Contributors / Kenji Hall

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Height of ambition

Miwako Date, who runs a major property developer, is one of the most powerful business players in Japan and the key mover in shaking up the luxury-hotel scene. So what’s she got planned for Tokyo?

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Catch the pigeon

The niche magazine that’s something of a coo for the Japanese publishing industry.


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Cartoon networks

Drawing on a quirky cast of animated characters, Line has become Asia’s dominant messaging app. CEO Takeshi Idezawa tells us how.



A little respect

Kenji Hall reporting from Takamatsu: Japan’s penchant for knocking down old buildings is taking a back seat in one prefecture, where the modernist architecture could, with the right exposure, help boost tourism.

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Moving targets

The man who grew United Arrows into a Japanese fashion powerhouse has set his sights on reviving the country’s artisanal clothing culture. Osamu Shigematsu talks career choices, challenges to bricks and mortar, and recra…

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Upwardly mobile

The Tateyama mountain range may yield jaw-dropping views of verdant valleys and mist-cloaked peaks but the ramblers ambling up its ridges aren’t bad-looking either. With the line between fashionable finery and outdoor…

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Flying without wings

Part theatre, part theme-park ride and part restaurant: virtual-reality flights are taking off in Japan.




Getting swept away

This tiny town in Western Australia may have been a backwater just 40 years ago but today it’s cleaning up its act. Its unique architecture and laidback lifestyle are attractive prospects for the outside world.

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Parks and recreation

Katsuhiko Sano’s green-fingered ground force snip and prune to keep Tokyo’s parks and gardens in tip-top condition

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Digging deep

Could the world’s longest undersea tunnel linking Japan and South Korea be built by the ‘Moonies’?


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Steppe change

With China and Russia as neighbours, Mongolia’s future rests on pragmatism and smart planning. We look at the forces driving the growth of central Asia’s oasis of democracy.

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The full package

Yamato Transport is the largest parcel-delivery service in Japan – but it’s also so much more. Its president, Yutaka Nagao, tells us that understanding his customers’ needs is why the brand has stayed on the right track.

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Into the woods

A spirit of unruly fun presides over the Good Neighbors Jamboree. Now in its seventh year, the open-air celebration of retail, food and music has attracted thousands of visitors from across Japan to this remote region.

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Spirit of enterprise

As the first Suntory president selected from outside the Japanese drinks firm’s founding family, Takeshi Niinami has needed all his creativity and management guile to help the classic brand reach beyond its home market.



The lay of the land

From Colombia to Moldova and a fair few places in between, we take stock of what makes the world go round – and yes, manicures and underwear both feature prominently.

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Expo 92: What's in store?

Tokyo’s Isetan department store has found success by treating its customers like royalty and turning shopping into an experience. Monocle hands over its credit card to a kimono-clad sales associate.



Plugged in

Honda’s Super Cub scooter is about to enter a petrol-free future in the form of its successor, the EV-Cub. The original 1958 curves are still there, with the addition of all the requirements of affordable green transport…

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The Interview Series: Michihiro Maeda

As a child he had a dream job: testing toys for his father’s firm. Today Michihiro Maeda has taken the company to new heights and made its key product, Sylvanian Families, a toy destined for future success

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Label mates

Fashion can be cruel: trends are fleeting, the work is demanding and the rewards not always forthcoming. Japanese brand Beams is forging a different model with a warmly designed retreat that welcomes all of its employees…

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Customs control

The world (yes, even the bits you know) is odder, quirkier and more downright bizarre than you might imagine. Come with us on a journey to discover where the emperor rules the calendar, Hush-hush Hannah is a star and the…

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Sprinting press

Running magazines are everywhere but few of them put long-form journalism before tips and product reviews. Runner Yuito Ueda has set out to change that with a periodical paced for the more thoughtful pavement pounder.

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Refit for purpose

Like so many accidental entrepreneurs, Masataka Baba only started his business because no one was offering what he needed. Now, having turned dozens of Tokyo’s disused commercial buildings into rentable properties, his firm…






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