Anime Underground Anime That Actually Teach You About Traditional Japanese Culture  

Anna Lindwasser
1.4k votes 461 voters 20.1k views 20 items

List Rules Vote up the anime that taught you the most about traditional Japanese culture.

While most anime is focused on modern-day Japanese life, or life in fantastical worlds, there's actually a lot of anime with roots in traditional Japanese culture. These shows not only have great stories with compelling characters, but they're also a wonderful way to learn about real, traditional Japanese culture (without having to crack open a textbook).

Do you want to learn about rakugo, a form of Japanese storytelling? Try Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju. How about shogi, a form of Japanese chess? Try March Comes in Like a Lion. There's anime about traditional Japanese culture of every kind, so choose the one that best suits you.

1 122 VOTES

Chihayafuru


Chihayafuru is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Anime That Actually Teach You About Traditional Japanese Culture
Photo:  Madhouse

Chihayafuru centers around an high school club with an unusual focus, karuta. Karuta is a physically and intellectually challenging card game based on Ogura Hyakunin Isshu, a Japanese anthology of 100 poets.

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2 137 VOTES

Barakamon


Barakamon is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Anime That Actually Teach You About Traditional Japanese Culture
Photo:  Kinema Citrus

Barakamon follows a young man named Handa Seishuu, as he learns how to balance his calligraphy career with his mental health. Calligraphy is a form of artistic writing, and it has particular importance in Japan. Almost every country with a writing system uses some form of calligraphy.

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Rurouni Kenshin


Rurouni Kenshin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Anime That Actually Teach You About Traditional Japanese Culture
Photo:  Studio Gallop

Rurouni Kenshin is far from the only anime that focuses on samurai, but it's one of the most well-known. Samurai were members of the warrior caste in medieval and early-modern Japan. They generally belonged to clans, and were expected to serve a daimyƍ, or a feudal lord. They followed Confucian teachings, and their behavior was often used as a model for other castes and classes.

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Hikaru No Go


Hikaru no Go is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Anime That Actually Teach You About Traditional Japanese Culture
Photo:  Studio Pierrot

Go, the game at the center of Hikaru no Gois an abstract strategy board game. The goal is to surround more territory than one's opponent. Invented in China more than 2,500 years ago, Go has strong roots in Japanese culture as well, and it is the oldest board game still played today.

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