Japanese Documentaries

7/21 This thread is now for Japanese documentaries! Japanese documentaries can mean that either the content is about Japan in some way or is in Japanese :slight_smile:

Are you familiar with NHK’s video series about Japanese culture? I’ve been meaning to make a thread about them. Each video is pretty unique and explores some aspect of Japanese culture, usually with a focus on something really local. Each episode tends to fit a variety of stuff.

I’ll try to make a post of each episode that I watch and note them with the content, so if you want to learn more, you easily can.

Edit: I might move this to listening… The episodes are usually either in English or subtitled, but you can get some listening practice in usually. I’m not a fan of most of the non native speakers’ accents, but it’s fun to listen to the regional accents.

Edit2: moving to listening, even if the proportion of listening content is small since it’s a good academic/educational resource.


Cats and Japan

cats, what more can I say?


Legacies of Samurai Culture

  • Kanazawa’s stone walls
  • Yuzen Nagasashi a method of washing away the rice glue in rivers of certain hand dye painted kimono
  • gold leaf
  • Yamagata’s Tendo’s history with shogi (includes some human reenactment shogi (think the first Harry Potter))
  • Apples in Aomori (Hirosaki)- auctioning/bidding, some history (the apples were imported from the US), how they get that uniform color of apples

We get NHK World on Foxtel (pay TV) over here, so I used to watch that, at least while we were subscribed to Foxtel. I’m always surprised every time I re-discover that they’ve uploaded a number of whole episodes to YouTube.

I’m not a fan of the voices they use for dubbing in the series that are dubbed instead of subtitled (though I couldn’t recall off the top of my head which series tend to get dubbed… Tokyo Eye, maybe?)

Hah, that one’s actually been coming up in my suggested videos on occasion lately.


Hard same. I think the guy from the beginning of Legacies does a lot of it. He’s talented, but like, the kind of voice people wanted in the 60s-80s I think.

I recommend it! I’ve watched it twice, but I didn’t want to rewatch it for a third time today when there’s new to me content lol


The Japanology videos are our Sunday-morning-coffee-time viewing on Youtube. I don’t count them as japanese studying at all because there’s so little spoken japanese in them but I have learnt a lot about Japanese history and culture. I particularly enjoy Peter Barakan’s facial expressions and some of his anecdotes about mistakes he made when he first moved to Japan.


I was starting to consider this one a wash, but now I want to go to Yoshino to see the blossoms this year…
The Yoshino segment starts around the 17 min mark. The rest of the video after that isn’t so bad imo.


Around the 9min mark the photographer finds some cosplayers. I want to go to this cosplay festival now…

The latter parts are a tour of the nature and I recommend it if you like nature videos


These are great, thanks for sharing :slight_smile:

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Thank you! Welcome to the forums! I hope you enjoy :slight_smile:

I shouldn’t have watched this one…

A certain Berry is afraid of heights and the Myogi climb stressed me out. Do you know what would happen if I tried that? You could probably convince me to climb and then I’d get treed and be sobbing at the top and have to be tranquilized and/or carried down.

Long story short, mountain climbs with a bit of focus on religious aspects of the sacred nature of mountains and some of the rituals preformed on them.

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Not a Japanology video, but very similar tone, independent German documentary with Eng subs. Lots of nice listening opportunities. Makes me want to talk more with the local ojichan and obachan


Wholesome veggies

1st lotus root 蓮根(れんこん)
2nd Chinese onion rakkyo ラッキョウ
3rd yugao ユウガオ (used for kanpyo 干瓢(かんぴょう)


Train cruise is about right. Lots of trains and nature, although it’s more urban/developed than my cup of tea


Yeah, I’m not sure “depths” is entirely the word that sprang to my mind when I watched that, since they barely went more than a hundred metres from the train line, but I did consider adding a number of places from that video to my rather extensive to-do list.


Oh yeah, my eyes glazed over that part, I was just thinking of the train and location aspects. I’ll edit to reflect.

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Thank you this is all ideal !


Thank you! Welcome to the community!

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Shimane’s Oki Island and its relationship with cows
Nagasaki’s Iki Island and its youth community engagement projects
Nagasaki’s Tsushima and its history as a defensive area but also as a point of contact

The host is really off-putting in this one imo.
He sounds like he hates his job to my ears :sweat_smile:

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Wow, didn’t realize I hadn’t added anything since November, whoops. Will try to add mushroom vid too later

A Japanology video on one woman’s love of kimono and how she’s modernized and encouraged it