Hokusai prompts great wave of admiration

The admiration in the West for the classic works of Japanese art shows strongly in the critics’ response to a new exhibition at the British Museum by Katushika Hokusai. Nearly all the newspapers have published enthusiastic reviews. Many writers have noted the way Hokusai’s work influenced European painters, especially the French Impressionists, and they hold […]

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China and Japan’s crucial role in Africa

The government of Japan strongly encourages trade with Africa. However, the World Bank warns that a slowdown in parts of the region could hamper investor confidence. Furthermore, with China firmly entrenched in many African countries, Japan faces stiff competition. From Nairobi, Kenya, Duncan Bartlett reports. Many busses which carry passengers around Nairobi resemble four-wheeled nightclubs. Lights flash, […]

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The Olympic magic of Japan’s “Oriental Witches”

The largest ever TV audience in Japan was for the Witches of the Orient (東洋の魔女  toyo no majo), a female volleyball team which bewitched the country in 1964. That was the year that Tokyo hosted the Olympic Games – an important milestone on Japan’s journey from defeat to its post-War economic boom. The Witches’ story was […]

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Will an Improbable deal prove a winner for Japan?

Why has the Japanese company Softbank invested a big sum of money in a British company which has not yet made a profit? That’s the question raised by Softbank’s deal with a young tech firm which creates virtual worlds on computers. It is called Improbable and rather improbably for a firm with no disclosed income, […]

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Macron puts France back in fashion for Japan

There has been an affectionate relationship between France and Japan for a long time. It began in the mid-19th Century, when Japanese art treasures reached Paris, providing inspiration for painters such as Edouard Manet and Edgar Degas. The French still use the word Japonisme to describe their deep appreciation of Japan’s culture. In return, the Japanese hold […]

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Japan’s big money is still on the table

Japan’s companies have billions of dollars to spend and are “very much up for it” when it comes to buying foreign businesses. That was the message I heard this week from a senior figure based in the City of London who regularly brokers huge international deals. I also learned that Japanese companies have made many […]

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