Tomomi Itano

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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 According to Guinness, AKB48 is the largest pop group in the world, originally made up of 3 teams - A, K and B, each with 16 members.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.

Monkey Majik

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Japanese/Canadian Band Monkey Majik

Ambassadors of Goodwill

Monkey Majik is a bilingual hybrid band made up of the Canadian brothers Maynard and Blaise Plant on lead vocals and guitar and two Japanese members, tax and DICK. In addition to being one of Japan’s top-selling groups whose music has been featured in television programs, commercials and movies, they have gained the attention of The Black Eyed Peas co-founder and have had the extremely unique opportunity to perform for the Emperor and Empress of Japan. Their 2011 earthquake and tsunami volunteer efforts were documented by MTV Japan. DNA, their newest album, continues to blend Eastern and Western pop and rock influences, and they are preparing for their next Japan tour. TJ talked with Blaise and DICK about their career and their relief efforts in Sendai.

Hiroshi Tamaki

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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”.

Japan Entertainment News

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Den of Horror
Did ”The Ring” leave you rabid for ”The Ring Two?” Do you hold a grudge because “The Grudge” ( Ju-on) hasn’t released another supernatural sequel? Then Horipro, a Japanese international talent agency more than 50 years in the business, may have just launched a YouTube channel for you! The chilling channel called Hora no soukutsu (Den of Horror) contains 100 Japanese ghost and horror stories, original dramas, shocking videos and a horde of horror-related YouTube links. More is to come. This sinister site will be upgraded from April 2013 to include original content from vocational school students and creative YouTubers. If you don’t speak Japanese, don’t fear. You can translate the captions into English, Chinese and many other languages with the YouTube CC option button. But be warned... do not watch this site alone. Subscribe to Den of Horror, if you dare:


2013 America's Got Talent Winner

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2013 America's Got Talent Winner: Kenichi Ebina Sneak Preview

On September 18th, 2013, dancer Kenichi Ebina became the first Japanese performer to win NBC's hit TV show America's Got Talent! He won $1,000,000 and will get his own show in Las Vegas. The following is an excerpt of Tokyo Journal Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie's exclusive Interview with Kenichi. For the full-length interview see Tokyo Journal's Autumn Issue.

TJ: When did you first start to dance?
EBINA: I was attending an English Language Institute for international students who don't speak English. It was connected to the college I graduated from and since it was on a college campus, students in the English school were invited to college activities. I went to a dance party for welcoming freshman. At the time I wasn't big into dancing at all but I knew the steps for the "Running Man" that I had learned from some friends. At the party they made a circle and people started showing off. I had to go in and I did the Running Man. People started getting loud. At the time I thought they were loud because I wasn't good, but it was the opposite - they were cheering for me! After that, I started thinking dancing was fun. I started watching videos and copied their moves and steps.

Kings of K-Pop in L.A.

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TVXQ! Wow with First Headlining Concert in L.A.

TVXQ!, known as the “Kings of K-Pop!” and holders of the Guinness Record for Most Photographed Celebrities in the world, performed at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles on July 5, 2013. Although the successful Asian band had performed with the 2012 SMTown concert in Anaheim, California with several of SMTown’s top Korean Pop (K-Pop) acts, this was the first time TVXQ! headlined in the U.S. The band is on its “Catch Me” world tour, which began in Seoul in November 2012, went to Hong Kong, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur and Japan. Following L.A., the tour continues to Santiago, Chile and Shanghai, China.


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MAX has sold over 10 million albums since their debut in 1996. Tokyo Journal caught up with Nana, Lina and Mina, who recently recorded their first new single in over three years with fellow group member Reina. Their cover track of the worldwide hit “Tacata” by Tacabro was released on August 7, 2013.

The Platters are still Going Strong

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With 4 #1 hits and 40 charting singles on the Billboard Hot 100 since 1955, the Platters are still going strong. Known for such hits as "The Great Pretender", "Only You", "Earth Angel" and "Smoke Gets in your Eyes", the Platters are led by B.J. Mitchell, a member who was brought into the group by original recording member, Paul Robi. Under B.J., the group has performed all over the world for the last 44 years. On November 20, 2013, the Platters performed in Brazil with the great Carnival band of Salvador, Olodum. This collaborative performance represented a melding of traditional African and Afro-Brazilian drum-based compositions and the timeless classics of the Platters.

Cheap Trick

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The Band that Put the Legendary Budokan on the Map

TJ Exclusive Interview with Rick Nielsen

TJ caught up with Cheap Trick guitarist, backing vocalist and primary songwriter Rick Nielsen to talk about the 35th anniversary of Cheap Trick at Budokan. It was their best-selling album and is ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Cheap Trick was referred to by the Japanese media as the “American Beatles” and ranked #25 in VH1’s list of the 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. Bands such as Mötley Crüe, Guns N’ Roses, Green Day, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Weezer, Stone Temple Pilots, and Extreme have cited Cheap Trick as an influence.

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