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AkasaMedia has the good fortune of being based in Kyoto, which has held distinction as Japan’s cultural capital for more than 1200 years. Editors looking for a piece on Japanese culture, look no further: AkasaMedia can provide what you need. Writer and photographer Catherine Pawasarat has lived in Kyoto for more than a decade, and has first-hand familiarity with many of Japan’s traditional arts: she’s studied Buddhism, traditional Japanese instruments (koto & shamisen), theater (kyogen), kimono dyeing and weaving techniques, paper-making, and tea ceremony. Though specializing in traditional Japanese culture, AkasaMedia enjoys exploring the verve of pop culture as well. Articles on cultural traditions throughout Asia and the Americas are also available. 

Below are just some of the arts- and culture-related articles offered by AkasaMedia. Contact us to commission articles or check for printing rights in your region.

Beloved Blue: Only Japanese indigo can provide a natural blue color as dark as the midnight sky. Though, much esteemed in Japan, few know about the labors of love involved in traditional indigo dyeing. All Nippon Airway's inflight magazine, Wingspan, featured how the Utsuki family in Kyoto preserves this beautiful dyeing art.

The Wonderful World of Washi: You can wash it, wear it, dye it, weave it, write on it – it doesn’t suffice to call it simply, “handmade paper.” Washi’s colorful 1500-year history is described by Kyoto-based washi expert, and its virtues extolled through the eyes of a contemporary artist in this feature for All Nippon Airway’s inflight magazine, Wingspan.

Hints of the Heian: Uji City was both a playground and spiritual retreat for aristocrats in Japan’s golden Heian period, and has long supplied the country’s finest green tea. Nestled in a steep, verdant valley, today it’s a lovely place to stroll among the ancient echoes of imperial intrigue, rustling silk kimono and Buddhist chants. A feature from Japan Airline’s inflight magazine, Winds.

Demons, Misinformation and Kimochi: With a new book causing heated debate among Japanologists, renowned author and Japan pundit Alex Kerr granted this evocative interview to reveal how Japan has replaced culture with boondoggles, and the myth of its technological prowess. From the award-winning Kyoto Journal

From Woodblock to Computer Graphics: The 20th Century Japanese Poster. The little-known evolution of the Japanese poster into graphic design art parallels the exceptional transformation of Japan into a modern state. For Japan Airline’s Winds inflight magazine.

Dogs and Demons: Tales From the Dark Side of Japan. This interview with author Alex Kerr outlines why his latest book, Dogs and Demons, has elicited strong reactions from all quarters, and takes a look at how Japan measures up on the international stage of developed nations. For The Journal of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan.

Redefining to Rescue Kyoto: Though it’s the heart of traditional Japanese culture, Kyoto has a visual cityscape that looks like a millennia of refined arts crashed into modernity at high speed. Non-profit Mitate International tries to reconcile the past and present for a more livable, aesthetic Kyoto. For The Japan Times newspaper. 

Sensual Curves and Serendipitous Color: American ceramicist Tacy Apostolik is one of the few non-Japanese women to undergo the traditional Japanese apprenticeship system, which she did in the ancient ceramics center of Shigaraki. The result of her years of dedication and hard work is some fine ceramic art. For The Japan Times newspaper. 

Paintings with Lives of Their Own: Local Kyoto painter Michael Hofmann draws on three decades of sumi-e ink painting and Zen practice to create one-of-a-kind works that seem to get painted without him. For The Japan Times newspaper.

Shakuhachi Gala Blows Up Storm: Once a decade, Tozan school shakuhachi (bamboo flute) master Miyoshi Genzan puts on a grand concert, including many of the greats in traditional Japanese music. For The Japan Times newspaper. 

Breathing a Path to Beauty and Inner Peace: American shakuhachi master Ronnie Seldin describes his path with the shakuhachi, and how Zen monks utilized it for their “blowing meditation.” For The Japan Times newspaper. 

Traditional Bamboo Basics: Over his 30-year career, musical artist John Neptune has moved on from mastering the shakuhachi to playing it in a wide variety of experimental ways, and further by inventing new bamboo instruments and promoting bamboo as an ideal ecological material. For The Japan Times newspaper. 

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