Zen terror

Nissho Inoue at the time of his trial in June 1933. Photo courtesy the author Master Nissho Inoue and his band of assassins teach some uncomfortable truths about terrorism, for those who will hear Brian Victoria is a senior research fellow at the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, a recognised independent centre of the University of Oxford. He is also a Buddhist priest in the Soto Zen sect. He is author of Zen War Stories (2003) and Zen at War (2006). His upcoming publication is entitled Zen Terror in Prewar Japan: Portrait of an Assassin (2019). Edited by Sam Haselby On an early winter’s morning in 1945, four … Continue reading Zen terror

The ironic feudalist

A return to feudalism? Satzuma’s Envoys. Hand tinted albumen print of a photograph by Felice Beato, one of the earliest war photographers. Japan, 1864-7. Photo by the Royal Photographic Society/V&A/Getty Kure Tomofusa’s hatred of democracy, human rights and liberalism has found an echo in the West. But has he been joking all along? Jeremy Woolsey is a writer and translator currently based in Tokyo. His interests include contemporary art and cultural criticism. He will be pursuing a PhD in East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University in September 2019. Edited by Sam Dresser Neoreaction, or NRx, is a loose group of techno-fetishising … Continue reading The ironic feudalist

Samurai text tells secrets of sword-fighters’ ‘supernatural powers’

A Japanese samurai warrior, around 1880. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images) By Owen Jarus Live Science Contributor A newly translated samurai text called “Twelve Rules of the Sword” reveals the secrets of a sword-fighting school that mastered a technique that seemed to give supernatural powers. Dating back to the 17th century, the text contains knowledge passed down from a samurai named Itō Ittōsai (born around 1560), who fought and won 33 duels in Japan. Researchers aren’t sure when he died, but historical records suggest he may have lived to be over age 90. Ittōsai never wrote down his “Twelve Rules of the Sword,” and … Continue reading Samurai text tells secrets of sword-fighters’ ‘supernatural powers’

EXPLORING THE POWERFUL VISUAL POETRY OF JAPANESE PHOTOGRAPHER MICHIKO CHIYODA

by Benjamin Pineros It’s fair to say that Japanese artist Michiko Chiyoda is one of the most exciting photographers in the world right now. In little more than a decade, she has managed to earn features in multiple specialized magazines and her work has been showcased already in dozens of solo and group exhibitions in Tokyo. Chiyoda’s work is characterized by gentle, introspective scenes that invite the audience to gaze at her visual compositions like one savours good poetry. For these strikingly beautiful photographs full of silences and lingering thoughts, she has been the recipient of various accolades and distinctions, one of … Continue reading EXPLORING THE POWERFUL VISUAL POETRY OF JAPANESE PHOTOGRAPHER MICHIKO CHIYODA

Thinking on your feet

Boston Marathon winner Yuki Kawauchi runs to work in his home town of Kuki, Japan. Photograph courtesy Shiho Fukada/The New York Times Don’t just do it, think about it too: how Gilbert Ryle’s philosophy of mind can help athletes teach themselves to improve Josh Habgood-Coote  is a vice-chancellor’s fellow at the University of Bristol. His work has been published in the Australasian Journal of Philosophyand Episteme, among others. Edited by Nigel Warburton Yuki Kawauchi is a remarkable athlete. The winner of the 2018 Boston marathon – known in Japan as the ‘citizen runner’ – worked full-time at a school until April this year, when … Continue reading Thinking on your feet

This robot wants to teach you Buddhist chants

A robot named Mindar uses its voice, hand gestures and eye contact to bond with those who want to learn about Buddhism. BY  BONNIE BURTON In Japan, robots run hotels, get married and even have their own funerals. Now they can add Buddhist teacher to the list. A new humanoid robot is offering lessons in Buddhist teachings, and delivering sermons in Buddhist philosophy, at the Kodaiji Temple in Kyoto, Japan, through May 6. The robot named Mindar gives a “futuristic vision of the Bodhisattva Kannon also known as the Goddess of Mercy,” according to South China Morning Post. The robot not only chants and teaches, but uses hand gestures and eye … Continue reading This robot wants to teach you Buddhist chants

9 weird and terrifying monsters from Japanese mythology

From animated umbrellas to polite-but-violent turtle-people, Japan’s folklore contains some extremely creative monsters. by Matt Davis Compared to Japan’s menagerie of creatures, Western folklore can feel a little drab. The collection of yōkai—supernatural beasts or spirits—has a staggering amount of variety. Although there are many more creative folkloric creatures, here are nine that caught our attention. Like any culture, Japan has its fair share of folkloric creatures. But to Westerners, whose folklore tends to recycle the same variations on witches, goblins, orcs, and dragons, Japan’s bestiary of creatures can be staggeringly varied. Out of the hundreds of yōkai—or supernatural beings—here’s just nine … Continue reading 9 weird and terrifying monsters from Japanese mythology