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American Mangaka

American Mangaka
The way that many young Americans discover Japanese culture is through its cartoons and comics. While many Japanese people may be discovering American culture today through Disney, “Adventure Time”, and “SpongeBob” (all quite popular among my students), the same cannot be said for our comics. Japan has the world’s largest comics industry, and indeed, comics in Japan account for 40% of all... 

Naoshima: Art and Life in Harmony

Naoshima: Art and Life in Harmony
Traditionally, art and life flowed seamlessly together. To commemorate a historical event, people would carve totem poles or chisel marble statues. To celebrate a graduation or birth, a parent would sew a quilt. In these ways, art was made in response to, and as a part of, everyday life. It’s a familiar story that over time the majority of artists moved away from traditional processes and styles.... 

Artist at Large with Zachary Johnson

Artist at Large with Zachary Johnson
Last August I moved from Chicago to Amakusa, a rural island in southwestern Japan. Here the nearest shopping mall, movie theater, and art museum are all three hours away. In contrast, the nearest rice polishing station is a ten-minute walk from my apartment. I’ve spent the last six months discovering the culture here, and it breaks many of my preconceptions about rural Japanese life. For example,... 
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