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.

Thursday, 18 September 2014 21:40

Creative Lab: Party

It takes a special sort of talent to mastermind the world's first 3D photobooth, a replica Lady Gaga speaker, or a radio signal-repellent fashion line. Tokyo Journal's Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie talked with Masashi Kawamura, who alongside his partners at Creative Lab PARTY, has done all three. Established in Tokyo in 2011, and with a recently opened New York office and world-wide projects in the pipeline, it's fair to say that PARTY is just getting started.

TJ: Could you tell me about your background? You were born in Tokyo, and then...
KAWAMURA: I moved to San Francisco in kindergarten, and then came back to Tokyo in high school. I started to get into coding and design at university, and got my first job at a Japanese agency called Hakuhodo. Then I spent about ten years working for advertising agencies in different cities: London, Amsterdam, New York...

TJ: So what did you do with Hakuhodo?
KAWAMURA: I was a commercial film planner, which is a niche title and special to Japan, where TV commercials are considered the main form of advertising. The way it forced me to only do TV commercials was good training but a little limiting for me. I saw the outside world doing more integrated communications and was like, “Wow, I gotta put myself into that group.”

TJ: And tell me a little bit about PARTY?
KAWAMURA: PARTY is a company I started in 2011 with four partners – that’s Naoki Ito, the chief creative officer; Qanta Shimizu, our chief tech officer; Hiroki Nakamura, a creative director, and me. Each of us had been having success in the advertising, communications, and design world, but felt the structures of these agencies were limiting to our desire to push the boundaries of creativity. Now, we specialise in projects that merge storytelling and technology, and we call ourselves a lab to make sure that we don’t forget our experimental and innovating spirit. It’s the first entity I’ve been in that I feel like change is part of the culture.

Thursday, 18 September 2014 20:10

Sisters Cities Pioneer

Thelma Press, Southern California Sister Cities Co-Founder

Born to British parents in Darjeeling, India, Thelma Press attended Loreto College where one of her teachers was Mother Teresa. With this kind of influence, it’s not surprising that Thelma would go on to seek ways to promote peace. She has done just that as a Sister Cities International veteran since 1959, beginning with the establishment of the relationship between San Bernardino, California and Tachikawa, Japan. She has served on boards and in key positions for Sister Cities International, the San Diego-Yokohama Sister City Society, the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego’s Balboa Park, the Asian Arts Council of the San Diego Museum of Art, and the first Sino-U.S. Sister Cities Conference in Beijing. Thelma Press has received over 60 awards for her work in international relations and in 2012 was approved as a Global Envoy, the highest honor of Sister Cities International. Tokyo Journal Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie visited with Thelma Press in San Diego, California.

Saturday, 13 September 2014 05:07

Fumiko Hayashi

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.

Saturday, 13 September 2014 00:00

Hatsune Miku

Virtual Singer Hatsune Miku

The World’s Leading Vocaloid Opens for Lady Gaga

Japan’s top superstar with more fans on the Internet than any other Japanese pop star is virtual. Synthesized songstress Hatsune Miku has wowed audiences around the world with an innovative ensemble of music software that has allowed her fans to create over 100,000 songs, digital animation and live 3D performances both in Japan and abroad. She also opened for Lady Gaga in the U.S. Tokyo Journal’s Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie explored what’s behind global phenom Hatsune Miku with Crypton Future Media, the creators behind Japan’s virtual singer

TJ: Could you explain a little about what a vocaloid is? How does it work? Who uses it, and for what?
CRYPTON: “VOCALOID” is singing synthesizing technology developed by YAMAHA Corp. Hatsune Miku is software which came into the world as a result of this technology. By entering melodies and lyrics on one’s PC, the software sings them exactly as they are.

Saturday, 13 September 2014 04:54

Sebastian Masuda

Ambassador of Kawaii

Interview by Anthony Al-Jamie

Fashion, art exhibition, music video, and even Christmas tree designer, Sebastian Masuda is a standout in Japan’s modern artistic culture. Since creating Harajuku-based kawaii fashion outlet 6%DOKIDOKI in 1995, Masuda has worked relentlessly to spread Harajuku culture to people all over the world. As 6%DOKIDOKI’s 20th anniversary fast approaches, Tokyo Journal’s Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie spoke to Sebastian Masuda about the beginnings of his brand, and what’s still to come.

Saturday, 13 September 2014 00:00

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu

Japan's Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, the Queen of Kawaii

Interview by Anthony Al-Jamie

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu has caused a revolution in the J-pop world with her unique blending of kawaii [cuteness] with creepy chic. In 2012, the mayor of Shibuya named her the “Kawaii Ambassador” of Harajuku, and her success has mushroomed overseas. She’s gone on global tours, her breakthrough song “PONPONPON” was featured on “The Simpsons,” American pop idol Katy Perry has tweeted about Kyary’s music and in July 2014 she released her third studio album “Pika Pika Fantajin.” Tokyo Journal Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie interviewed the 21-year-old chart-topping singer about music, fashion and her future.

Thursday, 04 September 2014 00:00

Cuba Gooding, Jr.

Cuba Gooding, Jr. Academy Award Winning Actor Expands his Creative Boundaries

With his mother being a singer with the Sweethearts and his father the lead vocalist of The Main Ingredient, Cuba Gooding, Jr. was introduced to the world of entertainment from a young age. Tokyo Journal Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie talked to the film star, who won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor for “Jerry Maguire,” about his roles in historical civil rights films as well as his aspirations to become a screenplay writer and director.

TJ: What are you doing in New York?
GOODING: I flew in for a couple of reasons, one of which was to meet with my agents and present them with my new screenplay. I’ve been writing scripts for the past year and I’m on my next one, which I’m really excited about.

TJ: Can you tell us about that?
GOODING: Well, I think I got into writing scripts because the last eight or nine years of my career I’ve been doing a lot of independent films. A lot of the financing has been contingent on my involvement, so I wound up in a producer capacity developing these scripts - actually choosing first-time directors, working on shot lists with directors, and seeing them through the process, including the editing room and post production by putting the final product together, looking for distribution and starting relationships with distributors and financiers. I think I found that the most important part of filmmaking is the director and I think that’s now my goal - being an actor/director. I think the easiest way for me to show my capability as a director is to bring the material, so it got me to thinking…working on scripts and finally turning out a screenplay. I went to Broadway for a production of “A Trip to Bountiful” with Cicely Tyson last year for seven months. I grew so much as an actor, as a filmmaker, as an artist period. When I was in that creative headspace, it made me want to continue to create even past what I was working on then, and that was when I wrote my first screenplay. So this is just a natural progression of things. I got another idea and wrote it down and now I’m working on that second one. Eventually, I will present this to buyers and see if there is any real interest in turning it into a screenplay. But right now I’m just allowing my creative juices to dictate what I do.

Tuesday, 03 June 2014 18:13

Overnight Sensation

Overnight Sensation

Anthony Bourdain's Culinary Quest Crosses Cultures

Chef, TV host and author Anthony Bourdain began his culinary career as a dishwasher and worked his way up to line cook, sous chef and chef in New York restaurant kitchens. Rave reviews for his 1997 article “Don’t Eat Before Reading This,” published in the “New Yorker,” helped spawn his New York Times bestselling memoir “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly” in 2000. Instant fame launched the Culinary Institute of America graduate’s career from executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles to television host of “A Cook’s Tour,” and two Emmy-winning programs: “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” and CNN’s “Parts Unknown.” These programs have allowed Bourdain to swap New York kitchens for worldwide culinary adventures, as local hosts introduce him to their culture and cuisine. Tokyo Journal Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie spoke with Anthony Bourdain to find out how he went from small fry in the Big Apple to the big cheese on television’s top news, food and travel channels.

Friday, 02 May 2014 00:00

Dancing on Air II

Dancing on Air II

Dancer, Adam Young, Defies the Odds, Battling Cystic Fibrosis

The following is Part II of a series of interviews with Adam Young, a 32-year old ballet, tap, jazz and contemporary dancer from California, who has cystic fibrosis (CF) and 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 United States 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 Juilliard 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 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 percent. Adam’s determination to overcome an addiction to pharmaceutical drugs through a 12-step program in 2010 allowed him to receive his lung transplant in 2013 – which has in turn given Adam a chance to return to the stage and continue pursuing his passion for dance. Tokyo Journal Executive Editor, Anthony Al-Jamie, talked to Adam about his inspirational story.

Monday, 05 May 2014 00:00

Spider-Man Creator Stan Lee

Spider-Man Creator Stan Lee

The Marvel of Comic Books and his POW!erful Partner Gill Champion

Stan Lee is the man behind some of the world’s best-loved superheroes, including Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, the Avengers, X-Men, The Fantastic Four and over 300 more. An American comic book writer, editor, publisher, media producer, actor, and voice actor, Stan Lee is currently Chairman Emeritus and Editorial Board Member of Marvel Comics, as well as Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of POW! Entertainment. Aged 91, Stan Lee is as sharp as ever and his lifetime accomplishments are as remarkable as the heroes he created. He successfully forced the Comics Code Authority to reform its censorship policies. He led the expansion of Marvel Comics from a small division of a publishing company to a multimedia powerhouse. The Spider-Man strip appeared in more than 500 newspapers worldwide, making it the world’s most successful syndicated adventure strip. He has been inducted into the comic industry’s most hallowed halls of fame and received numerous awards including the 2008 American National Medal of the Arts presented by President George Bush for his work as one of America’s most prolific storytellers and for recreating the American comic book. Tokyo Journal Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie met with Stan Lee and business partner Gill Champion at their headquarters in Beverly Hills, California.


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