Japan

Looking for a new idea? Try borrowing an old one

17 August 2019 9:00 am

Recently I suggested a new approach to commuter-train overcrowding. It simply involved reformulating the problem by accepting that not all…

Yukio Mishima posing in Tokyo in 1970. Credit: Getty Images

Capers in crime: Life for Sale, by Yukio Mishima, reviewed

3 August 2019 9:00 am

Few biographies are quite as impressive as Yukio Mishima’s. One of Japan’s most famous authors, he wrote 80 plays and…

Barefoot in the park: Tokyo Ueno Station, by Yu Miri, reviewed

6 April 2019 9:00 am

In 1923, an earthquake with a magnitude of 9 struck Tokyo and Yokohama. A huge area of Tokyo burned. But,…

Art is often best experienced on the radio

6 April 2019 9:00 am

At its best audio can be a much more visual medium than the screen. Making Art with Frances Morris (produced…

Pounds of flesh: Takayasu throws Takakeisho to the ground to win the 2018 Kyushu tournament in Fukuoka

The balletic, bum-baring rituals of sumo

12 January 2019 9:00 am

Dance critic Louise Levene investigates the balletic, bum-baring rituals of sumo

The case for bringing back feudalism

18 August 2018 9:00 am

Gstaad I need it like Boris needs a bleach job. Another birthday, that is. Birthdays tend to make your life…

Fried squid, stale sweat and sensuality in Ian Buruma’s Tokyo

12 May 2018 9:00 am

In 1975, the 24-year-old Ian Buruma (now an award-winning essayist and historian, and the editor of the New York Review…

A single mother hits rock bottom in Tokyo: Territory of Light reviewed

28 April 2018 9:00 am

Before her death two years ago, Yuko Tsushima was a powerful voice in Japanese literature; a strong candidate for the…

It was good but I preferred slurping my genitals: Monty the dog reviews Isle of Dogs

31 March 2018 9:00 am

The latest film from Wes Anderson is a doggy animation set in a fantasy Japan and as there was a…

The Plough and the Stars at the Lyric Hammersmith shows Sean O’Casey is one of the greats

31 March 2018 9:00 am

The Plough and the Stars by Sean O’Casey looks at the Irish nationalist movement during the events of Easter 1916.…

What I learned going naked on the green mountain

28 October 2017 9:00 am

‘I was last night sent officially to witness the execution by harakiri (self-immolation through disembowelling) of Taki Zensaburo… As the harakiri…

Shinzo Abe has called a snap election – and the rise of Japan's female version of Corbyn might explain why

30 September 2017 9:00 am

Is his rival Yuriko Koike behind the Japanese PM’s decision to call a snap election?

Okayama Castle, which was completed in 1597. Its black exterior has earned it the nickname ‘Crow Castle’

Towering Tokyo draws your gaze endlessly upwards

23 September 2017 9:00 am

Towering Tokyo draws your gaze endlessly upwards

A pile of mud-covered satchels is all that remains of 74 children’s lives

How the 2011 killer tsunami sent shock waves through Japan

26 August 2017 9:00 am

The loss of so many children’s lives at Okawa primary school in 2011 was entirely avoidable, says Nicholas Shakespeare

Mixed blessings: Japan’s eclectic attitude towards faith

15 July 2017 9:00 am

Japan’s eclectic attitude towards faith

Watch a sobbing landlord confess his capitalist crimes on BBC1

1 July 2017 9:00 am

It’s not unusual to see a pop concert on TV where teenage girls and a group of middle-aged men are…

‘Choshi in Soshu province’, woodblock print from A Thousand Pictures of the Sea, c.1833, by Hokusai

How Hokusai achieved immortality

27 May 2017 9:00 am

Hokusai wanted to paint everything, says Laura Freeman, and at 70 he was only just beginning

Japan thinks English is the future – whatever Jean-Claude Juncker says

13 May 2017 9:00 am

Whatever Mr Juncker says, Japan thinks English is the future

Silver Hut, 1984, by Toyo Ito

With no planning controls and owners craving the new, Japan is a Disneyland for architecture

8 April 2017 9:00 am

The house in which I lived in Tokyo was built by my landlady, a former geisha. It stood on a…

Dialogue so ham-fisted it makes you die inside: Ghost in the Shell reviewed

1 April 2017 9:00 am

Ghost in the Shell is the Hollywood live-action remake of the 1995 Japanese anime of the same name and it’s…

Party time... blossoms at Himeji Castle in Japan

Let’s cherish the cherry blossom: its fleeting beauty is like life itself

25 March 2017 9:00 am

In what I like to think of as The Spectator’s back garden — most people call it St James’s Park…

Weaker yen, stronger companies: Japan could be the trade of the decade

Japan’s long-depressed stock market could bring spectacular returns soon

4 March 2017 9:00 am

Jonathan Davis says Tokyo’s long-slumped stock market could produce spectacular returns in the next decade

The wonder of Japan

25 February 2017 9:00 am

From my chalet high up above the village, I look up at the immense, glistening mountain range of the Alps,…

Say a little prayer: Liam Neeson as Father Ferreira in ‘Silence’

So long and repetitive, I had a nap: Silence reviewed

7 January 2017 9:00 am

Silence is Martin Scorsese’s film about Jesuit priests in 17th-century Japan whose faith is sorely tested, just as your patience…

We are the robots: Bipedal Walker, built by David Buckley and the Shadow Robot Project Group, 1987–97

Will our love affair with robots land us in the Natural History Museum?

10 December 2016 9:00 am

Will our love affair with robots send us the way of the dinosaurs? Bryan Appleyard thinks it might