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Aug. 31, Sun.*This program was first broadcast on Jul. 19, 2012

Planetariums

Today, there are about 400 planetariums in Japan. That's the second largest number in the world, after the US. The world's largest planetarium, with a dome 35 meters across, is in Nagoya. Japanese people have long enjoyed the starry skies, on occasions such as moon-viewing parties and the annual star festival. And a recent assortment of astronomical phenomena viewable from Japan, including a solar eclipse this May, has helped drive a stargazing boom. These days, you can enjoy the planetarium experience not only in specialized facilities but also at cafes and even a Buddhist temple! Cutting-edge Japanese-made optical projectors have captured over 70% of the global market. They are typically made by large manufacturers, but one Japanese man single-handedly changed this high-tech industry.

On this edition of BEGIN Japanology, our theme is planetariums. We'll bring you the latest on efforts in Japan to recreate the starry sky in greater detail than ever before.