Public Radio International

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Arts, Culture & Media

Barbie

The Barbie doll turns 50 this year. She has endured countless knockoffs, bad haircuts, and limitless career choices. Studio 360's Leital Molad looks into how Barbie still looms large in the American psyche.

Arts, Culture & Media

Nerd's Paradise

Roland Kelts, an expert in Japanese pop culture, takes Kurt to Akihabara, a retail paradise for otaku -- obsessive fans of manga and other Japanese culture. But a recent tragedy casts a shadow over the fun and games.

Arts, Culture & Media

This Is Their Youth

Young adults in Japan are unemployed, disenchanted, and depressed. Roland Kelts talks to poet Misumi Mizuki, novelist Ryu Murakami, and other artists to understand why. And he finds that Japan's troubled youth might be changing the country for the better.

Arts, Culture & Media

Tokyo Old and New

What is essentially Japanese in design? One designer compares it to tofu. Architects Yoshiharu Tsukamoto and Shigeru Ban, designer Reiko Sudo, and poet Shuntaro Tanikawa show Kurt how Japan brings tradition and innovation together. His search takes him through the streets of old Tokyo to an island in the Inland Sea.

Arts, Culture & Media

Pico Iyer: Outside Man

Travel writer Pico Iyer has lived in Japan for 20 years. And while he knows the locals still see him as an outsider, he told Kurt that this status helps him pay attention to his surroundings.

Arts, Culture & Media

No Time for Tea

The tea ceremony is a 400-year-old ritual for serving green tea. But in Japan's techno-centric society (increasingly fueled by coffee) can the tea ceremony survive? Studio 360's Jenny Lawton talked with tea masters, old and young.

Arts, Culture & Media

Suicide Forest

Aokigahara is the forest at the foot of Mount Fuji. It's mythologized in Japanese literature as a sacred place for people to end their lives -? and every year close to a hundred suicides are committed there. Studio 360's Pejk Malinovski went there to uncover why it lingers in the Japanese psyche.

Arts, Culture & Media

Sticker Me Beautiful

Kurt lands in Tokyo's Shibuya -- glitzy and bustling, it makes Times Square look quaint, and it's the epicenter of teen culture. Kurt meets up with blogger Lisa Katayama, who takes Kurt to a girl haven: the sticker picture booth. Striking poses against glittery pink and purple backdrops just might be Japan's secret to happiness.

Arts, Culture & Media

Schoolgirls Grow Up

The Japanese schoolgirl image was made famous by comic books and cartoons. But not everyone thinks they're so kawaii (cute). What do Japanese women make of this archetype? Lisa Katayama met three young art stars whose work reclaims and re-invents female pop imagery, in some disturbing ways. But don't call them feminists.

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