Intricacies and Uses of Kumihimo Braids

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Kumihimo is a traditional Japanese form of braiding. Kumi himo can be translated as “gathering of threads.” The earliest form of kumihimo is believed to date back to the Nara Period  (710 to 794 CE) when braids were used to secure clothing as well as in some religious ceremonies. The Heian Period (794 to1185 CE) saw […]

KCP Winter 2015 Students Go on an Exciting Excursion to Asakusa

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This mid-February, the Winter 2015 students had fun visiting the sights in Asakusa district in Taitō, Tokyo. Asakusa is known for Sensō-ji Temple, a Buddhist temple dedicated to the bodhitsattva Kannon, and for Nakamise-dōri, one of the oldest shopping streets in Japan. The shops along Nakamise-dōri sell a range of items—traditional Japanese wooden dolls, hair […]

Akō vendetta : Revenge of the 47 Ronin

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The bushidō, “the way of the warrior,” was the samurai’s code of conduct. It exemplified a warrior’s moral values in mastery of martial arts, frugality, loyalty, and honor unto death. A rōnin was a samurai with no lord or master. A samurai could lose his master from death or even from falling out of his master’s favor. The story […]

Discovering Shinjuku

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Shinjuku (新宿区 ), literally meaning “New Lodge,”  is a district in Japan’s capital and bustling metropolis, Tokyo. The KCP campus is located there, and Shinjuku is conveniently the business, entertainment, and shopping center of Tokyo. There’s always something that catches the eye, whether it’s the bright store lights by the streets or the spectacular foliage in Shinjuku Park.  Shinjuku at night. […]

The Miraculous Daikon

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Traditional winter dishes in Japan usually include daikon. Daikon (大根) is a winter radish popular in Japanese cuisine. Its mild flavor makes it a versatile ingredient; it is usually characterized by its long and white root. The origins of daikon can be traced to the Mediterranean. It spreadquickly to the east and is now grown […]

Romantic Places to Visit in Japan on Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day in Japan is observed mostly by women who give presents to men, usually chocolates. But not all presents given on Valentine’s Day involve romance.  Giri-choko (義理チョコ, courtesy chocolate) are chocolates given to men who are either friends, colleagues, or bosses, and these symbolize friendship or gratitude, while honmei-choko (本命チョコ, chocolates of love) are given […]

Sentō: Japanese Communal Bath House

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Japan consists of almost 7,000 islands. Over 70% of the country is mountainous; there are over 200 volcanoes in the Japanese jurisdiction. As a volcanically active nation, Japan has many bathing facilities and literally thousands of hot spring resorts scattered all over the country. Sentō (銭湯) is a Japanese communal bath house that charges a fee for […]

Han System: The Japanese Warrior Estate

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Japanese warriors like the samurai, ronin, and ninja are portrayed in the modern world as being cunning, skillful, and adept in their fighting prowess with some of the more popular weaponry we know as katana, shuriken, and tanto. These great warriors were essential in Japan’s feudal era. The country was in so much chaos that strong […]

Popular Contemporary Japanese Literature Authors

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Chinese literature significantly influenced early Japanese literature. Over time, Japanese literature came into its own as Japanese writers developed their own identities and started writing about Japan. When Japan opened its ports to Western trading after the sakoku years, both Western and Eastern literature greatly influenced Japanese literature until today. Japanese writers embraced free verse and incorporated […]

The Matsumae Clan

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During the 17th, 18th, and most of the 19th century, Japan adopted a policy that isolated the whole country from the outside world. This long period of national isolation was called sakoku, literally meaning chained country.  During sakoku, no Japanese could leave the country on penalty of death, and very few foreign nationals were permitted to enter […]