An Introduction To Yamato Magazine

Japan has earned a reputation for being one of the most unique countries in the world. Countless tourists flock to discover its wonders, while citizens carry out traditions that have been in place for thousands of years. My personal interest in Japan stems from pop culture, anime, samurai and food. The culture has inspired me enough that I’ve decided to start a Japan-centric publication called Yamato Magazine. Read on to discover the kind of content that will be featured! Continue reading “An Introduction To Yamato Magazine”

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How Pokémon Reinvented Yokai For A New Generation

Japanese mythology is filled with all kinds of supernatural creatures and monsters, ranging from mischievous kitsune, which take the appearance of foxes, to demonic oni, that live in the mountains and look like trolls. In anime, it’s common for characters to be inspired by fantastical Japanese creatures, and a franchise that does it so well is Pokémon. A lot of Pokémon are based on mythical monsters and some of my favourites have been influenced by yokai, Japanese ghosts and phantoms.

Yokai are among the most common entities in Japanese folklore, capable of doing good and bad. Through Pokémon, yokai have been reinvented for a new generation. In this article, I’ll be examining what yokai are, their relevance to modern day culture and the types of spirits that have been featured in Pokémon. Continue reading “How Pokémon Reinvented Yokai For A New Generation”

Bushido: The Way Of The Samurai Review: Learning How To Be A Warrior In Japan

I’ve been fascinated with Japanese history for a while now, particularly with the samurai and their code of Bushido. They dedicated themselves to ‘the way of the warrior’ and lived by its principles in the pursuit of a perfect death. After reading Bushido: The Way Of The Samurai I feel like I’ve got a broader view of what Bushido stands for. Here are my review of a book that charts the history of one of Japan’s most enduring belief systems.
Continue reading “Bushido: The Way Of The Samurai Review: Learning How To Be A Warrior In Japan”

Delving Into The World Of Jizai Okimono And Japanese Art

Japan is known for having some of the most unique art in the world. Building on centuries of feudal culture, Japanese art has its own style. A famous example of Japanese art is jizai okimono, which translates to ‘move freely decorative object.’ Jizai okimono involves the crafting of articulated sculptures. Beginning in 17th century Japan, the art form is highly specialised and fascinating. But what are the origins of jizai okimono and how has it evolved in modern times? Continue reading “Delving Into The World Of Jizai Okimono And Japanese Art”

Growing Up In A Family Of Samurai: An Interview With Michiko Hashiba

Japan attracts visitors from all over the world, with many being drawn to the country because of the samurai. Japanese history is entwined with warriors who followed a strict code of honour, devoting their lives to duty. There were many proud samurai and one of the most famous was Toyotomi Hideyoshi. A capable general and politician, Hideyoshi was considered the second ‘great unifer’ of Japan. He rose to prominence during the 1500s and founded the Hashiba samurai line.

I’m fascinated by samurai history, so I couldn’t help but be excited to interview a descendent of Hideyoshi.  I’m pleased to present a conversation with Michiko Hashiba about what it means to come from a family of samurai. Continue reading “Growing Up In A Family Of Samurai: An Interview With Michiko Hashiba”

Tracing The History of Kitsune In Japanese Folklore And Anime

Symbols are an important part of any culture and there are many significant images in Japanese folklore. Spirits play a vital role and one of the most important is the kitsune, or fox spirit. Kitsunes are depicted as intelligent shapeshifters whose magical ability increases with age. They have the ability to be benevolent or malicious depending on the situation. Some stories portray them as guardians, while others depict them as tricksters. The ambiguity of the fox makes it an interesting symbol in Japanese folklore, one that’s transitioned into modern pop culture.

Continue reading “Tracing The History of Kitsune In Japanese Folklore And Anime”