A Prince’s Trip to Japan – A Royal Visit

Last week Prince William of the UK arrived in Japan for a four day trip, and it is quite impressive what a prince can fit in his timetable during such a short time! On the first day of his Japan tour Prince William went to the Nakajima Tea House, this was built 350 years ago […]

Prince William dressed as a Samurai Warrior in Japan

Taken from BBC news website (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31671772) The Duke of Cambridge was dressed as a famous samurai warrior during a visit to the set of a long-running historical drama in Japan. Prince William visited a Tokyo studio where a popular costume drama is filmed – dressing as a samurai who unified the country in the 16th […]

Setsubun Bean-Throwing Festival

「鬼は外!福は内!(Devils Out! Fortune In!)」 On the 3rd of February every year, you might hear these words around your friend’s or other people’s places in Japan. But what does it mean? Where does it come from? And who are the devils?? You might get a clue from the word “Setsubun” if you have heard it before. […]

Samurai Armour – Famous Armour which is both beautiful and functional

By Mike Sullivan When one visits Japan, and in particular goes to a castle, it is possible to enjoy the experience of wearing samurai armour. You might wonder what is so special about Japanese armour, most countries in the world have had the traditional of manufacturing armour for war such as that worn by European […]

Monmaya – Sendai Tansu

Written by Miho Ota A well-established business starting from the 5th year of the Meiji era (1872), Monmaya has been Sendai’s (Miyagi prefecture) one and only manufacturer of traditional Sendai Tansu (a chest of drawers) for 140 years. Even while other traditional makers shifted from Japanese to Western-style furniture after the Second World War, Monmaya […]

Chashaku Teaspoon – An essential craft for traditional Japanese tea ceremony

By Mike Sullivan. Photos by 日本伝統食文化協会(Japanese Traditional Dietary Culture Association) In order to understand the importance of the Chashaku spoon it is necessary to start with an explanation about the world famous Japanese tea ceremony. This ceremony is more than about drinking tea, it is an artistic experience bound by rules and traditions which belongs […]

三度笠 Sandogasa Hat – A Traditional Japanese Accessory

By Mike Sullivan Often in period dramas, movies or even anime you will notice the hats that people wear when travelling, for many people they are seen as cool and are quite often associated with samurai. In fact normally the hat they will wear is called a Sandogasa (三度笠)which is a wide hat but which […]

Interview with Yuriri Naka – Konnichiwa Brick Lane Actress

By Mike Sullivan Please introduce yourself and your background. Where in Japan is your family originally from? I was born and grew up in Tokyo. After graduating from high school in Tokyo, I moved to the UK to study drama and pursue my career as an actress. Last year you starred in the feature movie […]

Kanda Festival and Sanno Festival Tokyo

By Mike Sullivan. The Kanda Festival, or Kanda Matsuri, is a very famous event which takes place in mid May in odd numbered years, for example as this year is 2014 it will not be possible to see it, but next year in 2015 the main festival will take place. It first started in the […]

When Night Turns to Day – Upcoming Movie featuring Kendo

Following on from our interview last week with New York based director Takeshi Fukunaga and the week before about the Terracotta Film Festival in London, it seems fitting to feature a third article about a movie being made called When Night Turns to Day. This film has a high cultural value as it is set […]

Samurai – Japanese Warriors and Gentlemen

By Mike Sullivan Perhaps one of the most famous people of Japan, and whom foreigners always think of when they think about Japan, are the samurai. Although clearly they no longer exist today in the same way that people think of them, i.e. men with topknots wearing traditional Japanese clothes cutting down anyone who challenges […]

Kimono – Traditional Japanese Clothing

By Ramata Cisse In a previous article I wrote about a part of the Kimono known as Obi, the sash used to tie a kimono. In that article I discussed the different kinds of Obi that exist, their history and the way they are tied as well as what that meant in terms of meaning […]

Interview with Actress Haruka Abe – 47 Ronin and Japanese Culture

By Mike Sullivan Haruka Abe is a very talented and upcoming actress who is originally from Tokyo and currently based in London. For our last interview of the year, and as something a little bit more special as it is Christmas and her latest movie 47 Ronin is coming out, we had the chance to […]

Sendai Tansu – Traditional and Cultural Furniture

By Mike Sullivan It is, quite frankly, a piece of furniture which you might never see, in terms of luxury it is of a particularly high standard and requires a lot of saving to be able to afford one. The Sendai tansu are prized as antiques for collectors, but are also available for sale by […]