Tag Archive tokutei guinou visa

Trong lĩnh vực chăm sóc điều dưỡng – Tokutei Guinou Visa – Japan

20 de August de 2019 Comments Off on Trong lĩnh vực chăm sóc điều dưỡng – Tokutei Guinou Visa – Japan By Kinjo

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Trong lĩnh vực chăm sóc điều dưỡng, các điều kiện cần thiết cho người nước ngoài để có được thị thực kỹ năng cụ thể

Đối với lĩnh vực chăm sóc, chỉ có kỹ năng cụ thể 1 được chấp nhận. Không có ứng dụng cho 2.
Do đó, 5 là giới hạn trên đối với người nước ngoài có tình trạng cư trú đối với các kỹ năng cụ thể để làm việc.

Trong lĩnh vực chăm sóc điều dưỡng, cũng như các ngành công nghiệp khác, các điểm 3 sau đây là các điều kiện ứng dụng cơ bản.

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Hiring Foreigners – Sector Hotel Business

19 de August de 2019 Comments Off on Hiring Foreigners – Sector Hotel Business By Kinjo

Specific skills] How do you hire foreigners in the hotel business? Comment on visa requirements and exam content

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By taking advantage of the newly created status of residence “specific skills”, the employment opportunities for foreigners in the hotel and hotel accommodation business have been expanded.
If you pass the exam, you will be able to work for up to 5 years regardless of your academic background or work history, and it is thought that a specific skill visa will have a major impact on the lack of labor in the accommodation industry.

Here, we will explain the points for hiring foreigners with specific skills in the accommodation business and the contents of the Japanese language and skills evaluation exams that foreigners will take.

Background to accepting foreigners with specific skills in lodging business is the increase of foreigners visiting Japan and labor shortages

First, let’s look at the current state of the accommodation industry.

The background to the expansion of foreigners’ acceptance is the demand for accommodation due to the increase in foreigners visiting Japan, and the labor shortage due to the decline in the working population.

The government has set a goal to achieve 2020 visits to foreigners in 4000.

As a matter of fact, the number of foreign tourists visiting Japan has been rising year by year as the tourism demand for the Olympics has risen.

In contrast, according to the government’s estimate, there are already 3 labor shortages in the industry.

This is a situation that is still insufficient even in light of work efficiency, productivity improvement by computerization, and employment promotion efforts of women and elderly people.

In light of the increase in the number of travelers in the future,10Inadequate laborIs expected to occur.

In response to the current situation of the labor shortage, the government has received a certain skill foreigner of 5 from the accommodation industry in the future.210,000 X NUM XPeopleIt was decided.

This number is the 14 largest number in the 7 industry sector that accepts certain skills foreigners.

Acceptance is carried out under the jurisdiction of the Tourism Authority of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

What is the scope of services allowed when hiring foreigners in hotel and hotel lodging businesses?

In the application for status of residence, the contents of work for foreigners areImportant point to decide permission / disapproval.

If you do not fall within the defined business scope, your application may be disapproved, so please check in advance.

Below, we will introduce the scope of the business accepted in the hotel business.

Recognized duties are front, plan, public information, customer service, restaurant service

The business of the accommodation business recognized by the status of residence of specific skills is the following business related to the provision of accommodation services.

  • front
  • Planning and PR
  • Customer service
  • Restaurant service etc.

In addition, sale of souvenirs in hall, check and exchange of hall equipment, etc.Do related work togetherNo problem. However, please be aware that it is not permitted to perform only related tasks.

The benefits that a specific skill visa brings to the accommodation business are:The number of foreigners who can obtain work visas has expandedThat’s the point.

Let’s compare the range of the status of residence that you can work with so far and the specific skills in the table.

【Previous Status of Residence and Scope of Specific Skills Visa】

Type of status of residence (Visa) front Planning and PR Customer service Restaurant service Remarks
Specific skills Educational background and work history
business Administration × × × × Only managerial positions etc. involved in management are possible
Technology · Humanities · International work × × × Relevant educational or professional background is required.
skill × × × (I.e. Foreign food cooks can apply. Senior career.

Up to now, it is possible to obtain a work visa in the accommodation industry, such as planning, public relations and accounting professionals who have acquired relevant educational background.

Or limited to some, such as foreign cooks with skilled skills.

For specific skill visas,Employment of foreigners is possible with the position of field staff.

This will enable foreigners to respond to foreign visitors, such as having a front desk staff capable of multilingual support.

Accommodation that does not permit specific skill visas | Working in backpackers and love hotels

Even in the same hotel business, the type of inn business “Simple post office sales“”Room salesThose that correspond to “can not hire specific skill foreigners.[1] P3 http://www.mlit.go.jp/common/001284808.pdf

In addition, we can not work in facilities such as love hotel which falls under the Sex Sales Act.

As for confirmation of such business form, establishments that employ foreignersPermit of hotel and hotel salesIt is determined by whether you are getting

[Business conditions to which the status of residence of specific skills can not be applied][2] https://www.mhlw.go.jp/bunya/kenkou/seikatsu-eisei04/03.html

  • Simple post office operation: A structure where many people share the accommodation, and an operation where facilities are provided (eg bed house, mountain hut, ski hut, youth hostel, capsule hotel)
  • Room sales: Sales to stay for a period of 1 months or more
  • When it corresponds to the “facility” specified in the Article 2 Article 6 Item 4 of the Sex Industry Act (Example: Love Hotel)

In addition, as defined in Article 2 Article 3 of the Sex Sales ActReceptionCan not be performed by certain skilled foreigners.[3] P6 http://www.mlit.go.jp/common/001284808.pdf

Requirements for Foreign Workers to Obtain Status of Residence for Specific Skills in the Accommodation Industry

Acceptance in the accommodation business is only the specific skill 1.

You do not need to have a specific academic background or career, just like any other status of residence you can work with.

The following 3 points are required of foreigners at the time of application:

  • Being older than 18
  • Pass the prescribed Japanese language proficiency test
  • Passing the prescribed skill evaluation test

In addition, although the specific skills 1 can be transferred on the exam exemption for the completion of skills internship 2, there is no acceptance of technical intern in the accommodation industry at the present time of 2019.

In addition, foreigners who are staying in specific activities (internships) must be careful because they can not take the skills evaluation test described below.

Contents of Japanese Exams and Technical Tests for Specific Skills 1 Required for Accommodation Business

We will explain the details of the Japanese exam and the proficiency test that you have to pass when applying for a specific skills visa for foreigners in the lodging business.

Accepted Japanese Examination and Required Level

Japanese language ability is judged by the following 2 exams.

  • 【Overseas】 The Japan Foundation Japanese Language Foundation Test
  • 【Domestic / Foreign】 Japanese Proficiency Test (NX NUMX or higher)

With accommodation business skill measurement examination

For foreigners who wish to work in the Japanese accommodation industry, this exam is a test that measures whether they have the necessary knowledge for business from both writing and practical skills.

General incorporated corporation accommodation skill examination centerHosted by

Subjects Your Comments Questions range
Department of test Mark sheet type for 60 Knowledge and skills pertaining to front desks for accommodation, planning and public relations, customer service, and restaurant services
Practical exam Judgment test by speaking about 5 minutes

We have established a minimum line for each subject, with X NUM X% or higher as the pass criteria.


Foreigners who pass the JLPT / Accommodation Skills Measurement Test and have an employment contract with a business operator can apply for a status of residence for specific skills.

Conducting body, date, and place of Japanese language examination and technical examination of accommodation work

Test name Implementer method Number of times 场所
Japanese language proficiency test [Domestic] Independent administrative institution Japan Foundation mark sheet Conducted 2 times a year Each prefecture
【International】 Japan International Education Support Association 1 times to 2 times Confirm with the local implementation organization
The Japan Foundation Japanese Language Foundation Test Independent administrative agency Japan Foundation CBT method About 6 times, only overseas Confirm with the local implementation organization
Accommodation skill measurement test General corporate judicial person accommodation business skill examination center Writing, practical skills [Domestic] Year XNUM times[Outside of country] in preparation In Japan, it will be implemented in Tokyo, Osaka and other areas

<Reference:General corporate judicial person accommodation business skill examination center>

5 points to hire foreigners with specific skills in hotels and ryokans

In fact, there are points that companies and organizations that are accepting organizations should be aware of when foreigners are hired with specific skills status at a hotel or inn.

  1. Employers join the council
  2. Direct employment only
  3. Employment contract is only permitted for full time staff
  4. The number of years of employment is up to 5 years
  5. Have an obligation to implement an appropriate support plan

I will explain in detail below.

Requirements for the business owner (host organization) of the hotel business

In addition to the requirements of the regular host institution, accommodation companies and organizations that accept specific skilled foreigners need to meet the following:

Accommodation industry

  • Running inn business with permission of inn / hotel business
  • Joining a conference established by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
  • Provide the necessary cooperation to the council

Businesses that accept foreigners with specific skills for the first time need to join the council within 4 months after entry of the foreigners.

Please contact the following about the meeting.

Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Tourism Industry Division Tourism Human Resources Policy Office

Phone 03-5253-8367

Recruitment of accommodation business is possible only direct employment, dispatch is not permitted

In the lodging industry, the employment of foreigners with specific skills is with hotels and ryokans.Direct contract onlyIt is recognized.

In the case of acceptance by dispatch, you can not use the status of residence of certain skills.

Employment contract full-time: be aware of peak season fluctuations

Employment contracts with foreigners who apply for status of residence for specific skills have some points that companies must comply with.

  • Specified working time is full time
  • That salary level is equal to or higher than Japanese engaged in the same duties
  • Do not unfairly discriminate on social insurance and workers’ accidents because they are foreigners
  • To be able to get paid when returning home temporarily

Above all, employment contractCertain skills visas can not be granted without full timePlease note in particular.

As specified working hours, at least 5 days a week 30 hours or more are required.

You can not hire certain skilled foreigners during working hours such as part-time jobs.

Employment of certain skills 1 foreigners must not exceed 5 years

The period of stay for certain skills 1 foreigners is limited.

It is possible to hire foreigners who use the specific skills of accommodationUp to 5 years in total.

After employment for 5, the foreigner must either return to his home country or obtain an appropriate status of residence other than specific skills.

In the case of hiring a large number of foreigners, follow the upper limit of 5 of your stay to plan your recruitment.

With the support plan that the host organization should carry out

When hiring specific skills 1 foreigners, the host organization needs to create and implement an appropriate support plan.

The required assistance plans include pre-entry guidance, airport transfers, support for securing a residence, and the provision of information necessary for work and life.

These support plans areEmploying company is obligedIt must be done.

We can use in such a situation! Case example of utilizing the status of residence of specific skills in the lodging industry

Lastly, we will introduce the case that is expected in the hotel business, under which circumstances it is possible to utilize the status of residence for specific skills.

I would like to employ a multilingual staff at the hotel

With the start of the Olympic Games in 2020, the demand for multilingual support is increasing at tourist destinations.

Not only English, but also the ability to support languages ​​in countries with many foreigners visiting Japan, such as Spanish, Chinese, and Korean, is a great advantage for accommodation.

At a hotel or inn you want to hire foreigners who are fluent in language for the front desk staff, you can use the status of residence for specific skills.

I would like to invite staff working at overseas hotels of group companies to Japan

Specific skills visas can also be used to bring in foreigners from abroad.

I would like to hire staff working at overseas group hotels of group companies at Japanese hotels for several years. For training, I want to call for a certain period.

Even in this situation, specific skill visas are available.

We want to employ foreigners familiar with a specific country in public relations to attract foreigners visiting Japan

Employment of marketing staff, such as public relations and planning, can also use specific skill visas.

When attracting foreigners from overseas, if there are foreigners who are familiar with the local circumstances, it is possible to plan more attractive package tours and devise advertising methods.

Summary: The use of specific skills for the hotel industry is a chance to resolve labor shortages

The status of residence of specific skills can be used within the scope of work for which a workable visa could not be obtained so far, and it has a great advantage for businesses engaged in the accommodation business.

In order to prepare for the increasing number of foreigners visiting Japan, I would like to employ staff capable of multilingual support.

I would like to employ part-time international students who work in the field as full-time employees.

I would like to hire a staff who is familiar with the locality to attract customers from overseas.

In these cases, specific skills can be leveraged. However, when hiring certain skills foreigners, it is important to remember the obligations required of the company that is the host organization.

Understand the contents of the employment contract and the implementation of the support plan before hiring.

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Hiring Foreigners – Sector Nursing Care

19 de August de 2019 Comments Off on Hiring Foreigners – Sector Nursing Care By Kinjo
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How to hire foreigners with a status of residence “specific skills” in nursing care? Explanation of conditions and test contents

Original Text

Demand for nursing care is increasing year by year due to the declining birth rate and the aging of the population.

Until now, there were 3 residence statuses that allow foreigners to work in the field of care. However, it is worth noting that sufficient manpower has been secured, and since 2019, “specific skills” are newly added as a residence status that can work in the field of nursing care.

Here, we will introduce the permitted work contents, necessary examinations, application conditions, etc. when hiring foreigners using visas with specific skills in the field of nursing care.

Background and prospects for accepting foreigners with specific skills in the field of care

The status of residence of specific skills allows foreigners to work only in the industrial sector of 14 where there is a shortage of human resources. Above all, the care sector is a serious seller market.
While the average job opening rate for 2017 is 1.54 times the national average, nursing care results are higher than 3.64 times and 2 points.
The government estimates and estimates that about 2020 additional personnel are claimed by the end of 26.
With such a lack of labor,Let’s take 5 up to 6 specific skilled foreignersIs assumed.

As of 2019, the number of foreigners working in the field of nursing care is approximately 4, 300.
This includes people who stay using the existing EPA (Economic Partnership Agreement), residence status “care”, and technical training system.
There is no doubt that the creation of specific skills will increase the number of foreigners who can work in the care field.
Please know the conditions for applying for the status of residence for specific skills and the conditions required for business establishments, and use them for employment appropriately.

Scope of care that is permitted by the status of residence of a specific skill

In the field of nursing care, foreigners who have obtained a status of residence for a particular skillPhysical careAnd itAssociated support workYou can do.
In particular,User’s bathing, meal, assistance such as excretion, ま た はConduct of recreation in facilityIt is included.

However,Visit system services such as visit careIs not covered.
In a project where a home-care worker (home helper) visits the user’s home directly and helps with physical care and cleaning, foreigners can not be hired using the status of residence for certain skills. Please be careful.

In the field of nursing care, conditions required for foreigners to obtain a specific skills visa

As for the field of care, only the specific skill 1 is accepted. There is no application for 2.
Therefore, 5 is the upper limit for foreigners with status of residence for specific skills to work.

In the field of nursing care, as with other industries, the following 3 points are the basic application conditions.

  • Being older than 18
  • Pass the prescribed Japanese language proficiency test
  • Passing the prescribed skill evaluation test

Also, in nursing care, in addition to the usual Japanese language proficiency test, it is necessary to pass the Japanese language examination unique to the nursing care field.
The details are explained below.

Employ foreigners with status of residence for nursing care

Contents of Japanese language ability and skill evaluation test of specific skills 1 required in the field of nursing care

The contents of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test and Skills Assessment Test established in the field of care are as follows.

Employ foreigners with status of residence for nursing care

<Source: Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare “a href = “https://www.mhlw.go.jp/content/12000000/000491496.pdf”> About accepting special skills foreign personnel in the nursing care field]>

Japanese language examination and necessary level recognized in nursing care

In the field of nursing care, you have to pass the following Japanese exams to get a status of residence.

  • Domestic: “Japanese Language Proficiency Test” N4 or higher
  • Overseas: “Japanese Language Proficiency Test” N4 or higher or “The Japan Foundation Japanese Language Foundation Test”

In addition to the above

  • “Care Japanese Evaluation Test”

The “Japanese Language Proficiency Test” or the “National Foundation Japan Basic Japanese Language Test” will check whether you can have some daily conversation and have a sufficient level of Japanese language skills.
In addition, the “Care Japanese Language Evaluation Test” assesses whether the level required for business use at the care site has been reached.

With care skill evaluation examination

This is a computer based testing (CBT) test.
It will be conducted in the language of the country of examination.

[With care skills evaluation test]

Department of test 40 Q: Basics of care, mechanisms of mind and body, communication technology, life support technology
Practical exam Question 5: Life support technology (exhibits photographs and tests to make decisions and judgments about the correct care procedure)

The exam pass results are valid for the 10 year from the exam date.
2019 Year 5 month, results of nursing care evaluation test results were announced in the Philippines, and 84 people passed. The exam pass rate is 74.3%.
Foreigners who have cleared both the Japanese Language Examination and Skills Evaluation Examination will apply for the status of residence of specific skills in foreign countries and domestically one after another.

Human resources who are exempted from Japanese language examinations and skills evaluation examinations in the field of nursing care

The following foreigners can apply for the status of residence of the specified skills 1, exempt from the Japanese language exam and the skills evaluation exam.

  • Skills training 2 alumni
  • Care worker training facility completion person
  • A person engaged in 4 annual work and training as a care worker candidate under EPA (Economic Partnership Agreement)

About EPA care worker candidate, it is condition that there is score more than XNUM% of pass reference point in notification letter of last care worker national examination, and there is score in all examination subjects.

Detailed procedureclick herePlease confirm.

3 Notes on Employment of Skilled Foreigners in the Field of Care

When hiring a foreigner with a status of residence for a specific skill, care establishments should be aware of the following 3 points.

There is an upper limit on the number of foreigners with specific skills who can receive a nursing care establishment

There is a limit to the human resources that can be hired with specific status of residence status.
The total number of full-time care staff such as Japanese is the upper limit in establishments.
The following people correspond to “full-time care staff such as Japanese”.

  • Japanese and staff working with the next status of residence
  • Nursing care
  • Specific activity (EPA care worker)
  • Permanent resident
  • Japanese, permanent resident’s spouse, etc.
  • Settler
  • Special permanent resident

The application for status of residence exceeding the upper limit is not permitted.
Also, be aware that only full-time staff can be hired.

▼ In addition, please refer to the following about employment conditions of specific skill foreigners.
What is the receiving organization for specific skills? Standards and obligations to hire foreigners on specific skills visas

To join specific skill council in the field of care

Business establishments that accept foreigners with a status of residence of specific skills are required to participate in the meetings organized by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and to perform necessary cooperation.
The procedure for joining the council will be carried out within 4 months from the day when you first accept a specific skilled foreigner.

Specific skill foreigners are included in the placement criteria immediately after employment

Foreigners with status of residence for specific skills are considered to have the same ability as human resources who have completed 3 in technical training.
for that reason,It is possible to employ immediately without training etc. and include in the placement standard.

However, in the framework of specific skills, the receiving establishment is obliged to implement an appropriate support plan for foreigners.
Japanese language support and professional and life orientation are among the obligations of the host organization.

▼ The details about support plan are this
What is a registration support organization? | Necessary requirements for registration and support plan contents for specific skills 1

Relationship between specific skills and status of residence in other nursing care fields

In the field of nursing care, there are currently 4 workable residence statuses.

  • EPA (Economic Partnership Agreement)
  • Status of residence “care”
  • Technical Internship
  • Specific Skill 1

Employ foreigners with status of residence for nursing care

<Source:a href = “https://www.mhlw.go.jp/content/12000000/000510709.pdf”> The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare ‘]>

Among them, although there is a rule of residence for technical training and specific skills, there is no rule for EPA carers and residence status “care”.
Therefore, if foreigners working in these countries obtain these 2 status of residence status, they can continue to employ them at their place of business.

Those who meet certain conditions can apply for another status of residence. We introduce the relationship with specific skills.

Skills training 2 alumni can shift to specific skills 1

If a foreigner who has entered as a technical intern in the field of nursing care has completed 3 work in the 2 year, it is possible to apply for a specific skill 1 with Japanese language skills assessment exam exemption.

If you receive a technical interns care worker at your site, you can hire for a longer period of time by switching to a specific skill 1 from the middle.

No specific skills 2 are allowed, so stay on 1 is capped at 5

Specific skills are divided into 1 and 2.
2 has no fixed period of residence. However, since the nursing care field applies only to the 1 issue, 1 years are the upper limit for the employment of foreigners as a specific skill 5 issue.

If the foreigner passes the national examination of the care worker after having worked for 1 year as a specific skill 3, it is possible to work with the status of residence “care” without the upper limit of the stay period.
In addition, it will also be possible to work with “visit-based services” that are not recognized in specific skills.

Summary: The specific skills ‘nursing care’ visa broadens the on-site employment gap

As introduced, visas with certain skills make it easier to hire foreigners, as compared to the status of residence for working in other nursing care. Therefore, it will be a good hiring tool for companies suffering from labor shortages.
However, the employment of specific skilled foreigners is defined in detail, such as the employment conditions to be followed by the receiving company and the support to be provided. Employment will lead to appropriate employment after the company has put in place a system for acceptance.
In addition, 1 can not be hired with a specific skill 5. Depending on the person’s will, let them know the possibility of transition to other work visas and consider their careers.

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Tokyo to Nagoya City in 40 Minutes

16 de July de 2019 Comments Off on Tokyo to Nagoya City in 40 Minutes By Kinjo

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Tokyo to Nagoya City in 40 Minutes

More than fifty years have passed since the Tokaido Shinkansen connecting Tokyo and Osaka began operating. Construction of the Chuo Shinkansen, which will connect Tokyo, Nagoya City and Osaka City using a new technology, superconducting maglev, commenced in 2014. The Tokaido Shinkansen was constructed along the Pacific coastline, but the Chuo Shinkansen will run through the inland areas of the Japanese mainland, connecting the three cities in as short a distance as possible.

The superconducting maglev is a contactless transportation system in which the train levitates approximately 10 centimeters due to the magnetic force generated between the on-board superconducting magnets and the ground coils. Because the system causes no friction between the wheels and the rails, unlike conventional railway systems, it enables ultra-high-speed operation. Its operating velocity is 500 kilometers per hour. At its fastest, the superconducting maglev will connect Shinagawa and Nagoya City (a railway length of 285.6 km) in 40 minutes and, further down the line, Tokyo and Osaka City in 67 minutes. (Presently the Tokaido Shinkansen at its fastest connects Tokyo and Nagoya in one hour and 34 minutes and Tokyo and Shin-Osaka in two hours and 22 minutes.) Central Japan Railway Company (JR Central) plans to open the route between Tokyo and Nagoya City, currently under construction as the first phase, in 2027.

One of the reasons for constructing the Chuo Shinkansen is to reduce multiple risks by building another line along the main artery connecting Tokyo, Nagoya City and Osaka City, which is vital for Japanese society. The Tokaido Shinkansen has now been operating for more than fifty years, and it will need to be fully prepared against aging degradation and large-scale disasters in the future. The opening of the Chuo Shinkansen will enable the impact of the improvement work for the Tokaido Shinkansen to be reduced. In addition, building another line along the main artery will be effective in preparing for disaster risks, including major earthquakes.

The Chuo Shinkansen is also expected to produce enormous synergistic effects on the economy and society. It will be effective in forming a huge integrated urban zone made up of Japan’s three largest metropolitan areas — the Greater Tokyo Metropolitan area, the Chukyo area adjacent to Nagoya City and the Kinki area adjacent to Osaka City. This is expected to create wider regions for human activities, which will lead to major lifestyle changes, such as how business is carried out and how leisure is enjoyed.

Research into the superconducting maglev started in 1962 and running tests began in Miyazaki Prefecture in 1977. Running tests began on the 18.4-kilometer Yamanashi Maglev Line in Tsuru City, Yamanashi Prefecture in 1997. The Yamanashi Maglev Line was extended to 42.8 kilometers in 2013 and will be used as part of the Chuo Shinkansen in the future. Currently, running tests of Series L0, a railcar of the operating line specifications, are being conducted on the Yamanashi Maglev Line. The front railcar of Series L0 is 28 meters in length. This series is characterized by its 15-meter long “nose” to reduce air drag. In 2015, a manned running test recorded 603 kilometers per hour, the world’s fastest velocity for a railway. Although JR Central has already established the practical technologies for superconducting maglev, it continues to work on the upgrading of technologies such as those connected with improvement of comfort and efficiency of maintenance with a view toward the opening of the Chuo Shinkansen between Shinagawa and Nagoya City.

At the Yamanashi Prefectural Maglev Exhibition Center, which is located along the Yamanashi Maglev Line, you can watch the superconducting maglev run at ultra-high speed up close. There are also displays featuring the actual prototype of a test railcar that set the world record of 581 kilometers per hour in 2003 and a machine introducing the mechanism of the superconducting maglev. In addition, JR Central began conducting a lottery-based experience program for the superconducting maglev in 2014, and a total of more than 50,000 people have experienced journeys of 500 kilometers per hour to date.

Currently, there is a plan for high-speed railways based on the Japanese superconducting maglev technology in the United States as well. The superconducting maglev is expected to dramatically change the future of Japanese and global railways.

By OSAMU SAWAJI/Photos and Illustration: Courtesy of JR Central

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The Oldest Jokes in the Book

16 de July de 2019 Comments Off on The Oldest Jokes in the Book By Kinjo

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The Oldest Jokes in the Book

 Ebisu, the God of a good catch and business prosperity, is having a bad day. He has cast his fishing line in the hope of hooking a jumbo fish, but none is biting.

“Yare-yare” (jeez!), he says as he reaches into his basket to pull out more bait, causing a ripple of excitement among his audience – in particular the younger members, who know what’s coming next.

In this comedic play during an evening of Iwami-kagura drama, held at a 450-year-old shrine in the city of Hamada, Shimane Prefecture, the forty members of the audience are in effect Ebisu’s fish and the bait is not grubs, or herrings, but candy, which he flings by the fistful into the audience to hearty applause and squeals of laughter.

“It was funny, but a little scary,” said a four-year-old girl, who had joined Ebisu on the makeshift stage to lend a hand reeling in the papier-mâché sea bream.

The girl’s contradicting response is almost germane to kagura, a genre of dance that is Japan’s oldest performing art.

Although kagura’s exact origin is unknown, its earliest form is believed to have been a ritual derived from the legendary tale of the sun goddess Amaterasu and the entertaining way in which the goddess Ame-no-Uzume performed dances to persuade the reclusive, cave-dwelling Amaterasu to shed light on the world once more.

Over the years, many types of kagura have evolved, incorporating Shinto and, to a lesser degree, Buddhist elements. Some are highly ritualistic, such as the miko-kagura performed for the Imperial court by miko shrine maidens — descendants, it is said, of Ame-no-Uzume — while others are highly theatrical, almost kabuki-esque.

This latter style, known under the umbrella term sato-kagura (village kagura), was officially encouraged during the Meiji period (1868–1912), when local residents adopted the roles previously played by shrine priests and attendants, who had previously been the sole purveyors of the ritualized, Shamanistic plays that are often referred to as “Shinshoku-Kagura.”

Sato-kagura subsequently flourished and today a variety of dances and music are performed at many local festivals and other public events around the country. Some of the events last not more than an hour; others, such as those held in the fall as part of harvest festivals, continue overnight.

Today there are hundreds of kagura troupes throughout Japan performing numerous types of the dance, including Ise-ryu kagura and Izumo-ryu kagura.

Iwami-kagura alone is performed by some 150 troupes in a district of western Shimane Prefecture once known as Iwami.

Iwami-kagura features a repertoire of around 100 dances, invariably accompanied by flutes, percussion and voice. It is believed to originally date back to the Muromachi period (1336–1573), according to Takashi Shimono, who played the part of Ebisu at the performance at Hamada’s Sanku shrine.

“It was originally a ritual dedicated to the gods that was performed by shrine priests but was handed over to parishioners and turned into a kind of show,” he said. “Today the plays are close to kabuki in style and created with the objective of enjoyment for those who come to watch.”

A major distinguishing feature of Iwami-kagura is its fast tempo, called hacchoshi, the elaborate dress, which can weigh in excess of 30 kg, and striking washi paper masks.

“Another feature is that the plays are visually impactful and easy to comprehend even if you don’t understand the words spoken,” says Kenji Asaura, who heads the Mikawa Nishi Kagura Hozonkai troupe, whose members include local public servants, fisheries employees and workers at a local auto parts manufacturer.

This is particularly true of the comedic plays. Ebisu’s feeble fishing exploits and plodding, almost vaudevillian dance moves, are given an extra humorous touch by his mask, featuring an oval face, slightly drooping eyes and permanent grin.

“Just looking at that face makes me want to laugh,” said another member of the audience at Sanku shrine. “Not all kagura plays are comedic, but they are all highly entertaining.”

The age-old power of kagura to captivate an audience remains undimmed.


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