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Highlighting JAPAN

March 2014

Creative Roots

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The Ceremony to Commemorate the Third Anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake

Creative Roots


Wappa Project:
Akita's traditional industry merged with fresh creativity

Located in the Tohoku region of Japan, Akita Prefecture has recently been garnering increasing attention in the field of traditional craftwork. Through efforts such as the April 2013 founding of the Akita University of Art, this northern prefecture aims to foster people who can promote its local culture and traditions to the world.

21st Century Yoroi:
Samurai armor for modern Japan

Samurai are recognized around the world as iconic emblems of Japanese culture. Their modern image is striking and romantic: Powerful, honorable warriors clad in magnificent armor, finely honed katana in hand. And while the katana may be the foremost symbol of the samurai, no less distinctive is their trademark armor, or yoroi.

The New Banshu Project:
Traditional textiles explore the world on wings of cool

Paris Fashion Week is one of the undisputed top events in the world of fashion. On its dazzling stage Christian Dior takes his place with Jeal Paul Gaultier, and last year a wedding dress by French haute couture designer Jean Doucet wowed the crowd. The dress was made of 'pearly cotton,' a lustrous white material produced by Ozawa Textile Co., Ltd., which is headquartered in Nishiwaki City, Hyogo Prefecture.

A wooden bicycle with a Japanese heart

In a small workshop in Shin-Kiba, Tokyo, classical wooden boat-building techniques are applied to the manufacture of wooden bicycles. While wooden bicycles are made in various places around the world, "Only mine are used in actual road races," says artisan Sueshiro Sano.

Tangible Earth:
Interactive technology nurtures a global perspective

On display in the Marunouchi area of Tokyo until August 2014, the centerpiece of the Tangible Earth Museum is a digital world globe that provides real-time data on an interactive spherical display. Through simple hand gestures, users can retrieve and present information within the display itself, with global environmental information accessed directly through the Internet. The world comes alive with flowing visualizations of events from earthquakes, tsunami and even bird migrations to continental drift, global warming and the cross-border circulation of PM2.5, the fine particulate matter that makes up some forms of air pollution.

Cool & Kawaii Japan
Japan through the eyes of Miss International contestants

The 53rd Miss International Pageant was held in December 2013, marking the first time in six years that the event came to Tokyo. Dubbed 'Miss International 2013 x Cool Japan,' the pageant focused on the girls' perspectives on the city. Contestants visited Daikanyama, Ginza, Odaiba and other famous spots around Tokyo, then used Facebook and other media to share with the world what they found to be cool, cute or delicious.

Interview: Hideaki Ibuki
Director, Creative Industries Division, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry

What's the appeal of'Cool Japan'?

Events Column
-Experience Japan's creative appeal!


Hina Matsuri - Girls' Festival

March third is a special day in Japan: This is the day of the Hina Matsuri, or Doll Girls' Festival. On this day girls are celebrated, and families pray for their health and prosperity.

From Incurable to Curable
Real-time tumor tracking advances cancer treatment

Professor Hiroki Shirato, M.D., Ph.D. was one of 30 core researchers selected to take part in the program. Working in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, he aimed to develop a technology for radiation therapy that would make previously incurable cancers curable.

From Adversity to Leadership
Minami Tsubouchi offers support to disaster survivors


Ninja and the Goddess of the sun


Exploring the surrounds of Sendai