121-year-old Nguyen Thi Tru, the oldest Vietnamese person alive according to the Vietnam Book of Records, relaxes on a hammock next to her son Nguyen Huu Phuong in their house in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on July 29. Her 72-year-old son, the youngest of her 11 children, shows off the certificate awarded to her by the company confirming her age. (Manabu Sasaki)
Vietnam says local woman is world's oldest person at 121 years of age
HO CHI MINH CITY--The world’s officially recognized oldest person, 116-year-old Misao Okawa of Japan, may have to surrender her title to a Vietnamese woman five years her senior.
Photographer Nobuyoshi Araki speaks during a recent interview with The Asahi Shimbun. (Hikaru Uchida)
One-eyed 'Ararky' continues quest of no-holds-barred photography
For a famed photographer, the loss of eyesight could mean the end of a career.
Tasuku Saito, a bookshop owner in Tokyo's Sendagaya neighborhood, holds up a lantern advertising Peter Cat, the jazz bar operated by Haruki Murakami when he lived in the area. (Louis Templado)
DRAWER OF MEMORIES: Haruki Murakami rose to fame from a 'walled town' of a Tokyo neighborhood
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.
Doris Salcedo, this year's winner of the Hiroshima Art Prize (Yoshihisa Aoyama)
Colombia's Salcedo wins Hiroshima Art Prize for works echoing suffering of victims
HIROSHIMA--Colombian artist Doris Salcedo, known for conveying the suffering of victims of violence and discrimination, has been named the ninth recipient of the Hiroshima Art Prize.
Katsumasa Fukuda, a municipal assemblyman of Sanyo-Onoda, Yamaguchi Prefecture, shows off his memoir. (Fumiko Kuribayashi)
Local politician wages anti-drug crusade, admitting past addiction
SANYO-ONODA, Yamaguchi Prefecture--While a recent bout of highly publicized scandals has shocked the public and cast doubts on the moral standards of local politicians, one assemblyman here isn't hiding his criminal past.
Located on both sides of the Shukugawa river, which runs through Nishinomiya, Shukugawa Park is a hangout for stray cats. (Provided by Goro Fukushima)
COMMENTARY/ Hanshinkan Kid (7): Haruki Murakami's love for cats comes through in his works
Editor’s note: This is part of The Asahi Shimbun AJW’s series on internationally acclaimed writer Haruki Murakami and the seventh of Koji Konishi’s “The Hanshinkan Kid” commentaries.
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Tetsuko Kuroyanagi holds an infant waiting to be vaccinated at a public health center in Tacloban, the Philippines, in June. (Provided by Takeyoshi Tanuma)
Tireless UNICEF ambassador Kuroyanagi working for world's children for 30 years
Since she was appointed a UNICEF goodwill ambassador in February 1984, actress Tetsuko Kuroyanagi has traveled to conflict-torn, disaster-affected and poverty-stricken areas around the world in support of suffering children.
Ken Watanabe (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Ken Watanabe to rule Manhattan in 'The King and I' revival
NEW YORK--Acclaimed actor Ken Watanabe will star in the upcoming revival production of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "The King and I" at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theater.
Dancers, from left, Shiori Kase of Japan, Gisele Bethea of Mesa, Ariz., and Tamako Miyazaki of Japan, share a laugh outside Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson, Miss., on June 27 following the USA International Ballet Competition awards program. (AP Photo)
Japanese ballerinas strike gold, silver at top U.S. competition
Japanese ballerinas Shiori Kase and Tamako Miyazaki captured the hearts of the audiences along with the gold and silver medals at the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Miss., on June 27.
Photojournalist Bunyo Ishikawa poses in front of his pictures on Vietnam. (Yuki Takayama)
Photojournalist donating Vietnam War pictures to Ho Chi Minh City museum
Famed Japanese photojournalist Bunyo Ishikawa will donate 150 pictures of the Vietnam War and the postwar suffering caused by chemical defoliants to the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City.
Kenta Okazaki in Beijing (Koichi Furuya)
A tale of true love between Japanese-Chinese couple
BEIJING--Kenta Okazaki says his book on his late Chinese wife was inspired by her mother’s book on the couple, which touched the heartstrings of readers in China as a "pure romance between a Chinese and Japanese."
Ventriloquist Ikkokudo poses with some of his dummies. (Ken Aso)
Desire to speak for himself drives Japan's top ventriloquist
His lips might be sealed during shows, but Japan’s leading ventriloquist doesn’t mind spilling the secrets of his craft.
A stereo system operator at the Kanagawa Prefectural library in Yokohama prepares to play records featured in Haruki Murakami works. (Louis Templado)
DRAWER OF MEMORIES: Yokohama library offers Haruki Murakami's warm analog tones as the author intended
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.
Anji Hino performs a dance during her final stage performance in “Dance Romanesque” in 2011. (C)Takarazuka Revue Co.
Ex-Takarazuka heroine finds healing stage in disaster-stricken Tohoku
OSAKA--Although Anji Hino, a star of the famed all-female musical theater troupe Takarazuka Revue, was based in the Kansai region when the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami devastated northeastern Japan in 2011, she felt a particular empathy for people who lost family members.
Kunio Nakamura browses through a copy of his “Sanpo de kanjiru Murakami Haruki” (Feeling Haruki Murakami through walking around), a guidebook to spots featured in the author's novels. (Louis Templado)
INTERVIEW/ Kunio Nakamura: Guidebook offers no exact matches to Haruki Murakami spots, but glimpses of his imagination
Editor's note: This interview is part of The Asahi Shimbun AJW's series on internationally acclaimed writer Haruki Murakami.
Prince Katsura in Tokyo in November 1994 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Prince Katsura, cousin of Emperor Akihito, dies at 66
Prince Katsura, a cousin of Emperor Akihito, died of acute heart failure on June 8. He was 66.
Patricia Lomax (Motooki Hayasaka)
With wife's support, former British POW ended 'thirst for vengeance'
Patricia Lomax recalls snuggling up to her husband after he groaned in his sleep and woke up screaming from his persistent nightmares.
Dishes prepared by Yoshiteru Nishi, the chef for Japan’s national soccer squad, are provided in a buffet style. (Sayaka Yamaguchi)
Fukushima-born chef seeks to give Japan's World Cup squad an edge in Brazil
As the Japan national soccer team's "12th man," Yoshiteru Nishi has more on his plate than just ensuring the players are properly fed and their bellies full during the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Kazuomi Harashima dressed in priest clothing at Musashi-Mitakejinja shrine in Ome, western Tokyo (Toshiro Matsuzaki)
Station master leads double life as Shinto priest
OME--Considering that the tram from Takimoto Station here in western Tokyo goes up the hallowed Mount Mitake, it’s no surprise that one of the station managers is also holy man.
Takemoto Sumitayu, right, greets the audience after he receiving a bouquet from Yoshida Minosuke, left, at the retirement ceremony at the National Theater in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward on May 26. (Sayuri Ide)
Curtain comes down for legendary puppet theater narrator
After 68 years as a narrator of Japanese bunraku, also known as a “ningyo joruri” (puppet theater), Takemoto Sumitayu gave his final performance in front of a full house at the National Theater in Tokyo on May 26.

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