Anthony Al-Jamie

Anthony Al-Jamie

Anthony Al-Jamie lived and worked in Japan 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 and Executive Editor. He currently serves the Tokyo Journal as Editor-in-Chief.

Friday, 02 May 2014 11:20

KISS's Gene Simmons

Rock ’N’ Roll Samurai

From Legendary Rock and Roll Superstar to Business Warrior, Music Business CEO Gene Simmons Conquers All

Interview by Anthony Al-Jamie

Rock star, producer, publisher, actor, reality TV star, family man, professional sports team owner, entrepreneur and all-round marketing genius: what kind of steroids must one take to master so many ventures with dynamic energy and youthful enthusiasm for over 40 years? To find out, I drove to Gene Simmons’ Beverly Hills mansion. Meeting Gene Simmons was an educational experience from the get-go. Parking on the edge of the large circular driveway to this huge mansion - the kind you only see on a reality TV show - I looked up to see the towering KISS star on top of the staircase, yelling pinpoint directions to me about where to park. Before the interview; before I’d even parked the car, I knew this was a man who was in control. I couldn’t help but feel intimidated, but as I entered his palatial estate Simmons greeted me with a kind smile and, knowing that I had lived in Japan for many years, introduced himself in perfect Japanese using all the politest forms of the language. He offered me a cup of coffee and asked me to wait in his office, which doubles as a KISS museum. It includes literally thousands of unique KISS and Gene Simmons branded memorabilia – everything from motor scooters to pachinko machines!

Friday, 02 May 2014 00:00

Yoko Ono

Tokyo Journal’s Exclusive Interview with Yoko Ono on the 33rd Anniversary of John Lennon’s Death

Interview by Anthony Al-Jamie

Why is Yoko Ono amazing, you ask? What is not amazing about her would be a better question! Not only is she the most famous Japanese person in the world, she has been breaking new ground in art, peace activism, and music for six decades. Now, 81-years old, Yoko is producing one chart-topper after another, with 11 #1 dance singles, all while traveling the world promoting peace. Performing with her band, the Plastic Ono Band which includes the exceptionally talented Sean Lennon (son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono), Yoko has captured the interest of a new generation not emotionally vested in The Beatles and free of prejudice.


Thursday, 26 December 2013 09:02

Dancing on Air

Dancer Adam Young Defies the Odds Battling Cystic Fibrosis

Adam Young is a 32-year old ballet, tap, jazz and contemporary dancer from California with cystic fibrosis (CF) who received a double lung transplant at UCLA in May 2013. He began dancing at the age of six in Riverside, California and won national competitions in the U.S. and Australia at the age of 17, as well as the Kennedy Center Emerging Young Artist Award Scholarship at age 18. He was offered a full scholarship to the renowned Julliard School and the Ailey School in New York but was unable to relocate due to CF complications. Graduating from the University of California, Irvine with honors on full scholarship as a dance major in 2003, he went on to dance with the Nashville Ballet for two seasons. He trained at the National Conservatoire de Paris and has danced, judged and taught throughout the United States and performed internationally in France, Germany, Australia, Canada and Mexico. His professional career was put on hold in 2006 when cystic fibrosis caused his lung capacity to fall below 40%. Adam’s determination to overcome an addiction to pharmaceutical drugs through a 12-step program in 2010 allowed him to receive his 2013 lung transplant, which has given Adam a chance to return to the stage and continue pursuing his passion for dance. TJ talked to Adam about his inspirational story.

Thursday, 19 December 2013 00:00

The Man Who Brought Sushi to America, Part III

Introducing Japanese Food Culture to America

This is the third in a series of interviews with Noritoshi Kanai, chairman of Mutual Trading and the man who coined the phrase “sushi bar.”

TJ: Can you tell us about Rocky Aoki and Benihana?
KANAI: Rocky Aoki and I were introducing Japanese food to the U.S. almost at the same time, with me on the west coast and Mr. Aoki in New York. Mutual Trading’s idea was to introduce traditional Japanese food culture to Americans. However, Mr. Aoki combined Japanese and American food to create something brand new – the Teppan steakhouse. Since then, the spreading of the Japanese food business was based on two styles – Mr. Aoki’s Benihana Restaurant-style and my idea of traditional food, namely sushi. Mr. Aoki was a very personable man and a better businessman than me. Benihana grew through advertising and Mr. Aoki’s self-promotion. Finally Benihana arrived in California and I took my sushi concept to New York. At that time, I remember thinking to myself that sushi had a bright future due to its innate strength as a traditional culinary property, unique to Japanese foods.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013 00:00

Tomomi Itano

Graduating from AKB48

Tomomi Itano

Tomomi Itano has been called the “Queen of Commercials” in Japan. She has gone from a first generation member to a 2013 “graduate” of AKB48, a Japanese girl group that took Japan by storm in 2005 to become a social phenomenon. According to Guinness, AKB48 is the largest pop group in the world, originally made up of 3 teams - A, K and B, each with 16 members. It is one of the highest-earning musical acts in the world, with sales surpassing a record US$226 million in 2012. On August 27, 2013, Tomomi had her final graduation performance with AKB48 and is now working hard on her career. Tokyo Journal ’s Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie talked with Tomomi Itano to find out about this 22-year-old superstar.

Monday, 09 December 2013 00:00

Tao Okamoto

Tao Okamoto

Japanese Supermodel

Interview by Anthony Al-Jamie

Japanese supermodel Tao Okamoto resides in New York City, where she is capturing the attention of the American and European fashion world and is widely recognized as one of the top models to ever come from Japan. At the age of 23, her signature bowl haircut took the fashion world by storm and she’s never looked back, becoming the face of Ralph Lauren and walking the catwalk for such brands as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Miu Miu and Michael Kors. She has fronted campaigns for Vivienne Westwood, D&G, Emporio Armani, Kenzo and Tommy Hilfiger. In 2009, she was the first Japanese model in nearly a decade to grace the cover of Vogue Nippon. In 2013 she entered the acting world as the love interest of Hugh Jackman in “The Wolverine” and in January 2014, she will make her Japanese television debut in a police drama miniseries entitled “Chi No Wadachi”. Will she continue to shine on the silver screen? Tokyo Journal’s Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie talked with Tao to find out.

Monday, 09 December 2013 00:00

Hiroshi Tamaki

Interview with Hiroshi Tamaki

Hiroshi Tamaki is a popular Japanese actor, singer, and model from Nagoya, Japan. He has acted in Japanese films and TV dramas, served as host of the 2012 reboot of the television cooking competition “Iron Chef”, recorded a number of albums and singles as a singer, and performed in concerts throughout Asia. He made his debut in the drama “Am I Weird?” in 1998 and gained recognition with his appearance in the 2001 film “Waterboys”.

Monday, 09 December 2013 00:00


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.


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

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.


Staff Continued



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