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.
Yoshiko Yamaguchi (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Yoshiko Yamaguchi, wartime actress in Manchuria, dies at 94
Yoshiko Yamaguchi, an actress widely popular in both Japan and China before the end of World War II, died of heart failure at her home in Tokyo on Sept. 7. She was 94.
Thomas Bertrand makes his customers feel at home at his Bento&co lunch box store in Kyoto’s Nakagyo Ward. (Masaki Yamamoto)
Frenchman's 'bento' box dream comes true in Kyoto
KYOTO--Japanese "bento," with their functionality and simple beauty, have taken off in France and beyond, thanks in part to Bertrand Co., a Kyoto-based firm that ships the Japanese lunch boxes to Europe and the United States.
Ayako Sekimoto has performed in 30 films in India as a Bollywood dancer. (Noriki Ishitobi)
Japanese dancer's dream comes true as Bollywood performer
Ayako Sekimoto says she knew little about India and had no dancing experience a decade ago. But all that changed in 2007, after she saw her first Indian movie while studying in Canada.
Manabu Iijima folds paper to make a train in Yokohama. (Kentaro Sano)
Expert railway employee makes hobby of origami trains wildly popular
When Keikyu Corp. railway employee Manabu Iijima folded his first paper train in 2010, he thought it would be a good way to spread the word that railways and trains are fun.
Hitoshi Fujiwara teaches English pronunciation to a student in Okayama. (Ken Hasegawa)
Convicted killer finds purpose in life with English language
OKAYAMA--A woman overcame her suspicions about the dirt-cheap price advertised and signed up for classes at an English-language school here. In her first lesson, she learned that her teacher was a convicted murderer.
Mei Shigenobu (Photo by Motooki Hayasaka)
Daughter of imprisoned Japanese Red Army leader talks about her mother
"Children of the Revolution," a documentary about terrorist leaders Fusako Shigenobu and Ulrike Meinhof, has special resonance for Japan as one of the women is the imprisoned Japanese Red Army leader.
Donald Keene (Motooki Hayasaka)
Interview with Donald Keene: I turned wartime enemies into friends with music
Music has been a constant companion in the life of Donald Keene, the acclaimed scholar of Japanese literature.
Angela Ortiz (Photo by Hideyuki Miura)
U.S. aid volunteer becomes tsunami disaster-zone ambassador to the world
In Minami-Sanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, the town's first non-Japanese reconstruction support ambassador is trying to send a message out to the world that assistance is still needed in recovery efforts from the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
Hayao Miyazaki (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Retired anime giant Miyazaki to receive honorary Oscar
NEW YORK--Despite saying a retiree like himself doesn’t need an award, Studio Ghibli's renowned anime director Hayao Miyazaki appeared pleased to learn that he will receive the Honorary Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Bunyo Ishikawa during a recent interview (Tomoya Ishikawa)
Documentary highlights 50-year anti-war crusade by photojournalist
Just as the government approved sweeping changes to Japan's postwar security policy, a timely documentary film on the career of renowned photojournalist Bunyo Ishikawa, who spread an anti-war message through his coverage of the Vietnam War, started hitting the big screen across the nation.
Shinjuku Station, shown here viewed from the south, figures prominently in Haruki Murakami's latest novel to be translated into English. (Louis Templado)
DRAWER OF MEMORIES: Shinjuku Station becomes stage for Haruki Murakami's latest novel
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.
Haruki Murakami (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Haruki Murakami likens writing to plunging into the 'darkness' at Edinburgh book festival
EDINBURGH--Internationally acclaimed author Haruki Murakami described writing a novel as descending into the “darkness” of his mind at the Edinburgh International Book Festival here.
Ryoji Takayama (Photo by Ayako Nakada)
Former SDF member pursues 'peacekeeping mission' in Cambodia
Ryoji Takayama wasn't done with Cambodia after he returned to Japan at the end of the country's first undertaking in a U.N. peacekeeping mission in 1992.
An aerial photograph of Hanshin Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
COMMENTARY/ Hanshinkan Kid (8): Memories of Koshien baseball stadium inspire Haruki Murakami
Editor’s note: This is part of The Asahi Shimbun AJW’s series on internationally acclaimed writer Haruki Murakami and the eighth of Koji Konishi’s “The Hanshinkan Kid” commentaries.
Seizo Fukumoto plays the lead character in "Uzumasa Limelight." (C)UzumasaLimelight
Long-time bit player in samurai movies wins international acting award
After decades of playing minor characters unceremoniously killed in samurai films, Seizo Fukumoto became the first Japanese and oldest winner of the Best Actor Award at the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal.
Mechanical watches are powered by mainsprings that require winding before the watch will operate. “In an age where almost everything is automated, physical interaction with a device is still attractive to some people.” (Kazuyoshi Sako)
MASAHIRO KIKUNO: Independent watchmaker creates unique works of art
At his workshop in Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, neatly lined with machine tools and implements purchased via Internet auctions, Masahiro Kikuno gently draws a file across a piece of metal about one centimeter in size.
Actress Sayuri Yoshinaga talks about her opposition to nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. (Kazuo Yamamoto)
Actress says Japan should always say ‘no’ to nuclear weapons
Born just a few months before the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, actress Sayuri Yoshinaga has spoken out against nuclear weapons for most of her career.
Takeji Muno in July 2014 (Yasuhiro Sugimoto)
At 99, anti-war journalist wins prestigious award
A 99-year-old journalist who spread imperial Japanese military propaganda during World War II and spent his postwar life determined to “exterminate all wars” has received the Japan Congress of Journalists’ 2014 Special Award.

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