David Peace

Japan

Japan

A BBC documentary collection
Audio Download

Summary

A captivating anthology of programmes, painting a multi-faceted portrait of a unique country

Japan is a land of complexity, contrast and contradictions. The world's third-largest economy, it is a powerhouse of innovation and a pioneer in technology, fashion and pop culture. But it also has a rich, ancient heritage and a deep reverence for custom, ritual and tradition. This illuminating 2-part radio collection traverses the different aspects of this fascinating country, from its famous historical figures to its diverse cultural landscape.

Part 1: History opens with Japan in Five Lives, in which cultural historian Christopher Harding portrays the lives of five colourful characters from the country's past to answer the question 'Who are the Japanese'? In Killing Time in Imperial Japan, he explores early 20th Century Tokyo, a bustling, cosmopolitan capital where the meaning of 'time' was hotly contested. Dark Blossoms sees him examining the doubts and misgivings accompanying Japan's rapid embrace of modernity, while in Japanese Tsunami, broadcasters Richard Lloyd Parry and Matthew Sweet discuss the devastating natural disaster that rocked the country in 2011. In Land of the Rising Sums, Alex Bellos visits Kyoto to ask why Asian cultures seem so much better at maths; in Japan and Religion, Roy Jenkins discusses the place of religious traditions in modern Japan; and in Supernatural Japan, Christopher Harding looks at how the Japanese have used ghosts and ghost stories to make sense of their world.

Part 2: Culture celebrates Japan's art, literature and film. In Japan Now 2020, Philip Dodd talks to writers Hiromi Ito and Yukiko Motoya and photographer Tomoko Sawada about women's roles in Japanese culture today. Meanwhile, in Images of Japan, illustrator Fumio Obata and manga translator Jocelyne Allen discuss Japanese comic book imagery, and we join novelists Kyoko Nakajima and Yuya Sato in conversation with Christopher Harding. Landmark: Seven Samurai and Landmark: Rashomon see Matthew Sweet and Rana Mitter investigating the stories behind Akira Kurosawa's two most influential films, in the company of guests including film scholar Ian Christie and authors SF Said, David Peace and Natasha Pulley. The Tale of Genji takes us into the shimmering world of medieval Japan, as Rana Mitter explores Murasaki Shikibu's masterpiece, widely considered to be the world's first novel. Finally, in Godzilla and Hayao Miyazaki, Christopher Harding considers cinematic depictions of Japanese fear, as exemplified by the legendary monster king and the 2013 animated film The Wind Rises.

Production credits

Japan in Five Lives
Presented by Christopher Harding
Produced by Sheila Cook
Edited by Hugh Levinson

First broadcast BBC Radio 3 on the following dates:
Daimatsu 'The Demon' Hirobumi 26 July 2021
Tezuka Osamu: Godfather of Manga 27 July 2021
Oda Nobunaga: Warlord 28 July 2021
Murasaki Shikibu: Imperial Insider 29 July 2021
Himiko: Shaman Queen 30 July 2021

Killing Time in Imperial Japan
Presented by Christopher Harding
Produced by Luke Mulhall

First broadcast BBC Radio 3, 31 March 2017

Dark Blossoms
Presented by Christopher Harding
Produced by Sheila Cook

First broadcast BBC Radio 3 on the following dates:
Deer Cry Hall 23 April 2018
Happy Families 24 April 2018
Rebranding the Buddha 25 April 2018
The Art of the Heist 26 April 2018
Japan Refusal 27 April 2018

Japanese Tsunami
With Richard Lloyd Parry and Matthew Sweet

First broadcast BBC Radio 3, 19 April 2018

Land of the Rising Sums
Presented by Alex Bellos
Produced by Alexandra Feachem

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 29 October 2012

Japan and Religion
Presented by Roy Jenkins
With Dr Erica Baffelli, Dr Christopher Hood, Kiyo Roddis and Nathanael Ayling

First broadcast BBC Radio Wales, 29 September 2019

Supernatural Japan
Presented by Christopher Harding
Produced by Luke Mulhall

First broadcast BBC Radio 3, 22 April 2018

Japan Now 2020
Presented by Philip Dodd
With Hiromi Ito, Tomoko Sawada, Yukiko Motoya and Motoyuki Shibata
Translator: Bethan Jones
Produced by Luke Mulhall

First broadcast BBC Radio 3, 19 February 2020

Images of Japan
Presented by Dr Christopher Harding
With Fumio Obata, Jocelyne Allen, Yuya Sato and Kyoko Nakajima
Produced by Luke Mulhall

First broadcast BBC Radio 3, 21 February 2019

Landmark: Seven Samurai
Presented by Matthew Sweet
With Professor Ian Christie, Larushka Ivan-Zadeh, SF Said and Dr Alexander Jacoby
Produced by Zahid Warley

First broadcast BBC Radio 3, 25 March 2014

Landmark: Rashomon
Presented by Rana Mitter
With David Peace, Natasha Pulley, Yuna Tasaka and Jasper Sharp
Produced by Luke Mulhall

First broadcast BBC Radio 3, 25 April 2018

The Tale of Genji
Presented by Rana Mitter
With Dennis Washburn, Jennifer Guest and Christopher Harding
Produced by Luke Mulhall

First broadcast BBC Radio 3, 26 May 2016

Godzilla and The Wind Rises
Presented by Matthew Sweet
With Christopher Harding
Produced by Zahid Warley

First broadcast BBC Radio 3, 13 May 2014

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