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During a break, two kago bearers smoke kiseru pipes while their customer is being served tea by a waitress from a teahouse. The woman’s luggage is tied to the roof of the kago. During the Edo Period, (1603-1868) only samurai were allowed to ride horses, while horse carriages were unknown. The kago therefore was Japan’s main mode of transportation until the invention of the jinrikisha (rickshaw) around 1868. The jinrikisha quickly replaced the kago in the cities (Tokyo for example had already some 56,000 jinrikisha in 1872), but its use continued in mountainous areas where the jinrikisha was often not practical. (Source: Old Photos of Japan)
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Many Japanese were surprised that a hotel chain, under a cloud for shoddy earthquake-proofing standards, should sponsor a competition for the best essay to deny Japan’s wartime role as an aggressor and sponsor of atrocities. But then the chain’s boss, Toshio Motoya, is a vigorous historical revisionist (and big supporter of Shinzo Abe, prime minister in 2006-07). More astounding, then: the competition winner, Toshio Tamogami, was none other than the head of Japan’s air force.
Mr Tamogami’s offering is a warmed-through hash of thrice-cooked revisionism. Japan, he writes, fought a war of self-defence, protecting its legal territories of Manchukuo (North-East China) and Korea against communists. Pearl Harbour was an American-laid trap. Japanese occupations were both benevolent and a liberation of Asia from the yoke of Western imperialism—indeed, neighbours (20m of whose deaths were caused by the Japanese) now look fondly on wartime Japan. Japan must “reclaim its glorious history”, Mr Tamogami ended with a barrel-rolling flourish and a want of irony, “for a country that denies its own history is destined to fall.”
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On November 5th, 2008 the small Japanese town of Obama celebrated Senator Barack Obama’s historical election as the next US President. Local shops sold everything from Obama t-shirts to Obama Burgers. A hula dance group did a victory dance.
“The Earth was blue.” These were reportedly the words used by Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space, when describing his impressions after returning to Earth. He was referring to what is known in Japan as the color “ruri-iro.” This color was used in Egypt as early as 3,400 years ago in jewelry, which came to Japan along the Silk Road.
The folding fan was invented in Japan during the 8th century. Called Hiougi, they were made of thin stripes of hinoki (Japanese cypress) and used by aristocrats of the Heian Period (794-1185) as part of their formal attire. Eventually the Japanese fan was exported to China, where silk fans were used. They were transformed and re-imported as Chinese fans in the 15th century. Over the ages fans played an increasingly important role in Japanese culture.
This is the color of robes worn by Buddhist monks in countries like India and Sri Lanka. This vivid yellow is the color of turmeric, an essential spice for curry foods. Not only does turmeric keep bacteria away due to strong antibacterial powers, it also believed to fight off evil spirits, so it is also used as sacred color in the religious context.
NHK verslaat over de Japanse populariteit in het maken van aantekeningen. Verscheidene boeken over deze vaardigheid hebben meer dan 200.000 exemplaren verkocht.