Editorial Features & Reviews (5)



Fumiko Hayashi

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Leading a Revolution in Equality & Sustainability

Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi Sets her Sights on Making Yokohama the Most Progressive City in the World

How does one go from an entry-level sales position at a Honda dealership to president of Volkswagen, BMW and Nissan Auto Sales in Tokyo, chairperson and CEO of Daiei (one of Japan’s largest supermarket retailers) and now mayor of Japan’s second-largest city, Yokohama? How do you do all of this despite traditions that cast men as the salary-earners and women as domestic caregivers? And while being only a high school graduate in a society that places extreme importance on university qualifications? Break all the precedents, says Fumiko Hayashi. She has dominated both the corporate and political worlds in her long and ground-breaking career, a career that she forged for herself despite – and at times because of – her gender. Fumiko Hayashi has been listed as the most powerful woman in Japan and 39th out of the Forbes 2006 list of “The 100 Most Powerful Women.” Tokyo Journal Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie first interviewed Fumiko Hayashi for TJ while she was still president of Volkswagen in 2003. Now over a decade later, he catches up with Japan’s corporate icon and current mayor of Yokohama to find out how her views have developed and what she has to say about gender equality, economic success and the future of Yokohama.

After the Inferno

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After the Inferno

by Donald Richie

In this installment of a series, Donald Richie recalls a poignant post-war moment with Nobel Prize-winner Yasunari Kawabata

It was 1947 and the Sumida River, silver in the winter sun, glistened beneath us. Yasunari Kawabata and I were on the roof of the Asakusa subway terminal tower, looking out over downtown Tokyo, still in ruins, still showing the conflagration of two years earlier, the burned concrete black against the lemon yellow of new wood.

Igor at the Kabuki

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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

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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.

Haiti's Historical Visit

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Haiti President Michel Martelly's historical meeting with His Imperial Majesty the Emperor

However long the journey, one must take the first step
Quelque Long Que Soit Le Chemin, Il Faut Faire le Premier Pas

One of the cornerstones of our stay in Japan was meeting with Their Majesties the Emperor Akihito and the Empress Michiko. We left their presence instilled with a sense of serenity and great wisdom that will remain forever engraved in our memories and our hearts.

RECENTLY, the Government of Haiti adopted a new dynamic business diplomacy through which we intend to promote a new image of the country worldwide. It is within this context that I accepted the invitation of the Japanese government, to pay a diplomatic visit to Japan in December 2012.


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