The opening ceremony of the Cool Japan promotion organization with fashion brand minä perhonen in Tokyo's Roppongi district in November 2013 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Chinese shoppers to get a 'Cool Japan' mall in Ningbo
An organization designed to promote Japanese culture overseas will be pumping billions of yen into a "Japan Mall" in a pro-Japan Chinese city as its first venture.
Veteran artisan Yasuhide Rokutani carves small consecutive circles to create the exquisite “Seigaiha" wave, which a traditional "komon" pattern. (Hiroki Nishida)
In the world of kimono, perfection is a behind-the-scenes art
SUZUKA, Mie Prefecture--Local folklore would have it that the delicate kimono patterns people take for granted owe their existence to bugs, of all things.
University students show the names of their favorite works of author Natsume Soseki during an international symposium at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., on April 18. (Hikaru Uchida)
Meiji-Taisho Era novelist Soseki becoming trendy across the world 100 years later
Even almost 100 years after his death, novelist Natsume Soseki (1867-1916), who counts popular writer Haruki Murakami among his fans, is gaining new converts throughout the world amid globalization.
Several packs of ready-to-eat taco-seasoned ground meat are available in a box, right, or in a plastic package. (Chae-soo Choi)
OMIYAGE FROM JAPAN: 'Chanpuru' culture melds Okinawan, Mexican cuisines in taco rice
Editor's note: This series showcases various kinds of "omiyage" (souvenirs) from around Japan. We introduce you to "must-buy" items that you can get at prefecture-operated shops for promoting local tourism products in Tokyo. The series appears on Saturdays.
(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)
ASAHI HAIKUIST NETWORK/ By David McMurray
Easter Vigil--
Book jackets created using traditional "hyogu" techniques normally used to mount calligraphy or Buddhist scriptures to hanging scrolls and paper screens (Maiko Itagaki)
CRAFTED IN TOKYO: Artisan makes book jackets using Edo Period scroll-mounting technique
Editor's note: This series showcases cool and unique souvenirs made in Japan's capital of Tokyo, formerly known as Edo.
A page from "Ashita, Jishin ga Yattekuru!" (An earthquake comes tomorrow!) ((c) Asuka Setoridone/ Kadokawa Enterbrain)
Manga artist warns of dangers of quake-driven soil liquefaction
URAYASU, Chiba Prefecture--Artist and writer Asuka Setori was working on a one-shot girls' manga in her apartment at 2:46 p.m. on March 11, 2011, when the magnitude-9.0 Great East Japan Earthquake struck.
The desk Osamu Tezuka used in his final years is seen at his animation studio in Niiza, Saitama Prefecture. The original drawings on the desk are among items that were discovered locked in the desk’s drawers. (Atsushi Ohara)
Original drawings by legendary cartoonist Tezuka found in his desk
Long-lost original drawings by Osamu Tezuka, the cartoonist known as “Manga no Kamisama” (God of Manga), have been found locked away in his writing desk, 25 years after his death.
From upper left, clockwise: Panel 10 of "Fukujuso" (The adonis plant) by Katsushika Hokusai (Collection of Mitsuru Uragami, photo by Tatsuro Hirose of Geijutsu Shincho); Panel 10 of “Utamakura” (Poem of the pillow) by Kitagawa Utamaro (Collection of Mitsuru Uragami, photo by Tatsuro Hirose of Geijutsu Shincho); Panel 12 of the erotic series “Furyu Enshoku Maneemon” (The amorous adventures of Maneemon) by Suzuki Harunobu (Collection of International Research Center for Japanese Studies); “Wakashu Asobi Kyarano Makura” (Young men and aloeswood incense pillow) by Hishikawa Moronobu (Collection of International Research Center for Japanese Studies); and Panel 4 of “Sode no Maki” (The scroll of the sleeve) by Torii Kiyonaga (Collection of Sumisho Art Gallery)
Shunga: A unique treasure trove of eroticism from Edo Period
The erotic Edo Period (1603-1867) style of painting known as “shunga” is a Japanese art form like no other.
Three types of Shuzan-Kaido beer from Haneda Shuzo. From left, Amber Ale, Weizen and Kolsch. (Chae-soo Choi)
OMIYAGE FROM JAPAN: Long-established sake brewery hops into traditional European beer making
Editor's note: This series showcases various kinds of "omiyage" (souvenirs) from around Japan. We introduce you to "must-buy" items that you can get at prefecture-operated shops for promoting local tourism products in Tokyo. The series appears on Saturdays.
"Shinobazu Pond" by Odano Naotake (1770s, important cultural property, Akita Museum of Modern Art collection), on display until April 21 (Provided by Suntory Museum of Art)
Edo sophistication plays with the eyes at Edo exhibition in Tokyo
In the late Edo Period (1603-1867), Japan imported new information from overseas and the country enjoyed a boom in Western learning, including the realm of painting.
Wamuu offers fruit and vegetable-shaped acrylic paperweights with “chirimen” silk crepe patterns. (Yoshiaki Horiuchi)
KYOTO GOES KAWAII: Colorful patterns lie beneath the surface of Wamuu's acrylic paperweights
Editor's note: This series showcases what we are calling "kawaii" (cute) items locally made in the iconic Japanese city.
Actor Tasuku Nagase (Photo by Makoto Kaku)
Groomed for greatness by starring in 'Kamen Rider' series
Aside from their good looks and strong acting skills, Joe Odagiri, Go Ayano and Takeru Sato share something else in common: They all had prominent roles in the Kamen Rider series before they rose to stardom.
The Former Kawakita Annex and its trees are visible from the Kamakura City Film Museum. (Louis Templado)
Rare open house offers trip into Kamakura's rich cinema past
Offering a rare glimpse into a glittery Kamakura that most tourists don't get to see, a secluded house once owned by a movie mogul, where cinema luminaries such as French actor Alain Delon and U.S. filmmaker Jim Jarmusch once stayed, was opened to the public earlier this month.
Members of the Takarazuka Revue's Moon Troupe perform in a show marking the centennial anniversary at the Takarazuka Grand Theater in Hyogo Prefecture on March 21. (Mihoko Takizawa)
Takarazuka Revue turns 100 with former 94-year-old star among those honored
When Michio Oji first took the stage of the Takarazuka Revue in 1939, other revue performers were some of the biggest names in the troupe's history, including Yumeji Tsukioka, Nobuko Otowa and Fubuki Koshiji.
A "Koto" doll, left, and a "Tsubomi" doll. (Choi Chae-soo)
OMIYAGE FROM JAPAN: Odamasu's ceramic dolls represent essence of Japanese female beauty
Editor's note: This series showcases various kinds of "omiyage" (souvenirs) from around Japan. We introduce you to "must-buy" items that you can get at prefecture-operated shops for promoting local tourism products in Tokyo. The series appears on Saturdays.
Yasutoshi Ezumi (Photo by Hirokazu Ohara)
Intelligence, beauty rules at Fashion Week Tokyo 2014 Autumn/Winter
At Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo 2014 Autumn/Winter, all eyes were on creative brands that presented well-thought-out, intelligent collections.
Matohu (Photo by Hirokazu Ohara)
Idiomatic autumn-winter fashions highlight 2014 Tokyo fashion week
The Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tokyo, which ran from March 17-22, showcased the 2014 autumn-winter collections by high-end, homegrown designers.
Participants of the "Futo no Ie" (house of envelope) workshop, held in August 2013 on the sidelines of the Yappeshi Festival,  draw illustrations on envelopes and exchange works. A special edition of the festival was also held at the "Making is Living" exhibition in Tokyo. (Provided by artist Emiko Tsutsumi)
Artist, folklorist use power of art to tackle issues in post-quake society
An artist and a folklorist are taking different approaches but with the same goal of using art to deal with social issues left in the aftermath of the Tohoku disaster three years ago.

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