Learn about Japanese culture as 11,000 athletes call Tokyo home for the Olympics – NBC New York

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Japan is an ancient nation with thousands of years of history and now a rich culture. As more than 11,000 Olympic athletes make their home in Tokyo over the next two weeks, we will also explore parts of Japanese traditions and society.

The opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics was already filled with symbols of pop culture with age-old customs. Here are some other elements of the East Asian country’s culture that will be on display at the Games:

Way of the Samurai

Most Americans only know about Japanese samurai from popular movies and television, but the history of these warriors dates back over 800 years. The art is shrouded in mystery with an ancient code of conduct and there is a family that keeps the tradition alive.

Most of us only know Japanese samurai from popular movies and television. The history of these warriors is shrouded in mystery with an ancient code of conduct. But their legacy goes beyond the art of war and there is a family that carries on an 800 year old tradition.


Tasting of the 400 flavors of Kit Kat from Japan

The chocolate-coated wafer bar may have been created in the UK, but Japan brought their own twist to the sweet treat, creating around 400 other flavors.

The popular chocolate brand was not launched in Japan, but it has a strong following in the country. This is partly because it’s common for parents to give their children Kit Kat chocolates as a lucky charm before a big test or school project. To date, the company has developed over 400 flavors in Japan. Here are a few.


A look at sumo wrestling

Sumo wrestling, Japan’s national sport, has been around for 15 centuries and is still the greatest of all. There is even a prestigious college program that has been at the top of sumo staples since 1975.

Mary Carillo takes a closer look at sumo wrestling, a tradition in Japan.


11 things you can get from Japanese vending machines

From bugs to small chairs, you can find virtually anything at a vending machine in Japan. Here are some of the items you can buy at the country’s five million vending machines, according to InsideJapan Tours.

From bugs to small chairs, you can find virtually anything at a vending machine in Japan. Here are some of the items you can buy at the country’s five million vending machines, according to InsideJapan Tours.


Budokan: Japan’s famous arena

Enter the Japanese Martial Arts Shrine and learn how the Budokan became one of the most iconic music venues of all time.

Enter the Japanese Martial Arts Shrine and learn how the Budokan became one of the most iconic music venues of all time.

All the things you can find in a Tokyo convenience store

Japan is known for its “konbinis”, or convenience stores. Sometimes referred to as the heart of a city, they are typically open 24 hours a day, 365 days a week. Walk into one of them and you’ll find that they have a plethora of items that you typically won’t find in an American convenience store. Here are some of those things.

Japan is known for its “konbinis”, or convenience stores. Sometimes referred to as the heart of a city, they are typically open 24 hours a day, 365 days a week. Walk into one of them and you’ll find that they have a plethora of items that you typically won’t find in an American convenience store. Here are some of those things.


Lucky cats: why felines are so important in Japan

Natalie Morales delves into feline folklore and visits the temple where cats could make your wishes come true.

Japan is crazy about cats. Athletes may want to follow a beckoning cat to bring them success. Natalie Morales delves into feline folklore and visits the temple where cats could make your wishes come true.


Kabuki theater

Ahead of the torch ceremony in Tokyo, a Kabuki actor appeared in an elaborate costume. Ayako Kiyono and Masa Hattori from InsideJapan explain the role that the theatrical form plays in Japanese culture.

Ahead of the torch ceremony in Tokyo, a Kabuki actor appeared in an elaborate costume. Ayako Kiyono and Masa Hattori from InsideJapan explain the role that the theatrical form plays in Japanese culture.


Video games, manga celebrated during the opening ceremony

Music from popular video games like “Final Fantasy” and “Dragon Quest” was played during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics. InsideJapan’s Ayako Kiyono explains the inclusion of these modern things in Japanese culture.

Music from popular video games like “Final Fantasy” and “Dragon Quest” was played during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics. InsideJapan’s Ayako Kiyono explains the inclusion of these modern things in Japanese culture.


The meaning of a red string

The performers interconnected with a red string at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics had many meanings, one related to a children’s game and the other to interconnectivity. Ayako Kiyono and Masa Hattori from InsideJapan explain the common thread of Japanese culture.

The performers interconnected with a red string at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics had many meanings, one related to a children’s game and the other to interconnectivity. Ayako Kiyono and Masa Hattori from InsideJapan explain the common thread of Japanese culture.

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