met through his job knew him simply as a Dutch diplomat, Jeroen Lamers is much more, for he is a scholar, writer and passionate publicist of a great samurai warlord virtually unknown outside Japan.
Robert Lang shows off some of his original origami designs during a recent interview in Tokyo. (Shigetaka Kodama)
Childhood hobby leads to career for American origami industrial engineer
As a child, Robert Lang fell in love with paper folding and the infinite possibilities it offered after he was given a textbook on the traditional Japanese art form when he was 6.
The program is hosted by Ryoichi Niimoto, right, who appears with announcer Dionne Mitsuoka, inside a Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) recording studio in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward. (Louis Templado)
Tuning in to learn how English-sounding Haruki Murakami reads in English
Editor's note: This article is part of The Asahi Shimbun AJW's series on internationally acclaimed writer Haruki Murakami.
Painter Kazuko Irie at the Irie Kazuko Silk Road Museum in Tokyo’s Suginami Ward on Sept. 8 (Tomoko Saito)
At 98, painter has sights set on landmark exhibition
At 98 years old, painter Kazuko Irie shows no sign of slowing down as she prepares for an exhibition to mark her 100th birthday in 2016.

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