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JCCC Podcast: All Things Japanese with John Ota

Join John Ota, architectural writer, designer, historic preservationist on a journey to explore all things Japanese! This podcast was created to provide information and connect with JCCC members and the public during the Spring and Summer of 2021 to provide hope, information and entertainment during the lock-down months.


Episode 9: Did you ever wonder, who are the samurai? What did they do? Who are these guys?

Please join us for our latest podcast episode on The Story of Samurai. Our special guests will be Michael Wert, Professor of History at Marquette University and author of the book, “Samurai: A Concise History” and James Heron, Executive Director of the JCCC who will discuss the history of the samurai in Japan, their function and the international attraction to samurai films. This samurai podcast supplements the screening of the Samurai Marathon 1855 film presented by the JCCC on August 20, 2021.

To check out Michael Wert's Samurai: A Concise History, click here.

For more information about JCCC's virtual screening of Samurai Marathon, click here


Episode 8: The 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games is here and we are excited! John Ota sits down with architect and judo sensei, Ken Fukushima to talk about judo, from the sport's philosophy to its introduction to the Olympic Games in 1964 when Japan hosted the Olympic Games for the first time. Ken also talks through the rising stars in the field this year including the first Olympian from the JCCC, Shady El Nahas.



Check out Judo competition information:

Did you know JCCC offers eight martial arts programs?

Episode 7: With the Province of Ontario finally reopening in the summer of 2021 after a world record lockdown, the City of Toronto is buzzing and ready for for celebration. What better way to celebrate than to watch the Tokyo Olympics while drinking the national drink of Japan? In this episode, John Ota is joined by sommelier and sake aficionado, Laura Dijana Higgins, CEO of Amethyst Wine Agency and they had a lively discussion on the history and production of sake, as well as sake recommendations for sake lovers as well as first timer. To see photographs of the sake recommended by Laura, click here.

Would like to learn more about the history of sake? Click here.


Episode 6: This episode, John Ota sits down with Toronto Japanese Film Festival (TJFF) director James Heron and novelist David Benjamin, the author of SUMO: A Thinking Fan's Guide to Japan's National Sport to discuss one of the world's most compelling sport, sumo.

Link for tickets to watch Sumodo - Successors of Samurai, a film line up at the 2021 TJFF, go to:

Link to David Benjamin Author website:


Episode 5: This episode, John Ota delves into JCCC's very own Toronto Japanese Film Festival - from tidbits about trends, movie stars to the ingenuity of the Japanese film industry when compared to Hollywood blockbusters. Podcast guests for this episode are TJFF co-directors, Chris Hope and James Heron, and Executive Producer and Artistic Director, Aki Takabatake. James and Aki also give their personal recommendations and highlights including films by female Japanese film directors and family-friendly picks. Click here to see this year TJFF's film line up.


Episode 4: Join John Ota in exploring the Story of Kimono - from cultural history to its depiction in films like The Devil Wears Ju-Ni Hitoe Kimono. Podcast guests for this episode are anthropologist and author, Liza Dalby as well as visual and digital arts educator, Katherine Yamashita.

Check out Liza Dalby's website:


Episode 3: Join John Ota in exploring the Magic of Sakura - Japanese Cherry Blossom Trees from symbolisms and national pride to cherry blossoms in the city of Toronto, Canada. Podcast guests for this episode are James Heron, Consul-General Sasayama Takuya, and Chako Setoyama, Sakura visionary and tree planter. Join John as he takes you through a virtual Hanabi (Flower Viewing) in Tokyo

Episode 2: Join John Ota in exploring Traditional Japanese Houses

Podcast guests for this episode includes: James Heron and Eiri Ota, principal architect at UUfie Architecture and Design Studio. Join John Ota as he takes you through a virtual "walking tour" in the Nomura Samurai House and Garden in Nagamachi.



Episode 1: Join John Ota in exploring the question: What is a Japanese Garden?

Japanese Gardens and the History of the Toronto Japanese Garden Club. Podcast guests for this episode includes: James Heron, Irene Foulkes, and Jiro Fukushima.


All Things Japanese with John Ota is currently available through Apple PodcastsSpotify, IHeart RadioPodcast Addict, Stitcher, Podfriend, Castbox, Castro, and Overcast.