Natasha Pulley

Japan

Japan

A BBC documentary collection
Audio Download

Summary

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.

Credits
First broadcast on the following dates:

Japan in Five Lives
Presented by Christopher Harding
Produced by Sheila Cook
Radio 3:
Daimatsu 'The Demon' Hirobumi 26 Jul 2021
Tezuka Osamu: Godfather of Manga 27 Jul 2021
Oda Nobunaga: Warlord 28 Jul 2021
Murasaki Shikibu: Imperial Insider 29 Jul 2021
Himiko: Shaman Queen 30 Jul 2021

Killing Time in Imperial Japan
Presented by Christopher Harding
Produced by Luke Mulhall
Radio 3, 31 Mar 2017

Dark Blossoms
Presented by Christopher Harding
Produced by Sheila Cook
Radio 3:
Deer Cry Hall 23 Apr 2018
Happy Families 24 Apr 2018
Rebranding the Buddha 25 Apr 2018
The Art of the Heist 26 Apr 2018
Japan Refusal 27 Apr 2018

Japanese Tsunami
With Richard Lloyd Parry and Matthew Sweet
Radio 3, 19 Apr 2018

Land of the Rising Sums
Presented by Alex Bellos
Produced by Alexandra Feachem
Radio 4, 29 Oct 2012

Japan and Religion
Presented by Roy Jenkins
With Erica Baffelli, Christopher Hood, Kiyo Roddis and Nathanael Ayling
Radio Wales, 29 Sep 2019

Supernatural Japan
Presented by Christopher Harding
Produced by Luke Mulhall
Radio 3, 22 Apr 2018

Japan Now 2020
Presented by Philip Dodd
With Hiromi Ito, Tomoko Sawada, Yukiko Motoya and Motoyuki Shibata
Produced by Luke Mulhall Radio 3, 19 Feb 2020

Images of Japan
Presented by Christopher Harding
With Fumio Obata, Jocelyne Allen, Yuya Sato and Kyoko Nakajima
Produced by Luke Mulhall
Radio 3, 21 Feb 2019

Landmark: Seven Samurai
Presented by Matthew Sweet
With Professor Ian Christie, Larushka Ivan-Zadeh, SF Said and Alexander Jacoby
Produced by Zahid Warley
Radio 3, 25 Mar 2014

Landmark: Rashomon
Presented by Rana Mitter
With David Peace, Natasha Pulley, Yuna Tasaka and Jasper Sharp
Produced by Luke Mulhall
Radio 3, 25 Apr 2018

The Tale of Genji
Presented by Rana Mitter
With Dennis Washburn, Jennifer Guest and Christopher Harding
Produced by Luke Mulhall
Radio 3, 26 May 2016

Godzilla and The Wind Rises
Presented by Matthew Sweet
With Christopher Harding
Produced by Zahid Warley
Radio 3, 13 May 2014

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