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Sesshu Toyo and historical art in Japan (1420-1506)

Sesshu Toyo and historical art in Japan (1420-1506)

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Sesshu Toyo during his lifetime was highly revered in Japan and China because of his artistic talent related to the visual arts. He was educated with the intent of being a Rinzai Zen Buddhist priest and the importance of interaction between China and Japan was the norm in this period for the elites within society.

Chinese Song Dynasty landscape art was very important to Sesshu Toyo unlike Ming Dynasty art which didn’t have the same creativity according to him.  However, other aspects of the Ming Dynasty appealed to Sesshu Toyo and this notably applies to temples built in this period.

His art work titled “Sansui Chokan” (Long Landscape Scroll) highlights the richness of Sesshu Toyo. However, with the psyche of culture being very different from Western norms whereby individual artists desire to highlight themselves, this logic did not enter the mindset of many Japanese artists because of cultural differences in this period.

Therefore, many art pieces may state Sesshu Toyo by bearing his signature or seal but many of these paintings were done by his pupils or were copies of his work. This complicates things for art lovers who are lay people but the discerning eye of experts have distinguished his artwork based on several factors.

Xia Gui and other Chinese artists influenced Sesshu Toyo but he had a distinctive style despite this. This applies to a more pronounced variance related to light and shadow and his lines were heavier. Other areas were notably different and this applies to the depiction of space and dimensional attributes.

My personal favorite piece is the “Huike Offering His Arm to Bodhidharma” because you have a clear spiritual dimension. This stunning artwork was done in 1496 and is based on the first patriarch of Zen Buddhism, Bodhidharma, and below him is Huike who became the second patriarch.

Despite Huike cutting off his arm after being rejected many times by Bodhidharma you don’t feel any warmth or reverence. Instead a battle of minds is at play and the aloofness provides a mystical aspect because while Bodhidharma is depicted with a different aura and power, this does not deter or infringe on the thinking of Huike. Therefore, does the real power belong to Bodhidharma or Huike?

Many interpretations can be given but in the painting it appears that Huike desires knowledge and he will do anything to obtain this. However, does he desire the knowledge in order to reach another dimension? 

If Huike revered Bodhidharma then why doesn’t he offer the arm with respect or at least seek eye contact and to express his piety by kneeling?  It seems that the arm which was offered and the knowledge that Huike desires from Bodhidharma, is a means to an end and that he seeks to reach deeper into the spiritual world but seeks to surpass his master.

Of course, you will have many different interpretations and different cultural and religious thinking alongside individualism and other areas. However, the painting does not show “love,” “piety” or “trust” but instead it shows realism and coldness.

Could it be that the depiction is a duplicate and in truth the meaning is far from what it is perceived to be?  In other words, Bodhidharma is Zen Buddhism and Huike is Sesshu Toyo and the arm depicts his love of art.

This may appear far-fetched to many individuals but this artwork was done near the end of his life. Also, it is reported that he was punished for loving art more than studying Zen Buddhism when he was much younger. Therefore, while Zen Buddhism was a powerful reality within his mindset the pull of art was also deeply embedded within his soul and psyche.

Irrespective of personal views about this remarkable piece of art it is clear that Sesshu Toyo enriched this world.

 

http://www.japanese-arts.net/painting/zen_sesshu.htm 

http://www.dharmanet.org/Zenart.htm

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

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Posted by on October 5, 2011 in Japan

 

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Supreme Court in Japan: Karoshi verdict after tragic work related suicide

Supreme Court in Japan: Karoshi verdict after tragic work related suicide

Olivier LeCourt and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Yuji Uendan tragically committed suicide after bouts of depression related to overwork and poor environmental conditions. Despite only being 23 years old he couldn’t take anymore and saw no way out. Therefore, depression, extreme tiredness, and poor working conditions tilted him over the edge.

This tragic incident happened in 1999 and after many years of wrangling the Tokyo High Court in 2009 ruled against Nikon Corp. and a Nagoya based temporary employment agency.  However, the verdict was contested and sent to the Supreme Court.

Nikon Corp. and the temporary employment agency disputed the verdict in 2009 because of several factors.  Therefore, the case continued to drag on but finally the Supreme Court has dismissed their objections and told both companies to pay 70 million yen to the mother of Yuji Uendan.

Misako Hida in her article called The Land of Karoshi comments that “The late Mr. Uendan had worked for nearly 16 months as an inspector of semiconductor producing equipment in the subdued yellowish light of a clean-room at a Nikon factory in Kumagaya, dressed from head to toe in a white dust-free garment. The young man was employed by the manufacturing contractor Nextar (currently known as Atest) and was temping at his employer’s client, Nikon, a major Japanese camera and optical equipment maker.”

“Uendan worked 11-hour rotating day and night shifts with overtime and extra business trips that brought his work hours to as long as 250 hours a month at times. In his final stretch of work at the factory, he had worked 15 straight days without a day off. He was suffering from stomachaches, insomnia, numbness of extremities. His weight had dropped 13 kilograms.”

On the fatal day when Yuji Uendan took his life he had wrote“The time I spent has been wasted” on a board. He committed suicide in his apartment in Kumagaya City, Saitama, after continuously working for 15 days. All warning signs were ignored including the loss of 13 kilograms, insomnia and issues related to depression.

“Karoshi” (death from overwork) is a serious problem in Japan because working long hours and having few holidays is putting too much pressure on many workers. Laws that have been passed are vague and open to manipulation and bullying and poor working conditions are other areas of problems in Japan.

The sad reality is that for the past decade more than 30,000 people commit suicide every year in Japan and this figure is much higher than the tragic tsunami which killed around 20,000 people.  Therefore, over 300,000 Japanese nationals have killed themselves in the last decade and while the factors will be complex and vary, it is clear that overwork is claiming the lives of many Japanese people.

Of course many Japanese companies protect workers but it is abundantly clear that many don’t. Also, many foreign companies which have tight regulations in Europe and North America about working long hours don’t apply the same standards in Japan. Therefore, Japanese companies and international companies are both exploiting the goodwill of Japanese workers.

Some individuals like Hiroshi Kawahito, Secretary General of the National Defence Council for Victims of Karoshi, believes that around 5,000 people a year commit suicide because of overwork. However, the real figure from karoshi related suicides each year is difficult to verify but the figure will indeed be high like Hiroshi Kawahito states.

In the article by Misako Hida it is stated that “Too much overtime, which virtually precludes worker use of paid vacations, is a serious issue,” says a lawyer, Kosuke Hori, who is previous Director General of the Labour Lawyers Association of Japan. Japan has not ratified any ILO worktime-related conventions, including Convention 132 concerning Holidays with Pay and Convention 1 concerning Hours of Work.”

“The domestic Labor Standards Law does not cap the amount of overtime under certain conditions. “When it comes to working hours,” Mr. Morioka writes in his book. “In Japan, nothing in the way of international labor standards exists.”

Therefore, the decision by the Supreme Court is very important and issues related to karoshi needs to be challenged because how many more victims will this claim before something is finally done?

The verdict is a stepping stone in the right direction but much more needs to be done in order to protect workers in Japan.

http://www.cpi-media.co.jp/kawahito/index_e.htm

http://ilsforjournalists.itcilo.org/en/home/press-room/the-land-of-karoshi

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Apostate to Christianity beheaded in Somalia and Saudi hatred in the UK

Apostate to Christianity beheaded in Somalia and Saudi hatred in the UK

Joachim de Villiers and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

In nations like Somalia and Saudi Arabia apostates from Islam face the death penalty and in Pakistan the death penalty even applies to blasphemy.  If you want to understand how Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Zoroastrianism faired in Islamic history then no point to reach for your history books because systematic persecution is ongoing.

The dhimmitude system and Islamic Sharia law is institutional apartheid with the death penalty added in order to maintain constant fear at all times.  Therefore, every single Muslim in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia is denied free will and in Pakistan minority Muslim groups like the Ahmadiyya face enormous persecution.

At the same time Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, and all other non-Muslim faiths and minority Muslim faiths, face an Islamic inquisition when nations are governed in full compliance with Islamic Sharia law. Therefore, Shia Islam is illegal in Sunni Muslim Malaysia and Ahmadiyya Muslims are persecuted in Pakistan and recently the same persecution is happening against this community in Indonesia.

Shia News reported that “Although other approved religions, including Christian denominations, Hinduism and Buddhism are allowed in Malaysia, the government considers Shi’ite Islam a deviant sect of Islam. Saravanamuttu says the Department of Islamic Development in Malaysia has cracked down on Shi’ite and other non-Sunni Islamic sects in the past and is empowered by law to do so.”

If this doesn’t alarm you then remember that Saudi Arabia is funding countless institutions which are spreading this dangerous ideology. Even in the United Kingdom you had Saudi Arabian curriculum school books spreading hatred towards Jews and homosexuals.

In the New York Times in an article called Lessons of Hate at Islamic Schools in Britain (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/23/world/europe/23britain.html ) by John F. Burns he comments that A British network of more than 40 part-time Islamic schools and clubs with 5,000 students has been teaching from a Saudi Arabian government curriculum that contains anti-Semitic and homophobic views, including a textbook that asks children to list the “reprehensible” qualities of Jews, according to a BBC documentary.”

“The 30-minute “Panorama” program quoted the Saudi government-supplied textbook as saying that Jews “looked like monkeys and pigs” and further down the article it states that “One of the textbooks, according to the BBC program, prescribed execution as the penalty for gay sex, and outlined differing viewpoints as to whether death should be by stoning, immolation by fire or throwing offenders off a cliff. Another set out the punishments prescribed by Shariah law for theft, including amputation of hands and feet. A BBC video accompanying an article on the program’s Web site showed a textbook illustration of a hand and a foot marked to show where amputations should be made.”

Therefore, if this branch of Islamic ideology is being allowed to spread in the mainly non-Muslim world it goes without saying that the situation is even more severe where the “heart of darkness” prevails over society. This “heart of darkness” applies to nations which support killing apostates, for example Saudi Arabia, and other Western allies like Afghanistan – yes, with allies like this it makes you wonder what politicians are doing in the West.

In Saudi Arabia and Somalia all apostates face the death penalty and Islamists in Somalia, many who once resided in America and the United Kingdom, have joined the Al-Shabaab in order to kill all Christian apostates and to turn this nation into year zero.

In early September, 2011, Juma Nuradin Kamil was beheaded by Islamists on the grounds that he abandoned Islam and converted to Christianity.  He was decapitated while Islamists will have been in religious ecstasy while killing this innocent Christian in such a brutal and barbaric way.

Juma Nuradin Kamil was murdered for merely leaving the Islamic faith. Therefore, if you wonder why you have no Buddhists left in Afghanistan, then this modern day reality in Somalia will enlighten you more than reading naïve books which often gloss over the truth. 

Sadly, religious freedom isn’t a universal human right and in Saudi Arabia not one Ahmadiyya, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Sikh,  and Zoroastrian place of worship is allowed. Indeed, Iran is more moderate than Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, the Maldives, and Yemen, because the indigenous Christian church is allowed despite certain constraints when it applies to proselytism.

If international pressure isn’t put on Saudi Arabia and other nations which support killing apostates, then nothing will change and state sanctioned ideology will continue to kill people on the grounds of being anti-free will.

Juma Nuradin Kamil was “a beacon of light” for all Somalians who support democracy, liberty, free will and religious freedom.  At the same time, democratic nations need to be vigilant at home because in countries like the United Kingdom this sponsored evil is entering the education system and indoctrinating children because of loopholes in the private educational sector.

However, while Juma Nuradin Kamil was “a beacon of light” the light will one day be fully crushed and darkened if nations, organizations, and other avenues, don’t fight back against religious intolerance and indoctrination.

Many moderate voices in the Muslim world have also been crushed and in Pakistan several prominent Muslims have been killed for defending Christians and other non-Muslims.

Free will is an indelible right for all people irrespective of religion or no religion. Therefore, turning a blind eye or going down the moral relativism path doesn’t wash because innocent individuals like Juma Nuradin Kamil are paying the ultimate price.

Killing people on the grounds of free will is still a reality in the modern world and this authoritarianism needs to be stopped and challenged.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dmeK-Z3Uls – Video about Saudi funded hatred by the BBC

http://somalisforjesus.blogspot.com/  Highlights the persecution of Christians in Somalia

http://www.christianpost.com/news/somali-convert-to-christianity-kidnapped-beheaded-55475/

http://babulilmlibrary.com/news/shia-islam-is-banned-in-malaysia-crackdown-on-shia-muslims 

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Fukushima and sound early advice by Sir John Beddington helped many

Fukushima and sound early advice by Sir John Beddington helped many

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

March 11 in Tokyo was a very eventful day because the powerful 9.0-magnitude earthquake violently shook the capital of Japan many times. Having resided in Tokyo for many years then earthquakes are nothing new and usually you just go with the flow and soon it is over.  However, this day was very different because the force was enormous and it felt like the ground was going to open up.

The first few hours witnessed aftershock after aftershock and it seemed like it wasn’t going to end.  In Yurakcho and Ginza, where I was aimlessly wandering around, the high octane nature of fashion suddenly felt unimportant and the notion of reality was like an illusion.

After several hours of uncertainty people in Tokyo were still unaware about what was happening in distant Miyagi, Iwate, and Fukushima.  The news on television was mentioning that a tsunami had followed the original earthquake but information was patchy. Therefore, during this period most people in Tokyo believed that tens of people or a few hundred people may have died but nobody could have imagined the real devastation.

Not only this, but Fukushima was not even on the radar in Tokyo during the early period and most people, me included, just watched the breaking news on wide television screens in buildings where they are available.  The train system was in shut-down mode and the aftershocks were many, therefore, it was all about biding your time and trying to contact friends if possible or somehow finding your way home.

The next few days felt extremely strange in Kanagawa, Tokyo and Saitama, where I am based.  Also, more details were emerging about Fukushima and the Daiichi nuclear plant and this story was picked on by the global media.

At the same time it was becoming more apparent that thousands of people had perished and by the end of a week or so then clearly this figure was rising to the tens of thousands. Images of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima were being shown daily and the footage was horrendous. This applies to images of the tsunami sweeping away villages and towns and the ongoing nuclear crisis in Fukushima.

Many international news agencies were painting a picture that was genuine with regards to the tsunami but completely over the top when it came to Fukushima.  This created a panic and many embassies closed and vast numbers of foreign nationals began to leave.

Of course, at no point was I going to leave because Tokyo is my home and for better or worse it is my shared city along with my beloved Manchester.  However, just like in all events you had a voice of reason amidst the scaremongers and this voice of reason belonged to Sir John Beddington.

In my earlier article called British scientific adviser: nothing to fear outside of Fukushima exclusion zone which I wrote on March 17 in Tokyo, I highlight this man of wisdom and deep knowledge.  I commented that “The British Embassy in Tokyo on March 15th invited the Government’s Chief Scientific Professor, Sir John Beddington, to answer deep and difficult questions related to the Fukushima nuclear power plant.  Sir John Beddington replied and gave detailed information about the most likely outcome and his opinion about events which have been reported in the press.”

Sir John Beddington stated “…what I would really re-emphasise is that this is very problematic for the area and the immediate vicinity and one has to have concerns for the people working there. Beyond the 20 or 30 kilometres, it’s really not an issue for health.”

Therefore, after reading the full transcript of what Sir John Beddington stated I felt re-assured and completely vindicated about telling people to stay in Tokyo. This applies to a few individuals I know who hit the panic button.

Turning back to my article I stated that “at all times, it appears that the British point of view is that Tokyo is very safe and the same applies to all areas outside of the exclusion zone of the Fukushima nuclear plant but 30km was mentioned to be extremely safe, therefore, the exclusion zone may be added if developments become severe and meltdown actually happens.”

Sir John Beddington was a tower of strength in the following days and weeks after March 11. Of course some of his views may have changed given the release of further information but the fundamentals will remain the same.

On the other side you had scaremongers and one writer for the BBC was clearly out of order.  Therefore, in another article I commented that “According to Rupert Wingfield-Hayes you would believe that all Tokyoites are panicking and are in a flux because of events since the devastating earthquake.  He states in his article called “The eerie quiet of Tokyo hides Japan’s shock and anxiety,” which was published by the BBC, that “The threat to Tokyo’s 30 million people is invisible.  Everyone is now asking themselves the same question.  When does the crisis unfolding at the Fukushima nuclear plant 150 miles (240km) to the north cross that invisible line when you decide the risk of staying here is too high?”

Sadly you had many Rupert Wingfield-Hayes who were adding fuel to the fire but luckily words of wisdom were being stated by people of deep knowledge like Sir John Beddington.

Therefore, relatives and friends in many lands were hanging on his words and if only the media heeded his sound advice.  However, you have many agendas and this applies to environmentalists, anti-nuclear lobby, and many other factors.

Yet for people like myself, I followed the advice of Sir John Beddington and after reading his pearls of wisdom I just knuckled down and got on with life.  After all, Tokyoites were very lucky to escape the ravages of the earthquake, tsunami and radiation from Fukushima.

The British Embassy in Tokyo  http://ukinjapan.fco.gov.uk/en/

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/03/17/british-scientific-adviser-nothing-to-fear-outside-of-fukushima-exclusion-zone/

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/03/21/the-reality-and-unreality-of-tokyo-amidst-the-hype-of-the-media/

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
 
 

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Kan Mi Youn: another buzzing track from the angel of K-pop

 

Kan Mi Youn: another buzzing track from the angel of K-pop

Michel Lebon and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Tokyoites and people who reside in Japan have another powerful K-pop track to listen to because the latest tune by Kan Mi Youn is a fabulous track. Therefore, the growing trend of high quality sounds from “Korean cool” is being maintained by this exquisite lady from South Korea.

Kan Mi Youn once more hit the heights because “the angel of K-pop” certainly pleased her fans and with this lovely track more will be following. “Won’t Meet You” was energetic, fantastic beat, exquisite dancing movements from this stunning lady and of course a voice which graces the ear. 

Simply put, “Won’t Meet You” was A-one and even for house/trance vultures like me, I can feel my heart melt to yet another amazing track from “the angel of K-pop.” Kan Mi Youn is having an amazing 2011 and I thought “Paparazzi” would have been hard to beat but “Won’t Meet You” hits every chord and so much more.

The preview of “Won’t Meet You” looked promising but the real McCoy was even better than imagined. Not only is the track the real McCoy but Kan Mi Youn is the “triple McCoy” and clearly this special lady graces international music.

In Tokyo and throughout Japan the K-pop scene is growing and while you have many fantastic groups and soloists within K-pop, I firmly believe that Kan Mi Youn stands out because of her verve.  Her voice appeals to the ear and Kan Mi Youn plays to her strengths and this applies to style, panache, and stunning looks irrespective of hair color – but the brief blonde look in the video certainly increased an already high temperature.

Therefore, with the music market in Japan being huge it will be interesting to see how this track does in major cities like Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Kobe and throughout Japan.

Fashion wise, perfect because “if you have it then you don’t need to flaunt it” and clearly the sex appeal of Kan Mi Youn is an added bonus. Throughout the video of “Won’t Meet You” she looked snazzy and so adorable and the movement to the track worked perfectly.

In the track Kan Mi Youn sings:

My mind is in and out in and out
My mind is in and out in and out
Mind is in in Mind is out out
My mind is in and out in and out

You love me, you love me
You whisper in my ear every day
But today you’re with this girl, tomorrow, with that girl
You met them behind my back and got caught

If you keep saying that it’s not (do you think I’ll forgive you)
If you say you only love me (do you think it’ll be okay)
What about the other girls?
If they are just friends, do you kiss your friends?

I won’t meet you, won’t meet you, won’t meet you
Why would I meet you, I won’t meet you
I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know
But I meet you again, why am I meeting you again
I won’t meet you, I will never meet you, for real
I don’t know, I can’t help it, I meet you again

* repeat

Don’t meet other girls (promise with me)
Please just love me alone (pinky swear)
I know I can’t trust you but
Like a fool, I fall for you again

repeat (x2)

The track is certainly a hit when it comes to a catchy beat, sweet voice, lovely dancing moves, exquisite singer, style, amazing fashion sense which matched the tune, and a high octane track which hits the heights immediately.

If you are new to K-pop then Kan Mi Youn is the lady to follow because the “angel of K-pop” doesn’t disappoint one iota.  On the contrary, this stunning music artist makes you want to search and check other K-pop soloists and other groups.

However, no matter how much you search you only have one soloist who is the real McCoy, and this applies to Kan Mi Youn, who is adorable and elegant beyond words.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kz1zjpWOB2c Kan Mi Youn and “Won’t Meet You”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzlQ1KtWsFA&feature=related  Kan Mi Youn and “Paparazzi”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_1KfUDB1zU   Kan Mi Youn and “Going Crazy”

http://girlspic.blogbus.com/logs/14277489.html Beautiful photos of Kan Mi Youn

http://www.thecnstar.com/    Magazine for latest K-pop/culture/entertainment

http://www.kanzume.jp/  

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2011 in ASIA

 

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K-pop and “Korean Cool”: tunes hitting Seoul, Tokyo, and further afield

K-pop and “Korean Cool”: tunes hitting Seoul, Tokyo, and further afield

Michel Lebon and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Korean pop (K-pop) is whirling its way throughout Asia and beyond because of great singers, fantastic imagery, passion, an abundance of talent, and sheer quality.  Of course you will have great artists in all nations but currently it is the K-pop scene which is dynamic, forward thinking, and expressing “Korean cool.”

This article was written just before the beautiful and exquisite Kan Mi Youn releases her latest record called “Won’t Meet You” on September 29. Therefore, comments will be made once her latest tune is released but the teaser points to yet another powerful song like “Paparazzi” but with a completely different format.

Recent tunes that have made a big splash in South Korea in the last few months or have just been released include “Syndrome” by Chocolat, “So Cool” by Sistar, “Top Girl” by G.na, “I Remember” by Bang Yong Guk and “Step” by Kara.  Other tunes have also hit the streets of South Korea, Japan and much further afield.  However, these tracks stand out from an international point of view because of energy, connection and vibrancy.

“I Remember” by Bang Yong Guk was an instant success and the style, lyrics and video all came together.  The ending of the video is a little over dramatic but the scene of the body on the ground while holding a lady was a good touch.  If other tracks by Bang Yong Guk have the same energy and creativity then surely his career will bloom.

The track “I Remember” by Bang Yong Guk would certainly appeal internationally because despite the dramatic scenes of the video the singer gives you “a raw street image.”

“Syndrome” by Chocolat impacted on the charts and was full of energy and will appeal to the market it is aimed at. Not the raw energy of Bang Yong Guk but clearly a different style of music and shouldn’t really compare. 

Clearly Chocolat have a bright future and “Syndrome” is a track which would do well in Japan. It will be interesting to see how these beautiful and talented ladies progress over the next twelve months because they have so much to offer and I can’t wait for their next track.

“Top Girl” by G.na was turned into a lovely track by this very elegant lady who sings with a lovely melodic voice.  Energy is one thing that all these tracks have and clearly K-pop is doing this to a T.

The track “Top Girl” itself was average with regards to the lyrics but G.na made it special because of her individualistic style and vibrant nature.  G.na is certainly adding to the K-pop buzz and long may she continue to bless the world with her talents.

“So Cool” by Sistar was a catchy tune but the video was a mismatch of energy, uncertainty of where it should go and then back to girl power.  Music wise, a track which will appeal because of the raw energy of the group and the sex appeal adds to the dimension because they are all stunning ladies.

I get the feeling that Sistar are about to reach new heights because they certainly have something special about them.  The track “So Cool” seemed to contain them in the video after reaching a high. Therefore, listening is where the power of the track belongs and these ladies provide such a positive image and work together elegantly.

“Step” by Kara had a great beat, lively lyrics despite simplicity, movement, vibrancy, and a strong connection with the listener who likes this style of music.  All ladies ooze power, energy, freedom and you can feel their passion when you watch the video or you can hear their love of music when you listen to the track.

Kara is a group which is widely respected in Japan and they project such a positive image of K-pop.

Overall, in the last few months you have had many fantastic tunes coming out of the K-pop scene and clearly not all the great tracks have been mentioned.  However, K-pop is rising and with so many groups and solo artists around then the future looks fantastic for “Korean cool.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5wO8ejwVRI “Top Girl” by G.na

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYoYoBtLqOY&ob=av2n “Step” by Kara

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ucP3UhrhF8  Chocolat – Syndrome

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHrx5dWxcJ4  Bang Yong Guk – I Remember

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pj3q0ZChgFE  Sistar – So Cool

http://www.thecnstar.com/    Magazine for latest K-pop/culture/entertainment

http://www.kanzume.jp/

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/09/04/korean-pop-music-continues-to-hit-the-heights-in-japan/   – Article highlighting K-pop by Modern Tokyo Times

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/09/22/kanstyle-magazine-to-open-up-south-korean-fashion-k-pop-culture-in-japan/ – Highlighting Kanstyle Magazine

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/09/27/kan-mi-youn-and-k-pop-new-powerful-song-to-be-released-on-sep-29/ – Kan Mi Youn

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2011 in ASIA, Japan

 

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Kan Mi Youn and K-pop: new powerful song to be released on Sep 29

Kan Mi Youn and K-pop: new powerful song to be released on Sep 29

Michel Lebon and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The beautiful and elegant Kan Mi Youn who is blessed with a lovely voice will release her new song on September 29.  A short preview of “Won’t Meet You” looks full of energy and vibrancy and the lady from South Korea will hopefully visit Japan in the near future. 

Kan Mi Youn is extremely talented and her song “Paparazzi” was a classic.  Full of energy from start to finish and with a catchy tune which hits you straight away.  If “Won’t Meet You” is anything like “Paparazzi” then it will be another fantastic tune.

However, knowing Kan Mi Youn it may even surpass “Paparazzi” because this music artist is very special. Also, with the growing appeal of K-pop in Japan then it will be interesting to see how “Won’t Meet You” fairs in the land of the rising sun.

The 30-second release certainly teases because the exquisite Kan Mi Youn plays three roles in the video.  Her characters apply to a stunningly sexy star and no acting was needed for this part and the other two images are a flash doctor and a quaint and estranged patient who still looks adorable. 

Her fans are counting the days before “Won’t Meet You” is released.  Appropriately her single “Going Crazy” is apt because many people are going crazy while waiting for her latest tune. 

“Going Crazy” was another lovely hit from Kan Mi Youn and for international lovers of music then this is one lady who appeals globally.  Kan Mi Youn is graceful, stunning, and bubbly.

Also, tracks like “Paparazzi,” and “Going Crazy” are buzzing with energy and backed-up by her lovely voice and stylish moves.  The videos express a lady who is in control and highlight a real gem.  Therefore, I know that “Won’t Meet You” will be another success because like the most delicious wine this young lady matures musically with each new song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzlQ1KtWsFA&feature=related  Kan Mi Youn and “Paparazzi”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_1KfUDB1zU   Kan Mi Youn and “Going Crazy”

http://girlspic.blogbus.com/logs/14277489.html Beautiful photos of Kan Mi Youn

http://www.allkpop.com

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Posted by on September 27, 2011 in ASIA

 

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Paul Gauguin a master of art but damned by critics

Paul Gauguin a master of art but damned by critics

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Paul Gauguin lived a life which many individuals can’t understand and whatever he became it happened because of the world that he witnessed. Like many individuals thrown on the scrap heap of life he desired redemption if only a real break would occur. However, with the clock ticking and family pressure he could no longer dream or clutch at straws because poverty became his reality.

Gauguin stated that “I glimpse poetry “and his strong imagination and creative spirit could turn the mundane into “a spark of high intensity.”  It is clear that he had high intellect and his art form is full of richness and shows the diversity of his life.

Prior to taking up art Gauguin showed no real tendencies of individuality and providing for his family would be a constant worry for him. However, Gauguin was blessed with sublime gifts but he could not “create like our divine Master” because the ravages of life and reality shackled him and pointed a dagger at his heart. 

He knew that family obligations were important but with each new winter it was clear that he had to make a stark choice.  This must have put a terrible burden on Gauguin because he knew his gifts were indeed great but he was trapped like a bird in a cage. 

Finally he broke free from a life of normality and Gauguin desired to generate wealth in order to support his family and to bless the world with exquisite art.  Gauguin stated “without art there is no salvation” and clearly his inner soul saw a political picture which remained aloof from the majority of people.

However, the struggle for survival tore at his heart and the more fellow artists appreciated his talents and the closer he got to the “promise land,” the greater the rejection when poverty was all that remained. Also, Gauguin’s favorite daughter Aline died of pneumonia and Clovis, his son, died from a blood infection.  Therefore, his world was full of darkness and where was the justice that failed to reward such a talented individual?

Instead of “without art there is no salvation” it now felt that with or without art there is no salvation.  The death of Aline, a daughter he cherished and who provided a ray of sunshine, must have hit home at all the futility of this life.

Adrian Searle (The Guardian) in his article called Paul Gauguin: guilty as charged comments that Gauguin never gives us the whole story, probably because there isn’t one. He harks back to a culture that was already destroyed by missionaries and disease long before he arrived on Tahiti. He moves Mary and Joseph’s flight into Egypt to a Polynesian island, and the Calvary and crucifixion to Celtic Brittany. They are the possibilities of stories, rather than illustrations, allegories or history paintings. Their content is as mysterious as their color. He is almost a magic realist before the fact.

Further down in the article Adrian Searle continues by stating that “As Belinda Thomson makes clear in her excellent Tate catalogue essay, in looking at his work, what we have to overcome, first of all, is the embarrassment of Gauguin’s life and personality. Self-promotion and self-invention are inextricable from the art itself. Thomson shows us an artist, both outsider and careerist, who is a little bit dodgy in a way that anyone acquainted with today’s art world would recognize.”

However, you need to overcome nothing because Gauguin often lived in poverty and two of his children died very young.  Added to this was a genius who had so much to give but the cards never fell for him. Therefore, he must have felt abandoned in a cold world which did not cherish beauty but instead cherished materialism, corruption, and social stratification.

Tahiti wasn’t an illusion because all illusions had died in Europe and whatever Gauguin became, he only became this after every deck of cards had gone against him.  After all, Gauguin didn’t abandon his children but instead he tried to do the right thing by his family.

The Christian imagery in some of his work alludes to a mythical world where justice and the Garden of Eden can be reached. Tahiti with its past spirit of purity was being swallowed up and the same purity of Gauguin was equally being swallowed up.

The flesh that Gauguin is reviled for in some quarters may belong to the beholder because Gauguin had stated “I am inclined to a primitive state” and that Tahiti was a place “where material life can be lived without money.”

In life the Garden of Eden couldn’t be found in Europe and clearly Gauguin didn’t fear death. Therefore, “the primitive state” that he refers to was the primitive nature of this world because despite all the colonial presumptions of supremacy the truth was much simpler.

If Gauguin succumbed to “the apple” then he did so because of the reality of an unforgiving world which was based on injustice and trapping so many into the wretchedness of poverty and debt during his lifetime.

However, if he succumbed to “the apple” based on love after fleeing so much hardship and escaping convention, then who are we to judge given the reality of the world that Gauguin belonged – if Gauguin had impure intentions then he would have left his family well behind before this and he would have desired the flesh much earlier.

Instead, Tahiti was the last piece of the jigsaw in Gauguin’s life but it was but one piece belonging to a truly great artist. Therefore, when all the pieces are counted his artistic legacy is indeed great because he was a genius and for most of his artistic life he struggled against massive adversity.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2010/sep/27/paul-gauguin-tate-modern-exhibition   PLEASE WATCH THIS VIDEO

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/08/14/gauguin-in-print-japanese-influence/

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
 

 
 
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Posted by on September 19, 2011 in EUROPE

 

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Veronica Jullian (PuchysLOVE) is a Stunning Cosplay lady from Mexico

Veronica Jullian (PuchysLOVE) is a Stunning Cosplay lady from Mexico

Michel Le Bon and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Veronica Jullian (PuchysLOVE) is a stunning cosplayer from Mexico and her astonishing looks means that this talented lady can play various classy characters with ultimate ease.  Not only this, but Veronica clearly loves Japanese cosplay and international cosplay and this can be seen by her diverse and exquisite images.

Veronica is from Mexico City and this elegant young lady will turn 26 years old on September 19.  However, despite her young age it is apparent that cosplay runs through her veins because Veronica first started doing cosplay eleven years ago.

This charming lady is extremely busy and she is also a cosmaker and does cosplay commission when time permits.  Veronica prefers to wear cosplay in a natural environment rather than enter contests.  This is a blessing in disguise for cosplayers who enter contests because Veronica with her elegance and style would certainly be challenging for number one spot.

Veronica is extremely articulate and her Alice in Wonderland image shows her stunning beauty and this is matched by a beautiful pose which melts the heart.

Mexican magazines have highlighted Veronica and this enabled many people to see a glimpse of her world and clearly her lovely features hit a chord. Veronica who is also a cosmaker is a perfect example of cosplay and how this art form is gracing the world.

Victoria Centeno (Cosplay Girl) was recently highlighted on Modern Tokyo Times and both Victoria and Veronica are a cut above.  This applies to elegance, style, panache and both ladies ooze sophistication and open-up a world where cosplay, modeling, art and class come together.

Veronica is also invited to important cosplay conventions and for more than 5 years this graceful and stunning lady travelled all over Mexico and participated as a guest and luckily for the cosplay world she will continue to bless conventions in the future.

Cosplay appeals to Veronica because she can play and enter the world of her favourite characters. Also, Veronica loves cosplay because it increases self-confidence and natural skills like sewing, crafts, and learning about other cultures, is part of the cosplay world.

Veronica also gets great satisfaction when people recognize her cosplay and appreciate all the hard work put into the costume, make up, visual image, intricate designs and entering the world of the character on show.  This, to Veronica, is much more rewarding than trying to win competitions.

This fact, and the emphasis by Veronica on meeting new friends with similar interests, and being a cosmaker, is ample evidence that this lady is a true cosplayer.

Veronica hopes one day to visit Japan in order to experience the “culture, history, traditions, architecture, beliefs, and legends.” Also, with Veronica’s stunning looks and images which focus on “cuteness” then kawaii culture and fashion in Harajuku would surely interest this elegant lady.

Modelling and photography also appeals to Veronica and clearly both suit this talented lady.  Veronica also describes her style as “cute” because nearly all of her cosplay is based on characters which are cute.

The readership of Modern Tokyo Times will certainly support Veronica when she says her style is “cute” but add a little more by stating “amazingly cute and elegant.”

Hopefully one day this charming lady will grace Tokyo and Japan because “cosplay is in her heart” and her love of knowledge means that Veronica is a special lady.

 

http://puchyslove.blogspot.com/ – Please visit Veronica Jullian (PuchysLOVE)

http://puchys.deviantart.com/ Veronica Jullian (PuchysLOVE)

https://www.facebook.com/PuchysLOVECosplay Veronica Jullian (PuchysLOVE)

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
 
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Posted by on September 17, 2011 in Japan

 

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Rugby Union 2011 World Cup: New Zealand too strong for Japan

Rugby Union 2011 World Cup: New Zealand too strong for Japan

Jay Doggett and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

New Zealand 83 Japan 7

New Zealand outplayed Japan and the writing was on the wall within four minutes when New Zealand scored an early try and converted to take a 7-0 lead.  Smith scored for New Zealand and he no pressure on him because the Japanese defence was non-existent.

The next ten minutes saw very little apart from New Zealand missing a penalty. However, New Zealand once more broke free and Kahui like Smith found it all too easy but the conversion was missed and within minutes another try was scored by New Zealand.

Luckily, Slade once more missed the conversion despite the kick being relatively easy and clearly he needs to get his game together. After all, in a close match, then Slade can’t afford to be the weak link. Therefore, with Japan being 17-0 down after less than 25 minutes it was abundantly clear that the underdogs needed to focus otherwise the game would run up a cricket score.

However, no change and Japan really looked like minnows and lost against “the real big boys of rugby union.”  This was further witnessed when another try was scored by New Zealand and with the conversion also converted then Japan were trailing 24-0 after 30 minutes.  Yet there would be no respite and Ellis scored the fifth try a few minutes later and with the score being 31-0 then Japan just wanted half time to come in order to refocus.

Slade, who may have had early problems with kicking, had no problem with scoring the sixth try after Ellis made a nice pass to him. To make matters worse New Zealand were now scoring easily under the post and this meant that the conversion was easy.  Therefore, New Zealand was matching the minute scoreboard and the lead now stretched to 38-0 shortly before half-time.

Straight away after the second-half began New Zealand ran at Japan and some sloppy play by Japan followed by a shockingly low pass and a handling error.  New Zealand made early changes and this made sense because the game was already in the bag. 

Within minutes of the change New Zealand scored again with Kahui scoring. Ominously, Slade now had his kicking boots back on and the cricket score was beginning to materialize with the score being 45-0.

Williams then scored under the post and the lead was now 52-0 with New Zealand scoring roughly one point per minute at this point.  The game was no longer because now it was a training game for the All Blacks.

More alarming for Japan, this was the first game where one team had scored more than 50 points and other minnows up until now had played respectably.  All the positives from the game against France were being blown away and another score made it 59-0.

However, the crowd erupted when Japan broke free from a mistake by New Zealand and scored for the first time in the game.  59-7 may not look good, and clearly it isn’t, but the crowd appreciated the score by Japan.

Sadly, the respite did not last long because Hore and Nonu both scored quick tries for New Zealand.  Luckily Slade couldn’t convert either and the score was kept down to 69-7. 

More changes were made by New Zealand and clearly the coach was focused on future games and creating a strong tight unit.  However, all New Zealand players are strong and it made no difference to the game.  Therefore, relentless All Black pressure continued and their shape looked perfect despite all the changes.

Thomson scored try number 12 for the All Blacks after a few minutes of quiet play and with the score reaching 76-7 then the cricket score had materialized. Within minutes another try was scored and the game would finish 83-7.

Overall, the game was too easy for New Zealand and nothing positive came out of the game for Japan. All the good work against France counted for nothing in this game because the All Blacks were a different kettle of fish.

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2011 in Japan

 

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