Japan Info Newsletter
Japan Info is the free electronic newsletter of the Japan Information Center at the Consulate General of Japan in New York. Our newsletter is published and distributed throughout the year to several thousand individuals in various corporate, academic, and community organizations, as well as anyone in the general public who has an interest in Japan.
The articles in Japan Info are meant to introduce readers to a wide range of topics and upcoming events, with an emphasis on highlighting connections with Japan in the greater New York area.
Culture & Education
Ambassador Yamanouchi Addresses Anti-Asian Hate
The month of May is Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month. To mark the occasion, the Consul General Ambassador YAMANOUCHI Kanji issued a statement on the rise of anti-Asian violence. We remain resolute in our support to the members of our community who have been affected or targeted.
Japan Day 2021 - Online Streaming Event
Japan Day is back to spread their appreciation and love for New York City! The 9-day Thank You Project will culminate with a special livestream on Facebook and YouTube at 11AM on Sunday, May 9th. The livestream features performances and messages from special guests. The line-up includes Sumie Kaneko, Ka-Na, Soh Daiko, and many more!
Traditional Local Cuisines of Japan Recipes Are Now Available in One Place
Traditional Local Cuisines of Japan is dedicated to introducing the history and food culture of various Japanese locales through their unique kyodo-ryori - timeless regional cuisines made with local ingredients and techniques. Each recipe is diligently researched and intricately crafted by Ambassador Yamanouchi's personal chefs. So click below and start preparing Traditional Local Cuisines of Japan like a professional Japanese chef!
Shinko Hanaoka LIVE on Facebook, March 19th at 5PM EDT.
Friday Night Live is back! Tune in to our Facebook page on March 19th at 5PM EDT for a LIVE classical performance featuring renowned cellist Shinko Hanaoka with piano accompaniment by Reiko Uchida. Are you ready for an elegant evening of Bach and Beethoven? Click below to RSVP!
Remembering 3.11 Together on Facebook
Join us tonight, March 10th at 7:00PM EST on Facebook for the 10th Year Commemoration of the Great East Japan Earthquake.
The Consulate General of Japan in New York has partnered with a number of organizations and individuals to create an hour-long feature in remembrance of the lives lost and still missing in the wake of the triple disaster that affected Tohoku, the northeast region of Japan.
On this occasion, we are showing our deep appreciation to the United States for the support they have shown Tohoku. #UnshakableFriendship Ten years on, Tohoku has undergone a remarkable transformation. After a decade of reconstruction, the region is prepared to welcome guests from around the world. Together, we can recognize the courageous efforts of Tohoku in rebuilding their communities and revitalizing the region.
Feb. 19th, Masayo Ishigure: LIVE on Facebook!
The sounds of traditional Japan are returning to Friday Night Live! Don't miss renowned koto and jiuta shamisen player Masayo Ishigure streamed live from the Ambassador’s Residence in New York City. The stream starts at 5PM EST on Friday, February 19th.
Happy New Year from CGJNY!
The New Year is an important holiday in Japan complete with its own traditions. Maybe you have heard of bonenkai parties or even slurped some New Year’s Eve noodles -- known as toshikoshi soba. There are so many ways Japan rings in the new year, that throughout the first half of January our social media pages shared great posts on New Year's Markets, Shishi-mai, and Omikuji. Check them out and stay tuned throughout 2021 for more!
Dec. 18th, TAKA KIGAWA: LIVE on Facebook!
Friday Concerts return for an evening with TAKA KIGAWA, LIVE from the Ambassador’s Residence! Tune in to our official Facebook page on December 18th at 5:00PM EST to check out the livestream. Do not miss what The New York Times highlighted as one of ten classical streams to watch in December!
Japanese whisky has made it onto the world stage and is here to stay. Among Japanese whisky makers, Suntory is perhaps the most famous, and also the oldest. Suntory’s famous Yamazaki distillery, located on the outskirts of Kyoto, dates back to 1923, when Shinjiro Torii started building the distillery in order to create a Whisky specifically for the Japanese palate. Mr. Torii worked with Taketsuru Masataka, who had studied whisky making in Scotland, to create the first domestically produced Japanese whisky in 1929, before Mr. Masataka left to found his own company. In the 95 years that have passed since 1923, the companies these men founded, namely Kotobukiya (now Suntory) and Nikka Whisky, have gone on to not only create whisky for Japan, but whisky that can appeal to connoisseurs all around the world. Moreover, Suntory’s and Nikki Whisky’s acclaimed whiskies have in recent years consistently garnered some of the highest accolades in international competitions like the International Spirits Challenge and World Whiskies Awards....
2018 Cherry Blossom Festivals
Hanami, which literally means “flower viewing,” is a popular spring pastime in Japan; but you do not need to travel to Japan to enjoy the beauty of Japanese cherry blossom trees. There are many festivals where you can enjoy flower viewing here as well! See our list below for more information....
Natto is a food staple in Japan that has been widely enjoyed since at least the Edo period and which has a history that stretches back much further. Natto is traditionally made by packing steamed soybeans in straw and letting them ferment, typically for about a day, at a temperature usually somewhere between 86 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The straw attracts a fungus called Bacillus subtilis natto, or simply “nattō-kin” in Japanese, which transforms the soybeans through bacterial fermentation into the food product known as natto....
Liquid Culture: Sake (Nihonshu)
For serious “foodies,” connoisseurs of Japanese cuisine, and even the most casual food enthusiast, a Japanese meal accompanied by the national drink of Japan, sake, is often considered mandatory. Much like the other components of a traditional Japanese meal, to consume sake is in a way akin to consuming Japanese culture. This naturally fermented spirit connects people to nature and to each other....
The First Japanese Neighborhoods of New York
New York is home to a vibrant Japanese and Japanese American community filled with business owners, professionals, artists, students, and others pursuing a great range of interests. Over 30,000 Japanese nationals live throughout the five boroughs of New York City, but there has never been an official “Japan Town” or “Little Tokyo” comparable to New York’s famous Chinatown. The majority of them reside in Manhattan, followed by Queens and Brooklyn, and their presence is so ubiquitous that it may be rather difficult to imagine a time when there was hardly a trace of Japan anywhere in the city....
You might not realize it, but that can of “light tuna” found on your local grocer’s shelf holds an ingredient that is an essential part to Japanese cuisine as we know it: skipjack tuna, which is also known as bonito or, in Japanese, katsuo. If you have ever been to a Japanese restaurant you probably have tasted the wonderful umami taste that katsuo gives to many Japanese dishes, including the humble and ubiquitous miso soup. Umami is the fifth sense of taste. The savory sensation created by umami is caused by glutamic acid, inosine acid, and guanylyl acid, which can be found in many foodstuffs. Japanese cuisine makes use of umami flavor through many ingredients....
Shochu is a distilled alcoholic beverage that originated in southern Japan. Although less well known overseas than its counterpart sake, shochu is popular and enjoyed by all kinds of people all over Japan. Unlike sake, shochu is made from many different ingredients, with some of the more common being sweet potatoes, barley, brown sugar, and rice. There are two general categories of shochu, otsurui shochu, which is meant to be drunk on its own, and korui shochu, which is best for mixed drinks and cocktails....
Growing Demand to Study in Japan from Overseas Students
Japan has seen an increase in the number of foreigners traveling to its shores. While many of these travelers are tourists, the number of people looking to live, work, and study in Japan has also been increasing. According to statistics from the Ministry of Justice, there were over 2,200,000 foreign residents living in Japan as of 2015, the latest date for which statistics are currently available. This constituted an increase of over 200,000 people in the two years since 2013, and this number is set only to continue to increase....
Over the past few years shiba-inus have become a trend on the internet. Some examples are Maru (@marutaro), a Japanese Instagram celebrity with, as of this writing, an astonishing 2.6 million followers; Kabosu, the original dog behind the ubiquitous “Doge” meme that started in 2013; and New York based Bodhi, better known by his stage name, Menswear Dog. According to the American Kennel Club, shiba-inus were the 44th most popular dog breed in the United States in 2016. The only other Japanese dog breed to make in into the top fifty was the akita, which has enjoyed a following in the United States since the middle of the 20th century....
The Story of the Japanese Wa-dokei Clock
The first European clocks were brought to Japan in the second half of the 16th century by Christian missionaries; however, these clocks were not immediately useful as a different system to calculate the time of day was in use in Japan at that time. In the Japanese system, which was roughly based on the lunar cycle, one day was divided into twelve hours, six during the day and six at night....
Kid’s Corner: Children's Day
In Japan, May 5th is a national holiday called Kodomo no Hi, or Children's Day.
Children's Day was designated as an official holiday in 1948. Until then, it was known only as Tango no Sekku, a name it also retains to this day, and was a celebration for boys. Tango no Sekku, like the Hinamatsuri, is one of the traditional gosekku, the five seasonal festivals held at the imperial court. Essentially, Tango no Sekku was the counterpart to the Hinamatsuri (Doll Festival) in March....
Why Study Japanese?
Interest in the United States about Japan has been steadily growing in recent decades. For example, many popular video games are made by Japanese companies, and anime has become relatively commonplace on mainstream television in the U.S. Many American children and adults are introduced to Japan through these kinds of media, which in turn leads some people to want to learn more about Japan and study Japanese. On their own, they can be fun and interactive ways to learn the language; however, deeper cultural understanding and linguistic fluency usually requires more rigorous methods of study....