Kogatanaya-Chubei produces miniatures of "yamahoko" floats and "mikoshi" portable shrines featured in the Gion Festival. At far left is an iconic "naginatahoko," or a float with a long-handled sword. (Mihoko Takizawa)
KYOTO GOES KAWAII: Kogatanaya-Chubei offers faithful replicas of 'yamahoko' floats
Editor’s note: This series showcases what we are calling “kawaii” (cute) items made locally in the iconic Japanese city.
(Illustration by Mitsuaki Kojima)
ASAHI HAIKUIST NETWORK/ David McMurray
Unforgiving rain I write my next epitaph in a dream
An illustration of Monkey D. Luffy, the protagonist of the “One Piece” manga series, clad in a Kabuki costume ((c) Eiichiro Oda/ Shueisha)
Kabuki adaptation of 'One Piece' manga will feature flashy action, play to families
A top Kabuki star who will soon set sail in an adaption of the globally popular "One Piece" pirate manga series on the traditional stage likens the challenge to a "voyage of no turning back."
EDOist, an idol group based in Tokyo's Edogawa Ward, performs. (Motohiro Onishi)
Determined, nonmusical producers live their dream managing idol groups
Inspired by a musical act promoting a shopping area, Yasuhiro Kanda dreamed of managing his own girls group.
"Sinbad--A Flying Princess and A Secret Island" ((c) Project Sinbad)
Nippon Animation celebrates 40 years with Sinbad film
Nippon Animation Co. celebrated its 40th anniversary with the release of “Sinbad--A Flying Princess and A Secret Island,” an original work of the studio directed by Shinpei Miyashita.
Twenty-two girls and young women who passed the audition for the new NGT48 idol group pose at the Aore Niigata hall on July 25. (Atsushi Nagata)
Public meets founding members of NGT48, AKB48's new Niigata franchise
NAGAOKA, Niigata Prefecture--Out of nearly 6,000 applicants, 22 young women and girls emerged from the final stage of highly competitive auditions on July 25 to be the first-generation members of idol group NGT48, based in Niigata Prefecture.
Baistone's tote bags are made of canvas. (Choi Chae-soo)
OMIYAGE FROM JAPAN: Thick, durable canvas tote bags from Baistone not affected by trends
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.
The ukiyo-e drawn by Kitagawa Utamaro (circa 1753-1806) with only "sumi" (black ink) (Provided by the Fukuoka Art Museum)
Rare black-and-white ukiyo-e by Utamaro surfaces in Tokyo
FUKUOKA--The only known example of an ukiyo-e painting by Kitagawa Utamaro (circa 1753-1806) drawn solely with "sumi" (black ink) has turned up in Tokyo.
Director Nobuhiro Doi (Naoki Takehata)
Shanghai surprise: Adoration, antagonism toward Japan at China film festival
SHANGHAI--Actor Jackie Chan may have added a touch of glamor to the proceedings, but Japanese films stole the spotlight at the recent Shanghai International Film Festival.
Modern skyscrapers are seen from the cinnabar-colored Tsukuda Kobashi bridge. (Lisa Vogt)
Lisa’s Eye on Tokyo: TSUKUDA--Skyscraper living in a traditional setting
When you hear “Tsukuda,” what do you think of?
A "purikura" photo sticker booth at the Umeda Joypolis amusement facility in Osaka's Kita Ward. (Nanako Ito)
U.S. getting a shot of 'kawaii' culture with photo sticker booths from Japan
OSAKA--There is still life in the Print Club phenomenon that took Japan by storm 20 years ago.
A bottle of Tetta wine has a sophisticated taste and design. (Choi Chae-soo)
OMIYAGE FROM JAPAN: From 'Japan's Burgundy,' high quality Tetta wine
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/ By David McMurray
Star gazing I move my chair a little closer
Tourists from Spain relax in a room at the Nantenen ryokan in Kawachi-Nagano, Osaka Prefecture, in June. A traditional Japanese-style garden can be seen from the window. (Hirokazu Suzuki)
As growing demand comes from abroad, number of traditional ryokan shrinks
When American Jan Bardsley wanted to stay at a traditional ryokan, he found Nantenen in Kawachi-Nagano, Osaka Prefecture, through its Internet page.
Tuzyun Shuzo Co. employees are busy shipping out Hotarumaru bottles at the brewery in Yamato, Kumamoto Prefecture. (Chie Kohara)
'Sword girls' snatch up sake inspired by famed blade
YAMATO, Kumamoto Prefecture--The ''sword girls'' are in town, and they are raiding the liquor store.
Ruri Kise, left, and Kiyo Nishino, two anthropomorphic characters representing the traditional puppetry art performed in Nose, Osaka Prefecture (Photos provided by Joruri Theater)
Traditional puppetry in Nose conjures up cute characters to attract young audience
NOSE, Osaka Prefecture--An emblem featuring two girlish anime-like characters was introduced on June 10 for a train operated by Nose Electric Railway Co. that runs on a route near the Osaka and Hyogo prefectural border.
Anime director Hayao Miyazaki holds a news conference after receiving an honorary Oscar last November. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Hayao Miyazaki at work on computer graphics short
Renowned anime director Hayao Miyazaki is currently working on a short film that will be made entirely of computer graphics. It will be the first time for Miyazaki to produce a work solely with CG.
A scene from the new "Ultraman X" series with the superhero sporting the Gomora Armor ((c) Tsuburaya Productions Co.)
Straightforward superheroes rise again in new series
Ultraman and Goku will return to action this month in highly anticipated new installments that carry on the tradition of orthodox superhero stories in the long-running, globally popular franchises.
A package of pickled mamakari (Choi Chae-soo)
OMIYAGE FROM JAPAN: Pickled 'mamakari' a tasty treat from Okayama
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.
Munetaka Hanada, president of Tender Box Co., pays a visit to company employees at its factory in Heguri, Nara Prefecture. (Jiro Tsutsui)
Nara company's exotic ice creams make local delicacies around Japan
HEGURI, Nara Prefecture--Near the famed ruins of Takeda Castle in Asago, Hyogo Prefecture, is the Fresh Asago roadside shopping market.

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