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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Tokyo Fashion and Kimoken: Vintage and Independent Styles in Koenji

Tokyo Fashion and Kimoken: Vintage and Independent Styles in Koenji

Kanako Itamae and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Images of fashion in Tokyo conjures up exquisite luxury fashion in Ginza to the unique fashion scene of Harajuku and the various fashion trends which enlighten this amazing part of Tokyo. Refined and elegant fashion can be found throughout many parts of this buzzing city and clearly the fashion districts of Aoyama, Ginza, Ebisu and Omotesando spring to mind quickly. Likewise Daikanyama, Ikebukuro, Jiyugaoka, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Yurakucho and many other districts are awash with amazing brands. However, like all powerful fashion cities in the world you also have a vibrant vintage scene and this notably applies to Koenji and other districts like Shimokitazawa.

Shibuya 109, Laforet Harajuku and Marui One are famous department stores for fashion in Tokyo. Recently, Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku (Omohara) opened up for business and this new vibrant shopping plaza will enhance Omotesando Hills which is blessed with amazing boutiques throughout the entire shopping mall. However, Koenji is a million miles away from these iconic stores and recent developments which are altering the fashion landscape in places like Harajuku, Omotesando and Shibuya.

One amazing expert who knows about the vibrant vintage fashion scene and other aspects of Koenji is Kimoken (Kenta Kimoto). Kimoken (http://kimoken.exblog.jp/) is an individual who adores fashion and understands the importance of creativity, individualism and the need to discover the “real self.” Therefore, he is constantly updating his websites in order to show “real fashion” connected with the independent vibes of Koenji.

Kimoken (http://blog.livedoor.jp/kimoken/) provides “real street images” whereby the viewer can really understand the unique fashion angles of this part of Tokyo. He also recommends Lactose Intoler-Art (http://lactoseintolerart.tumblr.com/) which is a very interesting website to visit. Obviously, with Kimoken highlighting this creative website then you know immediately that it will have many unique angles.

In a past article about Kimoken by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “The reason why Koenji appeals to Kimoken so much is based on the vintage scene, individualism, creativity, fresh designers, the fusion of the past with the vibrancy of youth, the special feel of the place, acceptance of diversity, and because you have no boundaries. Therefore, if you want to visit a fashion district with a unique vibe then Koenji is a must place to visit. Also, the Kita-Kore building in this district is gaining in awareness because of the fashion buzz inside.

A partial list of fashion companies to visit in Koenji applies to the Mad Tea Party, Spank!, Safari, Yuri, Kiki, Jinjer, dai-dai, Chiruru, Peep Cheep, Zool, Yakusoku, Kuro Benz, Bernet, Sokkyou, Hoy-Hoy Station, Now Or Never, UK Extra, Re’all, Hikari, Mouse, , Vivid, Cord, and Pheb. This is only a partial list. Therefore, it is important to take your time in Koenji in order to seek out other companies which enrich this unique fashion district.

The beauty of the fashion scene in Tokyo is that it is so diverse. Also, individuals are literally spoilt for choice because you have so many vibrant districts to visit. Likewise, the contrasting reality of Aoyama and Koenji are a million miles apart. After all, Koenji highlights the raw edge of Tokyo fashion compared with Aoyama which focuses on the crème de la crème of fashion. Despite this, it is this collective diversity which really makes Tokyo tick and for vintage lovers and people who adore independent fashion vibes, then Koenji provides this.

The powerful favorite phrase of Kimoken also works perfectly with Koenji. He states that he loves the phraseWara e ba wara e. Ware ga nasu koto ha ware nomi zo shiru” (If you want to laugh at me, then do it. What I do is known only by myself). This extremely poignant comment says much about the real vibes of Koenji. After all, in Koenji it is clear that for fashion lovers who flock to this part of Tokyo, that the fashion angle is a way of life. Therefore, the favorite phrase of Kimoken fits in perfectly with the vintage and independent angle of this fashion district.

ALL  IMAGES BELONG TO KIMOKEN 

https://twitter.com/kimoken1979 – Follow Kimoken on twitter 

http://kimoken.exblog.jp/ Kimoken (fashion images and news)

http://blog.livedoor.jp/kimoken/ Kimoken (fashion images and news)

http://www.pheb.jp/ and Pheb

http://bernet.shop-pro.jp/ Bernet

http://chiruru.net/ Chiruru

http://ameblo.jp/cord1006/ Cord

http://daidaikoenji.blog56.fc2.com/ dai-dai

http://hoyhoy.shop-pro.jp/ Hoy-Hoy Station

http://ameblo.jp/greenlight-shoes/ Jinjer

http://kiki-kiki.ocnk.net/ Kiki

http://yaplog.jp/clobenz/ Kuro Benz

http://ameblo.jp/madteaparty-kouenji/ Mad Tea Party

http://ameblo.jp/mikamithemouse Mouse

http://usedclothingnowornever.blogspot.com/ Now Or Never

http://www.peepcheep.com/ Peep Cheep

http://ameblo.jp/realstep2/ Re’all

http://e-safari.co.jp/ Safari

http://www.sokkyou.net/ Sokkyou

http://spankworld.jp/ Spank!

http://uk-extra.com/ UK Extra

http://www.vivid-web.jp/ Vivid

http://www.e-yuri.jp/Page/TOP Yuri

http://zool.jp/ Zool

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2012 in Japan

 

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Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Syria: US and Islamist policies creating daily instability

Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Syria: US and Islamist policies creating daily instability

Murad Makhmudov and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

In the 1980s the United States, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the United Kingdom and some other nations began to fund Sunni Islamic terrorism in Afghanistan. This meddling came hot on the heels of the Siege of Mecca in Saudi Arabia in 1979. Therefore, funding Sunni Islamism in Afghanistan came at a very opportunistic time for the rulers based in Saudi Arabia.

Pakistan became the central base in training international jihadists and spreading Islamism in Afghanistan. Irrespective of the motives in Afghanistan and the rights and wrongs, it is clear that the convulsions from intervening in this nation are still being felt in many nations today. The United States and Pakistan unleashed the CIA and ISI respectively, in order to create an Islamist fighting force which could take on the Soviet Union. British special intelligence played its part in this covert war but turning the clock to 2012 and it is clear that a stream of failed states and terrorism “filled this vacuum” created by outside meddling.

In the case of Pakistan then the ISI and central government have created their own Sunni Islamist nightmare because this nation can no longer contain the forces it unleashed. This means that the Islamist agenda now deems the government of Pakistan to be anti-Islamic and the knock-on-effect is increasing hatred towards all minorities and moderates within Sunni Islam. Therefore, all minorities irrespective if Muslim or non-Muslim are facing the wrath of Sunni Islamism and this can be seen by attacks against Ahmadiyya Muslims, Shia Muslims, Hindus, Christians and against Sufi Islam.

When brave Sunni Muslim voices in Pakistan speak out like Salman Taseer, the former Governor of Punjab, then death follows. At the same time Christians have been burnt alive and an alleged Muslim blasphemer was also burnt alive recently. The most worrying aspect is that these crimes against humanity are not happening only in areas of chaos because of the power of several Islamist organizations – but it is happening within mainstream society.

This means that all the past funding of Sunni Islamism by nations who supported the war in Afghanistan, have collectively created a nightmare which was filled by the dreams of Saudi Arabia. It is clear that while the United States and United Kingdom were focusing on the sole issue of Afghanistan.  At no point did either nation appear to understand the dynamics of Sunni Islamism which were altering the religious and political landscape. Decades earlier in Afghanistan prior to outside meddling it was clear that women had much greater freedom and likewise indigenous Islam varied from region to region. However, the oppressive nature of chaos and hatred was alien and major cities like Kabul were places whereby individuals had ample choices.

Yet dangerous past political leaders in Pakistan like General Zia ul-Haq along with Saudi Arabia and its petro-dollars, would alter the dynamics within the Muslim world in this part of Asia. The repercussions continue today with various Sunni Islamist movements causing mayhem in Afghanistan and Pakistan respectively. At the same time the roles of women have suffered greatly in areas where Islamists have strong powerbases. Likewise, sectarianism, terrorism and weakened central states in Afghanistan and Pakistan, have followed the vacuum which was unleashed by powers which supported the international Sunni Islamist agenda in Afghanistan during the 1980s and early 1990s.

Therefore, in the last few days you have seen more Islamist attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan. On top of this, the US led invasion of Iraq which led to the exodus of vast numbers of Christians and other minorities, was also filled by Sunni Islamism. Iraq despite the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein was staunchly secular and internal terrorism was not a threat to the government based in Baghdad. However, once the US entered the equation then the vacuum once more was filled by various Islamist organizations including al-Qaeda. Also, just like September 11 was done by mainly Saudi Arabian nationals, this nation also witnessed the majority of foreign Islamists who went to Iraq in order to kill US soldiers and other allied forces, alongside killing the Shia.

The angle from Saudi Arabia was that the control mechanisms of the new Iraq had installed a Shia led government. For Sunni Islamists who follow the Wahhabi faith in Saudi Arabia this was tantamount to treachery. Once more, just like American citizens had been killed on September 11 because of mainly Saudi nationals, this time it was American soldiers who would die in the thousands because of Saudi Islamists and the funding that came from this nation irrespective if from organizations or because of wealthy individuals. The irony now, and a sad irony for American soldiers, was that the majority of American deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq were because of the policies of their so-called friends in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia respectively. Once more, however, the United States and elites within Washington appeared to allow this confused policy to stand by ignoring the ratlines that were killing their own soldiers.

Today Iraq falls into the “failed state domino system” that often follows outside meddling by other nations. Therefore, terrorism is a daily reality in Iraq, vast numbers of minorities have fled, women have suffered in parts of the country, the north is de-facto under Kurdish rule and sectarianism blights the nation state. However, political leaders once more in Washington have now unleashed another brutal vacuum in Syria despite the ongoing problems in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.

At no point during the leadership of Bashar al-Assad did religious minorities have to worry about their future prior to outside meddling. Likewise, women had freedoms that could only be dreamt about in Afghanistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and other nations within the US orbit in the Middle East.  Indeed, unlike in France which infringes on the way Muslim females must dress or in Switzerland which puts restrictions on Muslim places of worship – in Syria women decide how they want to dress and all religious faiths have places to worship.

However, the so-called “Arab Spring” was usurped by powerful forces and for Saudi Arabia and Qatar it was a time to fill the vacuum with Sunni Islamism. The Libya crisis once more is unleashing forces which are still ongoing and this applies to chaos and no central control. Alongside this is the destabilization of northern Mali because of forces unleashed by Libya. It is still too early to say which way the future will go in Libya but clearly Islamic terrorist groups and Islamist religious organizations are intent on filling the vacuum. In northern Mali they have already altered the landscape and clearly this area will be a base for further chaos throughout the region.

Syria therefore remained the most powerful and independent Arabic speaking nation which was staunchly secular and free from outside control. Neither America nor Saudi Arabia could pull the strings of this nation but once demonstrations began in Syria then outside forces soon entered. The emergence of “a ghost Free Syrian Army (FSA)” soon emerged rapidly just like the rise of the Kosovo Liberation Army and rebels in Libya. Clearly, all these forces rose far too quickly for them to be spontaneous therefore long-term policy objectives had been waiting in the wings to fill any vacuum that may emerge – or, to create a vacuum by unleashing powerful forces quickly.

From very early on in the Syrian crisis many soldiers were killed and clearly they were not killed by peaceful demonstrators. Bashar al-Assad admitted himself that mistakes were made in the early period but if it wasn’t for outside forces then the situation would have been contained. The crisis in Bahrain remains because the Shia feel neglected and forces within the Sunni population also have many misgivings. Despite the brutal crackdown in Bahrain it is clear that the death rate is much lower than Syria because no outside nation gave military arms to the demonstrators. On the contrary, Saudi Arabia was allowed to get involved in order to crush the uprising which was spontaneous.

In the case of Syria the nations of Saudi Arabia and Qatar are funding international terrorists and mercenaries. Also, Turkey is another aggressor to Syria because this nation is allowing the FSA and various Islamist organizations to have bases near the border with Syria. The CIA and Islamist agenda, unlike in Iraq and Afghanistan after September 11 (before this both were allies), have once more converged in order to destabilize Syria. Just like in Afghanistan it is clear that America’s only interest is to reduce the power of the Russian Federation and Iran respectively, with regards to geopolitics. However, just like in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan; the Saudi Arabia objective is Sunni Islamism and spreading the Wahhabi/Salafist version of Islam.

The upshot of all this is that Syria is being destabilized by many forces which are supporting sedition, sectarianism and terrorism. Once more, this policy is impacting on the region and Lebanon remains very delicate and terrorist attacks have also started to increase in Iraq. Now in modern day Syria both the FSA and Islamists are beheading people, killing minorities, killing Iraqi refugees who fled to Syria, killing individuals who support Bashar al-Assad, killing journalists and TV reporters. Recent videos taken by the FSA show dead people being thrown from rooftops and captured individuals being photographed before being murdered.

Collectively, the deaths that people are currently reading about in the news or seeing on television in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and now Syria; all relate to the policies based in Washington and whereby other allies like Saudi Arabia have funded the carnage. Pakistan also continues to be blighted by Islamism because of dangerous policies which were enacted by past leaders. Other nations like Mali and Lebanon are feeling these shockwaves while closer to home Islamists are also spreading radicalism in major cities throughout Europe. Therefore, the powerful tremors of the Siege of Mecca in 1979 when Juhayman al-Otaibi and his followers stormed Mecca continues to reverberate around the Islamic world within the religious arena.

This single event galvanized America and Saudi Arabia to further bankroll Sunni Islamic terrorists in Afghanistan and bordering regions of Pakistan from 1979 onwards and up until the demise of the Soviet Union. After all, the elites in Saudi Arabia needed a distraction and America was worried about the repercussions of this extremely important event. It could well be that internal convulsions in Saudi Arabia are also behind events in Syria just like what happened after the Siege of Mecca with Afghanistan. After all, it is clear that the Shia community and elements within the Sunni population are unhappy with the current leaders of Saudi Arabia. Likewise, Saudi Arabia is supporting sectarianism in Bahrain and Yemen respectively and this helps to fill the “restive Islamist void in Saudi Arabia.”

Irrespective of all the factors of why America, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, France, Turkey and the United Kingdom are destabilizing Syria; it is clear that the forces that they unleash and the vacuums that they create will not be able to be contained if central forces in Syria collapse. America is worried about this because of what happened in Iraq but clearly this nation allowed Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey to destabilize Syria. After all, these nations by themselves would have worried about the repercussions of supporting such a policy of destabilization. Yet clearly just like in Iraq it is Saudi Arabia and the spread of the dangerous Islamist ideology which will have the long-term influence if Syria succumbs to powerful forces being unleashed against this secular state.

One thing is for sure, the current carnage and daily terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Syria are all linked with the policies of Washington and the money emanating from Saudi Arabia. All the above nations were once mainly free from international terrorism (some happened from time to time) but once the United States and Saudi Arabia entered the equation then this all changed. The destabilization of Syria is following an all too familiar pattern and the same applies to the spread of terrorism and sectarianism once political elites in Washington and Riyadh get involved.

http://www.rt.com/news/syria-aleppo-post-video-476/ 

http://www.rt.com/news/syria-rebel-massacre-aleppo-627/

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

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Afghanistan and Syria: Even funeral processions are attacked by FSA and the Taliban

Afghanistan and Syria: Even funeral processions are attacked by FSA and the Taliban

Joachim de Villiers and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

 

The Taliban and Free Syrian Army (FSA) have much in common when it comes to car bombs, attacking funeral processions and beheading people. In recent times the brutal nature of the Taliban and FSA can be seen by scores of people being killed during funeral processions by both terrorist forces. Neither the Taliban nor the FSA respect the living or the dead instead they both spread their hatred to every fabric of society which is deemed permissible to attack.

Organizations and wealthy individuals in Saudi Arabia and Qatar who sponsor terrorism will share much in common with both the FSA and the Taliban. After all, these terrorist organizations are deemed to be “the soldiers of Sunni Islamic jihad” within the stark militancy of the countries where funding is easily obtained.

Of course, with the vast majority of individuals who did September 11 coming from Saudi Arabia alongside the largest forces of international Islamists fighting in Iraq coming from the same country; then the Saudi connection to international terrorism is more than obvious. At the same time both Saudi Arabia and Qatar are spreading the dangerous Salafi ideology whereby other Muslims are deemed to be infidels like non-Muslims. This means that other Muslims and non-Muslims are deemed to be subhuman and worthy of slaughter providing Islamist clerics sanction this murder.

The mass contradiction of spreading hatred to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Mali, Somalia and a host of other nations, doesn’t apply to the policies of individuals and organizations which fund Salafi indoctrination and terrorism. On the contrary, the mass contradiction applies to nations like America, France and the United Kingdom which deem the same terrorist forces to be either friends or foes depending on the given situation.

Therefore, while the nation of Syria is on the frontline of protecting secularism, the rights of women and protecting all religious minorities against the forces of terrorism and Islamist ideology. The hypocrites in Washington, London and Paris are on the same side of the brutal forces of Islamist terrorism, car bombing, sectarianism and other evil deeds against the government of Syria. Yet in Afghanistan, the very same nations which supported Islamist terrorism in the 1980s and early 1990s are now fighting the same forces they once supported. It is this schizophrenic policy which is most alarming because these Western powers clearly have no morals.

Given this reality, it is now open season against the government of Syria. This means that car bombings, killing minorities, attacking funeral processions, killing journalists and other brutal deeds by the FSA and Islamist factions like al-Qaeda; are all glossed over and manipulated by language and a compliant media which is also inciting hatred. However, for the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria (and other nations) it is clear that all terrorist attacks are evil and should be condemned. Not only this, all ratlines which are maintaining the flow of funding brutal terrorist organizations like the FSA, al-Qaeda and the Taliban should be eradicated where it is possible. However, when it comes to Syria it is clear that nations like America, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, the United Kingdom and France are enabling these Islamist and terrorist ratlines to spread their sectarian hatred to the people of Syria.

The latest Islamist terrorist attacks against funeral processions and ceremonies in Nangarhar (Afghanistan) and Jaramana (Syria) which is a suburb which is mainly Druze and Christian; highlights the brutal reality of Islamist terrorism whereby nothing is sacred. The FSA in Syria and its Islamist cohorts were behind the brutal attack in Damascus in the suburb of Jaramana. Meanwhile, the Taliban was behind the brutal carnage in Nangarhar whereby at least 25 civilians have perished. However, for policy makers in Washington, London and Paris then clearly they are in a flux and rely on the mass media to manipulate reality.

After all, how can world leaders in America, France and the United Kingdom condemn the brutal terrorist attack in Afghanistan but remain silent about the same crime in Syria because it was done by FSA forces they support? Islamists clearly have no principles when it comes to killing innocents but sadly the same can be said for political leaders who govern in Washington, London and Paris. After all, nobody expects morality to come out of Saudi Arabia under its brutal monarchy which supports killing all apostates and child marriage to old men. Yet why are democratic nations being dragged down to the same depravity which is spreading so much evil far and wide?

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

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Tokyo to decline by more than half by 2100: truth or scaremongering?

Tokyo to decline by more than half by 2100: truth or scaremongering?

Kanako Itamae, Pierre Leblanc and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Once more depressing figures released indicate the demise of Tokyo and Japan by 2100 whereby the population will be beyond recognition of what it is today. This is the stark warning according to another dramatic survey which can only see a static and moribund Japan which refuses to implement real social policies.

One interesting aspect of the survey which is negated is the reality of “a secular society” being over reliant on modernity, materialism, abortion and other aspects of the “new world.” It is clear that Japan does face major problems related to the birth rate and this latest survey relates to this. At the same time issues related to communication issues, hikikomori (social withdrawal), suicide and other areas of a social meltdown needs to be focused on.

Of course, issues related to long working hours, high cost of child rearing, new modern approaches to life and other complex factors; are all tearing apart at the declining birth rate in this country. Sadly, the Japanese government appears reluctant to help people who desire to have more than one or two children but who feel burdened to do so because of the financial hardship that this entails.

According to this bleak survey which was taken by seven academics and a number of bureaucrats, the population of Tokyo will decline to 7.13 million in 2100 from the current mark of over 13 million people. This is indeed dramatic because Tokyo and other major cities like Osaka and Nagoya are the backbone of this nation. Unlike many rural areas which are already suffering from declining populations.

Also, this will not be the end of the hollowing out because in 2100 it is predicted that the over 65 age group will account for roughly 45 per cent of the total population of Tokyo. This would indicate an even more severe crisis long after 2100 which would see the continuing demise of Tokyo and Japan itself.

According to alarming figures released by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, the overall decline of the population of Japan will be massive by 2100. Currently the population in 2012 is just over 127 million. However, according to the above institute this figure will decline rapidly to 49.59 million by 2100 based on current trends.

Despite this, it is difficult to believe that future governments will not do anything in order to alter the current birth rate crisis. Also, tinkering with immigration would help greatly in the short-term while refocusing on ways to help families afford to have more children. At the same time internal social movements may respond to the current declining population because the strains on the economy will be enormous if something isn’t done to alter the current situation.

In the past Japan was written off in many areas but despite this it is clear that this nation is helping the international community in many ways. This notably applies to helping the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, economic aid to developing nations and assisting the European Union during the current economic crisis.

If any nation can find a way to solve the many complex issues it faces, then Japan is a nation which can reinvent itself quickly. Therefore, while the current analysis applies to the reality of today, it doesn’t mean that the same reality will apply in the future.

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2012 in Japan

 

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Japanese ukiyo-e art and modern ladies in traditional dress

Japanese ukiyo-e art and modern ladies in traditional dress

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Ukiyo-e art in Japan focused on many themes during its “golden period” in the Edo period and carried on into the Meiji era. The world of Japan comes alive visually within many areas of ukiyo-e art because of the subjects covered. It matters not if this art applied to the rich cultural aspects of Japan or the floating world which was truly dramatic.

Sometimes in modern Tokyo and throughout Japan you will see ladies in traditional Japanese clothes during special occasions. When this happens it is often like “looking into a mirror of ukiyo-e” and seeing “a ghost from the past” but which is truly part of the modern world.

This in itself highlights the richness of ukiyo-e in the field of showing traditional ladies in their splendid best. It is also evidence that while Japan is ultra modern, the old world remains powerful even if within “mirages” of the original meaning. Either way, if based on tradition or “mirages,” it is still a noteworthy connection with the past.

Ogata Gekko produced many stunning images of elegant ladies posing in tradition dress. Of course, countless other amazing ukiyo-e artists also focused on the same theme. Therefore, the richness of ukiyo-e art depicts many images of art related to women and this applies to high culture, erotic art (shunga), beautiful ladies (bijinga), ghosts and other themes.

In an earlier article by myself which was published in Modern Tokyo Times I state that “The real power in these images, I believe, applies to simplicity and how space, time, cultural richness and modern Japanese women were being portrayed. Indeed, the ideal image in a sense can still be seen in modern Japan when ladies dress in traditional styles. This can be seen clearly because a lot of thought, high quality materials, color schemes and other important areas are connecting with the images which Ogata Gekko is showing.”

The world of Ogata Gekko witnessed many changes because of the onset of modernity but if he was to come back today, then he would witness glimpses of the old world. Likewise, Torii Kiyonaga (1752-1815) excelled in the area of bijinga because of his amazing details and intricacies.

Torii Kiyonaga is one of the many amazing artists who belonged to the Torii school of art. He emphasized many aspects of women and traditional dress. This applies to high culture, stratification, sexuality, morality, natural elegance, shunga, bijinga and other areas. The art of Torii Kiyonaga is widely appreciated and when viewing his art related to bijinga and seeing a modern lady in traditional dress in Japan, it is easy to connect both together.

Torii Kiyonaga also highlighted exquisite color schemes and amazing embroidery. This aspect of his art would fit in naturally within elegant boutiques in modern day Japan. The special detail and attention given by this amazing artist meant that he depicted elegant and refined ladies, who look extremely beautiful. Therefore, during special occasions in modern day Japan you can see aspects of the world of ukiyo-e artists in relation to traditional Japanese dress.

In places like the Meiji shrine in Harajuku and sophisticated parts of Japan which focus on tradition like Kyoto, Nara, Nikko and many other parts of this fascinating nation. You can peer into the world of ukiyo-e artists, areas of bijinga and ladies in traditional dress. The ghosts of the past therefore remain within “a living tradition” which comes alive during special occasions, or in specific parts of Japan where high culture and tradition remains strong.

 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

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Posted by on September 5, 2012 in Japan

 

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Remembering the fashion sector after the tragic tsunami which killed over 19,000 people

Remembering the fashion sector after the tragic tsunami which killed over 19,000 people 

Michel Lebon, Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The events of March 11, 2011, in Japan will forever be etched into the memory of this nation because of the utter devastation that followed. Over 19,000 people perished because of the tsunami which followed the 9.0 magnitude earthquake. Therefore, this event is now embedded within the psyche of Japan and this applies to both the trauma and the response to such devastation.

Internationally, countless nations supported Japan and likewise individuals, charities, organizations and various sectors gave generously to help the people who were hit the hardest. The fashion industry within Japan and outside of this country also supported the people of Tohoku. Likewise, the nuclear shadow meant that many people in the surrounding areas were also worried about this aspect. Given this reality, local fashion companies in Tokyo and other cities provided not only material support but also emotional support.

In Tokyo for example you had the Mighty Harajuku Project which was the brainchild of Sebastian Masuda (6% DOKIDOKI). While internationally powerful fashion houses responded to the tsunami in many different ways in order to support the people of Japan.

Often the fashion industry is portrayed to be “one dimensional” but clearly this sector is far from “one dimensional.” On the contrary, many within the fashion sector responded with care and sincerity. Giorgio Armani, and many other famous people within the fashion sector, showed the “heart of fashion” to the people of Japan.

Indeed, the deep shock of the tsunami and the enormous loss of life encouraged Giorgio Armani to show his deep respect of Japan. He did this during the Paris Fashion Week show in July of last year. During this major fashion event Giorgio Armani incorporated aspects of Japanese culture within his adorable designs.

In an earlier article by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “Funds being donated by Armani are much appreciated and the same applies to other famous fashion designers who have done so much to support the people of Japan. Often people only see a single dimension towards fashion and this applies to enhancing beauty.”

“Armani’s exclusive haute couture collection (Fall/Winter 2011-2012) during the Paris Fashion Week highlighted the rich heritage of Japan.  His amazing designs focused on dresses being based on the kimono-style, elegant floral prints on exquisite silk, kanzashi, elements of geisha, and other unique images of Japanese symbols were fused within the stunning Armani collection.”

It may appear that fashion and the tsunami are a million miles apart and in terms of what happened on this tragic day, then this is true. However, in other areas both events came together because fashion helped many people during the psychological stress process and lack of confidence related to the nuclear crisis. Therefore, fashion for many people was “therapeutic” and a way of fighting back against so much trauma and despondency.

Financially, then all economic support was welcomed because many communities were devastated by the brutal tsunami. Alongside the financial aspect was a feeling that other people all over the world truly cared about the plight of people who had been hit the hardest. Once more this helped in the area of psychology.

In the past Japan had been a place for famous international brands to “make hay” and since this tragic event the fashion sector is once more buzzing in this country. In this sense, many international fashion companies and individuals were highlighting their deep appreciation related to past and current connections which remain strong. Giorgio Armani commented that he had been “profoundly moved by the tragic events” related to March 11, 2011.

Giorgio Armani’s fashion show titled the Hommage au Japon meant that his entire fashion collection highlighted the natural beauty of Japanese culture within amazing styles. This genuine warmth was appreciated deeply within the fashion sector in Japan and among lay people who adore the fashion sector. Like usual, the collection highlighted the panache of the individual who created such a stunning fashion display.

Overall, many within the international fashion sector showed their love of Japan by providing many different types of support. This applies to economic support, psychological factors, a collective feeling of humanity, showing the people of Japan that they weren’t alone during this tragic period and in other vital areas.

 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

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Why no US sanctions against France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UK for supporting FSA terrorism?

Why no US sanctions against France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UK for supporting FSA terrorism?

Murad Makhmudov and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The United States after the barbaric attack by mainly Saudi citizens on September 11 stated that they would adopt a policy aimed at crushing terrorism. If so, will France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UK face American sanctions for supporting the brutal terrorist policies of the Free Syrian Army (FSA)? This is a fair question because the FSA is behind countless terrorist attacks including killing politicians, targeting journalists, using car bombs to slaughter innocents and other vile deeds.

Individuals may or may not support the government of Syria; however, this isn’t the point. At no time in recent history was a terrorist organization like the FSA supported openly by so many governments. The United States is clearly involved in CIA covert acts against Syria and this is notable in Turkey because of the geopolitical reality. However, despite this the Obama administration is at pains to distance itself from al-Qaeda and other Islamist networks which are also causing carnage in Syria. This doesn’t mean that members in the Obama administration don’t welcome the Islamist angle at the moment but given the sensitivity over September 11, then actions must be based on being cunning and manipulating the media.

VIDEO EVIDENCE AGAINST THE FSA AND ISLAMIST NETWORKS – (WARNING – VERY GRAPHIC)

http://rt.com/news/syria-aleppo-post-video-476/

http://rt.com/news/syria-rebel-massacre-aleppo-627/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jPCvRp4m6Y&feature=plcp

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFkLszQMzts&feature=plcp

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoa0bJ7lc0I

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mSaRxBBm4c&feature=plcp&bpctr=1346170134

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALnQLDQnoQI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jVinYRbglo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GNEihwHkf8

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are clearly supporting sedition and the knock on effect of this is sectarianism and terrorism. Likewise, the former leader of France and the new leader have openly sided with the FSA against the government of Syria. This is despite the vile acts of the patchwork of terrorists and mercenaries within the FSA. After all, the FSA have killed religious minorities, done car bombs, killed journalists, assassinated political ministers, beheaded individuals, killed Iraqi refugees in Damascus – and a whole array of evil deeds.

The United Kingdom appears to be following the path chosen by the Obama administration. This applies to condemning the Syria government and armed forces while remaining muted when the FSA is blamed for killing people. Also, just like America, it is clear that British covert operatives are utilizing the many links with regional nations. However, political leaders in London and Paris appear to want to intervene militarily on the side of terrorism but both nations want the full support of America before stepping over the direct interventionist line.

Media outlets continue to shame themselves by adopting a constant policy of incitement against Syria. Likewise, Human Rights Watch (HRW) appears to be the “political wing” of the FSA by constantly condemning the Syrian government while remaining muted about the vile deeds of the FSA. Indeed, by mentioning massacres from time to time by the FSA some media outlets and HRW are trying to cover their tracks but clearly media corporations and many human rights organizations are playing their part in inciting hatred.

Tony Cartalucci (Land Destroyer Report) comments that It was recently pointed out that the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) currently arming, funding, and commanding entire brigades of the so-called “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) is designated an Al Qaeda affiliate by the United Nations pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011), in addition to being listed by both the US State Department and the UK Home Office (page 5, .pdf) as a foreign terrorist organization and a proscribed terrorist organization respectively.”

“This means that the United States, the UK, NATO, and the Gulf State despots of Saudi Arabia and Qatar are knowingly and willfully funding designated affiliates of Al Qaeda contrary not only to US and British anti-terror legislation, but contrary to UN resolutions as well. Western and Gulf State support of the FSA constitutes state sponsorship of terrorism. Should the UN fail to enforce its own resolutions, while playing host to further sanctions and considerations for military intervention against the Syrian government, it will have entirely resigned its legitimacy and authority as nothing more than a tool of Western corporate-financier interests.”

The above comment raises the already known fact that American ratlines to FSA terrorism is in “a very dark and deep danger zone.” It is difficult to image after September 11 that any American administration would side openly with international terrorism. However, the role of Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and many others in covering up the crimes of the FSA while bridging international support for this vile terrorist organization, is not only sickening but it raises deeply disturbing issues.

After all, what is the point in offering “American soldiers to Islamists” in Afghanistan and Iraq respectively, if the same evil forces are then supported to topple a secular government in Syria? Are the deaths of thousands of American soldiers so cheap?  It should be raising serious questions in America because now the same Islamists who were fighting American troops in Iraq are now being allowed to enter Syria courtesy of the friends of America in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Clearly the recent terrorist attack which killed many people during a funeral procession means little to political circles in Ankara, Doha, London, Paris, Riyadh and Washington. Therefore, the FSA is showing the world that democratic nations are openly siding with feudal monarchies in Qatar and Saudi Arabia in funding and supporting this brutal terrorist organization. It means that to the above political elites that killing minorities, beheading people who support the Syrian government, hanging individuals, car bombs, destroying Christian areas, inciting massacres against the Alawites, political assassination, killing journalists who support the Syrian government and a whole array of barbaric acts is not only being tolerated but it is being supported.

If the United States is serious about defeating the forces of terrorism then firstly this nation should be putting sanctions on France, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. After this, then political elites in Washington involved in ratlines should be charged with spreading terrorism in Syria. Of course, this isn’t going to happen and clearly September 11 this year is an event which is going to be politicized by the same forces supporting terrorism, sectarianism and sedition against Syria.

The mainly Christian Karen forces in Myanmar have been fighting for decades against various governments of this nation. However, this organization isn’t supported openly because the “wrong religion” to elites in Riyadh and Washington. Also, they don’t go around beheading people and video-taping their crimes. This rebel movement isn’t brutal enough to be supported despite their cause being based on ethnic and religious persecution.

The madness of the FSA is that political elites in Washington, Paris, London, Ankara, Riyadh and Doha have all sunk to new lows and this says a lot given the past history of these respective nations. Therefore, it is currently open season against secular Syria and the various minorities of this nation whereby a rich civilization faces Talibanization and utter brutality. Media agencies and HRW have all jumped on the bandwagon and now they resemble the “FSA party machinery.” Moscow is disgusted that nations are supporting sectarianism, terrorism and sedition but while their words of rebuke can be heard the same terrorist ratlines keep on increasing.

In a world based on international law and “the genuine fight against terrorism” then America would firstly put its allies in the “political dock” and then enter elites within America in “the same dock.” However, in the world of reality it is clear that the FSA can behead people, hang loyalists, do car bombs, kill government politicians, invade major cities to spread more carnage, attack people at funerals, kill refugees, kill journalist, torture people, cleanse Christians and target anyone deemed to be an enemy. If this is the new world order then God help the next country which will be targeted by evil forces in Washington, London, Paris, Ankara, Doha and Riyadh.

 

http://landdestroyer.blogspot.jp/2012/08/uk-sends-5-million-to-listed-terrorists.html

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

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