Saturday, 07 December 2013 00:00

Kenny Endo

Marching to the Beat of a Different Drum

Kenny Endo Talks Taiko

Taiko performer, composer and teacher Kenny Endo has spent 35 years paving new paths in the taiko genre of drumming, blending Japanese taiko with world music. Among his many distinctions are an M.A. in ethnomusicology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, an artist residency at the Lincoln Center Institute in New York, and certificates of honor from the Honolulu City Council and the House and Senate of the State of Hawaii. He has performed for Princess Diana, Prince Charles, Michael Jackson and Prince, and he has opened for The Who. He has performed with singer Bobby McFerrin, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Honolulu Symphony and the Tokyo Symphony, and he is featured on the soundtracks for Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” and Kayo Hatta’s film “Picture Bride.” Tokyo Journal caught up with Kenny to see how he continues to tread new ground for this ancient instrument.

Sunday, 08 December 2013 00:00


FAKY is the Real Thing

Japan’s New Girl Group has Global Appeal

Add a pinch of J-pop, a dash of K-pop and a hint of Europop glazed with an American-pop sound and you get FAKY. This five-member, biracial and bilingual girl group consists of Anna, Lil’ Fang, Mikako, Diane and Tina. The dance and vocal group recently released its 1st video, “Better Without You,” featuring a fusion of world-class music with the fashion and culture of Tokyo. Their website describes each of their personalities and backgrounds: Anna - the New Zealand-born leader; Lil’ Fang - an aggressive Tokyoite; Mikako - the “cute” one from Fukuoka; Diane - a half-Japanese/half-American Okinawan beauty and Tina - a half-Japanese/half-American “bohemian” from Atlanta, Georgia.

Sunday, 08 December 2013 00:00


Japanese Pop Idol Group, Star in “Innocent Lilies” is a Japanese idol group, composed of six girls: Mirin Furukawa, Risa Aizawa, Nemu Yumemi, Eimi Naruse (Eitaso), Ayane Fujisaki (Pinky), and Moga Mogami. The group belongs to Dear Stage, Akihabara’s most famous idol live house and bar where they perform regularly. All of the members are fans [otaku] of anime, manga, games, and costumes. The group performed at Tokyo Collection and has collaborated with leading fashion designers including Mikio Sakabe. They attract attention overseas as well and have performed at fashion events in Jakarta, Indonesia and solo concerts in Taipei, Taiwan. They debuted in their first film entitled “Innocent Lilies” (Director Koichi Sakamoto & Screenwriter Reiko Yoshida) that was released both in theaters and online in September 2013.
TJ Contributor Asami Iida met with Denpagumi at the movie premier in Shinjuku, Tokyo.
Interview by Asami Iida

Sunday, 08 December 2013 00:00

Hikari Takara

Hikari Takara co-stars in “Innocent Lilies”

Seventeen-year-old Hikari Takara, who began her acting career at the age of 12, has appeared in TV dramas, commercials and movies. Her most recent movie was “Innocent Lilies,” in which she co-starred with the Japanese pop idol group She is currently in California studying English to further her career. TJ’s editorial staff met with Hikari over lunch at the historic and charmingly cozy Arroyo Vista Inn in Pasadena, California to discuss her new movie, her career and future plans.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013 00:00

Monkey Majik

Japanese/Canadian Band Monkey Majik

Ambassadors of Goodwill

Monkey Majik is a bilingual hybrid band made up of the Canadian brothers Maynard and Blaise Plant on lead vocals and guitar and two Japanese members, tax and DICK. In addition to being one of Japan’s top-selling groups whose music has been featured in television programs, commercials and movies, they have gained the attention of The Black Eyed Peas co-founder and have had the extremely unique opportunity to perform for the Emperor and Empress of Japan. Their 2011 earthquake and tsunami volunteer efforts were documented by MTV Japan. DNA, their newest album, continues to blend Eastern and Western pop and rock influences, and they are preparing for their next Japan tour. TJ talked with Blaise and DICK about their career and their relief efforts in Sendai.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013 05:36

Anime Expo

Anime Expo 2013

By Tokyo Journal Interns Hana Kobayashi, Chisato Kato and Luning Zhang

A RECORD-BREAKING 61,000 anime and manga lovers from around the world attended the 22nd Anime Expo from July 4 to 7, 2013 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Highlights included a packed concert at Club Nokia with legendary Japanese rock band Porno Graffitti, “Attack on Titan” producer George Wada and Production I.G founder Mitsuhisa Ishikawa. In addition to cosplayers posing for photographers in the lobby, the event introduced its first Cosplay Participation Area where participants could pose in front of cosplay photo sets such as a classroom scene, sakura grove and spaceship interior. The convention also played host to the North American premieres of “Ghost in the Shell: Arise,” “Kick-Heart,” “Garden of Words” and “Star Blazers 2199.” The event was organized by the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation. Anime Expo 2014 will be held July 3-6, 2014. 

Monday, 09 September 2013 00:00

Kings of K-Pop in L.A.

TVXQ! Wow with First Headlining Concert in L.A.

TVXQ!, known as the “Kings of K-Pop!” and holders of the Guinness Record for Most Photographed Celebrities in the world, performed at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles on July 5, 2013. Although the successful Asian band had performed with the 2012 SMTown concert in Anaheim, California with several of SMTown’s top Korean Pop (K-Pop) acts, this was the first time TVXQ! headlined in the U.S. The band is on its “Catch Me” world tour, which began in Seoul in November 2012, went to Hong Kong, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur and Japan. Following L.A., the tour continues to Santiago, Chile and Shanghai, China.

Monday, 21 October 2013 12:18

Summer 2013 Cool Car Award

Sexy + Sustainability

WHO said being environmentally friendly can’t be sleek and sexy? The Karma consumes no gasoline for the first 50 miles, the interior trim is environmentally responsible and its aluminum skin is finished off with a solar-cell roof. A 260-hp, four-cylinder engine combined with a 20-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and twin AC motors deliver 402 horsepower to the differential. The gasoline engine powers only the generator and the Karma is always electrically driven at the rear wheel. The Karma goes from 0 to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds, or in 5.9 seconds when the gas engine kicks in.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013 13:55

Cultural Ambassador Danny Choo

Danny Choo is the founder of media production company Mirai Inc., which focuses on sharing Japanese lifestyle with the world though the Internet, TV, mobile, print, products and conferences. He is also the director and presenter of the TV show “Culture Japan,” and a presenter on the morning show “Check Time” and Star Worlds’ “Japan Mode.” Danny speaks on Japanese pop culture and consumer generated media at conferences and universities worldwide. He has been featured on CNN, BBC, NHK and G4TV. He was appointed by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) as creative director for the Mazer project in 2012 and now consults for METI’s Cool Japan Project. Danny is the creator of “Culture Japan’s” mascot character Mirai Suenaga. Danny greeted the press while serving as master of ceremonies at the Anime Expo 2013 convention in Los Angeles.

“We share and make Japanese culture more accessible to the world.”

Q: Why do you think the popularity of anime has expanded so much?
CHOO:I think that one of the major influences is the Internet. When I first started off liking Japanese culture, we had to watch anime on VHS tapes. I got them from a Japanese bookshop in the UK which was recording Japanese TV shows and renting out these shows. But I was very reliant on this single location where I would have to take the train and go there to get these videos. But now with the Internet it is very easy to find something online these days. So I think that has definitely contributed to the proliferation of Japanese anime.

Q: Other than your line of dolls, is there anything else you’re going to do with your character Mirai Chan?
CHOO:Mirai Chan has become a mascot character for VOX, the Japanese convenience store Lawson, Kinokuniya International Bookstore and the low-cost carrier Air Asia. I’m working with someone now to write 13 episodes of an anime for Mirai Millennium. He has worked on things like “Cowboy Bebop” and “Ghost in the Shell.” The scenario is complete right now. The next step is to decide if we want to release manga or go for the anime route. I personally want to release manga first. Instead of going through the normal publishers, I want to do it myself. After I learn how to do it, I want to share the knowledge with everyone else so they can do it themselves as well. Mirai Chan is actually a 3D printed interactive Android-controlled robot and we want to make her interactive with social media. My first goal is to have her sitting on the edge of a desk while she swings her legs back-and-forth, looks around the room and when you get a Facebook notification, she will tell you about it in a cute voice. Extra motions and voices would be available for purchase later on through the Google Play Store

Monday, 16 September 2013 06:53

Toyo Ito

Architect Toyo Ito Presented with the 2013 Pritzker

Architecture Prize

ON May 29, 2013, Tom Pritzker, chairman of The Hyatt Foundation, presented Toyo Ito with the Pritzker Architecture Prize medallion for 2013 and a $100,000 grant. In his acceptance speech, Architect Toyo Ito said, “This is the best day of my architectural life so far!” Mr. Ito was the 38th recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, which has been sponsored by The Hyatt Foundation since its founding in 1979. A black-tie audience of more than 300 guests, including previous prize laureates, witnessed the ceremony in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, Massachusetts. tj

The complete article is available in Issue #272. click here. to order from Amazon

Tokyo Journal

© 2019 Authentasia, Inc. All rights reserved