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Suicide bomber kills many in Afghanistan to mark the start of Eid: Syria faces the duality of terrorism

Suicide bomber kills many in Afghanistan to mark the start of Eid: Syria faces the duality of terrorism

Omar Abdullah Ismail and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Islamists often go on a killing spree during Ramadan in several nations and likewise the mark of Eid al-Adha in Afghanistan met the same fate. It is reported that more than 40 people have been killed by a brutal Islamist terrorist attack against Muslim worshippers. Therefore, once more the Islamist clerics and various terrorist networks have shown the world that their hatred is beyond any logic.

Muslim worshippers prayed to the God of Abraham during the start of Eid al-Adha. Yet while these innocent individuals were concentrating on God, the forces of evil had other ideas because a planned attack took away many lives. This senseless violence highlights not only the bankruptcy of radical Sunni Islamism which is killing with abandon in Afghanistan, Mali, northern Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and other parts of the world; it highlights utter hypocrisy on the side of Islamists.

Recently, many demonstrations took place against a minor film of no importance which was manipulated by Islamist clerics. Yet how many Korans were destroyed  in this attack and countless other terrorist attacks against mosques in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria and northern Nigeria?  Does the sanctity of Islam only count when non-Muslims can be blamed? After all, in Libya, northern Mali and Somalia many Sufi shrines have been destroyed but where was the outcry against this in the Muslim world?

Outside of the September 11 attacks which mainly killed non-Muslims in America. The vast majority of Sunni Islamist terrorist attacks have killed mainly Muslims. Often, Shia Muslims are the main victims of many Sunni Islamist terrorist attacks in countries like Iraq and Pakistan. When it comes to Syria, then Alawites and the Shia are targeted based on sectarianism and mainstream Sunni Muslims are also killed for being loyal to the government of Syria. However, irrespective of the Muslim branch, it is clear that Muslims are the main victims of terrorism. Therefore, what is the point to this endless cycle of violence?

In the past, too many nations like America, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Kuwait, France, Pakistan, and other nations; have tried to manipulate terrorists for personal geopolitical gains. Recently, the usual culprits are now involved in destabilizing Syria by enabling many funding channels to support Islamist terrorist organizations. Until an international system starts naming and shaming these nations, organizations and whereby implications for this barbarity will be enacted; then too many lose ends will continue to exist. Therefore, currently you have an enormous duality – this applies to state funded and covert funded terrorism which is ongoing against Syria – to private organizations, Islamist charities and so forth which are funding terrorism outside of nation states. In the case of Syria both terrorist networks are working hand in hand.

If the international community continues to condemn terrorism like what happened in Afghanistan today and the recent terrorist attack in Beirut; however, constantly ignoring and tacitly supporting terrorism against nations like Syria. Then this dualistic and hypocritical approach not only shames these nations, but in a sense it makes them even worse. After all, the evil suicide bomber who killed many Afghans while they were praying inside a mosque could only see his reality. After all, his evil and hatred was one dimensional but nations like America, France, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom are two dimensional. This means, that when it suits, for example by manipulating terrorist organizations against secular Syria; then these nations participate alongside vile media wars which are based on enormous distortions.

Turning back to the suicide bomber who killed many worshippers, then it is reported that some of the Muslims were connected to the security elite of this district in Afghanistan. This fact highlights the plan to kill during this holy period for Muslims. It also shows you that the Taliban and other Islamist organizations, like the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, are gradually spreading their power base to other areas of Afghanistan.

The Russian Federation recently tried to get members of the United Nations to condemn the brutal terrorist attack which happened in a Christian area of Damascus in Syria. Yet, the duality of evil once more shamed their “terrorist stance” because major nations refused to abide by the positive policies of the Russian Federation.

It is clear that the brutal suicide terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and Syria aren’t coming from “zero.” Therefore, until the ratlines are cut and nations stop supporting terrorism either openly or covertly, then nothing will change. However, why should innocents continue to die because of the whims of outside nations in the case of Syria? Likewise, in Afghanistan it is time for mainstream Sunni Muslim clerics and other branches to work together in order to root out this evil which is mainly killing Muslims in the name of hatred.

 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

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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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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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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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Tokyo fashion in Ikebukuro: the buzz of Ikebukuro fashion and Miu Miu

Tokyo fashion in Ikebukuro: the buzz of Ikebukuro fashion and Miu Miu

Sarah Deschamps, Kanako Itamae and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Ikebukuro is awash with fashion and in the last few years this part of Tokyo is re-inventing itself when it comes to stylish boutiques. Therefore, the opening of Miu Miu in the famous Seibu Department Store in late 2011 is mere confirmation that powerful boutiques view Ikebukuro in such a favorable light. This trend continues in 2012 and clearly this district is on “the fashion map” within Tokyo because of the buzzing fashion scene on both the east and west side.

It must be remembered that Ikebukuro train station is the second busiest in Japan and every week millions of people pass through this part of Tokyo. When this is added to the fact that Japanese people like convenience when it comes to shopping, then not surprisingly the fashion dimension within or around Ikebukuro train station is enormous. This reality means that the fashion area is a huge hub and Ikebukuro is also the gateway for people in Saitama prefecture.

Seibu Department Store and Tobu Department Store have a very rich history and both mega-companies, alongside Lumine, Marui, and Parco, are collectively creating a huge fashion district in Ikebukuro. Also, Esola is a lovely place for ladies fashion and you have scrumptious restaurants to eat.

In Esola you have exquisite boutiques which include Actuel, Amphi, Barbie Store, Beardsley Gallardagalante, Blue Bell Market, DouDou, Elleva, FRAMeWORK, Free’s Mart, Jolly Boutique, Muriel & Mercuria, Nuit et Jour Spick and Span, Opaque Clip, Royal Flash, and Turno Jeana.

Lumine, meanwhile, is one of the best fashion outlets in Tokyo and the store in Ikebukuro is a major attraction for Tokyo ladies because of lovely boutiques like SmackyGlam (Smacky Glam) and countless others. Also, the restaurant area in Lumine is a great place to relax and unwind.

Therefore, not surprisingly the fabulous boutique Miu Miu decided to open for business in Ikebukuro. While next year American Eagle Outfitters have also selected to open a store in this fashionable part of Tokyo alongside another store in the environment of Harajuku and Omotesando. This bodes well for the future of Ikebukuro because fashion is very dynamic in Tokyo and areas need to maintain their vibrancy.

In a past article by Modern Tokyo Times about fashion in Ikebukuro it was stated about American Eagle Outfitters that The new store will have three floors of fashion in order to attract the fashion conscious and the international aspect is an added dimension.  American Eagle Outfitters have clearly done their homework because Ikebukuro is a thriving fashion district in Tokyo and redevelopment projects are in the pipeline to further enhance the area.”

“Uniqlo also understands the reality of fashion in Ikebukuro because the future potential of this vibrant district is obvious.  Therefore, Uniqlo will expand their presence in Ikebukuro and this applies to occupying two floors in Tobu Department Store.”

Obviously the same applies to Miu Miu who decided to expand their international operations in the Seibu Department Store in Ikebukuro. Also, the store was designed by Roberto Baciocchi and like usual for Miu Miu they focus on classic concepts and futuristic aspects. Therefore, you can have a lovely shopping experience and envisage the creativity of this exquisite company by viewing the stylish layout and theme of the Miu Miu store.

In the last few years Lumine and Esola have altered the fashion landscape of Ikebukuro and complemented Seibu Department Store, Tobu Department Store, Parco, and Marui. Also, the opening of the Fukutoshin Ikebukuro train station created a new fashion hub in Ikebukuro. This applies to delightful fashion boutiques and other shops which have created a lovely underground hub once leaving the main Fukutoshin Ikebukuro train exit.

The recent opening of Miu Miu and the future opening of American Eagle Outfitters in 2012, alongside the expansion of Uniqlo, is maintaining the vibrancy of Ikebukuro. Therefore, while Ikebukuro might not get the same media exposure, the reality on the ground is very different because Seibu Department Store, Tobu Department Store, Lumine, Marui, Parco, Esola, and other fashion outlets, would enhance any fashion district.

Not surprisingly, Miu Miu and other fashion companies are aware of the ongoing changes in Ikebukuro and future projects which will enhance this part of Tokyo. Given everything, the future of this fashion district is rosy and the elegance of the fashion scene is growing because of the quality of so many exquisite boutiques.

http://www.miumiu.com/it/stores

www.smackyglam.com  –  Smacky Glam

http://www.esola-ikebukuro.com/

http://orizzonti.co.jp/category/actuel/

http://www.barbie-stores.com/

http://www.bluebellmarket.net/index.html

http://www.palgroup.co.jp/brands/doudou/

http://www.turnojeana.jp/

http://www.frees-mart.com/index.html

http://m-muriel.jp/index.html

http://www.elleva.jp/

http://www.frame-works.co.jp/index_n.html

http://blog-s.frame-works.co.jp/ Spick and Span official blog

http://www.jolly-boutique.com/

http://www.world.co.jp/opaqueclip/

http://royalflash-jp.com/pc/home.html

www.smackyglam.com  –  Smacky Glam

http://sanyo-i.jp  –  Sanyo i Store (Sanyo Shokai Ltd)

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2012 in EUROPE, Japan

 

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