Tokyo Street Editorial

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  • Thursday, 05 December 2013 09:36
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TOKYO’S weather was getting cooler when this issue went to press, but political discourse was heating up as Prime Minister Abe tried to pass a new state secrecy law. Opponents were alarmed. The bill would severely weaken Japan’s democracy and limit freedom of the press, they said. On November 20, a group of independent journalists presented a petition to the government. It included Soichiro Tahara, the country’s best-known political commentator. This shows the high level of unease as Japanese journalists rarely deliver petitions.

Renewed Hope
Before the law’s deliberations dampened people’s spirits, Japan received some much needed hope. Tokyo was selected to host the 2020 Summer Olympics this September. Some commentators cried on live TV. Soon after, as if on cue, a rainbow appeared over Tokyo.

Hot Talent
The highlight is our 12-page feature Interview with Visual Kei pioneer, rock legend and classical genius Yoshiki. The X Japan founder shared his struggles and successes from his state-of-the-art Hollywood recording studio. Tokyo Journal Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie’s questions dig deep and cover an amazing range of topics.
In a bilingual interview, Academy Award winning director Francis Ford Coppola discusses Japan’s top art award he received from Prince Hitachi, as well as his love for film and Japan. Japan’s top model Tao Okamoto talks about her career as an international supermodel and her new career as an actress. In her first Hollywood role she locked lips with Hugh Jackman in “The Wolverine”.
In August this year, Tomomi Itano, had her “graduation performance” from music and cultural phenomenon AKB48. She talked to TJ about her new career. In September, dancer Kenichi Ebina became the first Japanese performer to win NBC’s hit TV show “America’s Got Talent.” With the one million dollars in prize money, and his own show in Las Vegas, Kenichi gears up to take his act on the road. This awesome array of talent continues with, amongst others, popular actor and singer Hiroshi Tamaki, kabuki performer Senjaku Nakamura, and the Japanese/Canadian band Monkey Majik’s earthquake relief efforts in Sendai.

Donald Richie
Tokyo Journal continues its tribute to Japan expert and former contributor Donald Richie. In this issue, we reprint Richie’s recollection of how even geisha couldn’t rival Igor Stravinsky’s incomparable charm. Richie accompanied the legendary Russian-born composer during his visit to Japan and shares some fascinating moments and insights.

History in the Making
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. The 62nd Sengu took place at Ise in early October. TJ’s newest contributor and former president of the Japan Society of Boston, Peter Grilli, was invited to attend the ceremony at the Inner Shrine, and he shares his observations.

Hot Styles
The spring and summer collections of Tokyo’s Fashion Week took place in October. Since luxury carmaker Mercedes Benz became the main sponsor in 2011, the event has been gaining stature. This year, even the members of famed rock band KISS showed up. Their walk down Japanese fashion brand Christian Dada’s runway created an enormous buzz and attracted a record number of media people. This special captures our favorite shows.

Cool Colors
This season’s cool colors include Rust Red, Cobalt Blue and Olive Black. Take your pick, and best wishes for a great end of the year! tj

The complete article is available in Issue #273. Click here to order from Amazon

Written By:

Kjeld Duits

Residing in Japan for over 30 years, Dutch photojournalist Kjeld Duits is Tokyo Journal's Street Editor. In addition to managing one of the first fashion blogs on the net, and the first to cover Japanese street fashion in English, he owns a vast collection of vintage photographs, illustrations and maps of Japan between the 1860s and 1930s (Meiji, Taisho, and early Showa periods) and covers news stories and natural disasters for media organizations worldwide.


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