On Japan Category (97)



Editor's Insight

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Globalizing Haiku

Over the past 25 years or so, the Japanese art and literature form haiku has grown in popularity from its humble beginnings as an appendage to tanka poetry.

As a student of haiku, I have studied the styles of the four great masters Matsuo Basho, Yosa Buson, Kobayashi Issa and Masaoka Shiki.

But in attempting to write haiku in English in the 5-7-5 syllable format, I have found it difficult to find the sense of balance associated with the traditional poems.

Interview with Diamond Yukai

Written by  |  Published in Celebrity Showcase

JAPANESE rock rebel Diamond Yukai, who was born Yutaka Tadokoro in 1962, continues to reinvent himself in a music, film, television and writing career that has spanned nearly three decades.

As a teen, his parents, who were civil servants in Saitama, wanted him to conform to the system. They told him he would never succeed as a rock and roller. Diamond Yukai proved them wrong in the mid-eighties by forming Red Warriors, a band that went on to fill stadiums throughout Japan including the legendary Budokan and Seibu, the latter of which seats close to 40,000.

During this time, Diamond Yukai branched into the movie industry, beginning with a starring role in the 1988 movie “Tokyo Pop” directed by Fran Kuzui, creator of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and Fox TV’s hit series “Angel.” He co-starred in “Tokyo Pop” with actress Carrie Hamilton, daugh- ter of the legendary comedienne Carol Burnett. He went on to appear in Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation” in 2004 and numerous Japanese films and television dramas.

Focusing on Japan’s Strengths

Written by  |  Published in TJ Business Expert

TJ: What has made the Japanese automobile and electronics industries so successful in the U.S.?
TAKENAKA: Japan had its heyday in the decades following World War II. There was a shortage of quality products and the Japanese were very good at making products. They came in and supplied the world. The timing was right in terms of the world’s needs, the environment and Japan’s capabilities. You didn’t have to negotiate hard. You didn’t have to do a lot of sales and marketing. There was a lack of quality products being manufactured and people simply had wants and needs. The Japanese were excellent at manufacturing. Trading? Not so good. Marketing? Not so good. But you didn’t have to do a lot of that back then.

TJ: Is Japan going to continue to be a manufacturing country?
TAKENAKA: I think they have to. You have to focus on your strengths. If you only focus on your weaknesses, you’re going to become weak. The Japanese have an excellent skill set and commitment that suits manufacturing.

Let’s take a look at televisions. The Japanese used to be excellent at manufacturing TVs. But they stopped thinking about what the customer wanted. Konosuke Matsushita once said, “The customer is God.” In the old days, they really believed the customer was God, so they were always trying to figure out, “What does the customer want? What does the customer need?” They would find out so they could make good products that met their needs. Well, as you get more successful (this happened in America, too), you start to get cocky. They are still using the same words, “The customer is God.” Before they really believed it. But now it is only words. This is a common mistake with successful companies. They start imposing what they think their customers need on their customers.

Haiti's Historical Visit

Written by  |  Published in Editorial Features & Reviews

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.

Discover Tokyo

Written by  |  Published in Tokyo

Ginza is Japan’s world class shopping and food hub. World famous brand stores rub shoulders with high class department stores while the area is jammed with quality restaurants where you can savor Michelin starred sushi or traditional Japanese cuisine. Other favorite attractions are the food halls in the basement floors of department stores. They feature all imaginable food varieties, from a diverse range of sweets, to alcohol and regional food specialties.

Shinjuku, Kabukicho
With over 3 million users daily, Shinjuku Station lays claim to the title of the busiest station in the world. In the vicinity is the beautiful park Shinjuku Gyoen national garden. There are commercial districts with high rise buildings, department stores and large electronics retail stores. Japan’s largest entertainment district, Kabukicho, is also located right near the station. The area is packed until late at night with patrons attending high class nightclubs, casual pubs, karaoke, and pachinko venues.

Ryogoku and the Edo-Tokyo Museum
Adjacent to Asakusa is Ryogoku, the Sumo precinct. Numerous sumo stables are located here and Tokyo Grand Sumo Tournaments are held at Ryogoku Kokugikan (Sumo Hall) in January, May and September. A distinctive feature of this area is the restaurants that serve Chanko-nabe, a dish eaten by sumo wrestlers. Just nearby is the Edo-Tokyo Museum which exhibits the history of Tokyo from samurai days to the present.



Tokyo Journal Street Editor Kjeld Duits hits the streets with his lens to see what's hot in Harajuku

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

Living Legend: Toyo Ito

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2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate Interview by Dr. Anthony Al-JamieIN March 2013, it was announced that 71-year old Tokyo-based Toyo Ito is the 2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize recipient.The Pritzker Architecture Prize is awarded annually to a living architect whose “built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision and com- mitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.” The laureates are awarded a $100,000 grant and a bronze medallion.

Previous Japanese recipients were Kenzo Tange (1987), Fumihiko Maki (1993), Tadao Ando (1995), and Kazuyo Seijima & Ryue Nishizawa (2010).

TJ: Congratulations on winning the Pritzker Architecture Prize! It is the biggest award in architecture.
ITO: Yes. After it was announced, many architects from all over the world sent me congratulations. I was so surprised that it is such a big award!

TJ: Who congratulated you?
ITO: Yes. After it was announced, many architects from all over the world sent me congratulations. I was so surprised that it is such a big award!

Where to Stay in Tokyo

Written by  |  Published in Travel & Food

See TJ's recommendations on where to stay in Tokyo - ranging from the luxurious Westin Tokyo, to the affordable Nippon Seinankan Hotel to 'homestay' style accommodations through www.homerent.jp

Tokyo Weekend Excursions

Written by  |  Published in Travel & Food

Take a weekend excursion outside of Tokyo at the haven for artists Art Biotop in Nasu, or see the beautiful Mt. Fuji near Seikai Yamanaka Lakeside Hotel or the Fuji-Hakone Guest House.

Tokyo Street Fashion

Tokyo Journal Street Editor Kjeld Duits hits the streets with his lens to see what's hot in Harajuku

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