[COVID-19] Kagura Japanese traditional performing art at brink as virus hits hard

SHIMANE, HIROSHIMA, Aug. 13 – The virus pandemic is throwing a dark shadow over one of the Japanese traditional performing arts, kagura. Kagura is a specific type of Shinto ritual ceremonial dance performed at traditional festivals in Japan. Its purpose is praying for productiveness in farming, driving away evil spirits, and thanking for successful harvesting. But now, many of the kagura troupes are forced to stop practicing and performing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some restarted acting in July, but it’s still uncertain for many when they can resume the activities with the second wave hitting the entire country. Some troupes and costume makers see large income drops and difficulties … Continue reading

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“Keep virus away from us!” JA Fruits Yamanashi uses patented technology to draw supernatural creature on peach skin

YAMANASHI, Jul. 31 – A local agricultural cooperative in Yamanashi Prefecture has started to sell a limited number of “Yogen no momo,” a peach with an image of “Yogen no tori (a bird of prophecy)” on its skin to join the people who wish to stop the COVID-19 outbreak. Yogen no tori is a legendary creature in Japan, a two-headed bird that is said to keep illnesses away. The JA started to sell it sell as a new seasonal product to encourage the people suffering all over the country from the pandemic while promoting the consumption of the local summer fruits. The JA Fruits Yamanashi used its patented technology to … Continue reading

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International Cooperative Alliance releases new 10-year strategic plan urging cooperatives to strengthen cooperation and contribute to global sustainable development

TOKYO, Aug. 12 – The International Cooperative Alliance (ICA), comprising 311 cooperatives in 109 countries, has released its strategic plan for the coming decade, focusing on facilitating cooperation among cooperatives in such areas as technology. The 2020-2030 Strategic Plan recommits to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals which are also intended to be achieved by 2030, by identifying indicators to estimate the contribution made by cooperatives. The plan also calls for launching a cooperative International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification and promoting cooperative education and training. The ICA, with more than 1.2 billion members worldwide, created the new strategic plan based on the 2020 Vision approved in 2012 as a … Continue reading

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Cheese consumption in Japan hits record high in 2019 backed by increase in imports

TOKYO, Jul. 29 – Consumption of cheese in Japan marked a record high of 358,229 tons in fiscal 2019, up 1.5 percent from the previous year, amid the increasing popularity mainly of natural cheese, according to the agriculture ministry. The annual consumption volume of cheese posted an all-time high for five years in a row. While shipments of imported cheese rose along with the enforcement of major trade agreements, domestically-produced cheese products continued to lose their share in the market. The key for domestic cheesemakers to gain a larger share in the expanding market is to secure sufficient supply of milk and develop attractive products. While domestic consumption kept growing, … Continue reading

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Getting ready for victory bouquets for postponed Tokyo 2020

TOKYO, Jul. 23 – “We want to celebrate the winners in the rescheduled Summer Olympics and Paralympics with the victory bouquets made of domestic flowers and leaves.” Producers of aspidistra elatior, or haran in Japanese, in the Izu Oshima Island of Tokyo are already determined to move forward. At the 2020 Tokyo, medalist will receive the bouquets of flowers native to Japan, such as lisianthus from Fukushima Prefecture and gentians from Iwate Prefecture. Haran grown in the Tokyo island will be used to wrap and decorate the flowers from the prefectures, which were hit hard by the March 2011 powerful earthquake and tsunami. The island has about 60 haran growers … Continue reading

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