On Japan Category (103)



What to Do in Tokyo

Written by  |  Published in Tokyo

VISIT the Roppongi area of central Tokyo, and you can check out striking new museums in what is known as the Art Triangle Roppongi: The National Art Center, Tokyo; the   and the Suntory Museum of Art (inside Tokyo Midtown). Discounts are offered for visiting all three. The
wave-shaped glass façade of the National Art Center, designed by internationally renowned architect Kisho Kurokawa, is extremely impressive, and the restaurant, cafés and museum shop compliment the center’s special exhibitions and educational programs.

Garrity's Japan

Written by  |  Published in Editor's Insight

The Open Road

The following is a continuation of Robert Garrity’s story describing his walk across Japan replicating haiku poet Matsuo Bashō’s 1,500-mile journey from Fukagawa, Tokyo to Japan’s northern wilderness as detailed in Bashō’s world-famous travel diary “Oku no Hosomichi.” Robert Garrity began his journey in the summer of 1994 and broke it down into segments, walking different segments each time he returned to Japan.

Sumida-ku: Since I am undertaking this journey alone and cannot read detailed Kanji, I know I will be lost on occasion and perhaps take a different route than Bashō. But that is part of the fun of the journey. The journey is life.

Hanayashiki, Asakusa

Written by  |  Published in Tokyo Time Warp

Hanayashiki, Asakusa

By Kjeld Duits

A MAJOR tourist attraction in Tokyo is the Buddhist temple of Sensō-ji in Asakusa. Every year nearly 30 million visitors pass through the huge entrance gate, and many people are surprised to find a long row of shops on the temple grounds. It actually takes a while to reach the temple buildings.

Some visitors never make it to the temple. Their progress is stalled by the delicious and interesting items for sale. The shops even made an impression on American scholar Alice Mabel Bacon, the first western woman to live in a Japanese household. She visited the temple grounds in 1889 and wrote:

“When we had come as near to the temple as the kurumas (rickshaws) were allowed to approach, we got out to walk the rest of the way; but we had to pass a line of small shops, in which every conceivable variety of toy is kept, and so attractive was the display that we succumbed to the temptation, spent all our time at the toy-shops, and did not reach the temple at all.”

Igor at the Kabuki

Written by  |  Published in Editorial Features & Reviews

Igor at the Kabuki

By Donald Richie

Even geisha couldn’t rival Stravinsky’s legendary charm, as Donald Richie recalls in this excerpt from his Japan Journals: 1947 – 1994

The following is part of Tokyo Journal’s Living Tribute to Donald Richie, who passed away on February 19, 2013. Donald Richie’s contribution was originally printed in the October 1994 edition of the Tokyo Journal. It was excerpted from his memoirs, “Japan Journals 1947 – 1994.” Donald Richie’s first visit to Japan took place in 1947. He went on to become a celebrated film critic, author and composer, not to mention a journalist of many talents who recorded the changes of over half a century of life in Tokyo. Donald Richie contributed to the Tokyo Journal over the years and when asked about times in the nineties, Donald replied, “Frightening but exhilarating. I think everybody with a pencil should be out there taking notes.”

The Silence of the Sengu

Written by  |  Published in Editorial Features & Reviews

Reflections on Time at the Grand Shrines of Ise

By Peter Grilli

Every 20 years, the Imperial Grand Shrines at Ise are totally rebuilt in a process known as the Shikinen Sengu that extends back to the eighth century or earlier. Though the origins of this custom may be shrouded in mythology, the faithful adherence to the principles of the Shikinen Sengu has resulted in the preservation of ancient Japanese architectural and ritual forms. As the ancestral shrines of the emperors of Japan, the shrines at Ise are the most sacred sanctuaries of Shinto and their design and physical form are considered the purest expression of Japanese aesthetic ideals. Dedicated to the Sun Goddess and the God of Agriculture, the shrine buildings house symbols of the deities’ spiritual presence. Occurring once every 20 years, the transfer of the sacred objects from the old to the new shrine built on an adjoining site is the single most important ritual of the Shinto faith. The 62nd Sengu took place at Ise in early October, first at the Inner Shrine (Naiku) on the evening of October 2 and three days later at the Outer Shrine (Geku). Peter Grilli, president of the Japan Society of Boston, was invited to attend the ceremony at the Inner Shrine, and he wrote these observations.


Tokyo Journal Street Editor Kjeld Duits hits the streets with his lens to see what's hot in Harajuku

The complete article is available in Issue #273. Click here to order from Amazon

Francis Ford Coppola

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On October 16, 2013, Francis Ford Coppola, one of the most influential movie directors, producers and screenwriters of all time, was awarded the Praemium Imperiale in Tokyo, Japan. The Praemium Imperiale is an annual global arts prize awarded by the Japan Art Association in recognition of a lifetime achievement in the arts, in categories not covered by the Nobel Prizes. This award, which Mr. Coppola received from Prince Hitachi of Japan’s Imperial Family, is the most recent of many accolades for the filmmaker. He and his films have received six Academy Awards and the Coppola family is one of two families in history to have three generations of Academy Award recipients. Four of his films (“The Godfather,” “The Godfather Part II,” “Apocalypse Now” and “Patton”) were included by the Writers Guild of America’s list of “101 Greatest Screenplays Ever.” He has been honored with the Directors Guild of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and he is one of only eight filmmakers to win two Palme d’Or awards at the Cannes Film Festival. Prior to leaving for Japan, Tokyo Journal’s Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie interviewed Mr. Coppola regarding his love for film and his affinity for Japan.

TJ: I understand you will be receiving the Praemium Imperiale from Prince Hitachi of
the Imperial Family. Can you tell us about the award?
COPPOLA: It was an award I hadn’t known of, but it’s an award that was given in honor of the arts in fields that the Nobel Prize does not cover such as film, theater, literature, architecture, and sculpture.

TJ: Tell me about your background in Japan. When was your f irst visit to Japan?
COPPOLA: It’s hard for me to really pin down my first visit to Japan. I’ve been there a dozen times. I did visit Japan many times during the period in which I was making “Apocalypse Now.” While we were filming in the Philippines, we would often stop in Japan as my family loved going there, and over the years I went many, many times. My little children travelled with me at the time and they also love Japanese culture. That was the basis of Sofia’s fondness for Japan and her experience there.

TJ: What is your favorite part of Japan?
COPPOLA: In terms of a place, there are certainly Tokyo and Kyoto. But I think my favorite part of Japan is its unique and beautiful culture where they are able to combine the mundane steps of life with beauty, and each area of life has been understood as a kind of expression of grace, harmony and beauty. The culture is so unique in that everything that is done there has been a tradition of doing it with exquisite beauty. It is that very unique aspect of Japan that is so admirable. Whether it’s a piece of fabric, poem or food, there exists some sort of perfection in every area.


2013 年 10 月 16 日、東京で、高松宮殿下記念世界文化賞の授賞式が行われた。演劇・映画部門では、映画監督、 プ ロ デュー サ ー 、 脚 本 家 として 歴 史 上 最 も 影 響 力 を 持 つ 巨 匠 の1人で あ るフ ラン シ ス・フォ ード・コッ ポ ラ 氏 が 受 賞 。 日 本 美 術 協 会 が 創 設 し た 同 賞 は 、 優 れ た 芸 術 家 を 顕 彰 す る た め に 年 1回 授 与 さ れ るも の で 、 ノ ー ベ ル 賞 が 対 象 とし な い領域をカバーしている。常陸宮殿下から授与されたこの賞が、コッポラ氏の受賞歴に新たに加わった。氏はこれま でに6つのアカデミー賞を受賞している。3世代にわたってアカデミー賞を受賞したのはコッポラ一族を含め2例だけ。 氏の作品「ゴッドファーザー」「ゴッドファーザーPart II」「地獄の黙示録」「パットン大戦車軍団」は、全米脚本家 協会が選ぶ映画脚本ベスト101 にランクイン。また全米監督協会のライフタイム・アチーブメント・アワード、カンヌ 国際映画祭パルム・ドールも受賞している。パルム・ドールの栄誉を2回手にしたのはコッポラ氏を含め8人だけ。東 京ジャーナルのエグゼクティブ・エディター アントニー・アルジェイミーが、日本に発つ前のコッポラ氏に、映画に対 する情熱と日本との縁について聞いた。


TJ: 高松宮殿下記念世界文化賞を受賞され、常 陸宮殿下から顕彰メダルを授与されるそうです ね。
コッポラ:僕は知らなかったが、ノーベル賞が カバーしていない映像、演劇、建築、彫刻など の分野の芸術家を対象とした顕彰制度だそう だ。

TJ: 日本との関わりについて教えてください。 最初に日本を訪れたのはいつですか?
コッ ポラ:最初に行ったのがいつだったかは 分からないが、日本にはもう数え切れないほ ど行っているよ。「地獄の黙示録」の製作中も、 撮影場所はフィリピンだったが、途中でよく日 本に立ち寄ったんだ。家族が行きたがったから ね。子供が小さい頃は一緒に旅行したから、子 供たちも日本の文化が大好きだ。ソフィアが親 日家なのは、小さい頃の経験ゆえだろうね。

TJ: 日本の何が一番お好きですか?
コッ ポラ:場所で言えば東京と京都だが、何と いっても、平凡な日常と美を融合できる独特の 美しい文化に魅力を感じるね。生活そのものに、 気品、調和、美が感じられる文化なんだ。日本 の文化は全てにおいて個性的で、非常に美しい 伝統様式がある。それは日本の特徴であり、賞 賛されるべき点だ。繊維であれ詩であれ食べ物 であれ、あらゆる領域に“完璧”が存在する

Halloween in Tokyo's Roppongi

Written by  |  Published in Photo Gallery

Performer Yusuke Onuki

Written by  |  Published in Celebrity Showcase

Performer Yusuke Onuki Reflecting on Dorian Gray, Dancing, Singing and Acting

Photo courtesy of HoriPro

Interview by Miyuki Kawai

TJ: How did you first get into dancing? What styles of dance have you trained to do?
ONUKI: My mother is a dancer and runs a dance studio, so I naturally started to learn dancing. I started with jazz and modern dance. But when I was a primary school student, I saw “Rave2001,” a TV dance program, and got interested in street dancing. I began taking dance lessons and was into street dancing in junior high and high school. And gradually I started to be interested in contemporary dance and ballet.

Yuki Furukawa

Written by  |  Published in Celebrity Showcase

Yuki Furukawa leads “Playful Kiss” from Manga to Live Action Drama

Interview by Miyuki Kawai

TJ: You majored in control theory at university. Can you tell us what that is?
FURUKAWA: It deals with controlling things by programming. I focused on auto- motive breakdowns, but it can be applied to any field including the media or finance. In terms of automotive breakdowns, the hypothesis in the reduction of friction or slip is verified by programming.

TJ: How did you first get into acting?
FURUKAWA: When I was a junior at university, I went job hunting, but I had no specific career goals. Although Break dancing was my passion, I knew I couldn’t make a living out of it. While I passed my exam for graduate school, I applied to some companies. At that time, I was chosen as “Mr. Campus” of the university, and I automatically became a contestant for HoriPro’s 50th anniversary talent audition. A winner was chosen through competitions in blog making, fashion, shoe design, etc. I had no acting experience, but I received an award. That’s when I started my acting career.


Staff Continued



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