Along with samurai and ninja, Japanese swords are very popular around the world. Even in Japan, sword fans, mainly composed of young women, are quickly increasing due to a game in which famous swords are personified. The female fans, who are called sword fan girls, visit museums and sword exhibitionsand events are packed full. Many foreigners visit Japan just to see swords. Why are people fascinated with swords? We investigate their appeal.
Our stage this time is Hokkaido Prefecture in the north of Japan. There are many sites worth visiting, such as the hills that display a colorful tapestry under blue skies, Japan’s most vast flower gardens, and a serene lake perfect for canoeing. Among the trains that run along this route, the most popular might possibly be the summertime-only sightseeing train, from which you can fully enjoy the summer winds and views. There is even a nostalgic, 40-year-old diesel engine that runs on this line.
For NHK's "Letters from Hibakusha" project, the broadcaster received more than 2,000 written recollections of the 1945 atomic bombings. Four of them were chosen this year and recreated as short animated films. The memoirs include the story of a survivor's struggle to make ends meet, a teenager's quest to find his first love in the aftermath, and the parting words of a dying girl. NHK hopes that teenagers today may gain an insight into the experiences of people who were much like them when they had their dreams snatched away.
JAPAN FROM ABOVE takes you on an aerial journey across Japan. Enjoy a bird's-eye view of Japan's amazingly diverse landscapes, as well as intimate portraits of people leading contrasting lives. In this episode, we explore central and western parts of Japan, starting in the Kansai region. Kansai, which includes the ancient cities of Nara and Kyoto, is the cradle of Japanese culture and religion. As well as enjoying stunning scenes from the air in the heartland of Japan, we meet a sword maker, a plant hunter, a traditional entertainer and a pair of paper makers.
Our journey takes place in Hokkaido Prefecture, the northern part of Japan. From Asahikawa Station surrounded by mountains, we head to Shiretoko-Shari Station, located on the Sea of Okhotsk and the gateway to the world famous ShiretokoPeninsula. The trains we ride pass through beautifully lit mountains covered with autumn leaves turning deep red and gold. On our way, we taste the unique local food, made with freshly harvested produce grown along the lines, and see people who have been waiting for coastal waters to become teeming with fish.
HidehisaNishimura is a national champion of kendo -one of Japan’s traditional martial arts. His signature move is called the “ Lightning Kote.” He flings into the opponent’s arms with perfect timing and gains a point. It is the skill Nishimura, who is rather short as a kendo competitor, polished to win. Now he always attacks and wins without retreating which is quite the opposite of his previous style. He decided to change his style after he saw the victims of the Kumamoto Earthquake, whom he rescued.
In April 2019, 52-year-old Mitsuhiro Iwamoto, who is totally blind, succeeded in crossing the Pacific Ocean in his sailboat. This program documents both his spectacular achievement of being the first blind person to make the brutal 55-day voyage, and the life experiences that led him there. When he lost his sight at age 16, Iwamoto contemplated suicide but was saved by a seemingly impossible dream: to sail across the Pacific Ocean. Six years before this documented success, he had attempted a crossing with a popular newscaster that ended in failure when their boat collided with a whale.
Despite neighboring Tokyo, Saitama Prefecture has been belittled for being "lame" for many years. It ranked 43rd in Japan in terms of its appeal as a prefecture. Further, Tokyo is ranked 1st, Chiba Prefecture 3rd, and Kanagawa Prefecture 6th for the number of foreign visitors, while Saitama is far behind at 22nd. We want to find what appeals to the rest of the world and free Saitama from this label.So we gathered 8 foreigners living in Saitama into a studio and find the cool spots that the Japanese don’t notice and discuss them.
Scientists are discovering what’s behind the strong bonds that can form between dogs and humans. And few bonds are stronger than those between therapy dogs and the patients they care for. Bailey was the first resident therapy dog to work in a large Japanese hospital. Over his 9-year career, he’s cared for thousands of children, comforting them as they face intractable diseases. The dedicated therapy dog is now ready to retire. But first he must help a young girl named Yui deal with a life-threatening illness.
24-year-old Takamasa Kobayashi has been trying to find his true gender since childhood. Born as a girl, he was one of the first students in Japan to persuade a junior high school to accept a female as a boy. At 20, he underwent surgeries so that he could legally become a man, the youngest case in Japan. But this was just the beginning. Takamasa then discovered that he is not a man either and is now searching beyond binary genders. We followed Takamasa for 9 years on his journey through genders.