Thursday, 28 June 2012

NHK Begin Japanology: Entertaining and Informative Programmes About Japan

Recently I have been doing lots of research into various aspects of Japanese culture and one amazing source of information that I have used is NHK World's Begin Japanology series.

Anyone that is interested in Japan and hasn't already discovered these fantastic programmes will be delighted to find a long list of episodes covering subjects as diverse as traditional arts and crafts such as origami, ikebana and bonsai, cuisine such as yōshoku, kaiseki and bentō and aspects of modern life like Japanese toilets, department stores and plastic food samples. The series also features two episodes about Murasaki Shikibu's famous novel The Tale of Genji and one about hiragana. You can see from the episode guide below just how many episodes have been aired so far and the wide variety of topics that they cover.

Broadcast on the NHK World channel since 2008 the series has already racked up an impressive number of half hour episodes, new ones are still being added and many are available to watch online. The English-language programmes are presented by the quirky Peter Barakan, a SOAS graduate, who shares his knowledge between the interesting clips and videos. You can find many episodes of Begin Japanology on the fabulous AZNV site, a further list of links are available through GakiFiles and a few can be found on YouTube as well as watching the programmes as they are broadcast on NHK World.

To find out more you can visit the programme's official site.

There hasn't been an episode so far that I haven't enjoyed and that hasn't taught me something new, even about subjects that I am already acquainted with. I thouroughly recommend Begin Japanology.

Happy watching and let me know which is your favourite episode ^_^

Episode Guide
(I've highlighted the episodes that I've watched in bold)

Season 1

1. Bentō 
2. Miyazawa Kenji (Shōwa era poet and writer)
3. Lacquerware
4. Rakugo (traditional comic story-telling)
5. Tsukiji Market
6. Yoshoku
7. Kyudo
8. Tea Ceremony Architecture
9. Dagashi-ya (old-fashioned sweet shops)
10. Nihon Buyo (classical dance)
11. Abacus
12. Ryūkyū Kimono (Okinawan kimono)
13. Bamboo
14. Shirakawa-go (historic village)
15. Fireworks
16. Hanging Scrolls
17. The Tale of Genji: Part 1
18. The Tale of Genji: Part 2
19. Matcha
20. Tokyo Tower
21. Dashi
22. Oribe-yaki (a type of pottery)
23. The Colourful World of Utagawa Hiroshige
24. The Seven Gods of Good Fortune
25. Sushi
26. Mikoshi (portable shrines)
27. Yuzen Kimono (a style of kimono dying)
28. Buddhist Statues
29. Hot Springs
30. Fish
31. Tatami
32. Castles
33. Miso

Season 2

34. Nishijin-ori (a traditional fabric from Kyōto)
35. Kyōto Lacquerware
36. Sake
37. Katsura Rikyu (a Kyōto Imperial villa)
38. Bonsai
39. The Four Seasons
40. Hina Dolls
41. Nagasaki
42. Five-Storey Pagodas
43. Cherry Blossoms
44. Chopstcks
45. Aizome (indigo dye)
46. Bunraku (classic puppet theatre)
47. Kiriko Cut Glass
48. Traditional Folk Houses
49. Tea Ceremony
50. Soba
51. Origami
52. Imari Porcelain
53. Folding Fan
54. Kaiseki Cuisine
55. The Sounds of Japan
56. Masks
57. Satoyama (type of agriculture)
58. Kendo
59. The Fragrances of Japan
60. Spinning Tops
61. Rock and Stone
62. Ink Brushes
63. Tsukemono (pickles)
64. Dogs
65. Ramen
66. Rice
67. Shintō Shrines
68. Festivals
69. Shinkansen
70. Gagaku (Imperial court dance and music)
71. Marriage
72. Shogi (Japanese chess)
73. Nabe Cuisine
74. Swords

Season 3

75. Sentō Public Bathhouses
76. Karuta (traditional card games)
77. Taiko
78. Cram School
79. Lights
80. Footwear
81. Monkeys
82. Soy Sauce
83. Tuna
84. Fusuma (sliding panels)
85. Pearls
86. Todaiji (Buddhist Temple in Nara)
87. School Lunches
88. Geiko and Maiko
89. Robots
90. Wasabi
91. Women's Fashion Magazines
92. Izakaya (Japanese pubs)
93. Apartments and Condominiums
94. Towns and Neighbourhoods
95. Tempura
96. Subways
97. Hairstyles
98. Home Appliances
99. Roof Tiles
100. Miniaturisation
101. Silk
102. Soybeans
103. Curry
104. Dams
105. Hotels
106. Radio Calisthenics
107. Ekiben (train bentō)
108. Bridges
109. Earthquakes
110. Chrysanthemums
111. Cameras
112. Hiragana
113. Volcanoes
114. Udon
115. Money
116. Nishikigoi (type of koi/carp)
117. Firefighting

Season 4

118. Mochi Rice Cakes
119. Watches and Clocks
120. Fugu Blowfish
121. Haneda Airport
122. Kagura Dances
123. Snow
124. Pollen Allergy
125. Sashimono Woodwork
126. Cranes
127. Kitchen Knives
128. Fishing
129. Armour
130. Judo
131. The Life of Taro Okamoto (avant-garde artist)
132. The Life of Osamu Dazai (author)
133. The Life of Kenzo Tange (architect)
134. The Life of Hideko Maehata (Olympic swimmer)
135. Toilets
136. Lifts
137. Motorcycles
138. Unagi Eel
139. Japanophiles - Ilan Yanizky (Israel born ink-brush artist)
140. Japanophiles - Silvain Guignard (biwa musician)
141. Japanophiles - Staphane Danton (France born tea dealer)
142. Japanophiles - Dorothy Feibleman (porcelain artist)
143. Plastic Food Samples
144. Insects
145. Traditional Japanese Mathematics
146. Bicycles
147. Chusonji (temple in Hiraizumi)
148. Seaweed
149. Charcoal
150. Rain
151. Golf
152. Shipbuilding
153. Japanophiles - Bruce Huebner (American shakuhachi player)
154. Japanophiles - Noelke Muho (German Zen Buddhist priest)
155. Japanophiles - Matt Alt (American writer)
156. Karaoke
157. Holidays
158. Red Sea Bream
159. Shopping Streets
160. Chicken and Eggs

Season 5

161. Ekiden (long-distance relay race)
162. Batteries
163. Cafes
164. Hot Water Bottles and Pocket Warmers
165. Ikebana
166. Excavators
167. Woods and Forests
168. Japanophiles - Dhugal Lindsay (Australian haiku poet and marine biologist)
169. Japanophiles - Richard Emmert (American Noh actor)
170. Japanophiles - Art Lee (American Taiko drummer)
171. Japanophiles - Phillip Harper (English sake brewer)
172. Kabuki (classic theatre)
173. Wild Vegetables
174. Horses
175. Massage Chairs
176. The Shikoku Pilgrimage
177. Regional Fast Food
178. Department Stores
179. Kimonos
180. Aquariums
181. Confectionary
182. Dolls
183. Moss
184. High School Baseball
185. Planetariums
186. Japanophiles - Adam Booth (English Nihonga painter)
187. Japanophiles - Dave Spector (American TV presenter)
188. Japanophiles - Euan Craig (Australian Mashiko-ware potter)
189. Shamisen
190. Crested Ibises
191. Abalone
192. Tokyo Station
193. Tokyo Skytree
194. Tokyo Bay
195. Potatoes, Taros and Yams
196. Name Seals
197. Mushrooms
198. Vending Machines
199. Scissors
200. Satsuma Mandarins
201. Gift-giving

Season 6

202. Sumo
203. Bathroom Scales
204. Enka (style of Japanese music)
205. Small Factories
206. Japanophiles - Azby Brown (American architect)
207. Japanophiles - Ernst Seiler (German pianist and supporter of self-sufficient living)
208. Japanophiles - Yasokichi Konishiki (Hawaiian sumo wrestler)
209. Ume Plums
210. Storehouses
211. Wagyu (a type of beef)
212. Uniforms
213. Rice Cookers
214. Burial Mounds
215. Stationary
216. Bread
217. Pine Trees
...


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