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Japanese art and Keisai Eisen: Reality and unreality and the View of Shogetsu Pond

Japanese art and Keisai Eisen: Reality and unreality and the View of Shogetsu Pond

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

If one views the stunning image of the View of Shogetsu Pond by Keisai Eisen, then only images of tranquility, order and a nation at peace comes to mind. It appears that nature, order and a majestic rural life fits smoothly together. Therefore, one can easily depict an image of idealism whereby nature and humanity blend together.

Likewise, if we take this image by itself and try to analyze the artist from such a scenic piece of art, then it would appear that the artist was at peace with himself. After all, buildings are in the background and the natural towering strength of the mountains in the distance seems to imply order and control. Also, the individuals in this piece of art seem in a natural order and the same applies to the pond, trees and every single aspect of the View of Shogetsu Pond.

However, looks can easily be deceiving because the artist Keisai Eisen faced many demons related to drink and owning a brothel. This reality seems a million miles away from the delightful scenery of the View of Shogetsu Pond.

Yet, Keisai Eisen was also known for wit and one never really knows how deep his drinking was. Likewise, was the brothel the “real deal” or something that the artist played up in order to generate rumors and whispers? In this sense, just like the image of the View of Shogetsu Pond, it is clear that many things are a mirage in life but often people change mirages and believe that they are true.

Or, it could just be that Keisai Eisen was disillusioned with the trappings of life. Therefore, this piece of art represents a distant desire within his soul. Yet, of course this is nothing more than pure speculation. In saying that, it is speculation which the artist would appreciate because he was blessed with so many talents related to art and writing.

Keisai Eisen once stated that he was “…a hard-drinking, rather dissolute artist.” This statement is clearly a mirage to reality. After all, Keisai Eisen was blessed with so many skills in the field of art and writing. He clearly knew that many individuals thought highly about his skills and this statement suits the wit of this amazing artist.

Turning back to the brothel comment then it is factual that this type of business did exist in Nezu, Tokyo. Yet, the reasons related to the usage and the role of Keisai Eisen remains debatable. Many individuals have stated various statements about the reality of this brothel. However, these comments are often conflicting. Therefore, speculation remains the order of the day with regards to the true nature of his role in this brothel.

It also could be that the View of Shogetsu Pond by Keisai Eisen lacked any real meaning to the artist. Yet, if you view this one majestic piece of art by itself, then it is nice to dream and think deeply. In this sense, the image and nature of Keisai Eisen represent the mirages of life whereby individuals try to understand the bigger picture. However, in the distance of time, then does the bigger picture mean anything?

http://www.viewingjapaneseprints.net/texts/ukiyoetexts/ukiyoe_pages/eisen3.html 

http://www.artelino.com/articles/keisai-eisen.asp 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com 

http://moderntokyotimes.com 

 

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2012 in Japan

 

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China, Japan and South Korea fashion show was more than just style and culture

China, Japan and South Korea fashion show was more than just style and culture

Kanako Itamae, Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

China just held the East Asia fashion show in Beijing and the venue was given extra importance because of the current status of Japan and China relations. Indeed, tensions have also increased between Japan and South Korea because of similar issues related to territory and ownership. Therefore, the East Asia fashion show was a timely reminder that outside of the political realm you have enormous sanity.

Junko Koshino, a Japanese fashion designer, commented that “Politics and culture are essentially different…We will go down together if we remain affected by political fallout.”

This statement may be a little over dramatic because while trade and cordial ties are obviously important between the three nations involved in the East Asia fashion show. It is also factual that each nation is blessed with a diverse trading angle and in times of crisis each respective nation will respond by implementing diversification. Of course, hiccups will occur on the way and this isn’t desired but clearly the sentiments behind the statement by Junko Koshino were deeply appreciated.

China is “the new kid on the block” when it comes to fashion because of past constraints by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Yet since the economic reforms of Deng Xiaoping (1904-1997) under his leadership, then China began to open up in the economic arena. Following on from this came the loosening of outside influence because greater openness became the norm and a new China emerged.

Therefore, not only did the domestic nature of fashion in China change but also with each passing year more and more international boutiques desire to enter the vast market of this nation. In South Korea K-pop (Korean pop music) is making waves both regionally and internationally. Not surprisingly, the fashion angle is also starting to blossom outside of South Korea because of the growing awareness of culture from this nation. This isn’t surprising because Korean culture is extremely rich.

Japan, of course, is internationally famous for fashion and this applies to various angles. For example, from elegant and refined fashion designers to kawaii (cute) culture and many subcultures within major cities like Tokyo and Osaka. Likewise, the quality of Japanese fashion is extremely elegant and the fabrics used are of the highest when it comes to high-end fashion in this nation. One only needs to visit trendy fashion districts like Aoyama, Ginza, Harajuku, Ikebukuro, Omotesando, Shibuya, Yurakucho, and many other parts of Tokyo, to understand the power of fashion within this country.

The East Asia fashion show didn’t disappoint because Beijing pulled out all the stops in order to make it a great success. Exquisite designs and the richness of culture were clearly visible because China, Japan and South Korea are blessed with fabulous designers. Also, areas like Confucius values are shared easily between all these nations despite the impact of modernity and new influences which have entered each nation.

Zhang Zhifeng from China and Chang Kwang-hyo from South Korea also echoed the sentiments of Junko Koshino. Therefore, these three amazing fashion designers, and other important individuals who participated in this fashion show; highlighted the need to build new bridges in order to overcome political obstacles.

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2012 in ASIA, Japan

 

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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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Japan and North Korea need to go the extra mile in order to lay the path ahead

Japan and North Korea need to go the extra mile in order to lay the path ahead

Ri Kuk-Chol and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Japan and North Korea have had a frosty relationship for far too long and it is hoped that officials from both nations will have laid the foundation stone for genuinely turning the corner. Of course, expectations are not too high because of countless stumbling blocks on both sides. However, if officials from Japan and North Korea can overcome genuine concerns and at least start to “walk together,” even if not in complete unison, then this will be positive.

North Korea must understand that negative relations with Japan only serve the enemies of Pyongyang. Likewise, political leaders in Tokyo have recently witnessed the “nationalist switch” in China and South Korea respectively. Therefore, it is clear in Tokyo that the only “trusted friend” in the region is Taiwan. Yet if the “Chinese economic bandwagon” one day swallows this island economically, then even this solace may be taken away.

The Russian Federation is also a central nation in the geopolitical reality of Northeast Asia and throughout other parts of Asia. After all, political elites in Moscow fully understand the geopolitical importance of Central Asia and developing strong ties with China and India respectively. At the same time the geopolitical importance of Mongolia is fully understood in the Russian Federation. Therefore, Japan should overcome its petty nationalist tendencies towards this major power and seek a solution to the disputed areas, which continue to hinder a powerful friendship based on mutual trust.

Turning back to events covering the talks today between officials from Japan and North Korea, it is obvious that both nations need to “break their respective chains.” The new political leader in North Korea can show the world that he is open to sweeping geopolitical changes alongside supporting genuine economic reforms with the help of China. Given this reality, Kim Jong-un can genuinely try to reach the masses based on the similar motives of Deng Xiaoping in China when he came to power.

The Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan, Osamu Fujimura, stated prior to the meeting that “The abduction issue will be included as a matter of course.” Likewise, Koichiro Gemba, Foreign Minister of Japan, spoke in a similar vein when he stated that “We’d like to ask the North Korean side to positively work on pending issues between the two countries including the abduction issue.”

However, despite the seriousness of this issue it is clear that political leaders in Tokyo must move towards a more broad approach. Surely, other more important issues like the nuclear angle, geopolitical concerns, testing military hardware and building economic bridges must outweigh the continuing stumbling blocks. Once other developments move forward then naturally North Korea will be more forthcoming.

Japan must understand that millions of Koreans died defending Korean nationalism from Japanese imperialism and then against American aggression during the Korean War. After the brutal Korean War the United States then supported successive authoritarian governments in South Korea before the onset of democracy in this nation. It is too easy to point the finger at North Korea but the reality is that all nations have their own histories and outside forces led to a siege mentality in Pyongyang – but this siege mentality was not based on whims but on hard facts related to history.

Japan and North Korea need to forgo the historical and political obstacles in order to radically alter the situation. Osamu Fujimura stated that “We have been working based on the principle of settling the unfortunate past and on restoring normal relations.”

The new leader of North Korea showed sincerity by allowing a group of nationals from Japan to reclaim loved ones who died because of the tragic events of World War Two. Sadao Masaki, who is part of this group, commented that “Things have proceeded to a stage that is beyond what we had even hoped for. We are extremely grateful.”

In another article by Modern Tokyo Times about relations between Japan and North Korea, it was stated thatSome analysts are indicating that North Korea is reaching out because of current tensions between Japan and other regional nations based on territorial issues. For example harsh comments have been made by the leader of South Korea towards Japan in recent times. However, this is too cynical because the new leader of North Korea must be judged on what happens during his leadership.”

Analysts in Japan and North Korea are eagerly awaiting the outcome and clearly major powers throughout the region will be watching events closely. It is only hoped that political leaders in Japan and North Korea will move forward by showing sincerity and mutual respect.

 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

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Tokyo fashion and vibrant Beijing: Roberto Cavalli and expansion in Northeast Asia

Tokyo fashion and vibrant Beijing: Roberto Cavalli and expansion in Northeast Asia

Kanako Itamae, Michel Lebon and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Roberto Cavalli towards late 2011 opened a new store in the exquisite area of Aoyama in Tokyo. Other companies like Akris, Bally, Freitag and many more also targeted the vibrant city of Tokyo in the same year. In 2012 the continuing growth of Roberto Cavalli can be seen throughout Northeast Asia by the recent opening of a new store in Beijing, China.

It is clear that in recent years the popularity of major cities in China like Beijing and Shanghai, and a host of others, are attracting the crème de la crème of international fashion companies. Therefore, Roberto Cavalli recently opened the first phase of a new store in the vibrant city of Beijing.

Roberto Cavalli commented that “Beijing is becoming one of the most vibrant and glamorous capitals in the world. It was time to open a Roberto Cavalli boutique to give the possibility to my many Chinese fans to discover my world in its entirety. For years, the most beautiful movie actresses of this country have loved wearing my collections on the international red carpet … Now my fashion and my style will be accessible to all. The femininity and beauty of Asian women has always inspired me …”

It is clear that Roberto Cavalli speaks from the heart because his words hit a chord immediately. When Roberto Cavalli spoke about Tokyo he stated that “Tokyo is on the world’s stage of fashion, glamour, and sophistication.  This is a city of energy and inspiration.” He continued by stating that “I wanted to create a boutique in which elegance dominates, for both women and for men, in a welcoming and exclusive atmosphere, in which each person can totally fulfill their dreams and desires. I have always been extremely interested in Japanese culture…..”

Therefore, the vibrant reality of both Beijing and Tokyo appealed greatly to Roberto Cavalli. Equally important alongside the trendy reality of both major cities is the purchasing power which is enormous. Also, like Roberto Cavalli commented For years, the most beautiful movie actresses of this country have loved wearing my collections,” and now his new collections are open to the people of Beijing and Tokyo.

The new Roberto Cavalli store in Beijing is based in the highly acclaimed arcade area of the Peninsula Hotel. Therefore, just like Roberto Cavalli picked Aoyama in Tokyo because of sophistication, style, and the richness of architecture. He also decided on this part of Beijing because it is known for exquisite brands which sell luxury products to eager clients.

April 18, 2012, was the initial opening time whereby the first phase was implemented and the second phase is hoping to be finished by early 2013. It is reported that once everything is put into place then Roberto Cavalli will visit Beijing.

In an article published on http://fibre2fashion.com it is stated that “The Beijing store hosts the women’s and men’s prêt-à-porter collections, as well as the accessories, eyewear, perfumes, time-wear and kidswear collections. The layout of the space has been specifically designed in such a way to emphasize the various product categories present in the store.”

Once everything is completed then the ground floor will cater for fashionable ladies and the basement area will cater for stylish men who adore quality in abundance. Also, the store will provide a special VIP room whereby individuals will be fully cared for in their requests for finding new and beautiful clothes. At the same time, great detail will be put on the design of the store and the same applies to the layout. Therefore, for fashion lovers it will be a great experience in trendy Beijing.

In an earlier article by Modern Tokyo Times related to why Roberto Cavalli picked Aoyama in Tokyo it was stated that “Also, you have stylish and exquisite shopping stores in this exclusive fashion district which includes Boutique W, Dress Camp, Flair Aoyama, Loveless and other stunning shopping stores. Therefore, Roberto Cavalli picked an ideal location because the proximity of Aoyama to Omotesando, Harajuku and Shibuya means the entire area is awash with creativity, exquisite boutiques, energy, sophistication, changing styles and one long and continuous fashion scene, which would grace any major city in the world.

Therefore, it is clear that Roberto Cavalli thought deeply before picking ideal locations for his new stores in Beijing and Tokyo. True to nature, he picked places based on sophistication, grace and panache.

 

 

Roberto Cavalli Aoyama Boutique, SS Minami Aoyama 1/2F, 5-5-4.

http://www.robertocavalli.com/

www.net-a-porter.com/Roberto_Cavalli

AOYAMA SHOPPING LINKS TO HELP TOKYOITES AND TOURISTS

http://www.japan-hotels.ws/tokyo/aoyama/shopping.htm

http://www.aoyama-net.com/fashionmap/index.htm  – Map of where the fashions companies are

http://tokyofashion.com/tag/aoyama/    – Aoyama fashion

http://www.fibre2fashion.com/news/fashion-news/newsdetails.aspx?news_id=110224

Lee Jay Walker helped in the article related to background information.

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com  

http://moderntokyotimes.com 

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2012 in ASIA, EUROPE, Japan

 

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Tokyo Times and Fashion, Anime and Otaku Culture (part one)

Tokyo Times and Fashion, Anime and Otaku Culture (part one)

Hiroshi Saito, Michel Lebon and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Tokyo lifestyle is an amazing experience for Tokyoites, tourists and expatriates. The wealth of choices and things to do is boundless. Another amazing feature is that unlike many famous international cities in the world, this ultra-modern capital is extremely safe compared with certain no-go areas in parts of London, Paris, Los Angeles, and so forth, which all have zones of danger. Therefore, the Tokyo “magnet” keeps on drawing people into this fantastic city.

This article is the first of many related to Tokyo lifestyle and places to visit. After all, the huge pulling power of Tokyo applies within Japan and internationally. Also, the unique features of Tokyo are often in the news therefore many people feel a connection with this city and want to know so much more.

If individuals adore fashion then of course they will visit countless districts in this high octane city. The first recommendation is Omotesando because this part of Tokyo shares the same “fashion hub” which belongs to Aoyama, Harajuku, and Shibuya. The sheer size of this enormous “fashion hub” is a wonder to behold.

In Aoyama and Omotesando you will find the crème de la crème of fashion companies and of course Harajuku and Shibuya are equally blessed with some of the finest boutiques to be found in the world. The main difference is that while Harajuku and Shibuya have a noticeable youthful angle which endears teenagers and young adults, the Omotesando and Aoyama angle is mainly based on sophistication.

In saying that, the backstreets of Omotesando are also blessed with independent boutiques which cater for young adults. This especially applies to the casual angle and the power of American fashion mixed with Tokyo fashion can be felt richly. However, the main emphasis in Omotesando and Aoyama applies to the age group between the middle of the twenties to the early forties. Of course, individuals who are younger and older are fully catered for despite the above age group being the target area.

Indeed, the sophistication of some of the boutiques and high price ranges in Aoyama and Omotesando – means that purchasing power of the most exquisite designer clothes is the main focus and not specifically the age group. Of course, this will exclude the target angle being teenagers within the main areas which are blessed with adorable boutiques of extreme quality. Therefore, more mature adults will have ample opportunities to buy adorable items and purchase other top quality fashion goods in Omotesando and Aoyama.

The electric vibe of Omotesando is most noticeable because it is a place to explore and enjoy. Omotesando Hills and Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku (Omohara) have altered the landscape of old Omotesando. However, both fantastic malls cater for fashion lovers and other areas related to lifestyle in Tokyo.

One major feature of major cities like Tokyo and Osaka is the reality of anime and otaku culture. In Tokyo you have many fantastic places to visit in order to fulfill your anime and otaku love affair. One essential shop to visit is Mandrake which is the number one company in Japan for secondhand items related to anime, manga and otaku culture. This company can be found throughout Japan.

Mandrake (http://ekizo.mandarake.co.jp/shop/en/caters for magazines, hentai comics, art books, cosplay, photography, Bishojo figures, Yaoi doujinshi (brand new and second hand), and a host of other areas. The CEO of this company commented that Our mission is to take over the world using manga and otaku things” While Mandrake can be found throughout Tokyo and Japan, the store in Nakano in Tokyo is special because of its history related to this vibrant company.

Another fantastic company to visit is Animate which is located in Ikebukuro. Indeed, Ikebukuro fashion is also fantastic. This notably applies to fashion malls including Lumine, Esola, Marui, Parco, Tobu Department Store and Seibu Department Store. Also, you have other areas which focus on casual fashion therefore Ikebukuro is awash with fashion companies catering for many different styles.

Turning back to Animate then Patrick Macias in The Guardian (UK newspaper) states that Animate is“specifically catering to female otaku.”  He further comments that the “Eight floors are mostly populated by otaku teens and young adults, and filled with the requisite anime goods and merchandise, but the real selling point here is the large selection of homoerotic-themed manga and novels from the “boy’s love” genre, a popular and influential subculture within a subculture.” 

Animate (http://www.animate.co.jp/) also appeals because unlike the relentless hustle and bustle of this scene in Akihabara, this store is a treasure by itself within a vibrant fashion district in Tokyo. The angle of catering for female otaku is also an added bonus along with selling products which cater for otaku fans in general.

Overall, it is clear that Tokyo lifestyle is extremely diverse and this article only delves into a small area of life in Tokyo. However, Tokyo lifestyle is blessed by the reality of fashion and otaku culture irrespective if this angle appeals to individuals or not. Without such a vibrant fashion and otaku culture then Tokyo wouldn’t be the same place.

All fashion images taken by Modern Tokyo Times.

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2012 in Japan

 

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Japanese art and Kamisaka Sekka: Rimpa, modernism and European influence

Japanese art and Kamisaka Sekka: Rimpa, modernism and European influence

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The artist Kamisaka Sekka (1866-1942) is one of the most mysterious Japanese artists to have hit the international world of art. This applies to his magical artwork which expresses the finer aspects of traditional Japanese art but fused with modernism and the impact of European art. Therefore, Kamisaka Sekka was an artist which belonged equally to the old world and new world of art which was impacting on the Japanese art scene.

Kamisaka Sekka was born in the cultural city of Kyoto and one can only imagine the splendor he must have witnessed in his early life. This similarly applies to the stunning reality of Kansai and places like Nara and Koyasan where religion, traditions and Japanese high culture, remains vibrant in the modern world.

The internal convulsions that hit Japan after the Meiji Restoration in 1868 radically altered the body politic of this nation. Indeed, Kamisaka Sekka lived in a period blighted by regional wars and major international wars. This reality highlights the convulsions that were sweeping through many nations whereby nationalism, capitalism, the colonial period, communism, technological innovations, religion, secularism, and so many different forces, were shaping the world for either the better or worse.

However, in the field of art then the same period provided enormous opportunities for Japanese artists to study various different art forms and to travel the world. Kamisaka Sekka would indeed travel to learn about new concepts and to open-up his artistic horizons to an even greater level. True to the nature of Kamisaka Sekka he gained enormously from his travels and studying about new art forms. However, he never lost sight of the power of Rimpa and the inner beauty of Japanese art.

From a very early age it was clear that Kamisaka Sekka was blessed with amazing artistic skills. In the early period he focused heavily on the traditions of Japanese Rimpa. However, he was always open to new art forms and styles. Therefore, modernism and traditions fused naturally together within his heart and this is the beauty of Kamisaka Sekka.

In an earlier article about Kamisaka Sekka I state that “In 1910 the Japanese government sent Kamisaka Sekka to the United Kingdom and while he stayed in Glasgow the Art Nouveau style would influenced him greatly. Kamisaka Sekka was also fascinated by Japonisme and he wanted to understand the attraction of Japanese art in the West and which areas appealed the most. Therefore, his time in Glasgow was most rewarding because his studies enlightened him in many areas.”

Also, the trip to Glasgow in 1910 further cemented his deep admiration of aspects of European art. His earlier trip to Europe in 1901 had impacted greatly on Kamisaka Sekka because the Paris International Exposition opened up his eyes to new fresh ideas and concepts.”

One can only imagination how the environment of Kyoto and his studies of Rimpa masters who blessed the Japanese art world had impacted on Kamisaka Sekka. Added to this were major Western art forms like Impressionism and Art Nouveau which reached his heart. Also, Kamisaka Sekka was fascinated about the impact of Japanese art on Western art. Therefore, in a world being torn apart by nationalism and politics you had artists like Kamisaka Sekka who studied the beauty of humanity and the power of different cultures.

The Art Institute of Chicago comments that “Centuries-old schools of art, such as the decorative Rimpa style with its quintessential Japanese literary and seasonal themes, had become unfashionable. To help keep the country’s unique artistic culture afloat, the government established a policy to upgrade the status of traditional artists that encouraged them to infuse their craft with a dose of modernism. Consequently, in 1910 Sekka was sent abroad to Glasgow, where he was heavily influenced by Art Nouveau. He came home to teach at the newly opened Kyoto Municipal School of Arts and Crafts. Thanks to Sekka, the Rimpa tradition remains a signature of Kyoto design to this day.”

Kamisaka Sekka highlights how individuals can learn new artistic thought patterns and art forms but remain within the initial environment despite fusing new ideas. He truly is an international artist who pushed new internal boundaries in order to produce stunning pieces of art. Therefore, when viewing his finest pieces of art you can feel many different things related to the past and modernity. This quality was done in a way which was not only natural but is strikingly unique and beautiful.

Many amazing artists have been born in Japan and without a shred of doubt Kamisaka Sekka belongs to the crème de la crème of Japanese art. His creativity and connection with the old world and modernism enabled him to reach new heights and to highlight many artistic angles.

 

http://www.vlinder-01.dds.nl/cdr/other%20art/sekka.htm

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2012 in EUROPE, Japan

 

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Tokyo Times and Lifestyle in Kichijoji: Fashion and Living Environment

Tokyo Times and Lifestyle in Kichijoji: Fashion and Living Environment

Sarah Deschamps, Kanako Itamae and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Tokyo lifestyle provides a wealth of different options which appeal to different individuals. The district of Kichijoji is one of many lovely places to reside in Tokyo which is blessed with a lovely fashion district and places to relax. Therefore, this part of Tokyo is certainly blessed with huge pulling power and appeals greatly to many Tokyoites.

In many ways the feel to Kichijoji resembles the lifestyle of Shimokitazawa, Nakano and Jiyugaoka. Of course each district is very different with regards to design, layout, options available, and so forth. However, the fashion angle and independent feel certainly shares a similar background.

Likewise, these districts are far from the madding crowds of Harajuku, Ikebukuro, Omotesando, Shibuya, and Shinjuku. Therefore, you have a certain “community spirit” which still survives along with all the trappings of modernity. Also, with these fashionable and trendy areas being smaller in size then people can relax and enjoy the respective environments of Kichijoji, Shimokitazawa, Nakano, and Jiyugaoka.

Indeed, the lovely layout of Kichijoji means that people can relax while enjoying the ample shopping options which are provided. Independent boutiques and the fashion angle appeals greatly. Similarly, you have many nice café bars, restaurants and places to visit in order to enjoy the refined nightlife.

The fashion angle caters for people of all ages but Kichijoji also attracts the younger generation because of the vibrant fashion scene. After all, individuals often find “a hidden gem of a boutique” in the alleyways and shopping streets which may have been missed before. Therefore, the attraction of exquisite fashion, relaxing coffee shops, fancy restaurants and a stunning park are luring people to this stylish district in Tokyo.

Inokashira Koen (park) is a beautiful place to relax and think about the finer things in life. This adorable park appeals to friends, romantic couples, families, individuals, office workers and the whole array of factors which apply to beautiful open spaces. Also, Inokashira Koen works elegantly with the quaint alleyways and independent stores selling unique products.

The nightlife of Kichijoji is also vibrant and attracts the younger generation and people who adore music. Therefore, you have many places to enjoy live house, blues bars, jazz kissa (jazz coffee shops) and so much more. Kichijoji is known for the musical angle and this spark also enhances the lovely vibe about this part of Tokyo.

When everything is considered it is clear that the lifestyle of Kichijoji appeals to people of all age groups. Also, this vibrant district is blessed with a lovely fashion and musical angle which is extremely appealing. The central location area is busy because of department stores and boutiques. However, this soon changes when you walk around the alleyways and explore the many features of Kichijoji whereby people can relax at the pace they desire.

Kichijoji is a fantastic place to reside and likewise it is a great place to visit. Overall, the lifestyle is vibrant in the main central area. However, the quaintness in other parts of this district appeals greatly to people who adore a more tranquil life.

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com 

http://moderntokyotimes.com 

 

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2012 in Japan

 

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Tokyo and anime Bill 156: After more than 1 year and no real impact

Tokyo and anime Bill 156: After more than 1 year and no real impact

James Jono, Hiroshi Saito and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

 

The Governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, was adamant that Bill 156 would stem the tide of extreme sexual depictions of children in Japanese anime and manga. Other individuals countered that Bill 156 would infringe on artists and other forms of freedom by enforcing censorship throughout Tokyo. Therefore, both sides were extremely divided by the new measure which was introduced last year on July 1, 2011.

More than one year later in 2012 and it is clear that Bill 156 is either currently ineffective or that individuals with enforcement powers don’t believe that Bill 156 is being violated. Either way, the bullish comments about clamping down on extreme images of minors which can be found in some areas of Japanese anime and manga, appears not to have been materialized.

The Daily Yomiuri, one of the most powerful newspapers in Japan, commented in their article titled “No manga banned by Tokyo as too racy” comments that One year since Tokyo’s youth protection ordinances were revised to prevent the sale of anime and manga containing extreme sexual content to minors, not one publication has been deemed unfit for consumption.”

“Ryokichi Yama, head of the editing ethics committee at the Japan Magazine Publishers Association, which has more than 90 domestic publishers among its members, said the Tokyo government has not applied the new standard to any publications because it is cautious.”

Shintaro Ishihara believes differently because according to him individuals who are in the trade related to sexual images, stories, graphics, and so on, are acting more responsible. Therefore, Shintaro Ishihara states that“Writers and publishers have started using common sense when it comes to publishing books.”

This statement appears rather mild given the comments made by Shintaro Ishihara prior to the enactment of Bill 156. More than likely, both sides have responded in a mutually beneficial way which will maintain the vibrancy of Japanese anime and manga. After all, racy anime and manga can easily be bought in Tokyo and given the mass complexities of regulating a vibrant industry then maybe the “economic impact” is also infringing on a clampdown? If so, this begs the question of enacting Bill 156 in the first place.

It must be stated that many artists, individuals who adore the sexual nature of Japanese anime and manga, organizations which support the freedom of speech and a host of other areas voiced their opposition to Bill 156. The reasons are varied but the main central theme is “civil liberties” because artistic freedom is essential in all societies which are modern. Also, it is argued that the extreme nature of parts of Japanese anime and manga are based on “fantasy,” “connecting to a-make-belief-world” and natural escapism. Therefore, the viewers clearly understand that the images they are watching are nothing more than manga, anime and harmless erotica. This implies that it isn’t depicting reality and given this fact it is complex to clampdown against unreality.

The ordinance passed by Shintaro Ishihara was aimed at sexual scenes related which depict rape, child marriage, sexual abuse of minors, incest, and other areas of concern. Supporters of Bill 156 believe that safety measures are needed in order to protect children and society from sexual predators. However, do individual who watch sexual anime and manga scenes go on and abuse children? This once more relates to Japanese anime and mange being based on fantasy characters and not real life images of children. The gap is enormous and clearly children are abused sexually all over the world but to point the finger at Japanese anime and manga would be extreme.

Also, the ordinance only applies to Tokyo and this in itself highlights that if Bill 156 was regulated tightly then local business in this area would just relocated to Saitama, Kanagawa and Chiba. It takes roughly 11 minutes by express train or semi-express train to reach Saitama prefecture from Ikebukuro in Tokyo. Likewise, you can reach Kanagawa very quickly from Shinjuku by using the Odakyu Line and so forth. Therefore, even if Bill 156 was effectual it would not be solving anything – if anything, it would be spreading the problem to other areas.

In a past article by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “Also, what if you buy animation which depicts rape, incest, and the abuse of minors, from an online company based in another part of Japan?  Will this also become illegal?  If so, then what measures can prevent packages from containing the newly banned material and if individuals download their new purchase online then are they breaking the law? “

International organizations point the finger at Japan but more than likely Japanese crime rates and abuse against children will compare favorably with any nation in the world. Also, in Saudi Arabia it is legal under Islamic Sharia law for old men of 60 years old and even older, to marry young girls of 8 years of age and 10 years of age. This also happens in other nations which abide by Islamic sharia law. Therefore, which is worse?

In Japan it is clear that young children are protected by Japanese law from being forced into marriages which they don’t understand. This is in stark contrast to nations like Saudi Arabia and Yemen where state sanctioned Islam allows children to get married to old men. Therefore, are nations claiming that child marriage in Saudi Arabia is leading to an epidemic of child abuse in this country?

Japanese anime and manga is based on fantasy, escapism, and other aspects, and clearly you have a very creative angle to the characters involved, even if people don’t agree to the context. If you had a firm link between child abuse and rape in the real world then artists would come under great pressure in Japan. Yet, unlike the reality of Saudi Arabia and child marriage, it is clear that Japanese anime and manga is based on “unreality.”

Therefore, the best solution is for a compromise between both parties and not to force this situation underground because this would be more dangerous. Also, if Tokyo began to take legal action against artists involved in making anime and manga, then this could open up “a can of worms” related to other subjects.

http://www.costume-designer.info/page/4

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T120702004395.htm

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

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Tokyo fashion in Shinjuku: Marui One is amazing for Lolita, Kawaii, & other unique styles

Tokyo fashion in Shinjuku: Marui One is amazing for Lolita, Kawaii, & other unique styles

Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

 

In Tokyo the names of Laforet Harajuku, Shibuya 109, and Marui One, stand out for being amazing stores to visit when it comes to fashion. If you adore kawaii fashion, Goth styles, punk, Gothloli, Lolita, Visual Kei, and so forth, then Mauri One in Shinjuku is a must. After all, the choice available is amazing and the environment blends well with the many boutiques which provide fantastic styles.

Famous boutiques which have enhanced the Tokyo fashion vibe can be found in Marui One because clearly they understand the significance of this major department store in the heart of Shinjuku. Indeed, it is thanks to some of these boutiques that the fashion industry in Japan is so famous internationally when it comes to unique styles. After all, many of the boutiques in Marui One have enabled the unique fashion trends of Tokyo to expand internationally.

Of course, the same boutiques can be found in other department stores and are located in many other cities. However, it is the unique fashion angle of Tokyo which attracts the younger generation from all over Japan and internationally. Yes, other major cities like Osaka and Kobe are blessed with stunning fashion districts and often alternative trends have begun in Osaka. Yet internationally it is the streets of Harajuku, Shibuya, and Shinjuku, which hit the headlines when it comes to youth culture, subcultures, and the latest trends in fashionable Tokyo.

In fairness, it is a little harsh on Kansai because it was this area that was the initial bedrock of Lolita fashion in Japan but internationally Tokyo gets more international attention than Osaka. Early boutiques which began this movement many decades ago applies to Milk and Pretty (known as Angelic Pretty in time), Pink House, The Stars Shine Bright, and Metamorphose temps de fille.

Therefore, turning back to Marui One it is clear that the strong background of some of these boutiques have enhanced the growing reputation of this department store in Tokyo.  Marui One also took a unique approach and collectively it is working like “a dream ticket.” Given this, stunning boutiques including Angelic Pretty; Metamorphose; Baby, The Stars Shines Bright; Alice and The Pirates; h.Naoto; Jesus Diamante; and many others, moved into Marui One because they understood the dynamics of this amazing store.

Angelic Pretty comments on their website that “Angelic Pretty provides adorable clothing covered in lace, frills and ribbons like that of the fairytale princess you dreamed about as a little girl. We want girls to never lose sight of that dream — And this is a brand for girls who want to keep that dream alive.”

Metamorphose comments that Metamorphose is an adorable brand of Lolita fashion made for everyone, best described as EGL or Elegant Gothic Lolita.”

“Almost everyone has the desire to “transform” one’s self, be it into an angel, someone who is more elegant, or even back to the time they were a little girl. With this concept in mind, we created the Metamorphose brand. In order to assist you in your “transformation”, while not being a slave to the current fashion, we continue to conceive cute EGL fashion.”

In truth, the companies highlighted in this article are real treasures because they stand out for being unique and providing a different angle to the diverse Tokyo fashion scene. Therefore, if you want to feel the vibes and unique styles of Tokyo then a visit to Marui One is a must because you have so many different styles to view. Also, the quality of the clothing stands out and the color schemes, creative angle, and unique thought patterns are clear for all to see.

In an earlier article by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that fashion at Marui One applies to “…fantasy fashion, romantic designs, modern kimono, Gothic Lolita, Sweet Lolita, dreamy fashion, casual styles, visual kei, and other amazing trends. Therefore, Marui One is like “a mirror” of parts of Harajuku because this store is internationally famous. Marui have many different stores in Shinjuku (and throughout Tokyo) but Marui One stands out because of its individualism.”  

Therefore, if you adore fashion then a visit to Marui One is most rewarding.

http://www.babyssb.co.jp/  Baby, The Stars Shine Bright

http://www.angelicpretty.com/en/ Angelic Pretty

http://www.metamorphose.gr.jp/english/ Metamorphose

http://www.boz.ne.jp/ Atelier Boz

http://www.hnaoto.com/ h.Naoto

http://www.jesusdiamante.com/ Jesus Diamante

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com  

 
 
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Posted by on March 3, 2012 in Japan

 

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