NHK World’s “Begin Japanology”

Posted by Amy on February 9th, 2011. Filters:

Begin Japanology is a long running program aired on NHK World and hosted by Peter Barakan. It was created to educate English speaking audiences about the life and culture of Japan.

Each episode is a half an hour long and focuses on a wide range of subjects such as: cherry blossoms, sake, Tokyo Tower, cram school, hairstyles, Geiko and Maiko, Matcha, the folding fan, Tale of Genji etc.

Begin Japanology airs every Thursday on NHK world and you can watch it on the NHK World website. There are some episodes on YouTube as well and torrents are available at

I recently found out about this program and can’t stop watching. Not only does the show talk about modern Japan, but it also gives you the history. For example, the show about Japan’s Subway systems gives you a history lesson on the very first subway car, why and how it arrived in Japan. Cram school even has an interesting history. There is even an episode on firefighting in Japan.

I highly recommend this show to all who are interested in Japan and her culture!

  • Jamaipanese

    Begin Japanology I used to watch it often on JIBtv, I need to catch up on some of the episodes but I did see this one! Can’t wait to experience riding on a Shinkansen in Japan.

    • Amy

      Same here! The topics are so interesting :D

  • Jenny

    I’ve watched a few of the episodes, Peter Barakan is a excellent host. My favorite episode has been about the geiko and maiko in Kyoto. Should watch more episodes though because they have interesting subjects.

    • Amy

      I’m a design student and one of our projects was to design and make a package and label for a wine bottle. I decided to make mine Sakura Sake…Begin Japanology has a show on both Cherry Blossoms and Sake, so I took clips from both to use in my presentation. :)

      Peter Barakan is awesome, but I find him a bit awkward sometimes (lol) or maybe its just me? Still, they touch on topics that a lot of other shows wouldn’t bother with like hairstyles or Women’s fashion magazines. I find the topics interesting! :D