Weatherwatch: the extreme nature of Japan’s climate

The weather varies across the island nation, with everything from long cold winters to mild summers and tropical cyclones Japan may appear, geographically, to be a mirror-image of the British Isles – a group of islands on the edge of the vast Eurasian landmass – but climatically it is very different. Whereas Britain and Ireland […]

Japan’s young musicians rally to save dying art of shamisen music

The makers of this ancient instrument were near to closure. But could it get a new lease of life? Katsuhiro Otaki confesses he can’t play a note on the shamisen, a three-stringed instrument whose sound has been the backdrop to Japanese traditional theatre for centuries. But tens of thousands of men and women who do […]

Japan trade deal is small beer – but a welcome distraction

Agreement offers more for its symbolism than what Britain stands to gain economically The international trade secretary, Liz Truss, said it was a historic moment and in a way it was. For the first time since leaving the EU, Britain has struck a free trade deal and with the world’s third biggest economy – Japan […]

Geisha life in the shadow of coronavirus – in pictures

Though the number of geisha – professional entertainers famed for their witty conversation, beauty and skill at traditional arts – has been falling for years, many have now been without work for months due to Japan’s state of emergency and now have to operate under awkward social distancing rules Continue reading…

How we made: the Nolan Sisters on I’m In the Mood For Dancing

‘Going to Japan was crazy. When we took the bullet train, the army had to protect us’ We did 10 years in working men’s clubs as children before we were famous. I remember my sister Bernie singing Where Is Love? from Oliver! in Hull while an absolute free-for-all was breaking out in the crowd. She […]

Which countries can UK holidaymakers visit without restrictions on arrival?

A guide to countries that UK tourists can now visit, in light of the government’s updated travel corridor list Last week, the government announced the countries that UK nationals could take holidays to without facing quarantine on return, also known as travel corridors. However, confusion remains over which countries Britons can visit without facing restrictions […]

How we met: ‘When I first saw him I knew he was the man I would marry’

Steve and Susie Zaleski, 48 and 47, met on a diving course in Thailand in the summer of 2000. Almost a decade later, and with two children, they travelled the world. They now live in Devon Susie Wood had been living in Japan for 18 months when she went on holiday to Thailand in August […]

Japan floods leave dozens dead, including nursing home residents

Record rainfall triggers landslides in western Kumamoto region, stranding hundreds Deep floodwaters and the risk of further mudslides have hampered search and rescue operations after heavy rain in southern Japan, including at elderly home facilities where more than a dozen residents died and scores were left stranded. Helicopters and boats rescued more people from their […]

10 of the best books set in Japan – that will take you there

These great novels – featuring Murakami and Murata – uncover the mystery of Japan in a way ‘documentarists about families living with robots’ never will • In the series: Ireland | Spain | Portugal | India When Japan was forced to “open up” in 1853 following more than 200 years of its sakoku policy, the […]

Better with age: the enduring fashion philosophy of Margaret Howell

This year, Howell celebrates 50 years in design, from postwar austerity and men’s shirts for women to becoming a British national treasure It’s half a century since Margaret Howell first ran her fingers over the cotton of the white shirt she is holding, but it still elicits a grin. “It’s that I was excited about,” […]

‘Comfort women’ crisis: campaign over wartime sexual slavery hit by financial scandal

South Korean survivor claims support group failed to spend donations on welfare It began with a call by a South Korean former “comfort woman” to end protests outside Japan’s embassy in Seoul – a rare attempt at reconciliation that has quickly spiralled into the biggest crisis the campaign for justice for survivors of wartime sexual […]

From near disaster to success story: how Japan has tackled coronavirus

Criticism of government reaction has given way to plaudits for public’s virus-challenging habits Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage A little over a month ago, health experts were saying Japan risked becoming one of the world’s coronavirus “disaster zones”. Its government was already facing criticism over its decision to quarantine passengers and […]

Fruity and irresistible: male lemurs’ wrist scent seduces females

Perfume wafting ruse of ring-tailed lemurs to attract mates may be first finding of primate sex pheromones say scientists An irresistible floral scent dabbed on the body may sound like a cliche from a perfume advert, but it appears to play a role in how male ring-tailed lemurs attract a mate. Researchers in Japan say […]

Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish attack British Cycling in Instagram chat

Wiggins questions competence of governing body Cavendish queries qualification process for Tokyo Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish have aimed stinging criticism at British Cycling, the sport’s national governing body, in a Q&A session on Instagram. In Sunday’s broadcast, the now-retired 2012 Tour de France champion Wiggins and Cavendish, who has won 30 stages at […]

My favourite game: Japan v USA, 2011 Women’s World Cup final | Samantha Lewis

After the devastating earthquake just months previously, there seemed to be something on Japan’s side that night in Frankfurt On 11 March 2011, Japan was hit by the fourth most powerful earthquake in recorded history. Almost 16,000 people died, many in the tsunami that devastated the north-east of the country afterwards. The footage was memorable: […]

British horse racing makes plans for meetings to return behind closed doors

BHA likely to decide this week if racing can resume on 1 May Lingfield and Newmarket among tracks under consideration Racing should discover by the end of the week whether a resumption of meetings behind closed doors from 1 May is still considered feasible by the sport’s administrators, with the British Horseracing Authority expected to […]

Football quiz: British players and managers who are working abroad

From top of the league to warming the bench, test your knowledge of Brits working in unusual places Alan Pardew was appointed ADO Den Haag manager in December. How many British players did he sign in the January transfer window? Three Four Five Six Another Englishman having an impact in the Netherlands is Lee Cattermole. […]

RFU explores options for rescheduled Japan tour and bumper Six Nations

Fixture pile-up may lead to friction with clubs England players set for 25% match fee reduction England could move their summer tour of Japan back to October and take part in a bumper “home and away” Six Nations beginning in November as part of a radical overhaul of the calendar because of the coronavirus crisis. […]

Tokyo Games chief says postponed Olympics not certain to go ahead in 2021

‘I don’t think anyone can say if it is possible by next July’ Japanese media estimate cost of posptonement at $2-6bn The chief executive of the Tokyo Games cannot guarantee the postponed Olympics will be staged next year even with a 12-month delay. Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, issued an emergency declaration this week to […]

Meet Amabie: the pandemic-defeating monster bringing hope to Japan

Japanese Twitter is alive with images of a duck-billed mermaid yōkai from Edo-era folklore with the supposed power to see off the coronavirus As coronavirus spreads across the world, there are a few rays of hope following in its wake. From mass singalongs in locked-down Italian towns to the UK’s #chasetherainbow campaign – which sees […]

Blindsided: how coronavirus felled the global economy in 100 days

A singular event has economists asking the same questions as everyone else: how far is there to fall – and can we ever get back? Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage It is New Year’s Eve 2019 and around the world stock markets are closing for business on a high note. Shares […]

Australian family’s cruise ship ordeal: ‘He was panicking because he couldn’t breathe’

Three members of the D’Silva family caught coronavirus on the Diamond Princess. They were shocked when they returned home Sign up for Guardian Australia’s daily coronavirus email Download the free Guardian app to get the most important news notifications The D’Silva family rushed from the hospital to the taxi and straight to the airport. They […]

Clash looms in Japan as Tokyo governor says Abe’s Covid-19 measures not enough

Yuriko Koike is expected to name the businesses she wants closed under PM’s state of emergency Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage Tokyo’s governor, Yuriko Koike, is poised to call for further business closures to contain the coronavirus outbreak, setting her on a collision course with the prime minister, Shinzo Abe. Disagreements […]

Robots replace students at Japan graduation ceremony amid Covid-19 outbreak – video

A university in Japan has held a graduation ceremony for students using avatar robots remotely controlled by graduating students from their homes. The avatar robots, dubbed ‘Newme,’ by developer ANA Holdings, were dressed in graduation caps and gowns for the ceremony, complete with tablets projecting the graduates’ faces. Business Breakthrough (BBT) University in Tokyo said it hoped the […]