2012年2月28日 星期二

Japanese film shown in the west

Foreign relations

There are three main strands of Japanese film shown in the west: animation, sex and horror. None of these owes much to traditional Japanese film, but what are niche titles in their own country are often taken as examples of national cinema when they move abroad.


“I think what film distributors select for release in Britain is mostly based on how we like to view Japan, rather than any reality about the country itself,” says Jasper Sharp, author of The Historical Dictionary of Japanese Cinema, and contributor to Whose Film Is It Anyway?, the Japan Foundation’s touring programme of recent Japanese film.

“我觉得发行商选择在英国上映的影片主要基于我们希望如何看待日本,而非日本这个国家的真实状 况,”加斯帕•夏普(Jasper Sharp)说,他是《日本电影历史字典》(The Historical Dictionary of Japanese Cinema)一书的作者,也是《这究竟是谁拍的电影》(Whose Film Is It Anyway)日本电影周的发行人,这是由日本国际交流基金会(Japan Foundation)组织的系列活动,巡回放映该国近一阶段所摄影片。

Pokémon (1998) and Dragon Ball Z (1989) at one end of the spectrum, and Audition (1999), Ichi the Killer (2001) and The Ring (1998) at the other, have come to define Japanese cinema for western viewers. These are films that comfortably reinforce the perception of two opposing extremes of Japanese culture. At one pole there is what Donald Richie, a US-born critic of Japanese film, calls the “frivolous Japan”; at the other, the Japan of dark, often fetishistic or sadistic horror and ­pornography (in its own way just as frivolous). The only middle-ground films we encounter come from Studio Ghibli, such as Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away (2001), and even those, though often excellent, are of limited variety in style or content.

《宠物小精灵》(Pokémon, 1998年)与《龙珠Z》(Dragon Ball Z, 1989)是整个电影周的开场影片,而《切肤之爱》(Audition,1999年)、《杀手阿一》(Ichi the Killer,2001年)以及《午夜凶铃》(The Ring,1998年)则是电影周的闭幕影片,它们一步步为西方影迷诠释何为日本电影。这些影片充分强化了日本文化中水火不容的两个极端概念,一端是美国 出生的日本影评家唐纳德•里奇(Donald Richie)所谓“琐碎无聊的日本”,另一端展示的则是日本阴暗的一面,常常充斥着迷信、虐待狂式的恐怖以及大量情色描写(同样琐碎无聊)。我们看到 的、介于两者之间的影片来自吉卜力工作室(Studio Ghibli),如宫崎骏(Hayao Miyazaki)的《千与千寻》(Spirited Away,2001年),而那些影片(通常情况下虽说很棒)在风格与内容上变化实在乏善可陈。

Whose Film Is It Anyway?, which runs at the ICA before touring the UK, consists of nine works from the past decade, each demonstrating a departure from what we have come to expect from Japanese film. The most famous filmmaker in this season, Masayuki Suo, is represented by I Just Didn’t Do It (2006), a sombre, sincere examination of the Japanese legal system in which a young man is arrested and charged with groping a schoolgirl on the public underground. It offers an engrossing look at injustice and human relationships under pressure.

《这究竟是谁拍的电影》电影周在英国全国巡回展前,先在伦敦当代艺术学会(Institute of Contemporary Arts,ICA)进行了放映,共放映了过去10年所拍的9部影片,每一部的内容都背离了西方人对日本电影的固有期望。这次电影周最知名的导演是周坊正行 (Masayuki Suo),他执导的影片《正义之裁》(I Just Didn’t Do It,2006年)冷峻诚挚地审视了日本的司法制度,影片拍摄的是一位年轻人遭到逮捕,罪名是在地铁上猥亵某初中女生,生动地展示了司法不公以及重重压力 之下的人际关系。

A common characteristic of the films in the season is the nuanced interactions between characters. In Yoji Yamada’s About Her Brother (2010) a mother and daughter are forced to break with the mother’s juvenile middle-aged brother, later finding him dying of cancer in a hospice. It’s a sophisticated, suitably unsentimental film – were it made in Hollywood it would almost certainly ruin the effect of its pathos with sugar. All Around Us (Ryosuke Hashiguchi, 2008) follows a couple struggling to move on from the death of a child. Set over the course of 10 years, it’s simultaneously sweeping in narrative scope and minutely detailed in its depiction of human relationships amid tragedy. Bad Company (2001), the oldest film and winner of the jury and international critics’ prizes at Rotterdam Film Festival, mixes the pragmatism and naivety of childhood and the pains of growing up.

本次电影周影片的共同特点是各个角色之间的微妙关系。在山田洋次(Yamada Yoji)执导的影片《弟弟》(About Her Brother,2010年)中,母亲与女儿被迫与母亲不成熟的成年弟弟一刀两断,最后却发现弟弟在收容所里因罹患癌症将不久于人世。这部影片情节曲折、 情感控制拿捏到位——若是在好莱坞拍摄,几乎肯定会用甜言蜜语的东西破坏整体悲情效果。桥口亮辅(Ryosuke Hashiguchi)执导的影片《幸福的彼端》(All Around Us,2008年)讲述的是一对夫妇如何在孩子夭折后风雨同舟的故事。整个故事情节历时10年,既实现了叙事范围的包罗万象,又细致入微地刻画了悲剧笼罩 中的人际关系。夺得鹿特丹电影节(Rotterdam Film Festival)最佳影片及影评人奖的《恶童日记》(Bad Company,2001年)则是这个系列中最早拍摄的影片,夹杂着童年时代的天真烂漫、爱管闲事以及成长的烦恼。

The selection also includes two excellent comedies (a particularly under-represented type of Japanese film in the west). The Dark Harbour (Takatsugu Naito, 2009), in which a lonely fisherman records a video introduction for a dating service, features a very funny scene in a clothes store. Searching for an outfit that will impress city women, the fisherman is offered Johnny Depp’s tasseled cowboy jacket as well as the flowery shirt that Neil Armstrong left on the moon and that Nasa subsequently recovered. Arriving at the dating party, another fisherman is wearing the same shirt. But it is a deeper film than this suggests; full of pathos and understated emotion. A Stranger of Mine (Kenji Uchida, 2005), which won the screenwriter’s prize at Cannes that year, is an expertly structured crime comedy of errors, consisting of well-rounded characters who cross paths during one night in Tokyo. In comedy, as in drama, the force of these films comes from the varying aspects of human experience they depict.

这个系列还选了两部非常上乘的喜剧片(在西方尤其不受待见的日本影片)。内藤隆嗣 (Takatsugu Naito)的《不灯港》(The Dark Harbour,2009)讲述了一位寂寞的渔民录制了一段自我介绍的视频去相亲,其中一段在服装店的场景让人忍俊不禁。渔夫想买一套能打动城市姑娘的衣 服,结果售货员给他看了一件约翰尼•德普(Johnny Depp)带流苏装饰的牛仔夹克,还有一件尼尔•阿姆斯特朗(Neil Armstrong)不慎落在月球上、后由美国国家宇航局(Nasa)找回的花哨衬衫。到达相亲地场后,他发现另一位渔民也穿着一模一样的衬衫。但电影的 蕴意则要深刻得多,充满了忧伤以及尽在不言中的情感。内田健二(Kenji Uchida)的《遇人不熟》(A Stranger of Mine,2005年)获得了当年的戛纳电影节的“最优秀剧本奖”,这部犯罪类的喜剧片结构安排巧妙、到处充斥着阴差阳错,刻画了诸多多才多艺的角色,他 们在某一天晚上在东京不期而遇。与舞台剧一样,喜剧影片的震撼力来自各个角色刻画的多样人生经历。

These films show the continuance of an older, more character-driven, humanist tradition of Japanese film.


Yasujiro Ozu, one of the three Japanese directors most revered in the west (Akira Kurosawa and Kenji Mizoguchi being the others), was above all interested in people. When beginning a film, he and co-screenwriter Kogo Nada worked backwards: they would sit down and write dialogue first, before even the characters were conceived or the story decided.

小津安二郎(Yasujiro Ozu)是西方社会最推崇的三位日本导演之一(其他两位是黑泽明(Akira Kurosawa)与沟口健二(Kenji Mizoguchi)),他最为关注的是人。每次开拍电影时,他都会与编剧Kogo Nada在后台工作:坐定后先拟好对话,进而再构思角色及故事情节。

In an interview with Sharp, Richie pointed out the effect of this process: “There’s a rightness, there’s a logic, there’s an inevitability, there’s a reality about the characters.” Tokyo Story(1953), Ozu’s most famous film, shows an elderly couple who make their first trip to the capital to visit their family, only to find them not much interested in a reunion.

一次采访夏普时,里奇指出整个过程如此处理的效果:“这样的角色贴切、符合逻辑、不可避免以及 具有现实意义。”《东京物语》(Tokyo Story,1953年)是小津安二郎执导的最著名影片,讲述了一对老夫妻第一次到首都东京去看望自己的儿女,到头来却发现他们对自己的到来不为冷不热。

For Kenji Mizoguchi too, working at the same time as Ozu, humanity is a primary theme; Ugetsu Monogatari, which came out in the same year as Tokyo Story, and Sansho the Bailiff, which followed in 1954, are stories of betrayal, loyalty, family and friendship. Only Kurosawa, the most famous in the west and the most western of the three, could be accused of having other concerns. Kurosawa is a master of dramatic storytelling; Mizoguchi and Ozu are masters of dramatising human experience.

与小津安二郎同时代的沟口健二也是如此,所拍影片最大的主题是人性;《雨夜物语》 (Ugetsu Monogatari)与《东京物语》同一年公映,《山椒大夫》(ansho the Bailiff)则是于1954年公映,它讲述了背叛、忠诚、家庭及友谊。只有黑泽明(三位导演之中在西方社会最知名,也是最具西方风格的导演)被视为还 关注其它问题。黑泽明是讲述曲折动人故事情节的大师:而小津安二郎与沟口分健二则是生动描述人类经历的大师。

Yet western viewers watching Japanese cinema often can’t get past the kimonos, the slippers and the bowing, to the film itself. This has a lot to do with the way westerners see eastern artworks, “rather passively assuming their mysteriousness”, writes Adam Mars-Jones in Noriko Smiling (2011), the critic and novelist’s brilliant essay on Ozu’s Late Spring (1948).

然而观看日本电影的西方影迷通常无法越过和服、木屐以及鞠躬而直达影片内容本身。这与西方人看 待东方艺术品的方式有很大关系,“颇为顺从地接受神秘玄虚的东西”,影评家兼小说家亚当•马斯-琼斯(Adam Mars-Jones)在评论小津安二郎所执影片《晚春》(Late Spring,1948年)的鸿文Noriko Smiling中如此写道。

Many critics suffer from a more intellectualised version of this wood-for-the-trees syndrome. One of the aims of Noriko Smiling is to recover Late Springfrom critics such as Paul Schrader (screenwriter of Taxi Driver and director of a biopic of Japanese novelist Yukio Mishima) who, prioritising style over content, insisted on its “transcendental” qualities. Referring to a famous shot of a vase intercut with shots of the heroine crying, Schrader says the tears themselves have little meaning – he subtracts all emotion, or as Mars-Jones puts it, robs the tears of “all possible moisture content”. It seems, then, that a film being Japanese is the cue for western viewers to not look hard enough, and for some western critics to look too hard.

许多评论家陷入了纯理性化的因小失大综合症。评论文章Noriko Smiling的目的是为《晚春》正名,保尔•施雷德(Paul Schrader)这些说三道四的评论人士认为风格的重要性优于内容,坚持这部电影的先验性,施雷德是影片《出租车司机》(Taxi Driver)的编剧,并执导了日本小说家三岛由纪夫(Yukio Mishima)的传记电影。在谈及影片中花瓶镜头切换与女主人公哭泣的那个著名镜头时,施雷德说眼泪本身并无意义——他把所有的情感都剔除掉,或者正如 马斯-琼斯所言,把眼泪从“所有可能触发动情的内容中”去除掉。所以,日本风格的影片似乎就是暗示西方观众不要凝神细看,却让有些西方影评家不放过任何细 枝末节。

The importance of all the films in the Japan Foundation’s season lies not in their “Japanese-ness” but in their worldliness, their humanism. Of course, we can’t, and shouldn’t, separate a film from its country of origin. But film is a human medium and its roots (pathos, empathy, joy, anger, fear) are universal elements. “That’s what I think they mean when they say that films cross borders,” director Masayuki Suo suggests. “What do we call a film? If we call it the art of light and shadow reflected on a screen, I think that’s universal. Continuing to stir up the existence of human beings themselves – that’s what film is.”

日本国际交流基金会组织的本次电影周所有影片的重要性不在于它们的“日本特色,而是其全球视野 与人文精神。当然,我们不可能,也不应该把电影与拍摄国隔绝开来。但电影是人类交流的媒介,它的本质要素(痛苦、移情、欢乐、恐惧)是普世通用的。“这就 是当别人都说电影可以跨越国界,其所指意义所在,” 导演周坊正行说。“何为电影?如果称它为反射至幕布上的灯光与阴影艺术,我觉得全世界都一样。不断拨动人类自身的生存状态——我想那就是电影的本质。”

‘Whose Film Is It Anyway?’ runs at ICA, London, until February 16 and tours the UK until March 28 www.jpf.org.uk



2012年2月27日 星期一

Japan's Elpida Memory Files for Bankruptcy

Japan's Last DRAM Maker Files for Bankruptcy
Wall Street Journal (blog)
By Isabella Steger One of Japan's last-standing memory-chip makers could soon be a distant memory if it doesn't turn around fast. As Dow Jones Newswires reports Monday, Elpida Memory Inc., which is struggling under a heavy debt load and losses, ...
See all stories on this topic »
Japan's Elpida Files for Bankruptcy With $5.6 Billion Debt
Japan's Elpida Memory said it filed for protection from creditors on Monday with 448 billion yen ($5.55 billion) in debt, the biggest bankruptcy filing by a Japanese manufacturer. The filing suggested that a possible rescue by domestic lenders and ...
See all stories on this topic »

Japanese Chipmaker Elpida Files for Bankruptcy
ABC News
Japanese computer chipmaker Elpida Memory Inc. filed for bankruptcy Monday after amassing debts from nose-diving prices, longtime competition from Samsung and the flooding in Thailand last year that stagnated demand. Elpida, the only maker in Japan to ...






  • 作者:周一良譯者:錢文忠

  • 出版日期:1996/2012年




附錄20篇更有意思 譬如說 還說到茶 日榮西和尚引入



2012年2月26日 星期日





2012-02 天下雜誌 491期 作者:謝明玲


311大震週年  四張臉見證日本重生 圖片來源:劉國泰







家庭主婦 淺野仁美:今天想做的,今天就要做完。





























科技工程師 山根悠一:回家見父母的次數更多了。


















新聞總編輯 上部一馬:每一瞬間都是很珍貴的。


















教會義工 佐藤由子:其實神一直都在心中。



善普施國際救援(Samaritan’s Purse International Relief)的麥克、凱爾和賈斯汀,陸續上工,準備修復山口悅子的地板與樓頂。已經修補好的屋樑上,有著日式雕刻。

















2012年2月25日 星期六

美國商務部懲罰日本的"組織犯罪"集團Yamaguchi-gumi 等

U.S. Treasury Dept. Penalizes Japan’s Largest Organized-Crime Group

WASHINGTON — The Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on Japan’s biggest yakuza group, an organized-crime syndicate that operates with relative impunity there and whose far-ranging criminal activity has become a significant concern in Washington.

In an announcement on Thursday, the department said it would freeze the American-based assets of the group, the Yamaguchi-gumi, and two of its leaders. It will also bar any transactions between Americans and members of the penalized crime syndicate. Yakuza have been tied to drug trafficking and other crimes in the United States, with particular prominence in Hawaii and California. The Treasury did not elaborate on the dollar value of United States-based accounts that might be frozen under the new sanctions.

In a statement, the Treasury said the group made “billions of dollars” every year around the world. Its criminal activity includes prostitution, money laundering, fraud and trafficking in humans, weapons and drugs.

The action “casts a spotlight on key members of criminal organizations that have engaged in a wide range of serious crimes,” David S. Cohen, under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement.

“We will continue to work with our international partners to target those who deal in violence, narcotics, money laundering and the exploitation of women and children,” Mr. Cohen said.

The Treasury is using sanctions authority created by a 2011 executive order. In the order, President Obama said he had determined that criminal organizations — including the yakuza, the Camorra crime syndicate in Italy and Mexico’s Zetas drug cartel — “constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States.”

Yamaguchi-gumi; its reputed “godfather,” Kenichi Shinoda; and its “deputy godfather,” Kiyoshi Takayama, are the first to be penalized under the order.

The Treasury also announced sanctions against a major crime syndicate called the Brothers’ Circle, along with several of its top members. The Brothers’ Circle, formerly known as the Family of Eleven or the Twenty, is a multiethnic umbrella organization for criminal groups operating across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

The yakuza gangs, which boast about 80,000 members, have deep historical roots in Japan and have operated for more than a century. They recently have been tied to a wide range of businesses, including the nuclear industry and Olympus, the Japanese camera manufacturer mired in a major accounting scandal.

According to a 2009 report by Japan’s National Police Agency, the Yamaguchi-gumi had 19,000 members and 17,400 associates, making it the biggest yakuza group. Recently, Japanese authorities have been cracking down on the yakuza, with citizens becoming increasingly intolerant of the criminal underworld. But local authorities have struggled to scrub the groups from industries where they hold considerable influence, like construction.

亞洲城市愛用日貨 (Made in Japan)


博報堂『Global HABIT』より

博報堂『Global HABIT』より



  同調査は、2011年実施の生活者調査『Global HABIT(グローバルハビット)』のデータをもとに行われたもので、日本製の商品を求める傾向がもっとも高かった都市に、台湾の「台北」(198ポイン ト)が輝いた。以下は、「ソウル」(158ポイント)、「香港」(151ポイント)、「シンガポール」(131ポイント)と続いた。

 製 品別の「メイドinジャパン」志向指数においても、「自家用車」部門で「台北」が1位に。しかし、「日本から連想するモノ・サービス・エンタテインメン ト」として「自家用車」を選んだ割合が高かった都市をみると、「クアラルンプール」(77.2%)や「ジャカルタ」(58.2%)が上位を占め、総合指数 でトップの「台北」は全都市の中で最低ランクとなった。このことから、「台北」では、日本車が消費者からの信頼を獲得しているうえ、同国内ですでにブラン ドイメージが浸透しきっていることがうかがえる。

 住商アビーム自動車総合研究所の本條聡さんは、「日本車のブランドイメージが高い国で は消費者の評価も高い。背景には日本の自動車メーカーがアジア諸国に力を入れていることがある」と分析。同調査は、この結果が「日本企業がグローバル企業 と戦っていくためのヒントを与えるもの」とした上で、「『メイドinジャパン』という付加価値がすでに認められている都市では、このアドバンテージを守り ながら最大限に活用していくべき」としている。今後も日本車のブランドイメージが浸透した地域で高い指数を維持するためには、企業側もこれまで以上に努力 が必要なのかもしれない。



'Japanese Madoff' Flagged/ AIJ Investment Advisors 老本23億美億美金蝕光 下次不會了

'Japanese Madoff' Flagged
Wall Street Journal
By KANA INAGAKI, ATSUKO FUKASE and PHRED DVORAK TOKYO—A small Japanese asset-management firm suspected of losing billions of dollars in investor money was flagged as a potential "Japanese Madoff" as early as 2009 by an industry newsletter.

Japan watchdog halts fund on fears over lost assets

Yen notes There are fears that losses at the firm may run into billions of dollars

Japan's financial watchdog has told an investment firm to halt its operations on suspicion that it has lost most of the $2.3bn (£1.5bn) funds it manages.

Operations at AIJ Investment Advisors, which manages group pension funds for more than a hundred firms, have been suspended for a month.

It came after reports in Japan alleged that the firm may have covered up losses for years.

Authorities said they would also probe all other investment firms in Japan.

"The Financial Services Agency (FSA), together with the labour ministry, will take every possible step to prevent this kind of incident from happening again," said Shozaburo Jimi, the head of the FSA.

'Very difficult'

The report has taken analysts and industry watchers by surprise.

"It is very difficult to understand how they were able to hide all these losses," Yuuki Sakurai of Fukuko Capital Management told the BBC.

"They should have had accounting firms checking all their balance sheets."

At the same time, analysts said that investment firms also provided their clients with reports of how and where their money had been invested.


Financial regulators have been examining the books of AIJ Investment Advisors since January.

They now say most of the $2.3bn in pension funds it manages is missing - one of the biggest scandals of its kind in Japan.

AIJ manages pension schemes for more than a hundred small and medium sized Japanese companies.

It attracted clients by offering what it said was stable profits from stock options trading.

Japanese pension funds have traditionally been invested mostly in safe but low yielding bonds.

But more than a fifth of the population is now over the age of sixty-five and some funds have been diversifying to try to increase returns.

They said it was difficult to believe that none of the firm's clients has raised any concerns.

"It is a case of negligence at various different levels," Mr Sakurai added.

The financial watchdog said that it was still investigating the extent and scale of losses at the firm.

"AIJ cannot explain its asset management situation. The size and cause of the losses are now under investigation," an FSA official told a news conference.

'Will get sorted'

The news of AIJ's losses comes just months after another Japanese firm Olympus admitted that it hid $1.7bn in losses for as long as 20 years.

Analysts said that scandals may see changes being made to corporate laws in Japan.

"I am sure this will lead to a review of the checks and balances in place," said Gerhard Fasol of EuroTechnology.

However, industry experts believe that while these cases have been high-profile and may have raised concerns about corporate governance, it would be unfair to draw too many conclusions about the state of Japan's corporate culture.

"This has nothing to do with Japan's business culture. The reality is that not every person is true and honest," Mr Fasol said.

He added that once the investigations had taken place, those responsible would be held accountable.

"It may take time, but things will get sorted out," he said.

2012年2月23日 星期四

The Bank of Japan 目処

The Bank of Japan

Time for action

Another set of measures to tackle deflation

CONSERVATIVE, cautious and cowardly: the Bank of Japan (BOJ) has endured all manner of insults over the years. Among the complaints from critics is the charge that the central bank could have boosted Japan’s economy if it had increased its balance-sheet more rapidly during the financial crisis.

The BOJ believes there is only so much a central bank can do if businesses won’t borrow and banks won’t lend because growth prospects are meagre and firms are already stuffed with cash. But politicians are threatening to introduce laws to dilute the bank’s independence. And its counterparts are being embarrassingly dynamic. In January the Federal Reserve set an inflation target of 2% and promised near-zero interest rates until the end of 2014; the European Central Bank is lending money to euro-zone banks like there’s no tomorrow. Inaction is not an option.

So on February 14th the BOJ tried to disprove its critics. First, it changed its wording on price stability. Instead of calling it an “understanding” among the nine individual policy-board members, it now refers to price stability as a “goal” of the institution. Importantly, the term in Japanese, medo, does not mean “target” but implies a vaguer aspiration, unsurprising given that Japanese bureaucrats must “take responsibility” if formal targets are not met. Nonetheless, it still marks progress.


medo (hiragana めど)

  1. 目処: aim; outlook
  2. 針孔: eye of a needle
  3. 馬道: (obsolete) long roofed passageway
  4. : Chinese lespedeza; fortune-telling using divination sticks

Second, the BOJ increased its ongoing credit-easing programme by agreeing to purchase an additional ¥10 trillion ($130 billion) in long-term Japanese government bonds by the end of 2012. That triples the amount of its monthly purchases and brings the overall amount of credit easing to ¥65 trillion. The increase is meant to spur bank lending and create modest inflation—the BOJ said it wanted annual consumer-price increases “at 1% for the time being”.

The stockmarket leapt to a six-month high following the BOJ’s announcement. Yet the economy still faces some severe headwinds: a declining population, sluggish global growth and a still-strong yen that eats into corporate profits. Fourth-quarter GDP figures released on February 13th show that the Japanese economy shrank by an annualised 2.3% from the previous quarter, the fourth decline in five quarters.

So critics will again complain that the BOJ is doing too little. That charge will be less fair than it used to be. And, as the gentlemen of Nihonbashi subtly stated in their communiqué, it is up to banks, firms and the government to play a role in revitalising the Japanese economy, too.

2012年2月22日 星期三

敢死隊工廠 Factory wheels are turning in the Fukushima evacuation zone

Smoke rises from one of the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant


Factory wheels are turning in the Fukushima evacuation zone

Workers in one village in the evacuation zone around the stricken Fukushima power plant have started clocking in again. They carry personal Geiger counters to make sure their radiation levels do not exceed the limit.

Iitate is like a ghost town. The village lies within the emergency evacuation zone, as it is only 40 kilometers away from the Fukushima 1 nuclear power plant that was damaged by the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan on March 11 last year. The houses are empty and the town deserted, with many of its former inhabitants still living in temporary shelters, mostly in Fukushima City.

But there is life in one part of the village - at the local Kikuchi factory, where parts for mobile phones, cameras and photocopiers are made. Some 240 workers come here every morning to work.

Kikuchi received permission to continue producing in Iitate under strict conditions. Hiromi Sato, the factory's deputy head, is pleased about this, even if he now has a longer commute.

“There was some uncertainty among the people but we were able to give them stable employment. This is very important in times such as these,” he says, adding there have been no production losses.

A Geiger counter displays radiation levels

Radiation levels have decreased in Iitate but are still high

Health measures

He explains that the factory has taken a series of measures to dispel some of the employees' fears and address health issues, such as installing an air shower at the entrance to minimize contamination.

The halls have also been sealed off and special air conditioning units are used to ensure no radioactive particles can penetrate the building.

Each worker has been given a Geiger counter to record daily personal radiation levels. If measurements surpass 20 millisieverts per year, the employee is sent to another factory in Nihonmatsu. This has already happened to five people. So far, Hiromi Sato's counter is at 8 millisieverts.

“It will be set to zero on March 11. The levels are calculated anew every year,” says Sato.

But this means that the 20 millisieverts limit can be exceeded significantly over a number of years. The government has not imposed any regulations regarding the products made by Kikuchi but the company has negotiated limits with its customers.

Tens of thousands of protesters at an anti-nuclear demonstration in Japan

The anti-nuclear movement is growing in Japan

“The products were not the problem, but the storage area was,” says Sato. “We used to use wooden pallets, but they absorb a lot of radioactive particles. Now we've switched to using plastic pallets.”

The radiation levels within the factory area are now only 0.3 microsieverts per hour, which is equivalent to levels just north of Tokyo.

Outside, the levels are higher but they have also decreased considerably, according to Sato, “thanks to a state decontamination project in December and January that removed and replaced the asphalt.”

“Five centimeters of topsoil were also removed. Before there were two to three microsieverts per hour in the air but it's gone down to 0.7.”

Nonetheless, he says, it's still not the best place to go for a walk.

Author: Peter Kujath, Iitate / act
Editor: Sarah Berning

南京大屠殺Nanjing Massacre之虛實

Chinese City Severs Ties After Japanese Mayor Denies Massacre
New York Times
TOKYO — The Chinese city of Nanjing has suspended its sister-city relationship with Nagoya in Japan after the Japanese city's mayor expressed doubts that the Japanese army's 1937 Nanjing Massacre actually took place, the Nagoya city hall said ...

Chinese City Severs Ties After Japanese Mayor Denies Massacre

TOKYO — The Chinese city of Nanjing has suspended its sister-city relationship with Nagoya in Japan after the Japanese city’s mayor expressed doubts that the Japanese army’s 1937 Nanjing Massacre actually took place, the Nagoya city hall said Wednesday.

The falling out began on Monday when Nagoya’s mayor, Takashi Kawamura, told a visiting delegation of Chinese Communist Party officials from Nanjing that he doubted that Japanese troops had actually massacred Chinese civilians. Most historians say that at least tens of thousands of civilians were slaughtered in Nanjing, in one of the most infamous atrocities of Japan’s early 20th century military expansion across Asia.

The falling out underscored how history remains a potential flashpoint in Japan’s ties with the nations that it once conquered. While such denials are common by Japanese conservatives like Mr. Kawamura, they are rarely raised in such a public manner, and directly to Chinese officials. But there is also a widely shared perception in Japan that China’s communist government plays up the massacre for its own propaganda purposes, with many serious historians dismissing the official Chinese claims of 300,000 dead as exaggerated.

Still, the Japanese government scrambled to head off a full-blown diplomatic incident. The top government spokesman restated Japan’s official position that the massacre did, in fact, take place.

“This is a problem that should be appropriately resolved between the cities of Nagoya and Nanjing,” said the spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura.

The city hall of Nagoya, an industrial city in central Japan, said it received what it described as a short and business-like e-mail on Wednesday morning from the city government of Nanjing saying that the Chinese city was temporarily halting all exchanges.

On Wednesday, Mr. Kawamura remained unrepentant, saying that did not intend to retract the statement or apologize. He explained that his father had been a solider in Nanjing in 1945, and was treated kindly by city residents, which he said would have been impossible had an atrocity taken place there just eight years earlier.

“There are many opinions about the so-called Nanjing incident,” he told reporters, using the Japanese term for the killings in December 1937. “I have said I want to have a debate with people from Nanjing.”

Such disagreements between Japan and its neighbors have quieted from the early 2000s, when then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi angered many in China and South Korea by visiting the Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo that honors Japan’s war dead, included executed war criminals.

However, questions of history can still disrupt relations. In December, Japan’s prime minster, Yoshihiko Noda, was rebuffed by the South Korean president, Lee Myung-bak, during a trip to Seoul when he asked for removal of a statue in front of the Japanese Embassy there to remember women forced to work as sex slaves for the Japanese military during World War II.

The South Korean leader responded by asking for compensation for the surviving former sex slaves, most now in their 80s. Japan says war-related reparations were settled when it established diplomatic ties with South Korea after World War II.

2012年2月18日 星期六

The spirit of Japanese poetry (1914)

此書為Williams 女友回國前送胡適的 她覺得是好書
胡適讀後 說英文很好 不過太誇張
胡適日記全集 , 第 2 卷 1915-1920
(不過我們從此套日記 可知當時日本人遠比清國人更活躍於西方文藝界)

The spirit of Japanese poetry (1914)

Author: Noguchi, Yoné, 1875-1947
Subject: Japanese poetry -- History and criticism
Publisher: London : J. Murray
Possible copyright status: NOT_IN_COPYRIGHT
Language: English
Call number: AZQ-9018
Digitizing sponsor: MSN
Book contributor: Robarts - University of Toronto
Collection: robarts; toronto

Full catalog record: MARCXML

[Open Library icon]This book has an editable web page on Open Library.

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2012年2月16日 星期四

日本官方坦承過去忽視核安 Japan Ignored Nuclear Risks, Official Says

Japan Ignored Nuclear Risks, Official Says

TOKYO — In surprisingly frank public testimony on Wednesday, Japan’s nuclear safety chief said the country’s regulations were fundamentally flawed and laid out a somber picture of a nuclear industry shaped by freewheeling power companies, toothless regulators and a government more interested in promoting nuclear energy than in safeguarding the health of its citizens.

Itsuo Inouye/Associated Press

In his testimony on Wednesday, Haruki Madarame, Japan's nuclear safety chief, described a complacency with lax standards.

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The disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, stricken by an earthquake and a tsunami last March, has led to widespread criticism of nuclear officials for their lax approach to safety, as well as for a bungled response that allowed meltdowns to occur at three of the plant’s six reactors.

The scale of the accident, which forced almost 100,000 people from their homes and contaminated a wide area of northeastern Japan, has put pressure on the government to explain why warnings about the plant’s safety went unheeded and global safety standards were ignored, even as officials promoted nuclear power as the country’s most reliable source of electricity.

Haruki Madarame, head of a panel of nuclear safety experts who provide technical advice to the government, told a Parliament-sponsored inquiry on Wednesday that Japanese officials had succumbed to a blind belief in the country’s technical prowess and failed to thoroughly assess the risks of building nuclear reactors in an earthquake-prone country.

For example, officials did not give serious consideration to what would happen if electric power were lost at a nuclear station, because they believed that Japan’s power grid was far more reliable than those in other countries, he said. The March earthquake and tsunami cut off the Fukushima plant from the grid, leaving operators unable to keep the reactor cores from overheating.

“Though global safety standards kept on improving, we wasted our time coming up with excuses for why Japan didn’t need to bother meeting them,” Mr. Madarame said.

Officials also gave too little attention, he said, to new studies raising the possibility of large earthquakes off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture. Mr. Madarame said he was to blame for some of the lapses, but that the Nuclear Safety Commission had a culture of complacency long before he took over in mid-2010.

His candid testimony comes at a time when the government is pushing to restart reactors around the country that were shut down following the accident. Only 3 of Japan’s 54 reactors are operating; the rest have been kept idle by local governments worried about safety.

To quell opposition, the central government has ordered new “stress tests” to assess whether the plants can withstand a major natural disaster. But the investigative commission’s hearings could undermine efforts to restart more reactors.

Mr. Madarame said the government should go far beyond the lax safety checks that Japanese regulators performed for years, which he said were still being carried out in some cases using “technology three decades old.” He said that regulators had been too cozy with the industry. Mr. Madarame also criticized Tokyo Electric Power, the operator of the Fukushima plant, for saying that it could not possibly have prepared for a tsunami as strong as the one last March, which killed 20,000 people along Japan’s northeast coast.

Tokyo Makes Arrests / Olympus Sues Executives/Ford Challenges Japan

Tokyo Makes Arrests in Olympus Scandal
Tokyo prosecutors arrested three former Olympus officials, including ex-chairman Tsuyoshi Kikukawa, over their alleged role in the company's loss-hiding scandal.

Olympus Sues Present, Past Executives Over Cover-Up, Nikkei Says
The Japanese camera maker submitted the claim yesterday, according the Nikkei and Yomiuri newspapers. It wasn't possible to confirm the lawsuits because today is a holiday in Japan. While Olympus spokesmen weren't available to comment, the Tokyo- based ...
See all stories on this topic »

Ford Turns to the Midsize Car to Challenge Japan
New York Times
The new look is just one aspect of Ford's all-out bid to gain share in the competitive midsize car segment dominated in recent decades by the Japanese automakers. To further differentiate the Fusion, the company will offer four engine options, ...
See all stories on this topic »

New York Times

2012年2月12日 星期日

call for the abolition of atomic energy 廢核

Thousands march against nuclear power in Japan
CBS News
People march a street, demanding Japan abandon atomic power in Tokyo Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012. Thousands joined the march against nuclear power as worries grow about the restarting of reactors idled after the March 11, 2011 disaster in northeastern ...


Feb. 12, 2012

Antinuclear protesters march Saturday in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, to call for the abolition of atomic energy. About 12,000 demonstrators gathered the same day for a rally in the capital's Yoyogi Park to voice their opposition to nuclear power, organizers said.


2012年2月3日 星期五


TOKYO | Fri Feb 3, 2012 5:21am EST

Feb 3 (Reuters) - Gobbling down a huge sushi roll in one go on Japan's February 3 end-of-winter festival is thought to bring good fortune -- just as long as you don't speak while you eat and remember to face the right way.

"Ehomaki," or "Lucky Direction" sushi rolls, are mammoth versions of the toothsome, seaweed-wrapped rice rolls that are a popular part of sushi meals. Roughly 6 cm (2.3 inches) in diameter and 20 cm (8 inches) long, they contain everything from egg, fish and vegetables to slices of fried pork cutlet.

The important thing is to take them in hand and eat, silently, while facing the proper direction -- this year, north-northwest.

Nobody really knows why or how the tradition evolved, though, only that it seems to have first appeared in the western city of Osaka.

"One of the theories for where Lucky Sushi Day came from is, well, men would make prostitutes in Osaka eat large sushi rolls and they'd watch that for a laugh," food analyst Minako Murakoshi told Reuters.

"There's some evidence for that but of course there are other theories as well."

A more likely explanation is that they were first whipped up by food stalls in Osaka in the mid-1800s. Then, a century later, a local seaweed retailer turned that into a regional tradition through sushi-eating contest and prizes for the largest sushi roll as a way to kick-start sales.

In more recent years, they've been seized upon by Japanese convenience store chains as a seasonal money spinner to fill the gap between Christmas and Valentine's Day.

Prior to this, February 3 -- or Setsubun -- was celebrated mainly by people throwing beans to chase demons out of their house, chanting "Out with demons, in with happiness."

But in 1989, retailer Seven Eleven launched a Lucky Sushi Day at one of its Osaka-area stores. The celebration was rolled out nationally in 1998.

"The Japanese are pretty keen on events associated with the seasons, like eating cake at Christmas or giving people chocolates on Valentine's Day," Murakoshi said.

"After Lucky Sushi Day, there'll be loads of chocolates for Valentine's Day out on the shelves, and consumers will be pulled in by that and end up buying lots of chocolates too."

At the top of Tokyo Tower, a popular tourist spot resembling the Eiffel Tower, people gathered to eat Lucky Sushi -- and struggled to say why.

"I think the tradition originally came from western Japan, but it's been promoted in all sorts of ways in Tokyo. Gradually everyone's started doing it," said Keiko Fuji, a Tokyo mother.

Others had more mundane concerns, such as how to actually eat the massive rolls.

"We cut it into smaller pieces and eat it that way," said 65-yea-old Yasuhiro Irie.

Traditionally, Lucky Sushi were filled with seven lucky ingredients, including egg, cucumber and eel. But the modern version includes some stuffed with spongecake, or even with bread in place of rice. (Editing by Elaine Lies, editing by Paul Casciato)

Setsubun: The Day Before Spring, Demons, How to Eat Eho-Maki and Throw Your Beans

Setsubun: The Day Before Spring, Demons, How to Eat Eho-Maki and Throw Your Beans (節分: 立春、恵方巻、炒り豆、豆撒き)

Setsubun 節分

On February 3rd, people in Japan celebrate Setsubun, the coming of spring. Special sushi rolls called Eho-maki (恵方巻) and eaten while facing the auspicious direction for that year. After dinner, roasted soy beans, or iri-mame are thrown out the front door of the house to cast out demons (oni), disease and bad fortune and welcome spring and and a new year of good fortune.

Paku did some shopping at one of the major department stores in Kyoto and came over with some tasty Setsubun goodies.

Setsubun is associated with The Chinese New Year, or Lunar Calendar which was used for centuries in Japan, so this is a coming of spring festival as well as the traditional new year. It is still an important event in Japan. Setsubun properly refers to the day before the coming of any of the four season. So, this is actually, risshun (立春) , spring Setsubun.

Setsubun dinner is simple, sushi rolls (makizushi). The proper way to eat this dinner is to face a certain direction, this year it was south-east, and eat the entire sushi roll without stopping. Don’t speak, just make your wish! This takes longer than you might think, so you have time to wish for a lot!

Eho-maki, Iri-mame and Oni (demon) MaskSetsubun 節分

Eating the entire makizushi in one go is quite difficult and I would imagine that more than a few people have choked to death while eating their makizushi according to the rules.

This makizushi is called ehomaki (恵方巻) literally, ‘direction of blessing roll’, wrapped in egg is quite an innovation to my eyes. The oni is branded (yaki-in) on the sheet of egg that is used to wrap the sushi. While it is common to see a single yaki-in on various foods in Japan, usually egg based creations, we had never seen one like this where it covers the entire thing like this.

Someone must have invented a new machine, I thought!

Setsubun Sushi Rolls, Eho-maki – detailSetsubun 節分

Machine-made or not, it was one of the best damn makizishi I have ever had, and fun to eat!

It came packed in a cute little box to boot. Japanese put lots of energy and effort into packaging.

About those beans. The beans are roasted soybeans. They taste just fine if you are in to roasted soybeans, nothing to get real excited about, taste-wise.

What to do with the beans:

Iri-mame and an Oni (demon) Mask – detailSetsubun 節分

What you do here is put all the beans in a big bowl then each person counts out the number for your age, placing them in your own blog or plate. This is done after dinner.Then, together you count, one, two, three.. and eat one bean for each year.

This was actually the first time I had done this properly as Paku is a real traditional Japanese girl. Seeing my life as a plate of beans was strange.

As Paku was counting and we were eating beans, I was thinking in my mind the landmarks in my life that came to mind when I picked up each bean. First memories, first pet, t-ball, golden birthday, first kiss, — Paku was born –, lost my virginity, traveled abroad, graduated uni, came to Japan, turned 30.

As Paku was eating her last bean, she said out loud, “How long I have known you, darling!” Oh, sweet!

Some people eat one more bean, this is said to protect your from getting a cold and others say that it ensures a year of happiness.

Then with the remaining beans, you take them to the front door and say “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!” (鬼は外! 福は内!) Literally, “Oni out, good fortune in!” Then throw them out in the street. As this is the beginning of spring, some people say “Out with the old and in with the new!”

According to Wikipedia, in one region of Japan, they say something like “Oni‘s eyeballs — SMASH! SMASH!” I like that one!

I tried it out on Paku right away. As she was quietly reading after dinner I blurted out, “Paku’s eyeballs — SMASH! SMASH!”

Terrified, she looked at me like I was pointing a knife at her. I thought she was going to run away or call the police, maybe both! (The Japanese words are really scary.) I retorted, that I was just trying out what I learned on Wikipedia and that IS what they say in up in Fukushima Prefecture.

The throwing of beans, called Mame-maki (literally, bean scattering) dates back to ancient Japan. A Heian-era monk is said to have driven away a demon by throwing roasted beans at him/it. Ah, life must really have been simpler back then.

So there you have it, Setsubun. Ehomaki and roasted soybeans. Another fun Japanese festival intricately intertwined with food.

Eho-maki, Iri-mame and Oni (demon) Mask
Setsubun 節分
notice the box in the background.

Japanese Entrepreneurs Aim for Silicon Valley

Japanese Entrepreneurs Aim for Silicon Valley

For an emerging generation of Japanese innovators, the dream isn't a job for life at a big company. They have new ambitions, and they're determined to go places. Especially Silicon Valley.

Small but growing numbers of Japanese entrepreneurs are jumping into the startup scene in northern California, particularly since the earthquake and tsunami last March. They include Naoki Shibata, who took the plunge by giving up the sort of life many Japanese in past decades spent their lives trying to attain.

Only 30, Shibata had an executive-level position at online retailing giant Rakuten Inc. and an assistant professorship at the prestigious University of Tokyo, where he earned a Ph.D. Last June he launched AppGrooves, an iPhone application discovery tool.

"I wanted a global company from the first moment," he said. "If you want to reach a global market, then you have to start from Silicon Valley."

Shibata and others say they are seeing a major uptick in Japanese entrepreneurs migrating to Silicon Valley or seriously contemplating a move, as their country struggles with two decades of economic stagnation and a rapidly shrinking and aging population.

Some venture capitalists believe the earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear disaster that followed compelled many Japanese to take an increasingly uncertain future into their own hands.

In this Dec. 1, 2011 photo, Noaoki Shibata, a... View Full Caption

"Whenever there's a natural disaster, people are pushed and pressed against the wall," said Annis Uzzaman, one of the founders of San Jose, Calif.-based Fenox Venture Capital. "And they want to come out as number one."

Attorney Yoichiro Taku, a partner at Silicon Valley firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, has taken on AppGrooves as a client, as well as Japanese-founded social network startups Wondershake and Mieple. Taku, who has among the most active startup practices in the U.S., said it's the most Japanese startup traffic he has ever seen in his Silicon Valley career.

More than the earthquake, Taku believes the trend has more to do with the sprouting seeds of entrepreneurship back in Japan, cultivated by the emergence of Tokyo-based incubators like Open Network Lab and Samurai Incubate. Some will naturally want to aim bigger.

"It's like Ichiro Suzuki wanting to play in Major League Baseball," Taku said.

Shibata also suggested that it's just easier to be offbeat in the U.S.

"The biggest difference between Silicon Valley and Japan is when I hack something in Japan, I'll be punished first," Shibata said of making unscripted modifications. "But in Silicon Valley, when I hack something, I will be encouraged to do more."

Technology and innovation have long been sources of pride in Japan. The country's phenomenal economic development in the 20th century was fueled by visionary entrepreneurs and industrialists whose ventures are now some of the country's most well-known brands like Sony Corp. and Panasonic Corp.

But as Japan grew into one of the world's biggest economies, it seemed to lose its pioneering spirit. Business leaders, officials and academics in recent years have blamed the country's dearth of entrepreneurship on a mix of social and structural factors that constrict new innovators.

The Japanese, they say, have become risk-averse, opting to stick to the safety of lifetime employment at established companies. Venture capital is scare. Exits in the form of mergers and acquisitions or initial public offerings are too difficult.

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, which measures attitudes toward starting new businesses around the world, found in its 2010 report that Japan ranked lowest among 22 advanced economies. The same survey found that Japanese citizens were least likely to consider entrepreneurship a good career choice.

This reality, however, has spurred new action among individuals and groups trying to rekindle the country's entrepreneurial ambitious and build a viable startup ecosystem.

"There's a lot more startup companies, and there's probably more support for them now," said Taku, the attorney. "Just mathematically, some percent of them have some aspiration to go the U.S. because they speak English or they studied in the U.S."

The demographics of applicants to Open Network Lab, a Tokyo startup incubator, shifted dramatically after the earthquake, managing partner Hironori Maeda said. Before the disaster, applications tended to come from recent university graduates or freelance programmers. But now, Maeda said, they're coming from employees at large Internet companies who are willing to quit their jobs if accepted.

"Japan was all about harmony and longevity," he said. "Then the earthquake hit them, and everyone is all of a sudden put into uncertainty. That kind of woke everyone up. It probably made a lot of people consider what they should do with their lives."

Hironori Maeda, Satoshi Suzuki
In this Dec. 21, 2011 photo, Hironori Maeda,... View Full Caption

Open Network Lab, a joint effort among listed tech companies Digital Garage Inc., netprice.com and kakaku.com, launched less than two years ago with the aim of finding startups with the potential to go global. Teams accepted into its three-month seed accelerator program are given 1 million yen ($12,800) in funding, office space, mentoring and access to its extensive network of entrepreneurs and partners.

Interest has soared since its first class, when it received 47 applications. For its fourth class that started in January, nearly 100 teams applied.

Other initiatives are also sparking change.

William Saito, a Japanese-American entrepreneur and venture capitalist in Tokyo, has made it his personal mission to reinvigorate Japan. He co-founded Impact Japan to serve as a hub and clearinghouse for innovation, helping organize local events for the annual Global Entrepreneurship Week and launching scholarships for study abroad.

For the past three years, he has taken groups of about 30 Japanese students, researchers and would-be entrepreneurs to Silicon Valley to expose them to the global marketplace.

"I think we're finally turning a curve," Saito said of entrepreneurship in Japan.

Along with Saito's efforts, journalist Lisa Katayama and designer Tomo Saito launched the Tofu Project in San Francisco last year. The unique initiative brought 10 young Japanese entrepreneurs to California in late October for a weeklong boot camp in Silicon Valley-style design thinking and innovation.

Satoshi Suzuki, the 22-year-old president of a social networking startup called Wondershake, took part in the program. He, too, is determined to make it in Silicon Valley.

He describes Wondershake as an icebreaker for the real world, designed to facilitate immediate face-to-face connections at events, schools and other venues. As soon as visas are approved for him and his four partners, Suzuki plans to move to the San Francisco Bay Area.

"No one expects me to succeed, and 99 percent of people don't succeed, so a lot of people could just give up," he said. "But the main reason I'm doing this is because the product is really something I want to create for the world."

Suzuki said the broader issue isn't that Japanese people are afraid of risk, but that they lack mentors and examples of success to encourage them.

That can be overcome if there are actually people who've done it and can say, 'You can do it too,'" he said.

Yamaguchi Genbee (山口源兵衛)血の記憶を再現する傾奇者

我昨天在NHK 看到專訪Yamaguchi Genbee (山口源兵衛)



写真 加藤昌人
その独創性は際立ち、日本原産種の幻の蚕「小石丸」の糸を復興するなど伝統美を追求する一方で、原始布や螺鈿や箔など、従来にない材料を織り込む 革新に挑む。270年の血の記憶をたどるように、溢れる好奇心に突き動かされるままに、想像のなかの色や質感を表現する素材を求め、世界中を飛び回る。
(『週刊ダイヤモンド』編集部 遠藤典子)
山口源兵衛(Genbei Yamaguchi)●帯制作プロデューサー 1949年生まれ。80年、元文年間(1736~41年)創業の帯問屋「誉田屋源兵衛」十代目襲名。 2002年「かぐやこの繭小石丸」展で日経優秀賞受賞。03年日本文化デザイン大賞受賞。現在は文様の体系化に挑む。

Yamaguchi Genbee (山口源兵衛) / Genbee ... - Cool Japan Guide


Genbee Yamaguchi is one of the most respected kimono makers. In 1981, he became the head of “Kondaya”, a long-established wholesale store of obi sashes that was founded in Kyoto in 1738. As the tenth head of Kondaya, he devoted himself to advancing obi making. His recent works, however, have been more involved in designing and making the whole kimono. He also takes an active role in revitalizing the dyeing and weaving technologies through such measures as the revival of Koishimaru - a specific type of silk worm cocoon found in Japan and the preservation of a unique village in the Philippines called “Dreamweaver”. In 2003, Yamaguchi received the Japan Culture Award. After successful collaborations with Kengo Sumi, an architect, and Hiroko Koshino, a designer, he released a new kimono line called Kabukimonotachi-no-keifu, in collaboration with UNITED ARROWS, a specialty retailer. It is an exciting and bold kimono collection for men.


Kabukimonotachi-no-keifu is inspired by the men of the Momoyam period (approximately 1568 to 1603) who loved to live a wild and flamboyant life-style. Japanese men in those days were respected as the toughest of the world. Kabukimono is expressive of that type of man who pursued an extraordinary and “cool” life style. The fashion of Kabukimonotachi-no-keifu evokes masculinity and the true “rock and roll” spirit of the time.


“If you keep on pursuing the basics, there will be a moment when you will suddenly see limitlessness revealed to you, as once Zeami (the greatest playwright of the Noh theater) said. Mastering the basics is the shortest road to freedom”
The vital life force and sexiness in Yamaguchi’s designs come from the inner depth of his creative process.

By TS on Oct 14, 2011

2012年2月1日 星期三


http://ajw.asahi.com/ 朝日新聞英文版
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