People from all over the world come to Japan and find new lives here, and they often even play a role in supporting Japanese culture and traditions.
Here we introduce their stories and their voices. We learn why they came to Japan, what captured their heart, and the words and phrases they love the most.
The words they share with us are persuasive and truly rich in meaning.
Listen to their favorite Japanese words and learn about the treasures valued in this country.

Richard Flavin

Name: Richard Flavin

Nationality: United States

Occupation: Washi artist

Years in Japan: 48

Current place of residence: Iruma, Saitama

Favorite word: “Muyō”


Muyō is a word from an ancient Chinese philosophy “Muyō no yō.” In English, it means “The usefulness of the useless.” “Mu” means “nothing” and “yō” means “use.” He says even if it is meaningless to someone, it will be a wonderful art for him.

Favorite word: “Enishi”


Enishi is a unique Japanese word about treasuring encounters with people. Without rain, trees will not grow, and without people who cut down the trees, Richard can't get the fiber he needs to make paper. He says that he can’t do anything on his own−he needs the help of others around him.