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1. Japanland: A Year in Search of Wa

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Japanland: A Year in Search of Wa

Japanland: A Year in Search of Wa is a 2004 documentary television series and book by American documentary filmmaker and travel author Karin Muller, who spent a year in Japan searching for wa, the Japanese concept of harmony. Japanland was written and filmed by Muller, an American judoka who traveled to Japan in 2001 to improve her art and realized she could not succeed without understanding Japan itself, so she set out on a one year solo trip around Japan to see what she could. Muller's adventure took her to live with a pre-Buddhist mountain ascetic cult, join a samurai-mounted archery team, and complete a 1,300-kilometer pilgrimage around Shikoku. Muller found Japan was more like a living entity, a person, than a country, and very complex and almost contradictory. She took no camera crew or companions, or even much money. She went on foot and emerged profoundly changed and informed, concluding that as a "typical" American she could not really become Japanese. The journey became a three-hour set of documentaries shown on U.S. television channel PBS and a book. Japanland has even been shown on Japanese TV, rare for a U.S. program, especially one on Japan.