One TIFO-initiated program that we are particularly proud of is Japan-Insights, which is here: http://www.japan-insights.jp/
Japan-Insights encourage people from around the world to see beyond the Japan of Tokyo and the major tourist spots. Essays written by some of the world’s leading experts in Japanese studies invite visitors to really engage with and discover a different Japan, to immerse themselves in diverse experiences, and to find a Japan that can awe and enchant with its diverse history and a culture that entwines the old and the new to create something unique.
I. New essays recently added to Japan-Insights
- Dr. Barak Kushner, Professor of East Asian Studies at the University of Cambridge, takes a look at the different food cultures of Tokyo and Osaka in ’Eating and Slurping in Osaka.' Japanese food is now popular worldwide, but in his essay Prof. Kushner wonders if people are aware of the differing characteristics of the foods enjoyed in Japan’s first and second cities.
- In ‘The Soul of the Japanese Blade,’ Dr. Erich Pauer, an expert in Japanese technological and economic development at the Centre Européen d'Etudes Japonaises d'Alsace, delves into the history of tatara, the traditional steel making process intimately linked to Japanese swords and knives. His focus is on the historical development of smelting technology using iron sand, and he describes a technique that today survives nowhere else in the world but Japan.
- Dr. Regina Mathias, a scholar of social and economic history at France’s Centre Européen d'Etudes Japonaises d'Alsace, introduces in her essay ‘Ciapangu, Land of Gold and Silver’ a little known Japan: Ciapangu, a country famed for its riches in gold in the16th century and in silver in the 17th century. She tells the story by looking at two important sites, the Iwami silver mine in today’s Shimane prefecture, and the gold and silver mines of Sado Island in the Sea of Japan.
II. Videos related to essays and the current focus of interest, COVID-19, have also been uploaded
- In 'Japanese Classics in a Time of Contagion', Dr. Robert Campbell, Director General of the National Institute of Japanese Literature, delves into how pre-modern Japanese literature looked at both the serious and multifaceted aspects of the lives of people dealing with infectious diseases and epidemics
- An opportunity to view a performance of ‘2020 Glories of the Japanese Music Heritage XV’, introduced by Professor Barbara Rush, Director of the Institute for Medieval Japanese Studies at Columbia University, and an early endorser of Japan-Insights
- 'Uncovering the Mystery of Japan's Stonehenge,’ a BBC documentary, adds to our understanding of the Kanayama Megalith, which features in a Japan-Insights essay by Dr. Harriett Natsuyama