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IN 1975, I attended a small showcase where the Ramones played for the press. They performed about a dozen songs for no more than 16 minutes, and I wasn't sure what had happened, but I wanted to see them again.

Legendary Rock Photographer Bob Gruen

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From John Lennon to Green Day 

Bob Gruen is one of the most well-known and respected photographers in rock and roll today. By the mid-1970s, he was already regarded as one of the foremost documenters of the music scene, working with major artists such as John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Tina Turner, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Elton John, KISS, Aerosmith, David Bowie and Alice Cooper as well as covering emerging new wave and punk bands including the New York Dolls, Patti Smith, the Clash, the Sex Pistols, the Ramones and Blondie. Tokyo Journal’s Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie interviewed his colleague and fellow Tokyo Journal columnist Bob Gruen about his remarkable career.


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Fusing East and West with Old and New

WagakkiBand is an intriguing act that fuses rock music with wagakki (traditional Japanese musical instruments), shigin (Japanese poetry recitation) and Vocaloid songs (a Vocaloid is a singing voice synthesizer allowing users to input their own lyrics). Singer Yuko Suzuhana, who won the Grand Prize at Nippon Columbia’s nationwide shigin contest in Japan, is joined by seven others playing traditional instruments including the shakuhachi (bamboo flute), tsugaru-jamisen (Japanese three-string guitar-like instrument), koto (Japanese harp) and wadaiko (Japanese drum). Their hit song “Senbonzakura” has over 22 million views on YouTube and their single “Ikusa / Nadeshiko Sakura” is the theme song for the anime TV show adaptation of Koei’s Samurai Warriors video game series. They played their first U.S. show on July 4, 2015 as part of Anime Expo at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, and their new album Yasou Emaki is scheduled for a September 2, 2015 release. Tokyo Journal ’s Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie spoke with vocalist Yuko Suzuhana, shakuhachi player Daisuke Kaminaga, koto player Kiyoshi Ibukuro, tsugaru-jamisen player Beni Ninagawa, guitarist and backing vocalist Machiya, bass player Asa, drummer Wasabi and wadaiko player Kurona at Anime Expo 2015 in Los Angeles.

Carl St. Clair

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Celebrating a Quarter Century of ‘Good Conduct’ With Pacific Symphony

Carl St.Clair is one of the longest tenured music directors of a major American orchestra, celebrating 25 years at the helm of the Orange County-based Pacific Symphony this year. It is the largest orchestra formed in the last 50 years in the U.S. A graduate of the University of Texas, he went on to become a tenured professor at the University of Michigan and studied conducting under Leonard Bernstein and Gustav Meier as a Conducting Fellow at Tanglewood. He was the assistant director of the renowned Boston Symphony Orchestra with the legendary conductor Seiji Ozawa before joining Pacific Symphony. He is on the faculty of the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music and is the principal conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica. He has led symphonies in the largest cities of North America and he has appeared with orchestras in Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Israel and South America. Tokyo Journal’s Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie spoke with Carl St.Clair about his 25th anniversary.

Big Hero 6 Featured

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Japan-Influenced Big Hero 6 Scores Oscar for Best Animated Film

Voice Actor Ryan Potter and CG Animator Matsune Suzuki Talk about the Heart-Warming East-Meets-West Story of a Boy and his Robot

Big Hero 6 is a magnificent mashup of Marvel-based Disney animation, Eastern and Western cultures, and the cities of San Francisco and Tokyo. Set in “San Fransokyo,” Big Hero 6 is an action-packed animated comedy adventure that finds robotics whiz kid, Hiro Hamada, forming a special bond with his personal companion robot called Baymax, while his diverse group of science-geek friends forms a band of unlikely heroes. Japanese- American actor Ryan Potter and Japanese CG Animator Matsune (Matt) Suzuki talked to Tokyo Journal shortly after the movie won the 2015 Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year.

Chiaki Featured

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Known simply by her first name, Chiaki has not only been a Japanese television icon for over two decades, but she is also known as the lead vocalist of Pocket Biscuits; a voice actress in the beloved Doraemon anime series; a children’s clothing designer and the author of children’s, cookery and parenting books. Her most recent endeavor is the children’s app Mirno’s Adventures - The Precious Strawberry Ring. Tokyo Journal’s Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie spoke with Chiaki about her career and newest project.

Megumi Hamada Captivates Memphis

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Megumi Hamada Takes Center Stage in Memphis


Between 1995 and 2010, as a member of Shiki Theatrical Company, Megumi Hamada played

Model/Actress Garcelle Beauvais

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From Model to Actress to Author, Garcelle Beauvais Does it all

Haitian-American model and actress Garcelle Beauvais has appeared on the big and small screen in productions like The Jamie Foxx Show, NYPD Blue, Wild Wild West with Will Smith and Flight with Denzel Washington. She began her career as a model for such clients as Avon, Mary Kay, Clairol, and Calvin Klein, and has modeled for Playboy. In 2014, at the age of 47, she was selected for People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful Women issue. Tokyo Journal Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie spoke with Garcelle about her career, charity work and new book.

Kenichi Ebina's Got Talent!

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Kenichi Ebina is a self-taught dancer, performance artist, choreographer, and winner of America’s Got Talent: Season 8. He fuses freestyle, hip hop, martial arts and ethnic jazz, also incorporating illusions and digital theatrics into his show-stopping act, which earned him the prestigious “Showtime at the Apollo” dance title in 2007. Tokyo Journal’s Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie talked to Ebina after his one-man show at Pechanga Resort & Casino in California about life since winning America’s Got Talent, and his plans for the future.

Hatsune Miku

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Virtual Singer Hatsune Miku

The World’s Leading Vocaloid Opens for Lady Gaga

Japan’s top superstar with more fans on the Internet than any other Japanese pop star is virtual. Synthesized songstress Hatsune Miku has wowed audiences around the world with an innovative ensemble of music software that has allowed her fans to create over 100,000 songs, digital animation and live 3D performances both in Japan and abroad. She also opened for Lady Gaga in the U.S. Tokyo Journal’s Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie explored what’s behind global phenom Hatsune Miku with Crypton Future Media, the creators behind Japan’s virtual singer

TJ: Could you explain a little about what a vocaloid is? How does it work? Who uses it, and for what?
CRYPTON: “VOCALOID” is singing synthesizing technology developed by YAMAHA Corp. Hatsune Miku is software which came into the world as a result of this technology. By entering melodies and lyrics on one’s PC, the software sings them exactly as they are.

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