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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Japanese culture & Chikanobu: ukiyo-e and East, West or a Japanese identity?

Japanese culture & Chikanobu: ukiyo-e and East, West or a Japanese identity?

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Yoshu Chikanobu (Chikanobu Toyohara) was a Meiji artist who highlighted many aspects of this revolutionary period in Japan. Chikanobu, like other Meiji artists, was often overlooked in the past but today the art world is changing. Therefore, artists who belonged to this period are now being recognized for the talents they had in abundance.

Chikanobu provides images which show the many faces of Japan and just like the modern period in Japan in the twenty-first century, it is obvious that this nation is still caught between many worlds. The old world of Shintoism and Buddhism survives powerfully during major festivals and when important events occur in the lifetime of individuals. Of course, the degree of influence will depend on the importance of these faiths within the family but even if distant, they still exist and temples and shrines dot the landscape throughout Japan.

Therefore, irrespective if individuals have rejected religion or adopted a new faith, for example converted to Christianity, the power of the old world can be felt within the culture of Japan. Chikanobu, therefore, would probably feel the same forces pulling away at the soul of Japan in the modern period. This applies to Western influence and the role of Chinese culture and where Japan truly belongs – if, indeed, Japan belongs to any single camp. 

This is not unique to Japan because nations like the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan also have complex histories. Therefore, do these nations belong to Asia, Europe or Eurasia? Or, like Japan, does much depend on each individual because no clear answer can be given – it would appear so!

Chikanobu, therefore, lived in a period of real revolution in Japan because he was born in 1838 and died in 1912. Therefore, he witnessed the ending of Edo and the start of the Meiji period in 1868. This period in Japanese history laid the foundation stone for much of the upheavals of the 1930s and the remarkable recovery which was in full swing in the 1960s.

In an earlier article about Chikanobu it was stated that “Chikanobu not only witnessed the new revolutionary period and how elites looked to the West – but by the late 1880s and early 1890s nostalgia also returned.  Obviously for the masses they were outside both themes and the only important thing was survival and adapting.”

“Chikanobu’s famous print series called “Chiyoda no Ooku” (Court Ladies of the Chiyoda Palace) and “Shin Bijin” (True Beauties) highlight stunning colors and show the complexity of this period. This applies to images which show Japanese ladies dressed in exquisite traditional clothes like the kimono and Chikanobu also depicts women in Western clothes.” 

Therefore, by focusing on aspects of his artwork then you can feel the power of “ideas” colliding, sometimes working collectively or a fusion is starting to happen. This means that the Meiji period is also the start of a new complex cultural norm in the body politic of Japan. After all, in the past the role of China is clear for all too see when it applies to kanji, Buddhism, Confucianism, architecture, literature, and so forth. Also, Korea must not be overlooked because important interaction took place and it also must be stated that great thinkers from Japan also spread their ideas in China.

Given this, the rise of Western power would create a new dimension in the Meiji period and even today you can still feel the power of this collision. After all, in modern day Japan the influence of all these factors can be felt. Also, while the power of China appeared to be on the wane the same can’t be said in the modern period because China’s economy is now ticking loudly and Korean culture is spreading once more because of K-pop and the film industry.

Of course, these competing forces don’t have to be negative and often all these complex factors have helped to create new ideas and styles. Therefore, the world of Chikanobu was very complex and he highlights aspects of the changing nature of Japan which was based on modernization. However, true to the nature of Japan, the old world still remained potent and this applied to the role of the Tenno (heavenly
sovereign) in this period.

In a sense, Japanese modernization in the Meiji period was based on the foundation of strong cultural norms which would enable conservatism to remain powerful. This means that modernization was based on traditionalism in order to implement rapid changes.

Chikanobu provides a glimpse into this changing world and his art is highly valued because of many factors. Of course, the main single factor is his fabulous artwork but from an historical point of view and analyzing sociology, it is clear that Chikanobu helps in these important fields to a certain degree.

However, the answer of Japan being based firmly in the Western camp or Eastern camp, or being a bridge between both worlds or belonging to just Japanese culture, remains unanswered.  After all, much will depend on how people see the world and clearly you don’t have one answer or one vision which is binding. Therefore, if Chikanobu was alive in modern Japan he could also highlight the many dimensions of this unique nation.

http://www.depauw.edu/news/index.asp?id=20942

http://moderntokyotimes.com

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

  
 
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Posted by on December 31, 2011 in Japan

 

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Pakistan music: Laal and Dehshatgardi Murdabad (Death to Terrorism)

Pakistan music: Laal and Dehshatgardi Murdabad (Death to Terrorism)

Murad Makhmudov and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Laal is a group which hails from Pakistan and they highlight a vibrant reality which is often neglected in many nations. This applies to a culture which is questioning and challenging normal conventions in society which are keeping people shackled. However, the beauty of Laal is that they do this by connecting their message through catchy tunes, a vibrant message and genuine passion.

The track called “Dehshatgardi Murdabad” (Death to Terrorism) is hitting the right chords and this applies to the mixture of the music on offer alongside powerful lyrics and images. Therefore, the video at the bottom of this article is well worth watching because you will be able to connect with the reasons behind their thinking.

Images in the video of men and women supporting the initial revolution in Afghanistan show sexes mingling together and without any concern about how people dress. This is a far cry from modern day Afghanistan once America, the CIA, ISI (Pakistan – Inter Services Intelligence), Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and others, intervened and supported the forces of terrorism, killing apostates, shackling women, and so forth.

Of course, this may seem like an over simplification and not everything was rosy on the other side. However, the “other side” did not desire to enslave women, kill apostates, support terrorism, destabilize nations, and other barbaric methodologies. Therefore, it is clear that one side was more progressive than the other and clearly the side that the West and conservative Sunni Islamic nations supported, was the real threat to humanity in this part of the world.

However, it is also important to get away from the political side because the music of Laal is extremely catchy. This angle is very powerful because great thought patterns may exist but without the power of the musical side then it won’t reach far and wide. Given this, Laal have all the angles covered because their musical style is easy on the ear and you can feel their passion.

It must be remembered that in modern day Pakistan you have many individuals who yearn for the chains to be broken. Also, the beauty of Laal is that they are highlighting the duplicity of past American administrations which supported radical Sunni Islam and international terrorism. Therefore, conservative Sunni Islamic mullahs, terrorists, past American administrations, covert CIA operations supporting Islamism, and others, have all worked to destroy the moderate inner-self of Pakistan. This applies to the spirit of Pakistan which is multi-religious, multi-ethnic, secular, and represents a mosaic of different thinking.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, CIA, and Sunni Islamic terrorism 

Progressives in the younger generation desire a Pakistan whereby Sunni Muslims, Shia Muslims, Christians, Hindus, non-religious people, women, secularists, socialists, and the entire spectrum of society, can pull together and show the common thread of humanity. It may sound idealistic given the current reality of many nations throughout the world. Yet, the lyrics are noble and with such a vibrant energy, then Laal deserve to have their voice heard and to be taken seriously.

The message of Laal doesn’t belong to the streets of any nation because their message belongs to the common thread of humanity. However, with so many “dark forces” and divisions in the world then it is easy to follow the party line.

Irrespective if you are political or apolitical, the track “Death to Terrorism” is extremely powerful and the video highlights many home truths.

 

http://www.tubelyrics.org/listen_y57elLCPFQ4/laal_dehshatgardi_murdabad_death_to_terrorism_

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y57elLCPFQ4&feature=related Laal and “Death to Terrorism”

http://www.laal.com.pk/Home.html  Laal homepage – please visit

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
 
 

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Japanese art and Ogata Korin (1658-1716)

Japanese art and Ogata Korin (1658-1716)

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The art of Ogata Korin remains potent because of clarity and his own unique ways. However, at one point it appeared that the winds of time would threaten his legacy and if this had happened, then Japanese art would have been the loser. Thankfully, Sakai Hoitsu would change this because this individual understood the powerful art of Korin and he restored his reputation and opened up his art to new artists.

Korin had been born into a wealthy household because his father was a thriving merchant. More important, his father had a keen eye for art therefore he nurtured his son and gave him a firm foundation. This proved to be a rich blessing because Korin was blessed with amazing skills and he also had something new to offer the art world.

It is certainly true that Korin admired Hon’ami Koetsu and Tawaraya Sotatsu because both individuals influenced him. Therefore, aspects of this influence can be felt within the “heart” of Korin but this gifted artist also had his own distinctive style.

For example Korin focused on bold designs and he utilized contrasting colors and the power of this can be felt deeply within his artwork. Also, Korin would manipulate space and sometimes he would disregard the conventions of his day. This applies to rejecting pure realism within his art and manipulating nature in order to expose the beauty he saw within his world. Therefore, while Korin respected Koetsu and Sotatsu to the full, he also had his own unique style and clearly this attracted Hoitsu.

In a past article I commented that “in the history of art the “shadow of time” nearly bypassed him after his death because Korin was becoming a forgotten artist or at least on the periphery. Sakai Hoitsu would change this because he brought Korin back “from the cold” and “into the light” once more.”

“Therefore, with Sakai Hoitsu (1761-1828) reviving the interest of Korin he once more became remembered and interest grew because of this factor.  Hoitsu also reproduced some of the best work of Korin and this was a timely reminder to all lovers of art in Japan that Korin played his role when it came to creativity and expressing serenity.”

If you look at the White and Red Plum Blossoms by Korin it is clear that the angle of the viewer and that of the artist is fascinating. At first, it isn’t noticeable to lay people because everything appears normal but the more you look then clearly the angle is intriguing from a Western art point of view.

On the following website (http://www.all-art.org) it is commentated that “Ogata Korin used none of these Western perspective conventions. He showed the two plum trees as seen from a position on the ground, while viewers look down on the stream between them from above. Less concerned with locating the trees and stream in space than with composing shapes on a surface, the painter played the water’s gently swelling curves against the jagged contours of the branches and trunks. Neither the French nor the Japanese painting can be said to project “correctly” what viewers “in fact” see. One painting is not a “better” picture of the world than the other. The European and Asian artists simply approached the problem of picture-making differently.”

It is factual that Korin is not internationally famous unlike a few Japanese artists who are widely known. However, fame and stunning art doesn’t always go hand in hand and of course the art world is extremely broad and some styles have hit the imagination more and received greater international attention.

Despite this, the legacy of Korin is powerful in modern Japan and he is rightly known for being distinctive and enhancing the richness of Japanese art. Also, the more you focus on his art then the more clear it becomes that his unique style appeals today just like it appealed greatly to Hoitsu. Therefore, Korin left a lasting legacy and when you view the more refined artwork of Korin you can visualize high society in the golden periods of Kyoto and Nara.

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

http://www.asianartnewspaper.com/article/rinpa%3A-the-art-of-japan%E2%80%99s-renaissance

http://moderntokyotimes.com

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

 
  
 
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Posted by on December 29, 2011 in Japan

 

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Astral Boutique in California and Vintage Style in trendy Tokyo

Astral Boutique in California and Vintage Style in trendy Tokyo

Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Sasha Soukup is a very creative lady and if you visit Astral Boutique then you can feel her deep passion and artistic nature within the styles on show and the presentation given. Astral Boutique provides lovely vintage style clothes and accessories. Also, the impact of nature and aesthetics is clear for all to see within this fashion company. Therefore, while the Sierra foothills in California may appear to be distant from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, in the world of fashion it is just a step away.

In recent years vintage fashion is impacting on the younger generation in trendy Tokyo and even in the Mecca of youth culture in Shibuya you will find vintage fashion. Also, in the smaller fashion districts like Nakameguro you will find the vintage style flourishing. This would certainly please individuals like Sasha Soukup because her company Astral Boutique caters for individuals who adore this type of fashion.

Sasha Soukup (http://www.etsy.com/shop/astralboutique) comments that “I have taken a winding road to end up at my happy home selling vintage clothing on Etsy. I always knew I was an artist, but for a long time it seemed impossible to blend my love of literature, film, dress-up, and magic into one “coherent” form. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I studied Cinema in college, worked in every strange job I could find in my 20s, studied Herbal Medicine, and developed my artistic life in musical performance. Eventually I could not resist the call of the Wild, and I moved to the forest in the Sierra foothills, in a very hippie-friendly community that is full of unique artists. I love my working life because I get to make magic and stories for a living, and sell clothes to happy people all over the world!”

Therefore, Sasha Soukup fuses nature, thought patterns, individualism, art, the environment, and other creative angles, in order to enhance Astral Boutique. In Tokyo you have companies like Grimoire, Hypnotique, Kinji, Panama Boy, Tarock, Cult Party, Qosmos, Kinsella, Monde Garage, Berberjin, Bubbles, and many others, which fuse aspects of vintage styles within the image of Baroque (Grimoire) or remain firmly within vintage fashion (Monde Garage). This creativity is in increasing demand and Grimoire which is based in the Shibuya area (near to Harajuku) is extremely passionate about their fashion designs.

Of course the trendy nature of Grimoire, which focuses on Baroque styles but creates individual designs, is clearly a million miles away from the vintage fashion of Astral Boutique. However, the connection is that past fashions have influenced their modern thinking and you can feel a connection with historical European fashion. Despite this, the beauty of companies like Grimoire is that their fashion is not only distinctive, but it is trendy in a special way and clearly this company is thriving.

The style of Sasha Soukup and her company Astral Boutique may be very different from some of the above mentioned companies in Tokyo. However, they all share an inner passion which is searching for something new but within the fusion of past fashion trends and designs. This in turn generates an individual style and creates fresh ideas which fit easily within “the many worlds of fashion.” Therefore, many young Tokyoites are connecting with vintage styles and other types of products which belong to a different era but which continue to bless the modern world.

Sasha Soukup further comments that “I choose my vintage very carefully, based on timeless design, quality fabrics, and flattering color schemes. I follow current vintage trends, because they are fun, but also stock a lot of classic pieces that will never go out of style. I am a one person operation, and I do all of my photography, modeling, styling, customer service, and promotion myself! It is really fun doing outdoor photo shoots- I love the rural background for my clothes, especially because I carry so many pieces from the 1960s and 1970s “hippie” or “boho” days in California. The natural setting really complements the feeling of these special pieces. I love nothing more than hearing that someone has opened their package and fallen in love with the clothing inside- I think of myself as a channel for beautiful and unique vintage. It sounds funny to say that it is almost a spiritual thing for me, but clothing has a lot of energy! I like to keep it flowing, so I keep my prices very low.”

It is extremely refreshing that you have fashion individuals like Sasha Soukup because just like the fashion company Grimoire in Tokyo, it is individuals and unique companies which are keeping the “heart of fashion alive” and this is essential. After all, behind all the commercialism are individuals who want to express aspects about themselves. This means that individual buyers who adore fashion can connect strongly with fashion companies like Astral Boutique because each individual item is based on passion and utmost care.

In Koenji which is an unusual fashion district in Tokyo you will see many aspects of ordinary life and people going about their daily life. However, amidst the mundane buildings you also have a flourishing fashion district whereby new designers are creating their own styles. Also, retro fashion is in huge demand and companies like Spank!s is showing another angle of Tokyo fashion.

The fashion district of Nakameguro is also blessed with companies which highlight vintage fashion, for example Monde Garage. Also, J’Antiques sells all sorts of different vintage products and if you shop around the old world will open up a new dimension.

Nakameguro, Daikanyama, Jiyugaoka, Kichijoji, Nakano, and Shimo-Kitazawa, are smaller fashion districts in Tokyo but they are enabling the uniqueness of fashion in this mega-city to shine. In truth, the beauty of Tokyo is that while Aoyama, Harajuku, Ikebukuro, Ginza, Omotesando, Shibuya, and Shinjuku, hog the limelight; it is the lesser lights which have enhanced the quality of life in Tokyo.

Takako Hotta, who is a stunning model and actress in Tokyo, simply adores shopping in districts like Nakameguro. One of her favorite boutiques is Monde Garage in this part of Tokyo. In her video Takako Hotta comments that “all the clothes are handmade” and this appeals greatly to this elegant and sophisticated lady.

This spirit is powerful and so is the importance of hand made products, individualism, and searching for something special. Of course, the trendy districts of Aoyama, Harajuku, Ikebukuro, Ginza, Omotesando, Shibuya, and Shinjuku, are all very special and you have amazing boutiques. However, for individuals who adore vintage fashion then companies like Astral Boutiques in California and Qosmos in Shibuya provide their own unique vibe and spark of creativity.

Returning back to the charming and sophisticated Sasha Soukup she comments that “I am lucky to have built a fan base of loyal customers from all over the world. The Etsy community is so friendly, and many fellow sellers and customers have become my “real life” friends! There is also an appreciation for artistic presentation on Etsy, and some people have even used my shop photos as templates for their paintings. It is a real artistic community, with inspiration shared all around.”

Therefore, if you adore vintage fashion then please check the website of Astral Boutique because within each fashion item is an inner spirit of care and passion. Individuals like Sasha Soukup bless the fashion industry because  buyers of vintage fashion, designers, people searching for old vintage styles, lovers of fashion, and so forth, all have their own part to play in order to maintain a diverse fashion scene. Also, the artistic images on her adorable website, highlights the vibrant spirit within Astral Boutique and this is most noticeable.

ASTRAL BOUTIQUE

https://twitter.com/AstralBoutique Twitter account of Sasha Soukup

http://www.etsy.com/shop/astralboutique Astral Boutique (PLEASE VISIT)

TOKYO FASHION

http://www.style-arena.jp JAPAN STREET FASHION AND IMAGES

http://www.grimoire.jp/ GRIMOIRE

http://www.dokidoki6.com/ 6%DOKIDOKI

http://tokyofashion.com/ TOKYO FASHION IMAGES AND INFO

http://www.japanesestreets.com/ IMAGES OF STREET FASHION

http://www.lacarmina.com/blog/ La Carmina

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYIqXrZ9G2Y  Takako Hotta and Monde Garage

http://www.takakohotta.com/  Takako Hotta

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/11/28/tokyo-fashion-four-essential-websites-for-fashion-and-consumer-news/  MODERN TOKYO TIMES ARTICLE

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 ALL IMAGES BELONG TO SASHA SOUKUP AND ASTRAL BOUTIQUE

 
 
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Posted by on December 26, 2011 in Japan, NORTH AMERICA

 

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Japanese tourism: Jigokudani Monkey Park in winter time in beautiful Nagano

Japanese tourism: Jigokudani Monkey Park in winter time in beautiful Nagano

Michel Lebon and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

In Nagano prefecture you have the Jigokudani Monkey Park whereby visitors can watch Snow Monkeys (Japanese Macaques) bathing in a natural onsen (hot spring). The best season to watch from a photographic point of view is the winter season and between December and March you usually have a good covering of snow. Also, the scenery is most enjoyable and of course you have many onsens for humans doted all around Yamanouchi. This applies to many stylish onsens in Shibu, Yudanaka, and Kanbayashi.

The monkeys are very confident on the whole therefore you can take really good photos. However, people are forbidden to touch and feed the monkeys because of safety reasons and this applies to both ways. Therefore, Jigokudani Monkey Park is a great place to see wild monkeys whereby you are in touching distance. Also, the sight of seeing monkeys bathing in the hot spring will return adults back to their childhood.

If you visit in the winter season then it is essential that you have proper winter clothes on because the temperature is very cold. Also, it is vital to make sure that your footwear is adequate and warm socks are a must. However, if people are well prepared and visit this part of Nagano for the day or stay for a proper holiday, then it is well worth the preparation.

Snow monkeys are clearly visible before entering the main area and the walk takes a little time depending on individual speed. In fact, while it is called a park it is in reality a forest and the walk is extremely pleasurable and makes the occasion special.

If you want to experience aspects of Japanese culture and you plan to stay at least one night, it is highly recommended that you stay in a ryokan in Shibu, Yudanaka, Kanbayashi, and other areas near to Jigokudani Monkey Park. Ryokans like all places where people stay cater for different budgets but these traditional Japanese style inns will expand your cultural knowledge of Japan. Also, many ryokans have been in the same family for generations and if you stay at a ryokan with a good reputation, then the atmosphere and cultural traits will impress all tourists.

Maids who work at the ryokans will be dressed in a traditional Japanese kimono and the tatami mats in the guest rooms will make you feel nice and relaxed. At night you will sleep on a futon which is a traditional kind of mattress and the sliding shoji doors adds to the quaintness. In the room you will also have a small area called tokonoma where you will see ikebana flowers and a scroll picture. This creates a nice ambience and will enable you to embrace the occasion to a higher degree.

Of course each ryokan will have different facilities but if individuals do some basic backgrounds checks then your stay will be most rewarding. After all, Western style hotels can be found all over the world therefore it is a great opportunity to feel the uniqueness of Japan.

However, if individuals prefer modern hotels then you have many fantastic places to stay and the hospitality and views of many are extremely pleasing on the eye. Not only this, each hotel will provide a unique atmosphere and individuals are spoilt for choice because you have many splendid ryokans and hotels in this part of Nagano.

Nagano prefecture is also very beautiful and for individuals who have many days to relax and enjoy the stunning nature of this part of Japan, then your decision will be rewarded. Jigokudani Monkey Park is a great place to explore Nagano and the winter period is so scenic. The monkeys also bring a nice dimension because the sight of seeing these beautiful creatures really warms the heart.

PLEASE CHECK THE LINKS BELOW FOR GOOD INFORMATION

http://www.nagano-cvb.or.jp/english/excursions.html

http://www.jigokudani-yaenkoen.co.jp/

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6028.html

http://www.yudanaka-shibuonsen.com

http://www.besttravelstories.net/jigokudani-hell-for-humans-but-paradise-for-monkeys.html

http://www.mustlovejapan.com/subject/jigokudani_monkey_park/

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2011 in Japan

 

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South Korean fashion: Kpopsicle, international fashion and Tokyo

South Korean fashion: Kpopsicle, international fashion and Tokyo

Michel Lebon and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Kpopsicle is a stunning South Korean company which sells stylish clothes and accessories online. The international community is fully aware about the “K-pop music wave” hitting the international community. Therefore, with fashion companies like Kpopsicle, the South Korean “fashion wave” should follow because of the ongoing creativity in this nation.
If you check  http://kpopsicle.com it becomes apparent immediately that this online fashion company is clearly trendy and they are selling quality clothes and accessories. Also, the models highlight the products from many different angles and this is extremely helpful and the website is user-friendly and creates a warm feel. This applies to stylish photography which highlights the style and elegance of Kpopsicle products.

Not only this, but because Kpopsicle is focused on modern and trendy fashion they desire to make the clothes and accessories come alive. Therefore, exquisite models highlight the products which are for sale and images show each item in a stylish and practical way. At all times you can feel the care of this company and the pride they have in their fashion.

Kpopsicle fashion suits modern and elegant ladies irrespective of nation because you have many lovely styles to pick from. This means that Kpopsicle fashion suits the streets of Jakarta, London, New York, Osaka, Paris, Seoul, Tokyo, and in any nation where fashion is adored throughout the world.

Modern Tokyo Times clearly puts an emphasis on Tokyo and other major cities like Kobe, Nagoya, Osaka, Yokohama, and throughout Japan, when it comes to fashion. However, this does make sense because the fashion market in Tokyo alone is one of the largest in the world. Therefore, in major cities like Tokyo and Osaka you will have crème de la crème fashion in many districts.

The streets of Harajuku, Ikebukuro, Omotesando, Shibuya, Shinjuku, and other areas, are buzzing in Tokyo. Obviously other major cities like Osaka and Kobe are amazing places for fashion. In Osaka this notably applies to Namba and the Umeda area which are awash with fantastic boutiques and internet fashion also continues to grow.

This means that Kpopsicle and other South Korean fashion companies have huge potential to spread the creativity of this country which is blessed with a rich history. Also, the K-pop music wave and television series which are spreading to other nations is really creating enormous interest in Korean culture. This means that fashionable ladies in many cities throughout the world are watching the South Korean fashion scene more closely.
Therefore, the elegance and trendy nature of Kpopsicle is showing the buzz and vibrancy of South Korean fashion. This company knows the latest trends and the reputation continues to grow and flourish. Therefore, when you view http://kpopsicle.com it is abundantly clear that the “hype” is factual and this stylish fashion company continues to stay one step ahead by focusing on elegant and stunning products.
In another article which highlighted this buzzing fashion company it was commented that If you check http://kpopsicle.com then you will see a South Korean fashion company which sells vibrant female fashion clothes online. The fashion available clearly matches all the latest styles and trends in the K-pop music scene. Given this, you can see style, elegance, street wise fashion, sophisticated looks and a plethora of styles which suits the modern and trendy lady.”
Kpopsicle takes great care before choosing their products and this applies to material, color schemes, texture, and photo angles to highlight each individual product. Also, Kpopsicle studies the latest fashion vibes in order to make their client base happy and to attract new customers to this stunning online fashion company.

If you adore female fashion then a visit to Kpopsicle is a must!

 http://kpopsicle.com Kpopsicle - STUNNING FASHION AT THE CLICK OF A BUTTON

https://twitter.com/#!/kpopsicle_com/followers  Kpopsicle twitter account

ALL IMAGES FROM  http://www.kpopsicle.com/ AND BELONG TO Kpopsicle

leejay@hotmail.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2011 in ASIA, Japan

 

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Murasaki Shikibu and The Tale of Genji: a female writer who broke the chains

Murasaki Shikibu and The Tale of Genji: a female writer who broke the chains

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Murasaki Shikibu (Lady Murasaki) is the most famous Japanese lady in history and many artists have depicted her because of her wisdom and knowledge. Not surprisingly, her prominence remains so strong because very few ladies in Japanese history have come to the fore because of conservative aspects of culture. Obviously, this conservatism doesn’t solely apply to Japan because in history it appears that female emancipation wasn’t on the radar in the majority of cultures. Therefore, ukiyo-e artists in Japan had little option but to focus on Murasaki Shikibu when it came to depicting a powerful lady in Japanese history.

It is known that she was born in 973 but her death is disputed because some people claim that she died in 1014 and others state 1025. However, given the discrepancy then obviously much is down to guess work and is open to many interpretations. The same applies to her final years on this earth because information is patchy but given this period of history then this isn’t so surprising.

What is known is that Murasaki Shikibu was blessed with many talents and she obtained great knowledge of Chinese classics. Yet, how she obtained this knowledge is also open to interpretation. This applies to historians claiming different things because some state that her father allowed her to study with her brother. However, others dispute this and claim that she was forbidden to study with her brother but because of her inquisitive nature and natural ability, she was able to learn by listening tentatively by the door.

Whatever the truth, it is clear that gender norms in this period meant that she faced an uphill struggle to overcome the obstacles in her way. Also, given the fact that somehow she overcame these obstacles then clearly her output would have been even greater if she had been given freedom to write.  Sadly, even in the modern period it is clear that females in many nations suffer because of gender discrimination throughout the world.

Therefore, it is abundantly clear that many female writers, artists, historians, politicians, and so forth, have suffered “a cultural female genocide” because of male dominance and elitism which deprived women of equality. This reality adds to the power of Murasaki Shikibu because so many others went silently to their grave despite having so much to give throughout the world.

Turning back to Murasaki Shikibu then even her real name is disputed because in a diary which was written in 1007 the name Fujiwara Takako was mentioned. This, according to some individuals, is the real name of Murasaki Shikibu but again nothing is conclusive. Therefore, the most famous lady in Japanese history is based on the legacy that she left and other areas will always remain in doubt unless a hidden manuscript is found – and this appears most unlikely.

What isn’t in doubt is that The Tale of Genji was written by a lady in this period and either her real name survives or a nom de plume was chosen because of cultural factors. However, because of no real clarity then it is best to stay loyal to the name Murasaki Shikibu.

The Tale of Genji is internationally famous and a rich treasure in Japan. Also, this classic highlights the importance of Chinese culture in this period of Japan and this theme remains constant before the events of the late nineteenth century. This classic was written in the Heian period and the richness of style left a lasting impression. Without a shred of doubt Murasaki Shikibu was an extremely gifted individual despite all the negative realities that she faced.

In an earlier article I stated that “Murasaki Shikibu was no normal lady because she desired to express many things and given her stature in society then clearly she had the opportunity to do so.  This lady of letters was a poet, novelist and being in the Imperial court she had certain obligations, therefore, she was a lady-in-waiting.” 

“Her novel called The Tale of Genji left a lasting legacy based on the quality of her writing and the passion that it oozes. Platitudes abound in Japan and throughout the international community and it is a major source of pride for women in Japan and for Japanese culture which is enriched by The Tale of Genji.”

“Ukiyo-e artists have depicted Murasaki Shikibu during the height of this art form in Japan and the art highlights a noble and refined lady.  The art work is based on wisdom, serenity, sophistication, and a lady who had a special aura. Therefore, ukiyo-e artists have transcended Murasaki Shikibu and entered her into a new dimensional world where certainty and an aura of inner-beauty and knowledge are rolled into this remarkable individual.”

The Tale of Genji itself leaves many questions regarding the role of women in Japan. This applies to why did this classic survive and remain unhindered? After all, if females were not allowed to write and study Chinese classics openly, then why wasn’t the book banned? Or does it signify the importance of her background and that she escaped censorship based on her status and knowing high officials? If so, then why didn’t other female writers in high positions leave a lasting legacy in Japan and the same applies to women who knew powerful individuals – therefore, why Murasaki Shikibu and not scores of other female writers?

Murasaki Shikibu entered the imperial court after her husband passed away and during this time she observed and learnt many things. The Tale of Genji became respected in a very short time and again this would indicate that you had few constraints against Japanese female writers. However, history would point in the other direction because you don’t find many famous female writers in Japan in this period.

The earliest manuscript was lost but scrolls in the 12th century were found and clearly The Tale of Genji enriches Japanese culture and highlights many aspects of high society in this period. Therefore, while many aspects of the life of Murasaki Shikibu remain unknown the same doesn’t apply to her legacy because this classic is deemed to be a national treasure.

The last years of her life are also shrouded in mystery because her work appears to cease but again the reasons remain in doubt. Could it be that she was censored after writing this classic?  Or did Murasaki Shikibu retire after achieving what she had always dreamt about?

Again, this is open to many interpretations and for this reason it is unsure about when she died. However, it would appear that her remaining years were relatively tranquil and irrespective of all the uncertainties about her life, it is abundantly clear that The Tale of Genji left a deep impression. Therefore, the legacy of Murasaki Shikibu is very powerful.

In another article I comment that “Murasaki Shikibu also wrote a volume of poetry called The Diary of Lady Murasaki and Japanese artists illuminated this lady of letters to wider society. The art work of ukiyo-e artists in the Edo period and throughout the Meiji period maintained the rich aura of Murasaki Shikibu and her novel The Tale of Genji is a classic within Japanese literature and international literature.”

However, given the lack of female writers, artists, and people in power in Japanese history, then how did Murasaki Shikibu break the chains? Also, if she was allowed to break the chains then why didn’t others follow?

IMAGE ONE: Tosa Mitsuoki

IMAGE TWO: Hiroshige (ukiyo-e)

IMAGE THREE: Kunisada (ukiyo-e)

IMAGE FOUR: Edo period illustration

IMAGE FIVE: Harunobu (ukiyo-e)

http://www.taleofgenji.org/   The Tale of Genji

http://webworld.unesco.org/genji/en/index.shtml  The Tale of Genji

http://www.womeninworldhistory.com/heroine9.html 

http://harvardmagazine.com/2002/05/murasaki-shikibu.html 

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Posted by on December 22, 2011 in Japan

 

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Pakistan Fashion and female designers with stunning styles: the Tokyo angle (Part Two)

Pakistan Fashion and female designers with stunning styles: the Tokyo angle (Part Two)

Umair Ahmed Siddiqui and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Urooj-ul-Qamar and brand name Urouge Qamar

 

Japanese and Pakistan fashion is very different and of course you will have various styles within both nations. However, the impact of modernization, international trends, global brands, and the role of mass communication and international networking, is impacting on the majority of nations throughout the world. Therefore, while cultural and religious differences may be very different on the whole between Japan and Pakistan, you do have similarities which cut across these differences.

Tokyo fashion

 

The role of “soft-power” is very important to Japan and this applies to anime, cosplay, J-pop, computer games, kawaii culture, fashion, and many other areas. On the other hand, the international community needs to focus on the dynamics of Pakistan and not just negative factors related to religious extremism. After all, Pakistan is very diverse and you have many fashion designers, musicians, writers, and other vital areas where the younger generation is reaching out internally and internationally.

In the article called Pakistan Fashion: women entrepreneurs, amazing styles and the Tokyo angle (part 1) the focus was on Sabeen Waqar, Maheen Waqar, and Kulsoom Rizvi. The two sisters have a brand company called “Jalebi” and clearly both Sabeen Waqar and Maheen Waqar have been blessed with many talents. Likewise, Kulsoom Rizvi who created the brand called “Kaaf” is equally blessed with amazing skills and her creativity is attracting people to her own unique style.

These three elegant ladies from Pakistan are highlighting the power of a new generation which is confident, international minded, and in the world of business they are showing their own individual styles. In this article the focus will be on Urooj-ul-Qamar and her brand Urouge Qamar because she is yet another lady from this nation who adores fashion and being creative.

Jalebi

 

Before focusing more on Urooj-ul-Qamar the attention will be briefly on Japan and the buzzing districts of Tokyo and Osaka. Like mentioned in the previous article it is hoped one day that fashion designers from Pakistan will also be visible in the huge fashion market of Japan. After all, fashion on the streets of Aoyama (Tokyo), Harajuku (Tokyo),Ikebukuro (Tokyo), Namba (Osaka), Omotesando (Tokyo), Shibuya (Tokyo), Umeda (Osaka), and throughout both cities, is a mixture of Japanese, European, and North America fashion. However, given the youthful nature of Kulsoom Rizvi, Sabeen Waqar, Maheen Waqar, and Urooj-ul-Qamar, it is hoped that these young fashion designers from Pakistan will impact internationally in the future because they have so much to offer the world of international fashion.

Kaaf

 

Also, the uniqueness of Kulsoom Rizvi, Sabeen Waqar, Maheen Waqar, and Urooj-ul-Qamar, and other modern designers from Pakistan, should be watched closely internationally because new ideas, fusions, different thinking, and creativity, is what makes the fashion industry fresh. Therefore, by focusing on the designs of all the above mentioned it is clear that their color schemes, styles, creativity, and individualism, shines through.

Jalebi

 

Urooj-ul-Qamar is a final year student of Textile Design in Karachi and studies in the Department of Visual Studies. Her focus is on art work and designing and both these talents can be seen in the brand company called Urouge Qamar. Also, like the fashion brand Jalebi, Urooj-ul-Qamar is another lady who focuses on recycling and this will go down well in Japan and throughout the world.

Urouge Qamar

 

Urooj-ul-Qamar commented that “I was very good with aesthetics from a very young age and my interests are in field of “Jewelry Making” with real stones.” This elegant and stylish lady continues by stating that “I was thinking about bringing some change to the typical jewelry women wear these days therefore I ended up making jewelry from wicker.” This style is complex and difficult to produce but the end result is amazing and shows the spirit and creativity of her fashion brand Urouge Qamar.

Urouge Qamar

 

Accessories are adored by ladies in Tokyo, Kobe, Osaka, and throughout Japan. Therefore, Japanese ladies who shop in fashionable areas like Aoyama, Harajuku, and Umeda, and so many other fashion districts, would clearly adore the elegant and sophisticated designs of the fashion brand Urouge Qamar. This applies to clutch purses with fabulous color schemes and stunning jewelry which fits many different styles. It is therefore hoped that just like European and North American designers have impacted on fashion in Japan, that ideas emanating from stylish designers in Pakistan will also make a major impact in the future.

Japanese fashion

 

The handmade and innovative fashion accessories by the brand Urouge Qamar are extremely elegant and full of panache, just like the designer. Therefore, all the elegant designers mentioned in this article are showing a different side to Pakistan. This applies to being blessed with amazing young female fashion designers who are confident and ultra-modern in their thinking and styles.

Urouge Qamar

 

Urooj-ul-Qamar can be contacted at urooj.qamar@live.comand it is hoped that one day her designs will be seen on the streets of Osaka, Tokyo, London, New York, and other major cities throughout the world.

Fashion in Omotesando in Tokyo

 

Overall, each individual designer highlighted in this article is clearly articulate, sophisticated, and stylish. Therefore, because of their stunning designs and creativity, they are showing the vibrant nature of Pakistan. These young business ladies and designers augur well for the future of this nation because they all have something fresh to offer the international fashion community.

The ladies mentioned in this article can be contacted below:

Kulsoom Rizvi can be contacted at kumkumrizvi@hotmail.com

Sabeen Waqar can be contacted at sabeenwaqar@gmail.com

Urooj-ul-Qamar can be contacted at urooj.qamar@live.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/12/16/pakistan-fashion-women-entrepreneurs-amazing-styles-and-the-tokyo-angle/   Part 1 – Read more about the other fashion designers mentioned in this article

Thanks to Ms. Zara for photography

Umair Ahmed Siddiqui runs his own design studio called “CARTEL Design Studio” and provides valued consultancy information to important domestic and international companies. Also, in publication & writing he is the Foreign Correspondent for the Korean Textile Newspaper (www.ktnews.com) where you can find his publication on every Thursday. Also, he is writing for a Korean Fashion Magazine called Fashion Clue.  Recently, he joined Modern Tokyo Times and his knowledge is in high demand because of his unique vision.

Umair Ahmed Siddiqui

 

He can be contacted at u_designer@hotmail.com and please check his website at http://modernpakistan.wordpress.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2011 in ASIA, Japan

 

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Siege of Mecca and Juhayman al-Otaibi: CIA and GIGN operatives converted to Islam

Siege of Mecca and Juhayman al-Otaibi: CIA and GIGN operatives converted to Islam
 
Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times  

Juhayman al-Otaibi

 

Juhayman ibn Muhammad ibn Sayf al-Otaibi believed that an Islamic uprising was needed in order to create a more fundamentalist Sunni Islamic state. From an outside point of view this may appear rather strange given the fact that Islamic Sharia law governs Saudi Arabia and not one single Christian church or Buddhist temple is allowed. However, according to Juhayman al-Otaibi the ruling elites in Saudi Arabia were self-serving and radical change was needed.

This single event in late 1979 still shakes the Sunni Islamic world today and the same applies to covert work done by CIA operatives. After all, the government of America violated the Constitution because CIA operatives were allowed to be converted to Islam in order to enter Mecca and to participate in quelling the uprising. The French government, the so-called bastion of secularism, allowed their commandos to be converted to Islam also in order that they could help different Saudi units to kill the jihadists.

Religion and state is meant to be separate in America but CIA operatives were told to convert to Islam. This fact is a side issue but it shows you the clandestine nature of certain agencies in America and it signifies that government elites will do anything in order to protect Saudi Arabia.

Of course, the same applies to France which participated in killing Sunni Muslim conservatives who believed that all non-Muslims must be expelled from Saudi Arabia. Therefore, the most powerful majority Christian nation in the world (America) and the most potent secular state (France) were involved in the attack on the Grand Mosque in Mecca.

It must also be stated that apart from one individual connected with the bin Laden family, every other militant was beheaded within a very short period after being captured. This fact, shows the nature of Saudi Arabian law and how fickle human rights are in America, France, and the United Kingdom, because Western nations were involved in crushing this revolt and they understood the consequences of what would happen. Therefore, Juhayman al-Otaibi and his followers were written out of the history books and why so little footage given the severe nature of this event in the Western media?

If you fast forward to September 11 then it is clear that it doesn’t matter if the American government is Democrat or Republican. This applies to nearly every national who did September 11 coming from Saudi Arabia. Also, it is clear that ratlines existed between certain elites in Saudi Arabia and terrorist networks which did the terrorist attack against the people of America. However, this event meant little within powerful circles in Washington with regards to the role of Saudi Arabia and instead secular Iraq, with a Christian Deputy Prime Minister, was attacked and bombed. The irony being that Western powers re-installed Islamic Sharia law in Iraq, just like they had in Afghanistan and radical Sunni Islamists (the majority from Saudi Arabia) entered the Sunni-Shia civil war in this nation.

Bombing the Grand Mosque of Mecca

 

Turning back to the Siege of Mecca in 1979 when Juhayman al-Otaibi and his followers stormed Mecca. It becomes clear that this galvanized America and Saudi Arabia to further bankroll Sunni Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan and bordering regions of Pakistan. After all, the elites in Saudi Arabia needed a distraction and America was worried about the repercussions of this extremely important event.

The year 1979 in the Islamic world was dramatic and this applies to the Iranian Revolution, the Soviet Union entering Afghanistan, and the Siege of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. However, the greater event was the Siege of Mecca because for America and Saudi Arabia the crisis in Afghanistan was a welcome distraction. Therefore, funding Sunni Islamic terrorism was a great way to take the “heat” of elites within Saudi Arabia and to unify Sunni Islamists into their version of an Islamic jihad.

At the same time, it is also clear that the Islamic ulema violated the words of the prophet Mohammed because killing is forbidden in the Grand Mosque. However, the Islamic ulema supported the attack against the jihadists and Saudi units, the French National Gendarmerie Intervention Group (GIGN), CIA operatives who were involved in the planning, and other covert security agencies, stormed the Grand Mosque and killed hundreds of Sunni jihadists. The true extent of the attack was hidden in general from the outside world but the repercussions remain powerful today.

In an earlier article published by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that The Saudi Arabian regime in 1979 faced a major crisis because the siege of Mecca could have led to severe pressure on the House of Saud. Therefore, the regime turned to America in order to crush the uprising.  CIA operatives were sent to help.” Ziauddin Sardar states in his article called The battle at Islam’s heart” (1 November 2007 – The New Statesman) thatA horde of CIA operatives was quickly converted to Islam so that they could enter the Holy City to assess the battlefield for themselves. They recommended chemical warfare.”
Therefore, the French GIGN which is a specialist counter-terrorism unit and which is trained in hostage taking events, alongside CIA operatives, were converted to Islam with the blessing of political elites in both America and France. The conversions lacked sincerity and is clear evidence that the House of Saud, the Islamic ulema in Saudi Arabia, the slave mentality of America and France which would do anything for the monarchy, all worked hand in hand. Irrespective if individuals agree with crushing the jihadist uprising, it is clear that individuals like Osama bin Laden would understand this event from “an Islamic point of view” and this applies to violating the Grand Mosque of Mecca. The trade-off between the Saudi regime and the religious leaders of Saudi Arabia was that they would be allowed to do whatever they liked apart from threatening the ruling elites. Therefore, terrorism in “not our backyard” was implemented and radical organizations were allowed to spread their ideology throughout the world and clearly with great success.

Ziauddin Sardar further comments that Thus began, on the morning of 20 November 1979, the Siege of the Sacred Mosque. What happened during the next two weeks has had a profound impact on most of the Muslim world.”

He continues by stating that “The insurgents were led by a Bedouin preacher, Juhayman bin Seif al-Uteybi, and his brother- in-law Mohammed Abdullah al-Qahtani, the alleged Mahdi. The rebels included Egyptians, Pakistanis and American converts, but most were Saudis from the Oteiba tribe, which had actually helped King Abdul Aziz, founder of Saudi Arabia, to seize control of the Arabian Peninsula in 1902. They believed that the royal family had become corrupt, that the state was promoting heresy, that religious scholars were collaborating with the royal family in spreading immoral practices and that Saudi Arabia had become obsessed with money and consumerism. I knew their kind rather well.”

It was also reported that you had a connection with the bin Laden family because “In the 1960s Osama bin Laden’s half-brother Mahrous bin Laden joined a rebel group opposed to the Saudi government. With his assistance, in 1979 the rebels smuggled weapons into Mecca using trucks belonging to the bin Laden family company. Five hundred rebels then seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca (sic), Islam’s holiest mosque in its holiest city. They try, but fail, to overthrow the Saudi royal family. All the men who took part are later beheaded except Mahrous. Eventually he is released from prison because of the close ties between the bin Ladens and the Saudi royal family. Mahrous apparently abandons the rebel cause and joins the family business. He is eventually made a head of the Medina branch and a member of the board. He will still hold these positions on 9/11. But a newspaper reports that “his past [is] not forgiven and most important decisions in the [bin Laden family business] are made without Mahrous’ input.”  (Collection of sources – Sunday Herald (Glasgow), 10/7/21; Ha’aretz ,12/18/2002; and New Yorker, 11/5/2001)

Juhayman al-Otaibi was a powerful leader despite the lack of followers who supported his logic. He believed firmly that the House of Saud was polluting Islam and that materialism was destroying the fabric of society alongside other important factors. Therefore, he and his followers stormed Mecca in order to challenge the ruling elites and this event led to shockwaves within the Sunni Islamic community.

Over two weeks you had an Islamic jihad against the Saudi regime and hundreds of Islamists were killed by a mixture of forces. Mecca had become a battleground and a place full of blood and devastation. Accounts vary about the forces which were instrumental in protecting the House of Saud but America, France, and Pakistan played their role and the CIA gave powerful support.

Shortly afterwards, Afghanistan would become a rallying call in spreading radical Sunni Islam and clearly America had a shared objective with the House of Saud.  Therefore, “several birds could be killed with one stone.” This applies to a much needed distraction for Saudi Arabia; the need to retake the mantle of being the guardians of Sunni Islam; to undermine the role of Iran within the Muslim world because they followed the Shia faith; and to defeat communism in Afghanistan and unleash a brutal war for the Soviet Union.

Therefore, from the siege of Mecca to the war in Afghanistan you had a shared geopolitical interest for both America and Saudi Arabia, alongside the CIA and other security operatives, who would covertly support Islamic terrorism via Pakistan.  Firm objectives and ties were being made and Pakistan would also witness Islamization under General Zia- ul-Haq and once more it is clear that America favored General Zia-ul-Haq over democratic forces in India.

These captured men would soon be beheaded
Therefore, from 1981 to 1987 the USA provided over US$3.2 billion dollars in order to support radical Sunni Islam and this was followed by a further $4.2 billion dollars. More important, the CIA, MI6, the SAS, and other international covert agencies, were involved in training radical Islamists in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The outcome being a multi-ethnic jihadist movement which would be armed and trained by America, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and other nations. However, America and Saudi Arabia would be the cornerstone and Pakistan would become the binding factor because of geopolitics.

America and the United Kingdom would also allow Saudi Arabia to spread their version of Islam in both nations. This can be seen by huge funding to vast numbers of Sunni Islamic causes and even in jails both America and the United Kingdom would allow radical Sunni Islamic preachers to convert prisoners.

Turning back to the Siege of Mecca then clearly the Cold War was still in full swing. Therefore, this event was sidelined despite the importance of this crisis and Afghanistan was a godsend to all interested parties.

However, in late 1979 the Grand Mosque in Mecca was a battleground where blood was spilled in many areas of this mosque.  The House of Saud, CIA, GIGN, and other international security agencies, were allowed to plan and assist in the killing of jihadists who had stormed Mecca. From this moment, al-Qaeda would be given “the green light” along with so many Sunni international terrorist organizations. The first rallying call would become Afghanistan and then America would allow the same Islamists to slit the throats of Orthodox Christians in Bosnia and once more these images were hidden to the outside world.

If images of the Siege of Mecca had been shown throughout the Islamic world, then it would have shown dead bodies all over Mecca. Also, with CIA operatives and the French GIGN being allowed to convert to Islam then this would have gone down badly because these conversions were a sham. Not only this, the government of America is not meant to promote the conversion of people to any faith and this is a clear violation of the Constitution of America and the same applies to France.

If media outlets had shown images of hundreds of Islamists being killed in Mecca whereby Saudi security forces and non-Saudi units were bombing Mecca, then clearly this would have inflamed the Sunni Islamic world. The House of Saud in time would completely finish the job by beading all captors apart from one individual who was a member of the bin Laden family group. Therefore, Juhayman al-Otaibi was turned into a non-entity whereby he disappears from history and nothing more remains.

In an earlier article by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that The relatively unknown event which happened in Mecca in 1979 certainly can be linked to events in Afghanistan and the Balkans.  This applies to the push for supporting radical Sunni Islam after this event in order to crush an internal Islamic threat. Therefore, Afghanistan became a convenient unifying factor.  In turn, the Islamic network system and the use of Islamic charities in this conflict would be used in order to spread and support the Muslim cause in Bosnia.”

“America and the green flag of Islam which is being led by Saudi Arabia may have different long-term objectives despite sharing similar goals since (and before) 1979 to the current period.  However, Islamists are now embarking on a stealth jihad within the democratic world and America, Germany, India, the United Kingdom, and others, need to understand that while certain nations may have long term goals it is clear that Islamists have long term objectives and this applies to Islamization.”

Islamists given free hand to kill Christians by Bill Clinton – several members involved in September 11 but no inquiry for the role of America


“Even September 11 was manipulated by America because we all know that the majority of the Islamists came from Saudi Arabia and Bosnia was also an Islamic stepping stone in enabling this to happen.  Therefore, former allies who supported terrorist networks in Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Pakistan, in order to boost the foreign policy objectives of America and Saudi Arabia now became enemies after September 11.”

Afghanistan was a way of crushing internal Islamic factions in Saudi Arabia by giving them a free hand to export radical Sunni Islam internationally. In a similar way September 11 was manipulated by the government of America and security agencies. Also, the media was utilized in order to create a new threat. This convenient threat was Iraq but the main purpose was to distract internal political movements in America who wanted to focus on the Saudi angle and the role of Saudi Arabia in spreading radical Sunni Islam.

Not one individual from the regime of Iraq was involved in September 11 and the issue of human rights doesn’t enter the equation. After all, when the Iraqi regime used chemical weapons against the Kurds little was said. Given this, Iraq became a distraction whereby Saudi Arabia would escape the wrath of September 11.

Therefore, the Siege of Mecca enabled the international Sunni Islamist movement to spread their ideology externally on condition that they never threatened the elites of Saudi Arabia. At the same time, Sunni Islamic ratlines and Western powers manipulated Afghanistan and Bosnia by covertly supporting radical Sunni Islamists. However, September 11 was evidence of not only “blowback” but of the ratline links because nearly everybody involved were Saudi nationals. Also, several Islamists who were involved in September 11 had been based in Bosnia and obtained valuable experience in killing not only Orthodox Christians, but in terrorist activities and all courtesy of “a blind American policy.”

The spirit of Juhayman al-Otaibi was alive within individuals like Osama bin Laden but from a different perspective. Juhayman al-Otaibi wasn’t concerned about exporting radical Sunni Islam because his concern was Saudi Arabia. More important, Juhayman al-Otaibi didn’t support killing innocents on the grounds of so-called Islamic jihad. Instead, he was focused on Islamic jihad because he believed that the Muslim ulema and elites in Saudi Arabia were turning against the Koran.

However, the spirit of Juhayman al-Otaibi was within Osama bin Laden when it came to outside forces influencing and protecting Saudi Arabia. In the mindset of Osama bin Laden it was a violation of Islam to allow America and other non-Muslim majority nations to protect the well being of Saudi Arabia. Juhayman al-Otaibi was also scornful about this and he wanted all non-Muslims to be expelled from Saudi Arabia. However, Juhayman al-Otaibi was a much bigger threat than Osama bin Laden because he wanted to overthrow the ruling elites in the House of Saud.

Therefore, the Siege of Mecca was the real turning point in the covert war in Afghanistan which received greater funding and attention because of this event. The period of late November and December in 1979 in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan remain potent today. If Juhayman al-Otaibi and his loyal forces hadn’t stormed Mecca then the potency of Afghanistan would have been reduced and the power of Islamism would have been kept in check more in Saudi Arabia.

Yet the Siege of Mecca threatened the status quo therefore a trade-off was made and from this period you have many murky deals between several nations involved in spreading radical Sunni Islam. For conservative clerics in Saudi Arabia and organizations it is their duty to spread the Sunni Islamic faith because they deem all non-Muslims and non-Sunni Muslims to be infidels. At the same time, Sunni Islamic terrorist ratlines could co-exist alongside American foreign policy objectives and the foreign policy objectives of other Western nations. Therefore, Afghanistan and Bosnia are clear evidence of the link between both competing forces which united in a common cause.

September 11 over-stepped the mark and after this America would turn against Sunni Islamic terrorism which was aimed at America. However, America and Saudi Arabia would remain aloof providing events didn’t threaten either nation internally. Despite this, the spirit of Juhayman al-Otaibi remains alive within parts of the international Sunni Islamist movement. This applies to his thinking that all foreign influence should be forced out of Saudi Arabia, the ending of the reliance on Western powers to protect this nation, the eviction of all non-Muslims, the ending of rampant materialism amongst the elites of Saudi Arabia, preventing female equality in law, and so forth.

Juhayman al-Otaibi was a threat to the Saudi elites but the policies of powerful Western nations have created a bigger threat which expressed itself by the events of September 11, when blowback happened against innocent American civilians. The reverberations of the Siege of Mecca remain today with elites in Saudi Arabia being concerned by domestic issues and foreign powers have been engulfed by not understanding the bigger picture. Therefore, the attack which happened in 1979 during the Siege of Mecca remains within the internal convulsions of the Sunni Islamic world and nations which sold their soul during this event continue to have learned nothing.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3804836536310530961# – RARE VIDEO FOOTAGE

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

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Pakistan Fashion: women entrepreneurs, amazing styles and the Tokyo angle (part 1)

Pakistan Fashion: women entrepreneurs, amazing styles and the Tokyo angle (part 1)

Umair Ahmed Siddiqui and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Kulsoom Rizvi – Kaaf

Pakistan is blessed with a rich culture and this country provides wide opportunities for the people of this nation to have a variety of styles in the field of fashion. Therefore, when you look all around Pakistan you will see many stunning colors and styles. This applies to bangles, mehendi (traditional type of tattoo work), jewelry, bags, and an abundance of different types of traditional dresses. Therefore, this enables fashion designers to fuse aspects of this richness when creating something new to suit the modern lady throughout the world.

In recent times we can say that today’s fashion in Pakistan belongs to the upcoming youth designers who are more bold and daring. Given this, you have many young entrepreneur designers who are reaching out internally and externally. Also, it is great that female designers are showing a positive image of Pakistan and highlighting a side which is being ignored in the mass media.

Sabeen Waqar – Jalebi

Therefore, in this article the focus is on Sabeen Waqar of the brand called “Jalebi,” her sister Maheen Waqar who focuses on the jewelry angle, and Kulsoom Rizvi who is the owner of the brand called “Kaaf.” Each individual lady is sophisticated, stylish, and elegant, and they are highlighting the vibrant spirit of fashion in Pakistan. Also, these entrepreneurs are showing the world that behind all the negative headlines you have a different Pakistan which is confident, international, and independent in spirit.

Clothes in Pakistan are being highly stylized by modern and upcoming designers and trend setters. This is the reason for the growing popularity of designers in Pakistan and the unique vibes coming from within the culture is being fused within the fashion industry. Not surprisingly, fashion companies in the western world and designers can see this “fresh Pakistan wave” and increasing attention is being focused on the fashion industry in this nation.

If we look at the “Korean wave” in K-pop and notice the pulling power of the Japanese market then it is feasible that “a Pakistan fashion wave” could also reach the streets of Tokyo, Kobe, Osaka, and other leading cities.  Also, the rich traditions of Japan and Pakistan could fuse a different style and commercial aspects of both nations need to understand that both countries have much to offer.

Crème de la crème fashion companies target the Japanese market and walking around the trendy areas of Aoyama, Omotesando, Harajuku, and throughout the Tokyo fashion scene, you will see a plethora of European boutiques. The same applies to all major cities in Japan and the buzzing districts of Osaka in places like Umeda is a fine example. This applies to many crème de la crème boutiques from Europe and North America which blend naturally with boutiques from Japan.

Jalebi

Returning to the fashion designers in this article then the first focus will be on Kulsoom Rizvi and her brand Kaaf. Kulsoom Rizvi is an extremely beautiful lady and richly talented and clearly this can be seen by her stunning designs. Her company Kaaf became established in August 2011 and currently this sophisticated lady is in her third year at the Asian Institute of Fashion Design, whereby Kulsoom Rizvi is studying Textile Designing.

The background of Kulsoom Rizvi is very fascinating because despite her young years her experience is extremely powerful This applies to working with leading designers in Pakistan and this includes Nomi Ansari, Sonya Battla, Vaneeza Ahmed and textile giant Gul-Ahmed who recognized her creativity and abundant talents – therefore he printed her stylish designs in 2009 with regards to the winter collection.

Kaaf

Her main source of inspiration has been her sister in law Amna Asghar Nawab who is the Regional Manager of Khaadi in the United Arab Emirates. Her brand Kaaf includes apparel, upholstery and accessories, therefore, Kaaf caters for a broad spectrum and at all times you can feel and see the vibes of this talented lady. Kulsoom Rizvi is most recognized for her vibrant choice of colors, rhythmic designs, and enchanting styles. Also, one consistent element in her designs has been the peacock, which is the symbol of pride and beauty and clearly her designs and “self” applies to “pride and beauty” because of her creativity and elegance.

Kaaf is a company which is in its infancy but this charming lady is showing the vibrant spirit of the younger generation in Pakistan. Therefore, Kulsoom Rizvi is clearly a young lady of substance and her confidence and elegance is based on the new spirit emerging in this nation. Recently her collection was exhibited in Karachi and clearly fashion lovers were amazed by the talents of this 21 year old lady.

Kaaf is in growing demand because Kulsoom Rizvi understands the market and the need to find new angles in this competitive field. The first objective for Kaaf is to expand within Pakistan and then to reach out globally and clearly the potential of this lady is enormous. Also, from the point of view of fashion in Tokyo, Osaka, and throughout Japan, it is essential that new fashion hubs emerge in other nations because this will lead to new fusions, ideas, and expand cultural ties.

Sabeen Waqar of the brand called Jalebi is another lady who is passionate about fashion and clearly her motivation is extremely high and this is matched by her creativity and sophistication. Her sister Maheen Waqar is also extremely talented and focuses on the jewelry angle of Jalebi. Therefore, these two sisters are highlighting the growing strength of female designers and business individuals in Pakistan who are challenging the status quo and this angle needs to be shown to the international community.

Jalebi

The basic concept behind Jalebi and the main purpose of launching this brand is their passion for fashion alongside their love for recycling, making hand-made jewelry which is arty, and designing affordable fashion. These intriguing aspects have all been met with style, elegance, and “a spirit of freshness” which is extremely attractive.

Currently Jalebi is being stocked at several places but in time both sisters desire to expand and to show people their unique ideas and creativity. Jalebi focuses on vivacious colors, chewy textures, flirty feminine cuts and other important aspects of their charming fashion designs.

Jalebi

Jalebi commented that “Our main message to the world is to re-use what they call garbage and convert it into astonishing arty products, or just come and buy our products and contribute in saving the planet.” This angle will certainly go down well on the streets of Tokyo, Osaka, and Kobe, and throughout the world.

In time Jalebi will further the recycling angle into new areas of the company but for now both sisters have high hopes for the future. These ambitions deserve to be rewarded because both sisters are sophisticated and they are part of a new international generation which is fusing business alongside strong ethics related to the environment. More important, from a fashion point of view, these ladies from Pakistan have so much to offer the fashion world because of their creativity, vibes, and their passion for focusing on new styles and relating this to the environment.

Kaaf

It is hoped that in the future that the fashion scene in Pakistan will reach the streets of Ginza (Tokyo), Harajuku (Tokyo), Namba (Osaka), Omotesando (Tokyo), Umeda (Osaka), and throughout Japan. After all, the European and North American fashion scene is thriving in Japan and of course the same applies to stunning Japanese boutiques. Therefore, one day in the future it is hoped that the younger generation in Pakistan will make their mark in Japan and throughout the world.

Kulsoom Rizvi can be contacted atkumkumrizvi@hotmail.com

Sabeen Waqar can be contacted atsabeenwaqar@gmail.com

Thanks to Ms. Zara  for photography

Umair Ahmed Siddiqui runs his own design studio called “CARTEL Design Studio” and provides valued consultancy information to important domestic and international companies. Also, in publication & writing he is the Foreign Correspondent for the Korean Textile Newspaper(www.ktnews.com) where you can find his publication on every Thursday. Also, he is writing for a Korean Fashion Magazine called Fashion Clue.  Recently, he joinedModern Tokyo Times and his knowledge is in high demand because of his unique vision.

Umair Ahmed Siddiqui

He can be contacted at u_designer@hotmail.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

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Posted by on December 19, 2011 in ASIA, Japan

 

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