Japan is an ancient nation with thousands of years of history and now rich culture. As more than 11,000 Olympic athletes call Tokyo their home for the next two weeks, we will also explore slices of Japanese traditions and society.
The Opening Ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics was already jam-packed with symbols from pop culture to centuries-old customs. Here are just some other parts of the East Asian country's culture that will be on display at the Games:
Way of the Samurai
Most Americans only know about Japanese samurais from popular films and TV but the history of these warriors dates back over 800 years. The art is surrounded in mystery with an ancient code of conduct and there’s one family keeping the tradition alive.
Tasting Some of Japan’s 400 Kit Kat Flavors
The chocolate-covered wafer bar may have been created in the United Kingdom but Japan has put its own spin on the sweet treat, creating approximately 400 other flavors.
A Look at Sumo Wrestling
Sumo wrestling, the national sport of Japan, has been around for 15 centuries and it's still the biggest of them all. There's even a prestigious university program that has been at the top of the sumo staples since 1975.
11 Things You Can Get From Japanese Vending Machines
From bugs to tiny chairs, you can find virtually anything in a vending machine in Japan. Here are some of the items you can purchase from the country’s five million vending machines, according to InsideJapan Tours.
Budokan: Japan's Famed Arena
Go inside the shrine to Japanese martial arts and learn about how the Budokan became one of the most iconic music venues of all time.
All the Things You Can Find in a Tokyo Convenience Store
Japan is known for its “konbinis,” or convenience stores. Sometimes referred to as the heartbeat of a city, they’re usually open 24 hours a day, 365 days a week. Step inside one of them, and you’ll find they carry a plethora of items you wouldn’t usually find in an American convenience store. Here are some of those things.
Luck of the Cats: Why Felines Are So Significant in Japan
Natalie Morales looks at feline folklore and visits the temple where cats could make your wishes come true.
Before the torch ceremony in Tokyo, a Kabuki actor appeared in elaborate costume. Ayako Kiyono and Masa Hattori from InsideJapan explain the role that the theatrical form plays in Japanese culture.
Video Games, Manga Celebrated During Opening Ceremony
Music from popular video games like "Final Fantasy" and "Dragon Quest" were played during the Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics. Ayako Kiyono from InsideJapan explains the inclusion of these modern things into Japanese culture.
The Significant of a Red String
Performers interconnected with a red string during the Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony had many meanings, one tied to a children’s game and another about interconnectivity. Ayako Kiyono and Masa Hattori from InsideJapan explain the red string in Japanese culture.