Japan House brings Japanese culture, innovation to Hollywood

HOLLYWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- It's an astonishing place and the name is simple - Japan House. But what it actually is might be a little more complicated.

"We're a public diplomacy initiative conceived by the Japanese minister of public affairs," Yuko Kaifu said.

Kaifu, president of Japan House, explains visitors may see the place as a fascinating museum or an elegant gift shop. Perhaps it's a unique library, an inviting exhibition hall, or a delicious restaurant.

But it's much deeper than all of those places. It's a location where the country of Japan hopes to expose some of its finest qualities to the world.

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Foreign minister of Japan, Taro Kono, took part in Friday night's opening ceremonies for Japan House, a unique place located at Hollywood and Highland.

Instead of bringing tourists to Japan, they bring Japan to the tourists. That's why it sights right in the middle of the bustling masses at the intersection of Hollywood and Highland.

"According to the Chamber of Commerce of Hollywood, 25 million people come to Hollywood and Hollywood and Highland every year," Kaifu said.

You can discover that the Japanese developed 3D printing and see how the technology is melding with their love of robots. It's a glimpse into our future.

In the gift shop, visitors can find items that reflect centuries of tradition or modern engineering that is paper-thin.

Foodies will enjoy a beautiful restaurant hidden away in the peaceful Zen of the fifth floor, and if they want to prepare Japanese food on their own - demonstrations and ingredients are offered.

"We want to provide experiences to people that they can learn about Japan with the five senses - to see, to hear, to taste, to smell and touch. That's something that you can only do by having this kind of facility," Kaifu said.

It is the opposite of our impersonal internet, digital and social media driven world.

Japan House is all about real life, physically connecting people to one of the most intriguing cultures in the world.
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