"There's something very shabby about a noble grave... Political power and the power of wealth result in splendid graves. Really impressive graves, you know. Such creatures never had any imagination while they lived, and quite naturally their graves don't leave any room for imagination either. But noble people live only on the imaginations of themselves and others, and so they leave graves like this one which inevitably stir one's imagination. And this I find even more wretched. Such people, you see, are obliged even after they are dead to continue begging people to use their power of imagination." - Yukio Mishima
via Kashiwagi in The Temple of the Golden Pavilion
. On this, the anniversary of Mishima's transformation into a headless god, a collection of video links. [more inside]
posted by eccnineten
on Nov 25, 2008 -
"I began to realize that "robots"-- in all their various forms-- can really be seen as a symbol of a larger relationship between people and technology." In 1988, Frederick Schodt
wrote about the Japanese fascination and use of robots in his book Inside the Robot Kingdom
, curious by the disparities between American and Japanese manufacturing processes . In 1988, the American public wasn't ready for the book, or for robots.
Today, Japan still has embraced robotic automation
in a way that arguably no other country has. For more similar topics, Mangobot
is a column that reports on Asian futurism.
posted by artifarce
on Jun 22, 2008 -
Tohoku University's Kano Collection
is an unparalleled collection of japanese books from the Edo period. The beautiful and grizzly Kaibou zonshinzu anatomical chart
has been making the blogrounds lately
but that's only one of the countless treasures the Kano Collection has to offer. Stumbling around near-blindly, like a non-Japanese reader such as myself, with only minimal help from the site, I have come across an amazing variety of beautiful objects, such as this picture book
, a scroll with images of animals
, city map
, map of Japan
, battle map
, another picture book
, the Kaitai shouzu anatomical chart
and this picture scroll
which has my favorite little scene
I've come across in the collection. Whole days could be spent just surfing idly through the Kano Collection.
posted by Kattullus
on Apr 28, 2008 -
As a perennial outsider
at loose in Japan, writer Donald Richie
captures the joyous freedom
of being foreign. The foreign observer is likely to be happy only if he sees his foreignness as an adventure, and recognizes that he has given up a sense of belonging for a sense of freedom
, traded the luxury of being understood for that of being permanently interested.
Richie, the philosopher-king of expats in Asia for the past half-century, arrived in Tokyo in 1947 as a typist with the U.S. government and never really left, writing dozens of books
, on Japanese movies
, history and fashion
, while enjoying himself as an actor, musician, filmmaker and painter. The Japan Journals: 1947-2004
is a monument to the pleasures of displacement
. Richie watchers can observe, more intimately than ever, a man who is generally happiest observing. More inside.
posted by matteo
on Nov 9, 2004 -
Memories of a Dog
. Moriyama Daido
in the streets
of Japan's major cities
. Made with a small, hand-held camera, they reveal the speed with which they were snapped
. Often the frame is tilted vertiginously, the grain pronounced
, and the contrast emphasized
. Among his city images are those shot in underlit bars, strip clubs, on the streets or in alleyways
, with the movement of the subject creating a blurred suggestion of a form (warning: NSFW images if you scroll down the page)
rather than a distinct figure.
best known picture, Stray Dog
, (1971) is taken on the run, in the midst of bustling street activity.
It is an essential reflection of Moriyama's presence
as an alert outsider in his own culture.
Moriyama is also a toy-camera
enthusiast (his favorite
is the Polga
. He has worked in the US, too
: "N.Y. 71
". (more inside)
posted by matteo
on Sep 27, 2004 -