KCP and Beyond by Hector Santiago


KCP alumnus Hector Santiago describes how his desire to learn more about the culture and language of Japan led him to join the KCP program and later, achieve his goal of working in Japan. By the end of my second year in college, after having been involved in my school’s Asian culture club on campus and […]

Shinkansen: The Japanese Bullet Trains


Ever since I saw the 1974 classic movie “Murder on the Orient Express,” trains have held a certain mystic fascination for me. Riding the opulent Orient Express symbolized travelling in luxury, no doubt something like being on board the Titanic, only by land.  Aside from the morbid plot of the movie (not to mention the fate […]

The Nikkei of Brazil


During the Meiji Era, more Japanese sought a better way of life in other countries. The earliest Japanese nikkei (Japanese emigrants) were recorded as early as the 12th century when Japanese migrated to the Philippines. Nipo-brazilian family in the Bastos city colony, São Paulo State, Brazil, c. 1930’s. Nisei, Sansei, and Issei may sound like a rhyming […]

Jamming with J-pop Music and Artists


Western music was introduced to Japan during the Meiji Restoration (1868-1912). The Japanese initially experienced Westernized pop music, kayōkyoku, in a dramatization of the Tolstoy classic Resurrection.  Shinpei Nakayama’s 1914 song Sumako Matsui was a best-selling record in Japan. The pre-war period saw the ryūkōka genre as a popular form of music from the 1920s through the 1960s; it developed […]

The G-Cans Project: Japan’s Lifesaving Underground Wonder


Japan is an island nation with mountains occupying 75 percent of the land.  That land is threaded by rivers that flow into the ocean. Japan has experienced some of the world’s worst natural disasters ,yet the amazing resilience of the Japanese people has brought about astounding engineering wonders.  One perfect example of Japanese ingenuity is […]

Kazoku: the Exalted Japanese Lineage


Japan’s culture and traditions are greatly influenced by Shinto and Buddhist beliefs. Several gods or spirits called ”kami” are revered by many Japanese. One of them is the goddess of the sun, Amaterasu who, according to Shinto belief, is the Emperor of Japan’s direct ancestor. Japan is also known to have the oldest continuous hereditary […]

Taiko Drums: The Symmetry of Music and Movement


Ensemble taiko drumming is catching on fast in the U.S. The first organized American taiko groups started in California in the 1960s. Today, there are over 300 groups across North America that incorporate influences from different types of musical genres such as hip-hop, Latin, and jazz. Taiko (太鼓) encompasses a wide variety of Japanese percussion instruments. In […]

Places to Enjoy Autumn Scenes in Japan


Autumn in Japan can be described as colorful splendor. The leaves of gingko and maple trees turn into rich hues of red and yellow. There’s no better way to appreciate the culture, history, and people of Japan than taking a stroll in some of the most beautiful places in the country. Here are scenic places you […]

Japanese Artistry: Paintings and Painters


Every culture has its own artistic style that expresses the proud tradition and history of the forever evolving nature of mankind and gives us a glimpse of the treasured past. Japan has a continued philosophical and cultural belief in the preservation of arts that is quite different from contemporary preservation techniques.  Japanese art preservationists give importance to the terms […]

Gwen Taylor on the Joys of KCP


KCP alumna Gwen Taylor describes how studying at KCP and experiencing Japan have touched her life. She also offers valuable insights about the program. Thanks, Gwen! I had always felt held back by the speed of language courses at my university. And I thought Japanese culture was something easily understood through textbooks. I wanted to learn so […]