Anthony Al-Jamie

Anthony Al-Jamie

Dr. Anthony Al-Jamie lived and worked as an educational administrator and journalist in Tokyo for over 20 years. His in-depth understanding of Japanese language and culture has allowed him to carry out interviews with many of the most renowned individuals in Japan. He first began writing for the Tokyo Journal in the 1990s as Education Editor, later he was promoted to Senior Editor, and eventually International Editor. He currently works in higher education publishing and serves the Tokyo Journal as Executive Editor.

Monday, 09 December 2013 09:02

Yoshiki

Japan’s Rock Legend Yoshiki Rocks Classical Charts Worldwide

Visual Kei Pioneer Rock Legend and Classical Genius Gets Intimate with TJ

Interview by Anthony Al-Jamie

30 million records sold, a 15-country world tour, 18 sold out Tokyo Dome concerts for 1,000,000 screaming fans, and Yoshiki and his band X Japan, are gearing up for another world tour. In his spare time, Yoshiki composed and recorded Eternal Melody, which remains one of Japan’s top-selling classical albums, and his most recent release “Yoshiki Classical” debuted at the top of the iTunes classical charts worldwide. He has collaborated with some of the world’s leading artists and producers including Queen’s Roger Taylor and legendary Beatles Producer Sir George Martin, performed for the Emperor of Japan, and he has created the theme songs for the World Expo and the last two Golden Globes. This classical genius is a hard rocking innovator and creator of the genre “Visual kei” – combining the styles of punk, rock, heavy metal, glam rock and classical music. In 2008, four years before Tupac’s hologram wowed Coachella, Yoshiki and X Japan brought back their deceased guitarist HIDE by hologram to perform in concert. Some may think it requires a super hero to accomplish all of this. Stan Lee, Marvel Comics founder and creator of Spiderman and the Hulk, agreed and created a superhero based on Yoshiki called “Blood Red Dragon.” What can’t Yoshiki do? Let’s find out.

Thursday, 05 December 2013 12:33

Francis Ford Coppola

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.

フランシス・フォード・コッポラ

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。

インタビュー:アントニー・アルジェイミー

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

Tuesday, 22 October 2013 11:36

Production I.G CEO Mitsuhisa Ishikawa

Since 1987, Production I.G has been involved in the production of anime television series, original video animation, theatrical films, video game animated scenes, video game design and development, and music publishing and management. It is perhaps best known for its “Ghost in the Shell” series. Tokyo Journal sat down with founder Mitsuhisa Ishikawa, who put the “I” in Production I.G, prior to his press conference at the 2013 Anime Expo in Los Angeles.

Q: It’s great to see you again. It’s been a long time! Can you tell us how you got started in your career?
ISHIKAWA: When I was a student, I started out with a part-time job in the anime world at Tatsunoko Production. I didn’t expect to get into it at all. I just kind of got lost into it and found myself here. I was working on a program called “Golden Warrior Gold Lightan,” where a lighter turns into a robot.

Monday, 21 October 2013 09:04

2013 America's Got Talent Winner

2013 America's Got Talent Winner: Kenichi Ebina Sneak Preview

On September 18th, 2013, dancer Kenichi Ebina became the first Japanese performer to win NBC's hit TV show America's Got Talent! He won $1,000,000 and will get his own show in Las Vegas. The following is an excerpt of Tokyo Journal Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie's exclusive Interview with Kenichi. For the full-length interview see Tokyo Journal's Autumn Issue.

TJ: When did you first start to dance?
EBINA: I was attending an English Language Institute for international students who don't speak English. It was connected to the college I graduated from and since it was on a college campus, students in the English school were invited to college activities. I went to a dance party for welcoming freshman. At the time I wasn't big into dancing at all but I knew the steps for the "Running Man" that I had learned from some friends. At the party they made a circle and people started showing off. I had to go in and I did the Running Man. People started getting loud. At the time I thought they were loud because I wasn't good, but it was the opposite - they were cheering for me! After that, I started thinking dancing was fun. I started watching videos and copied their moves and steps.

How Yul Brynner and “Shogun” Made Sushi Popular

TJ: Can you tell us what you did before you became involved with Mutual Trading?
KANAI: World War II was a very big shock to me. So after the war I read about philosophy. I was very interested in Robert Owen, a famous English philosopher. I took his philosophy, which taught me many good things, and decided to make my own life to improve myself.

During the war, the U.S. was Japan’s enemy but during the Occupation they did very good things to help build Japan back up. We could not imagine that the U.S. would do so many good things for us. At that time, I met Mr. Chuhei Ishii, who was a food supplier to the U.S. before the war. He had been in the U.S. for 30 years in Santa Maria doing food distribution, but he went to China during the war to take care of the Peking Grand Hotel – a large, famous hotel owned by the French. Mr. Ishii bought the hotel and moved to Peking. At the end of the war, I met him in Japan. As his wife and my mother were friends in Japan, my mother told me, “If you do business with the United States, go see Mr. Ishii and ask him questions.” So I visited Mr. Ishii. Although he wanted to return to the States, he lost his U.S. permanent residency when he went to China. He said to me, “I am thinking of making a business exporting food to the United States because there are many Japanese immigrants who cannot get Japanese food conveniently. Why don’t you help me?” So I joined him.
“ Shogun really launched Japanese culture in the U.S.”

Wednesday, 02 October 2013 11:33

Cheap Trick

The Band that Put the Legendary Budokan on the Map

TJ Exclusive Interview with Rick Nielsen

TJ caught up with Cheap Trick guitarist, backing vocalist and primary songwriter Rick Nielsen to talk about the 35th anniversary of Cheap Trick at Budokan. It was their best-selling album and is ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Cheap Trick was referred to by the Japanese media as the “American Beatles” and ranked #25 in VH1’s list of the 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. Bands such as Mötley Crüe, Guns N’ Roses, Green Day, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Weezer, Stone Temple Pilots, and Extreme have cited Cheap Trick as an influence.

Thursday, 08 August 2013 00:00

Food Allergy

Educating the World about the Deadly Danger of Food Allergies

Interview with Food Allergy Research & Education CEO John Lehr

Potentially deadly food allergies affect one in 13 children in the United States, or roughly two in every classroom. Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) is a nonprofit organization that works on behalf of the 15 million Americans with food allergies, including those at the risk of life-threatening anaphylaxis (an extreme and often life-threatening allergic reaction to an antigen). Tokyo Journal International Editor Anthony Al-Jamie met with FARE CEO John Lehr.

Wednesday, 07 August 2013 07:23

Living Legend - Tadao Ando

Tadao Ando

Self-Taught Architect

Tadao Ando, born in 1941, is a former boxer who became one of Japan’s most renowned architects. His projects, which can be found in Japan, the U.S., the U.K., Spain, Germany, France, and Italy, are known for having large expanses of unadorned architectural concrete walls combined with large windows and wooden or stone floors. He has received such awards as the Pritzker Prize, Gold Medal of Architecture from the French Academy of Architecture, Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects and Gold Medal of the Union Internationale des Architects. He is a visiting professor at Harvard University, Yale University, Columbia University, and University of California, Berkeley.

Friday, 31 May 2013 09:25

Interview with Diamond Yukai

JAPANESE rock rebel Diamond Yukai, who was born Yutaka Tadokoro in 1962, continues to reinvent himself in a music, film, television and writing career that has spanned nearly three decades.

As a teen, his parents, who were civil servants in Saitama, wanted him to conform to the system. They told him he would never succeed as a rock and roller. Diamond Yukai proved them wrong in the mid-eighties by forming Red Warriors, a band that went on to fill stadiums throughout Japan including the legendary Budokan and Seibu, the latter of which seats close to 40,000.

During this time, Diamond Yukai branched into the movie industry, beginning with a starring role in the 1988 movie “Tokyo Pop” directed by Fran Kuzui, creator of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and Fox TV’s hit series “Angel.” He co-starred in “Tokyo Pop” with actress Carrie Hamilton, daugh- ter of the legendary comedienne Carol Burnett. He went on to appear in Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation” in 2004 and numerous Japanese films and television dramas.

Donald Richie, a world authority on Japanese film, culture and the post-World War II lives of the Japanese, passed away in Tokyo on February 19, 2013. He was 88. Born in Lima, Ohio on April 17, 1924, Donald grew up with a love for cinema. He moved to Japan on December 31, 1946 as part of the U.S. Occupation. During the early part of his stay in Japan, he worked as a typist and civilian staff writer for the U.S. Military newspaper, the Pacific Stars and Stripes. He returned to the U.S. and received a B.S. in English from Columbia University before going back to Japan. He went on to write several books on Japan and its cinema and filmmakers as well as other topics. He wrote for English-language publications in Japan including The Japan Times, in which he had a regular column as a film critic, and the Tokyo Journal, for which he interviewed and contributed several pieces over the years.

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