The Sukiyaki Song [mp3]
Depending on your age, you may have heard your parents humming this, or even hummed it yourself. Sung by Kyu Sakamoto
, the Sukiyaki Song was the only number 1 hit by a Japanese artist in the US, in 1963. It remains the biggest international hit by a Japanese popular singer. The song has nothing to do with the popular Japanese beef dish
; the Japanese title was "Ue o Muite Aruko" (I Look Up When I Walk), but was changed
because it was thought that western DJs would be unable to pronounce it
. The song spawned many covers, and Maddmansrealm
over 60 of these, including French
versions, bossa nova
versions, a short accordion version by Styx
, and a live instrumental version by Bob Dylan and Tom Petty
[mp3s]. Kyu Sakamoto died in 1985 in the crash of JAL 123.
posted by carter
on Mar 3, 2005 -
'American and Japanese images of kamikaze pilots differ greatly. This web site explores diverse portrayals and perceptions of the young men who carried out suicide attacks near the end of World War II.'
'When Japanese kamikaze pilots carried out their attacks between October 1944 and October 1945, Japanese and American people had opposite perspectives. Japanese people saw young smiling pilots as they waved goodbye. In contrast, American soldiers viewed death and destruction when the pilots' planes exploded upon crashing into their ships. These very different points of view continue to influence Japanese and American perceptions of kamikaze pilots even until today.'
posted by plep
on Mar 3, 2005 -
Shoui Hara can't stop drinking.
It's part of his job. A job where charm is a necessity, good looks a qualification, and unabashed flattering is all in a night's work. Shoui Hara is a host, a male geisha
working beneath the neon lights of Tokyo's Kabukicho, and in his line of work the men entertain the women
in a way you might not expect. A look at the complex relationships of the sometimes very dangerous (NSFW)
Japanese host clubs.
posted by dead_
on Feb 23, 2005 -
A Tale of Two Chinas,
by photographer James Whitlow Delano
Whole swaths of cities have vanished
, to be transformed with developments that have quickly made them look more like Houston, Qatar, or Singapore than the ancient China
of our mind's eye. The old hutong, or alleyways, of Beijing that once formed a mosaic of passageways and the siheyuan, or walled courtyard houses, have been largely razed
. The old brick rowhouses of Shanghai, are now being leveled and replaced by modern high-rises. Traditional marketplaces, residential neighborhoods
, streets where medicine shops or bookstores bunched together, are now either gone or have been rouged up as tourist destinations
, part of a new synthetic, virtual version of China's incredible past.
The energy fueling this transformation bespeaks a powerful but often blind, unquestioning faith
in an inchoate idea of progress that takes one's breath away
, often literally. (Unrestrained growth has left China with the dubious honor of having 9 of the 10 most polluted cities in the world). Delano
's new book is
"Empire: Impressions from China
". More inside.
posted by matteo
on Feb 17, 2005 -
Picture a guy facing left and kneeling on the ground. The "o" is the head, the "r" symbolises the hands and body whilst the "z" is the legs. Because Hao-Ren finish last.
posted by seanyboy
on Feb 9, 2005 -
Documents: U.S. condoned Iraq oil smuggling
Documents obtained by CNN reveal the United States knew about, and even condoned, embargo-breaking oil sales by Saddam Hussein's regime, and did so to shore up alliances with Iraq's neighbors.
The oil trade with countries such as Turkey and Jordan appears to have been an open secret inside the U.S. government and the United Nations for years.
posted by Postroad
on Feb 3, 2005 -
Welcome to the world of the Fuccon Family, aka OH! Mikey
, a bizarre and amazing "mannequin drama" that has taken Japan by storm.
posted by OpinioNate
on Feb 2, 2005 -
The G-Cans Project
is a massive project, begun 12 years ago, to build infrastructure for preventing overflow of the major rivers and waterways spidering the city (A serious problem for Tokyo during rainy-season and typhoon season). The underground waterway is the largest in the world and sports five 32m diameter, 65m deep concrete containment silos which are connected by 64 kilometers of tunnel sitting 50 meters beneath the surface.
The whole system is powered by 14000 horsepower turbines which can pump 200 tons of water a second into the large outlying edogawa river.
posted by joelf
on Dec 4, 2004 -
Japan's Global Claim to Asia and the World of Islam: Transnational Nationalism and World Power, 1900-1945 During the years 1900-1945, the question that motivated Muslims and some Japanese was whether Japan could be the "Savior of Islam" against Western imperialism and colonialism if this meant collaboration with Japanese imperialism. Even during the 1930s, when there was little hope left for prospects of democracy and liberalism in Japan (for that matter in Europe as well), the vision of a "Muslim Japan" was so compelling to many Muslims in Asia and beyond, even among black Muslims of Harlem, as a means for emancipation from Western hegemony/colonial reality that it justified cooperation with Japanese intelligence overseas. Okawa Shumei, the major intellectual figure of Pan-Asianism, the "mastermind of Japanese fascism" in the Tokyo trials, who justified Japan's mission to liberate Asia from Western colonialism by war if necessary, saw Islam as the means. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, the relationship transformed into a major Japanese military strategy as the Japanese government began to implement its Islamic policy by mobilizing Muslim forces against the United Kingdom, Holland, China and Russia in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East.
Alternately, The Fukuwaza Doctrine
posted by y2karl
on Nov 12, 2004 -
Gorgeous images of night-time urban Japan (Japanese titles, English alt tags, 1024x768 images available). Includes: sleeping bullet trains
, Tokyo Harbour tunnel
, tail lights
, Narita airport
, Mount Fuji
, Tokyo Disneyland (1
), and many more.
posted by carter
on Nov 10, 2004 -
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 -
Princess Maker 2
- Stressed out from current events? I doubt the game is as much fun to play as it is to be bewildered by, but either might help. "...is basically a perverse sports management simulation where your entire team consists of a single ten year old girl that you have to raise to adulthood. Much like any decent sports manager game you have to keep track of a nearly overwhelming number of statistics that fluctuate based on training. In Princess Maker 2 these run the gamut from the mundane like "strength" and "charisma", to the droll like "cooking" and "conversation", to the bizarre like "sin" and "temper". "
posted by soulhuntre
on Oct 28, 2004 -
Not safe for work! 'Hi, this is masamania who create this page, MasaManiA.com. This page is made up of photos I actually take in twon. .I hope I can show and tell you the real, true Japan that cannot be seen in other mas media. I am living in Tokyo, Japan. I was born in Japan, grown up in Japan, study English in Japan. This is the reason I can speak Engrish. Some people complain that my updating and email response is slow. And other people conplain that my englsih is poor. '
posted by plep
on Oct 24, 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 -
Blood doesn't politely trickle in Takashi Miike
: it gushes out
in (warning: NSFW, graphic) improbable fountains
, painting walls
and filling up small cars. His
trademark point-of-view shots are taken from places other directors
wouldn't dream of: the bottom of a dirty toilet bowl (as a man falls into it after being killed); within the ear canal (as it is pierced by a metal spike); even from inside a character's vagina. He has depicted
incest, drug abuse
, teenage prostitution, violence against women
and children and small dogs
, and necrophilia -- and that was just in one film, Visitor Q
, his take on Pasolini
Miike has just introduced his latest movie, Izo
, at the Venice Film Festival (.pdf file)
Miike is less sure about why Americans are now embracing Japanese horror films. His country's horror genre is influenced by "kwaidan
," traditional Japanese ghost stories
that feature revenge and malice: "The stories always have the 'hatedness.' You always bring the feelings of hate [that] you don't see in American cinema". What freaks him out the most, however, is the everyday automobile accident
. "Even in a film, I can't bear to watch it -- it's so much (about) how people are weak, to be just crushed with a car. It makes me feel really depressed".
posted by matteo
on Sep 22, 2004 -
AN AMAZING JAPANESE ANIMATION
based on the psychologically complicated and beautifully playful work of comic book artist Jim Woodring
. (Monday morning cartoons for you, complete with a nod to the Jetsons, courtesy the Japan Media Arts Festival. Other featured work here
posted by Peter H
on Aug 16, 2004 -
Every Sunday, it's Halloween in Harajuku.
Hanging out by the train station at Tokyo's most fashionable district are young women dressed as nurses, but with white faces and a trickle of painted blood dripping from a lip. Men in their late teens or early twenties fidget under huge manes of spiky green hair and layers of black leather.
Some really amazing costumes can be seen here
. And by amazing I mean interesting
, and by interesting I mean freaky
posted by Jase_B
on Jul 19, 2004 -
Home is where the heart is.
Karl Taro Greenfeld, journalist and author of Speed Tribes
, among others, has a nostalgic piece in Time Asia (Aug. '03) recounting his heady youth in Tokyo alongside his thoughts on his ailing Japanese grandmother.
posted by gen
on Jul 9, 2004 -
Interesting article on the Japanese "social recession"
(from the back pages of USA Today) "To an astonishing degree, the sexes are going their opposite ways in Japan. Young women are revolting against the traditional role of obedient housewife, opting instead to live at home and shop and socialize with girlfriends. Startled men are retreating into solitary ways. Check-ins at the country's famed 'love hotels' are even falling. As birthrates slip, a social crisis looms."
posted by Prospero
on Jun 3, 2004 -
Researching the Way of Wa
The 1400 year-old Japanese concept of "Wa
" is derived from the ancient meaning of peace and harmony.
When applied to business practices, it incorporates mutual trust between management and labor, harmonious... relations among employees on all levels...
I continued forward to learn of Wa Shin Ryu
, "the system that harmonizes the spirit," which I followed onward to Toki no Wa
. Only then did I know that "I will see you again where the loops of time touch together."
posted by mcgraw
on May 11, 2004 -