Officials and craftsmen in Higashi-Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, home to “hosokawa-shi” paper, celebrate the designation of "washi" as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage on Nov. 27. (Shiro Nishihata)
'Washi' paper-making tradition inscribed on U.N. heritage list
PARIS--Japan’s traditional art of making “washi” paper has been officially added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list, giving the millennium-old craft fresh attention as the country’s latest U.N.-recognized asset.
The 51st “Hokkaido’s products and sightseeing” exhibition was inundated with shoppers when it opened at Yamakataya department store in Kagoshima on Nov. 6. (Yoshihiro Yasutomi)
JOY OF HOKKAIDO FOOD: Hokkaido food fairs big moneymakers, particularly in Kagoshima
Editor’s note: Hokkaido is attracting attention for its world-class food items. This series introduces readers to delicious foods from the northern Japanese island and the people there who are producing these wonderful products. The series appears every other Saturday.
There are various sauces for okonomiyaki pancakes and stir-fried noodles in Hiroshima Prefecture. The one in the middle is Otafuku sauce. Those on the left and the right are sauces made by Mitsuwa. (Choi Chae-soo)
OMIYAGE FROM JAPAN: Local sauces complement Michelin-rated 'okonomiyaki' pancakes
Editor’s note: This series showcases “omiyage” (souvenirs) from around Japan. We introduce “must-buy” items available at prefecture-operated shops in Tokyo that promote local tourism products. The series appears on Saturdays.
(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)
ASAHI HAIKUIST NETWORK/ David McMurray
Late autumn wind giving scarecrow my old winter jacket
Owariya's kaori-maru incense balls (Nanako Ito)
KYOTO GOES KAWAII: Kaori-maru incense balls are as pleasant to the eyes as the nose
Editor’s note: This series showcases what we are calling “kawaii” (cute) items made locally in the iconic Japanese city.
A mummy of a Kudan, a yokai with the body of a cow and the head of a human, is on display at the yokai exhibition in Osaka. (Kenta Sujino)
Mummies, mystical creatures welcome visitors to 'yokai' exhibition
OSAKA--Mummified monsters, dragon skulls and antique paintings of mermaids are drawing curious visitors here in one of the largest "yokai" themed exhibitions in Japan.
Former education minister Akito Arima is flanked by members of haiku clubs in Akita. (Photo by David McMurray)
ASAHI HAIKUIST SPECIAL/ Former minister Arima finds support for UNESCO haiku bid
Haiku walk marking my notebook a red leaf
Nobushige Akiyama shows the traditional way of making Japanese “washi” paper at the Japan Cultural Institute in Rome on Nov. 13. (Hiroshi Ishida)
‘Washi’ proves an asset for Italian culture
ROME--In this soccer-mad country, a sellout crowd of 150 watched the methodical and precise moves of a Japanese artist creating “washi” paper in the traditional hand-produced way.
Volume six of the “Doraemon Plus” series (Provided by Shogakukan Inc.)
New entry in ‘Doraemon’ robotic cat comic series to be released next month
A new book of the internationally popular “Doraemon” manga series, which compiles works that are not included in the original 45-volume manga series, will be published next month for the first time in eight years.
One of Hideyuki Nagai's works, "Nessie," in which the 3-D artist cut out the outline of the neck and tail with scissors, but drew them on a page from his sketchbook. (Haruhiro Hirohata)
Eye-popping 3-D images thrust self-taught artist into the spotlight
KAINAN, Wakayama Prefecture--Using nothing more than pencils and a sketchbook, 3-D artist Hideyuki Nagai is capturing the attention of people at home and abroad for his drawings that appear to come to life right off the page.
A replica of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp uniform (Choi Chae-soo)
OMIYAGE FROM JAPAN: Modest Hiroshima Carp give fans plenty to cheer about
Editor’s note: This series showcases “omiyage” (souvenirs) from around Japan. We introduce “must-buy” items available at prefecture-operated shops in Tokyo that promote local tourism products. The series appears on Saturdays.
A scene from a short film on the "Mohitotsu no Kyoto" (Another Kyoto) website (Provided by the Kyoto prefectural government)
Website pitches beauty of Kyoto Prefecture beyond ancient capital
KYOTO--In hopes of drawing more tourists to sites outside the historic capital, the prefectural government here has set up a special website to promote attractions in lesser-known regions of Kyoto Prefecture.
Overseas “Naruto” fans engage in cosplay as the manga’s characters. (Provided by Shueisha Inc.)
End of 'Naruto' series mourned by manga fans at home and abroad
The finale of the much-beloved "Naruto" manga series came as a blow to not only domestic fans, but also admirers overseas, with the completion of the ninja saga representing an "end of youth" for some.
Hajime Isayama talks about his "Attack on Titan" manga series and his hometown of Oyamamachi in Hita, Oita Prefecture, during an Asahi Shimbun interview held in Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward. (Tatsuro Sugiura)
'Attack on Titan' creator returns to his rural roots and finds salvation
As a child, Hajime Isayama couldn't fathom why everybody in his district was content to lead the life their forebears had. When he wasn't helping out in the fields, Isayama created a private world for himself drawing cartoons.
Masashi Kishimoto (Hikaru Uchida)
Kishimoto: ‘Naruto’ reflects my childhood of 'inferiority,' breaks taboo of boys’ comics
People laughed at Masashi Kishimoto during his childhood when he said his dream was to become a manga artist. Now, the native of western Okayama Prefecture has created one of the most popular and successful ninja manga series ever and can boast of legions of fans around the world.
Masashi Kishimoto, the creator of the “Naruto” ninja saga, gives an interview Oct. 31 in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward just hours after he completed the last episode. (Hikaru Uchida)
Masashi Kishimoto: Fan letters from overseas made me realize the popularity of ‘Naruto’
Ninja manga series “Naruto” on Nov. 10 marked the grand finale of its phenomenal 15-year run that gained international fame and surprised even its creator.
Main “Naruto” characters ((c) Masashi Kishimoto, Scott/ Shueisha)
Kishimoto to release extra ‘Naruto’ episodes next spring
Although the best-selling “Naruto” saga ended its 15-year run in the Weekly Shonen Jump comic magazine on Nov. 10, the main character will soon make a temporary comeback, creator Masashi Kishimoto said.
A dancer performs the depression-themed "Utsu Kagura" dance at the main building of Iwashimizu Hachimangu shrine in Yawata, Kyoto Prefecture, on Nov. 8. (Noboru Tomura)
Hayao Miyazaki-inspired kagura performed at historic Kyoto shrine
YAWATA, Kyoto Prefecture--A modern incarnation of a kagura folk dance themed on depression, which is a brainchild of famed Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, was performed at historic Iwashimizu Hachimangu shrine here on Nov. 8.
Young people from Asian countries join the Asia Vocaloid Festa cosplay event in the Tenjin district of Fukuoka in October 2011. (Provided by the Fukuoka prefectural government)
Locally run websites for anime, cosplay a hit with Asian fans
FUKUOKA--A multi-language website run by the Fukuoka prefectural government offering information on cosplay, anime and other cultural interests is abuzz with activity.
Kumano makeup brushes come in various types, including foundation brushes, cheek brushes and eyeshadow brushes. (Choi Chae-soo)
OMIYAGE FROM JAPAN: Kumano makeup brushes prized item in fashion world
Editor’s note: This series showcases “omiyage” (souvenirs) from around Japan. We introduce “must-buy” items available at prefecture-operated shops in Tokyo that promote local tourism products. The series appears on Saturdays.

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