Kumamoto Prefecture Lifts The Ban On Overseas Use Of The Kumamon Mascot Design

Kumamoto Prefecture lifts the ban on overseas use of the Kumamon mascot design

KUMAMOTO--Kumamoto Prefecture has lifted the ban on overseas use of the Kumamon mascot design, sparking anger from local companies that want to keep the popular bear-like character for themselves.

Many companies say the original purpose of the mascot should remain the same: promoting the prefecture on the southern main island of Kyushu and its products.

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Self - Repairing Ceramic Eyed For Aircraft Engines, Shinkansen

Self-repairing ceramic eyed for aircraft engines, Shinkansen

Japanese researchers say they have developed a ceramic material that self-repairs cracks in just a minute and could drastically change manufacturing methods for the transportation industry.

The team from the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) and Yokohama National University said the material could be used in plane engines to keep them operating even if they are damaged in collisions with airborne objects.

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Photoscape / Teenagers Help Preserve Art Of Puppet Theater

Photoscape / Teenagers help preserve art of puppet theater

By Masanori Inagaki / Yomiuri Shimbun PhotographerLeaders of traditional puppet theater are working to pass their art on to future generations, holding workshops for younger people and energetically performing in Japan and overseas.

Hachioji Kuruma Ningyo is a puppet show in Hachioji, Tokyo. The Nishikawa Koryu Troupe headed by fifth-generation leader Nishikawa Koryu, 64, is working hard to ensure its art survives.

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Feature: Japanese Businesses Backing Cancer Sufferers' Wish To Work

FEATURE: Japanese businesses backing cancer sufferers' wish to work

Japanese companies are striving to make it possible for employees diagnosed with cancer to continue their work lives as normal, even while they undergo treatment.

The push has gathered steam following the revision in December 2016 of a law designed to aid in the fight against cancer. The legislation requires companies to do all they can to keep their employees on the payroll after a cancer diagnosis.

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Licca - Chan Birth Reports Available In Katsushika, Her Hometown

Licca-chan birth reports available in Katsushika, her hometown

Babies in Tokyo's Katsushika Ward and elsewhere can now use a birth report featuring Licca-chan, a long-cherished dress-up doll who was "born" in the ward.

The ward office has teamed with toymaker Tomy Co. to launch a series of projects featuring the doll, and the birth report is the first.

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Photoscape / Old Train Just The Ticket For Book - Hungry Kids

Photoscape / Old train just the ticket for book-hungry kids

By Tsuyoshi Yoshioka / Yomiuri Shimbun PhotographerAfter school and kindergarten, children gather at a yellow train car resting in the corner of a Tokyo housing complex in the Misumicho area of Higashimurayama, Tokyo. The old Seibu Railway Co. train carriage, which once ran along an important railway line for local residents, is the home of the Kumegawa train library, which mainly targets children.

The carriage, which holds about 5,000 books and is operated by 25 volunteers, is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Noriko Munemura, 46, visited with her second son Taishiro, 6. "He can concentrate on reading here more than at home," she said with a smile. The library also serves as a place for parents and locals to talk and interact.

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Praying For Success

Praying for success

The Yomiuri ShimbunLocal residents make fukuzasa bamboo branches on Saturday ahead of the Toka Ebisu festival to pray for business prosperity that will be held at Horaisan Sankeiin temple in Tanabe, Wakayama Prefecture. About 5,000 fukuzasa in 10 varieties, decorated with such good luck ornaments as large coins and rice bales, will be sold for ¥1,000 to ¥30,000. The festival expects about 30,000 visitors over three days from Tuesday.

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Forestry Industry Growing In Appeal To Young Women

Forestry industry growing in appeal to young women

The lure of nature and a slower pace of life are attracting a growing number of young women to Japan's traditionally male-dominated forestry business, and their participation may help it cope with an aging workforce and a shortage of manpower.

Junko Iizuka, a 33-year-old graduate of the prestigious University of Tokyo, quit her job as an international trade fair organizer to join lumber company Tokyo Chainsaws in the village of Hinohara in western Tokyo about four years ago.

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New Japan, Old Japan / Photo Studios Offer A Portal Into The Past

New Japan, Old Japan / Photo studios offer a portal into the past

By Ryuzo Suzuki / Yomiuri Shimbun PhotographerStudios where visitors can have themselves photographed in costumes of samurai warriors or high-ranking courtesans are becoming increasingly popular.

At Samurai Armor Photo Studio in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, seven sets of yoroi kabuto (samurai armor and helmets) are prepared. The outfits were manually reproduced by highly skilled craftsmen based on ones that were used by samurai commanders around the Sengoku warring states period (from the late 15th century to the late 16th century).

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Student Gives Helping Hand To 'science Girls'

Student gives helping hand to 'science girls'

By Hiromi Kanekita / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writer Marina Oba is a coleader of student association Rikechen!, which organizes activities to show female junior high and high school students how interesting science is.

The association, launched in 2010, aims to shine a light on rikei joshi (see below) role models and provide students who have several potential paths the chance to take a stride toward their future.

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Pink Bush Cricket Stands Out In Greenery Of Shizuoka Park

Pink bush cricket stands out in greenery of Shizuoka park

IWATA, Shizuoka Prefecture--An extremely rare and new addition to an insect observation park here clearly didn't have camouflage in mind when it was found hiding in green foliage.

The critter that is causing such a stir is a pink bush cricket, also known as long-horned grasshopper.

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Photo Journal: Autumnal Avenue

Photo Journal: Autumnal avenue

Visitors admire autumn-colored leaves as they walk along Inui Street on the grounds of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward, on Dec. 2, 2017. The road was opened to the public on Dec. 2 for the first time in 18 months, and will remain open daily until Dec. 10. (Mainichi)

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Light, Sound To Help Visually Impaired Scale Climbing Wall In Kobe

Light, sound to help visually impaired scale climbing wall in Kobe

A unique system of climbing using light and sound to guide visually impaired climbers from hold to hold is set to open at a new municipal eye hospital in Kobe in December.

“Michibi climbing”, developed by NPO Monkey Magic, employes holds set along pre-registered routes on an indoor wall which are lit up one after the other, following the movements of the climber.  Once a climber has the correct grip on hold, weight sensors trigger sounds and light to be emitted from the next hold.

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Engine Parts Of Wwii Karyu Jet Fighter Found In Tokyo University

Engine parts of WWII Karyu jet fighter found in Tokyo university

Engine parts for a secret Imperial Japanese Army jet aircraft under development in the closing days of World War II have been found at a Tokyo university by a student and a high school teacher.

The parts were discovered collecting dust on the campus of International Christian University (ICU) in Mitaka, western Tokyo, by Hideaki Furukawa in June 2015, who is now a 21-year-old fourth-year liberal art student of the university.

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