Delicious Donburi: The Ultimate Japanese Fast Food


Donburi (丼) literally means “bowl.”  It is a popular Japanese rice bowl dish that can consist of a variety of elements: vegetables, chicken, beef, pork, or fish. Donburi  is usually a full meal served in huge bowls, often made of ingredients simmered together and served over rice. Donburi are also sometimes referred to as sweet or savory […]

Snippets of Japan by KCP Summer Short-term 2015 Alum Haley Albin


Japan is brimming with visual wonders: photo opportunities can be found everywhere you turn. Summer Short-term alum Haley Albin took some fabulous snaps showing various facets of Japan, from crowded streets to rural dwellings amid lush greenery. Check these out! Tokyo SkyTree at dusk. A shrine dedicated to the maneki neko at Gotokuji Temple. The Great […]

Japanese Figures who Helped Shape History


Many Japanese have contributed to shaping history, making great contributions to various fields from arts and literature to medicine. Here are just a few of the many notable people that touched our lives in one way or another. Sakamoto Ryōma  (1836–1867)—one of the figures that played an important part in the movement to overthrow the Tokugawa shogunate […]

Tenugui: Japanese Hand Towel


When returning from a trip abroad, it is a common practice to bring back presents or souvenirs for oneself, family, and friends.  In Japan, omiyage are things a traveler purchases on a trip to remember a place. One such unique traditional Japanese product is a tenugui. A tenugui (手拭い) is a traditional plain-woven Japanese hand towel. What makes it […]

The Reign of Emperor Hirohito


The reign of Emperor Hirohito marked a turning point in Japan’s monarchy.  One poignant reason for this is the Emperor’s “renunciation of divinity.” The Japanese constitution of 1889 explicitly stated that the Emperor has divine power over his country. This was derived from the Shinto belief that the Japanese Imperial Family’s lineage can be traced […]

Wadōkaichin : Japanese Currency


Money has become an essential part of everyday existence.  Money developed as a means to carry out transactions that involve a physical medium in exchange for acquiring goods or services. Before the advent of money, other things such as grains, livestock, or fabrics were used in markets for exchange for whatever was needed. Anatolian obsidian, an […]

The Kamikaze Pilots of Japan


The Battle of Bun’ei and the Battle of Kōan were failed Mongol invasion attempts on Japan. It is believed that through divine providence, the Japanese were aided on both occasions by a storm they refer to as Kamikaze (divine wind). The legend of the Kamikaze that brought the mighty Mongol army to their knees became […]

Comparing Shinto and Buddhism


It can be confusing to tell the differences between the religious affiliations of a temple or shrine if you are not familiar with religious practices in Japan. Shinto is the predominant religion practiced by almost 80% of the population. Numerous temples and shrines in Japan give visitors a glimpse of the unique culture and rich history of […]

Intricate Japanese Silk


Silk has been a much coveted commodity since it was first developed in ancient China. The Silk Road is a 6,ooo-kilometer trading route that stretched through regions of the Asian continent, connecting the West and the East. The ancient trading route was named after the lucrative silk trade during the Chinese Han dynasty (206BCE- 220 […]

The Great Buddhas of Japan


Religion is an important cultural aspect and way of life for many Japanese. Numerous Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples are scattered all around, as well as several “giant Buddhas” (Daibutsu). Thousands of visitors flock to pay homage to these historical monuments. Here are just a few of the most popular great buddhas of Japan. Great Buddha […]