Miwa Yanagi's "Zero Hour: Tokyo Rose's Last Tape" at Japan Society on Thursday, January 29, 2015.This image:Scene from "Zero Hour."(Photo by Hiroyuki Ito/Getty Images)

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Elegant exhibitions of both traditional and contemporary Japanese art, textiles and design are the main draw at this calming cultural center, complete with indoor gardens and water features. Its theater hosts a range of films and dance and theatrical performances, while those wanting to dig deeper can browse through 14,000 volumes in the research library or attend one of its myriad lectures or workshops.

Founded in 1907 by a group of NYC businesspeople with a deep admiration for Japan, this nonprofit society has played a large role in strengthening American­–Japanese relations. Its expansion into a full arts and cultural center was thanks in no small part to philanthropist John D Rockefeller III, an ardent fan of the country.

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