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Stories and photos about Japanese culture and society.

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Links to my other site related to my coming book: ‘Fukushima and the coming Tokyo earthquake: and what it will mean for a fragile world economy’.

New Years Eve and New Years Day in Tokyo

Queueing Before Midnight New Year Tokyo
Striking Bell Midhight Tokyo New Year
Torii Crowds New Year Tokyo
Sake Barrels Tokyo Shrine
Crowds New Year Tokyo
Kimono New Year Tokyo
Torii New Year Tokyo
Crowds Shrine New Year Tokyo
Queuing Shrine New Year Tokyo
Shrine New Year Tokyo
Selling Arrows Hamaya New Year Tokyo
Kimono Wishes New Year Tokyo
Tieing Wishes New Year Tokyo
Wishes New Year Tokyo
Christian Sign New Year Tokyo
Lamp New Year Tokyo

New Year is known as oshogatsu and is the most important holiday in Japan. Although in recent years Xmas is celebrated, once Dec 25th has passed all Xmas decorations are taken down overnight, to be replaced by traditional ones made of bamboo and pine branches. All duties are supposed to be finished before the end of the year, bonenkai (“forgetting the year”) parties are common, and houses are cleaned even more spotlessly than usual.

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Loyalty and the 47 Ronin

47 Ronin Tokyo Standing
47 Ronin Tokyo Closeup
47 Ronin Tokyo Warriors Through Gate
47 Ronin Tokyo Head On Pole
47 Ronin Tokyo Banner
47 Ronin Tokyo Single File
47 Ronin Tokyo Graves
47 Ronin Tokyo Graves 2
47 Ronin Tokyo Asano Grave
47 Ronin Tokyo Asano Grave Name
47 Ronin Tokyo Oishi Nameplate
47 Ronin Tokyo Sengakuji Poster

The true story of the 47 Ronin (masterless samurai) is one of the most famous in Japan. It is a tale adapted into countless kabuki plays, bunraku puppet shows, woodblock prints, and later films and television shows. Fictionalized versions of the story are known as Chushingura, and continue to be very popular to this day. It is based on an incident that happened during Japan’s feudal era.

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