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Omisoka and O-Shogatsu: The Japanese Year-End and New Year’s Holidays

The New Year, called “O-Shogatsu” in Japanese, is a traditionally very important holiday for Japanese people. In ancient times, January used to be early spring according to the lunar calendar. It was the season when everything started flourishing again. Like in many other cultures, people gathered and wished each other a prosperous year. Today’s Japanese…

Namahage Satokagura – These Scary Musician Spirits Have a Message for You

Yoshitaka Kobayashi (far right on the picture above) is the creator of Namahage Satokagura. They are a group whose performances mix traditional drums, dance, and embodying traditional Japanese spirits. They perform in Japan, but also have made appearances in other countries such as France and Taiwan. In this interview, Mr. Kobayashi tells us about keeping…