OUR KYOTO

Kyoto View 92: a postcard by Tiery Le,..

October 29, 2021

Readers who ordered KJ100 received various selected bonus inserts (as a way of celebrating this centennial issue); among them was a unique, specially-designed postcard by local artist and long-time KJ contributor Tiery Le,.. This view is a quirky contemporary Tiery riff on the rakuchu rakugai zu screen paintings of feudal-era Kyoto, those richly detailed bird’s-eye…

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The Dento Bento

October 3, 2021

This memorable article by one of Kyoto Journal’s earliest regular contributors, Jonah Salz, on how Kyoto presents its living cultural heritage to visitors, appeared in our third issue, in 1987. Remarkably, it has hardly aged at all. Meanwhile, Jonah is still waiting – patiently – to see “dento bento” become a meme. Maybe this time…?…

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NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYŌTO

September 28, 2021

On the back cover of KJ 100 is a short quote from the celebrated Meiji-era writer Lafcadio Hearn, describing lantern decorations he saw when visiting Kyoto (from his home in Kobe) for its 1100th anniversary celebrations in 1895. He recorded his impressions of Kyoto in a multi-part essay anthologized in his 1897 book Gleanings in…

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EXTRA!

September 14, 2021

KJ100: EXTRA! On this page we present additional views, impressions and visions of Kyoto, as an ongoing project complementing our print edition, KJ100: ‘100 Views of Kyoto – a Tribute.’ Kyoto View 18: Finding Home – Lauren W. DeutschWhen I passed a huge statue of Kannon, standing guard 24/7 by the door of one of…

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Kyoto-tomason: the Hunt for Hidden Hyperart

September 11, 2021

I had been taking pictures of these strange silhouettes encountered in Kyoto for a long time without knowing what to name them. Later, I learned that what I was photographing was “hyperart-tomasons” (chôgeijutsu-tomason), and that Akasegawa Genpei (1937-2014) had been the facetious inventor of this concept that encompasses a panoply of types — some of…

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Structures of Kyoto, Interrogated

September 10, 2021

Structures Of Kyoto: Writers in Kyoto Anthology 4. Edited by Rebecca Otowa & Karen Lee Tawarayama, 2021, Writers in Kyoto, 172pp., ¥1207. Structures Of Kyoto: Writers in Kyoto Anthology 4, edited by Rebecca Otowa and Karen Lee Tawarayama, features contributions from twenty-four writers. As was the case with WiK’s previous anthologies, it is an eclectic…

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Viewing the Famous Scenes of Kyōto in Meisho Zue

September 9, 2021

While physical entry to Japan by non-residents is currently prohibited, our latest issue, 100 Views of Kyoto – A Tribute, is a convenient alternative way for overseas readers to visit (or revisit) Kyoto. Cutting edge post-Covid tourism? Not really. Kyoto has in fact been a popular destination for virtual travel since way back in 1780…

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Mizuno Katsuhiko and Kayu: Father and daughter photographers

September 5, 2021

Millions have experienced Kyoto through the eyes of photographer Mizuno Katsuhiko. His grand vision is of an idealized Kyoto, one without the modern clutter — natural landscapes, the seasons, gardens, and temples in their purest, most beautiful state. With some 140 published books over four decades, countless calendars and exhibitions, Mizuno has arguably been one…

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Neighbors

September 4, 2021

Two poems by Robert MacLean appear in KJ100, ‘Sweeping,’ excerpted from his new book Waking to Snow (Isobar Press, 2021) and a haiku from I Wish, a recent anthology from the Hailstone Haiku Circle. The cover of I Wish also appears—designed by wood-block artist Richard Steiner.  Robert and Richard were published together in KJ 5,…

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Kyoto Organic, by Kobayashi Mai

September 4, 2021

If Japan is considered a super-aged society, the agricultural population could be described as hyper-aged. However, a small but definite intergenerational shift is cause for optimism. Throughout Japan, a new wave of people from non-farming backgrounds are choosing to get their hands deep into the soil, many practicing organic agriculture. “Organic” is a legal term;…

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Finding Home

September 3, 2021

Lauren Deutsch finally found her long-lost slide of the shopfront she describes in Kyoto View 18, ‘Finding Home’ — after KJ100 went to the printer. So, we’re posting her reminiscence again here, together with the photo. The MIPPW—Most Important Piece of Paper in the World—was a hand-drawn map of a neighborhood in north-east quadrant of…

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Shared “Vision”: KYOTOGRAPHIE 2020 in Review

October 14, 2020

“Vision,” the theme of this year’s KYOTOGRAPHIE International Photography Festival, seeks to highlight photography’s power to overcome barriers and satisfy (in the words of New Zealand writer Katherine Mansfield) “that terrible desire to establish contact.”

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NOTICE: Kyoto Journal is going digital til 2021

August 11, 2020

We have made the difficult decision to suspend our printing operation and sales of our subscriptions, until further notice. Back issues are still available and will be shipped to you if we can ship them to you!

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Behind the Mask

May 23, 2020

In 1960, noh actor and mask carver Udaka Michishige was the last to be taken as an uchi-deshi, or live-in apprentice, into the home of Kongō Iwao II, the head of the Kongō School.

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A Definitive Ranking of the Ducks of Kamogawa

May 18, 2020

We’ve taken the liberty of identifying the most common species of duck inhabitants on the Kamo River, and ranking them from ugliest little duckling, to virtual bird of paradise. 

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The Shigeno Family of Dyers: Learning from the Past

May 2, 2020

The Shigenos’ expertise is Kyo-kanoko shibori (Kyoto’s fawn tie-dye) —a technique named for its characteristic dyed patterns which resemble the white spots on a young deer.

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Kyoto’s Gion Festival: Warding Off Epidemics for 1,150 Years

March 31, 2020

Thanks to their treasures, the Gion Festival floats have been famously referred to as “Moving Museums.” Like any museum, to stay vibrant the Gion Festival requires a quest, an investigation. Otherwise they risk becoming morgues of artifacts, meaningless to most people.

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Afuru Nagatome: Ryokan owner

March 16, 2020

Afuru didn’t set out to simply create a comfortable, authentic space, she wants to bring the people staying in her guesthouse together, as well as introduce them to the locals of the area, who often pop in to chat or drop off some produce.

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Matsumoto Hajime of Masutomi Soba Restaurant

December 23, 2019

“After the war, flour was rationed in Kyoto, so a fixed number of noodle manufacturers was established. The result is that all udon and soba noodles in Kyoto are basically alike…”

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Keeping it Local: KI NO BI Kyoto Gin

December 8, 2019

On a crisp autumn morning, members of the broader Kyoto Distillery community gathered for the yearly harvest of yuzu, one of the local botanicals that creates the distinct flavor of KI NO BI.

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Creating Space for Artistic Expression: Reflecting on Kyoto Experiment 2019

November 29, 2019

Last month marked the 10th edition of Kyoto Experiment (KEX), an annual International Performing Arts Festival that presented avant-garde works by eleven feature artists who represented six regions of the world, running from Oct. 5-27. This year’s theme, Échos-monde: The Age of Ecology, explored the subtleties and complexities of our subjective relationship with nature to…

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Before you go, be sure to check out our latest issue:

KJ 98: Ma