A special week of coverage from December 14 to 18 with a 30-minute special airing December 18 to 22

With its economic rise in the 1980s, Japan became an intriguing icon. It brought the world cultural touchstones: the Sony Walkman, Hello Kitty and of course Nintendo. Its companies were synonymous with top technology and the world waited to see what it was going to do next. Today, those brands have an almost nostalgic feel as the market has been filled with competitors and the news has been filled with stories of economic struggle. But despite any setbacks, Japan still remains the world’s third largest economy. Now with the 2020 Olympics in its future, Japan is looking to reassert itself on the world stage and break free from its insular reputation. Join CNN International Correspondent Paula Newton as she goes ‘On the Road’ in Japan to explore what made this country iconic, how it will prove itself a trendsetter once again and the cultural gems that have yet to be unearthed.   

Highlights of the coverage include:


From the red cap on Kikoman soy sauce bottles to the bullet train, Japanese designer Kenji Ekuan left behind an aesthetically pleasing legacy and an opening for new generations to step through. ‘On the Road’ meets Oki Sato, founding designer of Nendo, a Japanese design studio that has been awarded 2015 designer of the year for Maison&Objet, to find out what sets Japanese design apart and why the world has always loved this look. Then ‘On the Road’ heads to the epitome of Japanese lifestyle, Muji to find out how this company has been marketing the Japanese aesthetic to the entire world.                                                                                                             

Matcha Mania

Matcha has been a staple of Japan for centuries, but it’s finally getting its chance in the limelight thanks to its health properties. Whether in its traditional tea form or used as a powdered additive, it’s turning the world a new shade of green. ‘On the Road’ travels to Fukuoka in search of the secrets behind this miracle tea and finds out why it has taken so long for the rest of the world to catch on.

Pottery Paradise

Next year marks the 400th year of the arrival of porcelain pottery in Arita, Japan. From updated designs, new technology and international apprentice programs, craftsmen in Arita are setting out to make sure the art lives on for 400 more years. ‘On the Road’ gets a first-hand look at the exquisite craftsmanship at the Gen-emon kiln who still insists on doing things by hand, and meets a Dutch student at the Arita College of Ceramics who wants to apply this traditional craft to his own art back home.


As Japanese design pulls from nature, as does its beauty rituals. With the country’s geothermal properties, it’s a bubbling opportunity for them to heal and relax directly in nature. Ureshino is known to give its visitors beautiful skin. ‘On the Road’ learns the history of the onsen and speaks with Yoshidaya ryokan owner, Yasuhiro Soejima on how modernizing the onsen design can lead to new clientele and maybe even a cultural change.


The recognizable robes of Japan’s history are holding on not to just be seen as traditional dress, but something that can still be part of modern life. On the small island of Amami Oshima, traditional craftsmen work up to two years to make a single kimono. ‘On the Road’ meets Masahito Hara who describes the painstaking process of traditional kimono making and the challenge of selling its appeal to the modern world.

‘On The Road: Japan’ 30-min special airtimes: Hong Kong, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Singapore and Taipei

Friday, December 18 at 18:30 HKT

Saturday, December 19 at 1100 and 22:30 HKT

Tuesday, December 22 at 18:30 HKT

Related Links: (live on December 8)

- Ends-

About CNN International

CNN’s portfolio of news and information services is available in six different languages across all major TV, internet and mobile platforms reaching more than 395 million households around the globe, including over 56 million across the Asia Pacific region. CNN International is the number one international TV news channel according to all major media surveys across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the Asia Pacific region and Latin America and has an increased presence in the U.S. with its recent launch on CNNgo. Over the years it has won multiple prestigious awards around the world for its journalism, including most recently the Asian Television Award Cable & Satellite Network and Channel of the Year, and is a two-time winner of Royal Television Society News Channel of the Year. CNN Digital is a top network for online news, mobile news and social media. CNN has 42 editorial offices and more than 1,100 affiliates worldwide through CNN Newsource. CNN International is part of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company. Get the latest social media updates from CNN at: @cnnasiapr