The tradition of making Japanese dolls, called ningyo—meaning human figure—goes back as far as 10,000 years to clay figures made during the Jomon period. The more recent rise in popularity, though, is most often traced to Hina Matsuri--Girls' Day, or the Doll Festival, celebrated on March 3--originating during the Edo period. These antique ningyo are highly sought after by collectors, such as the American expert Alan Pate, who has written a number of articles on the subject. The modern Japanese doll culture, however, is anything but traditional. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the ningyo tradition was exported to make toys for the West (previously featured on MeFi), and has culminated in popular Barbie-type dolls such as Superdollfie and others. Contemporary artists have transformed the Japanese doll tradition into something else entirely: Simon Yotsuya, Ryo Yoshida, Koitsukihime, Yoko Ueno, Mario A., Etsuko Miura, and Kai Akemi. A number of these artists were featured in the Dolls of Innocence exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo. Of course, notable artists outside Japan have worked with dolls before, including Hans Bellmer, who inspired much of the artwork in Innocence, the follow-up to Ghost in the Shell. Explore more:     . [Several links are nsfw.]
The J Marimba Ponies have performed at Carnegie Hall, as well as in concert halls from Vienna to Japan. Even more impressive, the oldest member of the group is 12, and the youngest is 4 years old. Musical prodigies or novelty act? See them play Khachaturian's Sabre Dance (Coral link to Quicktime video) and judge for yourself. Via Music for Maniacs. Previously mentioned on MeFi but worth its own thread.
Milky Lovers (NSFW) is a love doll brothel: Being not to be the woman of the raw body, there is no inconvenience, there is no how thing where "affinity of the girl is not agreeable". Manner of play spreads unlimited with imaginative power circumstance of the customer. Combination and double of each course, the triple is possible. From everyone the large quantity inquiring, thank you for. [via sexblo.gs]
Animation... More clips available at his homepage.
The Site of Reversible Destiny is an "experience park" conceived on the theme of encountering the unexpected. By guiding visitors through various unexpected experiences as they walk through its component areas, the Site offers them opportunities to rethink their physical and spiritual orientation to the world. [via]
Bad Engrish can be found on popular sites on the net, and not so well known as well.
There are some that consider such sites racist, but it also cuts both ways.
There are some that consider such sites racist, but it also cuts both ways.
John Coltrane. Thelonious Monk. Hank Mobley. Lennie Tristano. Blue Note. Impulse. Riverside... In other words: jazz. Now three fans in Japan -- a country that has always appreciated America's gift to music even more than the US itself -- have created The Jazz Discography Project, a bare-bones, open-source, astonishingly exhaustive database of the hippest sounds on the planet. For aficionados, just reading an ASCII entry for long out-of-print stuff like A Message from Garcia, featuring a young and then-unknown musician named Bill Evans who would later reinvent his instrument, is thrilling.
Foshata! Write your own English subtitles to Japanese commercials.
Slow Life is a Japanese movement that eschews the fast-paced consumption of modern urban life for the slower pace of farming and small villages. It emphasizes self-reliance, sustainability, and the appreciation of leisure. From some perspectives, it can be seen as a reaction to hazards in the modern world or as a peer to Shinto and modern schools of thought.
Gunkanjima or Battleship Island is 480 x 160 meters and was home to more than 5000 people. Abandoned for more than 40 years it is a microcosm of 20th century industrial development. A soundtrack to the photos. Or take the multimedia tour. Urban exploration.
In the Twilight of Modernity and the Silent Film (.pdf) Irie Takako was the most popular actress in 1930s Japan: film scholar Tanaka Masasumi locates the turning point of Japanese modernity in 1933, the year Kenji Mizoguchi's The Water Magician was made, arguing that Irie's transformation from radiant embodiment of moga(modern girl, the Japanese version of the flapper)-hood to suffering beauty in a kimono (.pdf) epitomized modernism's (modanizumu) defeat by nationalism in 1930's Japan. (via Camera Obscura; more inside)
We want you as a new recruit. The Japan Defense Agency has a short recruitment video on their site. [via]
Would somebody please think of the radish? Well, the Japanese certainly do. (More news stories in Japanese.)
And suddenly, in my memory, everything turns real: the summer breeze of Izu, the lazy sun of an early afternoon, the stale smell of water standing in the rice fields. For a moment it is that day in 1956, 37 years ago, and I am standing there, 33 years old myself. See—just to the left of the camera, just out of range. Here comes Mifune running, and there stands my younger ghost, right of that pillar, just off screen... And the summer sun beats down and the fresh breeze of Izu bathes my face, and then the story continues and the film ends and the lights go up and the students open their notebooks and I stand up and began talking about the influence of the Noh. Donald Richie (previous post), the worldwide authority on Japanese film, shares his movie memories.
(Knock, knock) "Candygram!" We don't know if ZDF has shown early SNL skits (nostalgic photo here), but German Greenpeace made a dramatic delivery to the Japanese Embassy in Berlin: a 55-foot-long fin whale that had been stranded in the Baltic. The dramatic gesture underscored the organization's contention that Japan's whaling, long defended as research, is in fact unnecessary: sufficient numbers of beached whales are available for research. The leviathan — 20 tonnes of blubber — was craned onto a truck and driven 150 miles from Rostock-Warnemünde to Berlin, and was due to be returned to the coast for study. (German-language stories on Greenpeace.de website here, here, and here, including logistical details for those curious about arranging their own special deliveries.)
Mighty Morphin' Spider Ranger. In 1978, Japanese company Toei produced a TV show for a live-action version of Spider-Man. It's like the American version, with just a few small differences, such as Spider-Man gaining his powers from a bracelet given to him by an old man in a cave. Also, he has a giant robot and fights aliens. The entire first episode is viewable online, which has been accentuated with deliberately incorrect subtitles.
Ancient rice festival has reputation smeared by 'therapeutic' facial cream claims. [link SFW] A Fukuoka festival dating back to ancient times is growing increasingly popular with Japan's adult movie fans because it involves smearing gooey, white liquid all over the faces of participants.
Having a filthy mind, I'm able to come up with several non-medical uses for the Digital Rectal Examination Simulator. However, when I noticed that the company selling the device was Japanese, I realized that the intended use is most likely as a way to hone your skills away from the arcade for the video game Boon-Ga Boon-Ga.
Jack Bauer is back... in Japan, and he wants some Calorie Mate. Watch Kiefer Sutherland maintain character in a series of Japanese snack food commercials (with hour by hour backstory). Parts one, two, and three.
Riding the Maglev: The japanese super-train has been undergoing tests for a number of years (previous MeFi-post). The Shanghai Maglev Train is already in service. What is now just a run on the test track could become the second maglev route in service and perhaps eventually replace the famous Shinkansen bullet train? 500 km/h: from Tokyo to Osaka in an hour?
Kintaro Walks Japan A Google Video featuring an American who walks from Kyushu to Hokkaido in the hopes of learning about Japanese Culture and finding his father's birthplace. (Running time ~ 1hr)
Densha Otoko (Train Man) is the true story of a japanese otaku who finds love. After saving a beautiful woman on a train from the unwanted attentions of a drunken groper, an anonymous poster writes about the incident on the the Japanese mega messageboard 2ch. With the encouragement of his fellow internet geeks, he pursues her romantically and posts every detail to 2ch. Japanese media has been obsessed with the story all year, and the original postings were adapted into a best selling book, a major motion picture, an enormously popular TV show, and even a stage play. Of course, it may not be real.
Got access to a daily satellite feed? Win $10 000. Not quite Sink the Bismarck, but the Sea Shepherds have offered a $10 000 reward for anyone who can tell them where the Japanese whaling fleet is this summer, as it prepares to scientifically study 950 minke and fin whales.
Looks like a raccoon, acts like a raccoon, tastes like a dog? Technically a member of the canid family and considered to be a species of dog, the raccoon dog, or tanuki, is hunted in Japan to the tune of 70,000 animals killed annually for use in the production of calligraphic brushes, stuffed animals, and, apparently, ramen flavoring. The really interesting thing about the tanuki is its place in Japanese myth. The mythical tanuki are full of mischief, masters of shapeshifting, and possessors of unusually large testicles. Comic depictions of tanuki often show them with their testicles thrown over their backs or using them as drums. Does the existence of the tanuki shed any light on an often posted (and otherwise inexplicable) photo?
Animals in Japanese Paintings and Prints Organized into three online essays - traditional - realist - and imaginative art. Among the menagerie: monkey - tiger - eagle - camels - praying mantis - fox and puppy.
The glass trick. (Note: includes embedded video. Soundtrack is mostly in Japanese but can be ignored.) I've been a magician for almost 40 years now and am up on the latest tech but I have very little idea of how the performer accomplishes what you see in this video.
Japanese games shows are f*cked up, part 4,543,213. Contestants strap meat to forehead and release giant lizard. Hilarity ensues.
HondaSwetMission seems to be some sort of wild interface for a collection of Japanese audio blogs. Well. That's my guess.
Japan's Ruling party, has released a new draft of the Japanese Constitution The draft drops the whole 'renouncing war' bit, and re-titles article 9 'national security'. Japan is one of the largest military spenders in the world. Second only to the United States (IIRC). The new constitution also stipulates that the Emperor is the "head of state".
Streaming Japan. Taka Yamada's Brovision.com is a beautiful and voluminious personal video diary of Japanese life and culture. Talk with a geisha, climb to the top of Mt. Fuji, or float a paper lantern down the river. Alternately, you can check out Video-link Japan, watch some television... or ignore all that and share your favorite J-links instead.
NEGADON!! "NEGADON - the Monster from Mars" is a "digital monster film", a film for the future. Similar in execution to the short film which eventually spawned "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow", Negadon is a 100% computer-generated short which has been cleverly designed to look like the old Japanese man-in-the-rubber-suit monster movies of the 50's. Even the posters look the part.
Outside staircases. Doors. Stacks of stuff. People sleeping outside. And more. Mainly in Yokohama. Photographs by Tom Gally.
Behold the Chikyu! Japan has built and launched a drilling ship with which they will drill what they hope will be the world's deepest hole into the Earth's crust and mantle.
The world's oldest family companies start with a 1,400 year old Japanese family business that has always built Buddhist temples. On the corporation side, only one of the great chartered companies survives, Canada's Hudson Bay Company, founded in 1670, and now a large retailer, though there may be much older corporations. There is even a club with an interesting web site, Les Hénokien, for companies that are over 300 years old. If companies aren't your thing, there is always the world's oldest restaurant in Spain.
Darkseed is a Japanese hip hop crew (not the be confused with the other Darkseed) I accidentally stumbled upon while surfing the interweb. Aside from their unique songs (I'm partial to LOLIFUSE 13's IDM-esque "fly me to the morning" remix, though not so much their trance-flavored "WE ALL LOVE DARKSEED" sexual frontier remix), I found it fascinating that this collective whose ranks include the likes of MC/DJ/Producers bombtrack, LOL the EX, fujimotor, and HOUNDDOGGYDOGG have their own comics, haikus, and even spinoff projects!
The Emperor's Bunker. "The Japanese, with sadness and irony, stressed that Hirohito couldn't even speak properly. This was partly to do with the fact that he didn't have to speak - people spoke in his name and he was isolated from real life". "The Sun", the third part in Russian director Aleksandr Sokurov's 'Men of Power' tetralogy after the gloom of Moloch (1999), about Hitler and Eva Braun, and the despairing tones of "Taurus" (2001), focused on the wheelchair-bound Lenin in his death throes, "The Sun" seems almost upbeat. This, after all, is a film about reconciliation. More inside.
Anti-Japan War Online "The game will allow players, especially younger players, to learn from history. They will get a patriotic feeling when fighting invaders to safeguard their motherland" The background for "Anti-Japan War Online" is the Japanese invasion of China during World War II, from 1937 through 1945. Nothing like a good MMORPG to foster a little patriotism.
Nihonjinron in images - despite being the second-largest entity in a global economy, Japan's cultural xenophobia has been said to contribute much to nihonjinron, what some describe as a near-fascist-like obsession of a small group of its citizens in restoring Japan to a monocultural, miltaristic, pre-war empire, despite one Japanese academic's contrary view of history.
The Peleliu Project. The tiny Micronesian island of Peleliu was the site of one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. The U.S. invasion of the Japanese occupied island began in September of 1944, and was expected to last only a matter of days. Casualties on this 5 square mile island reached 20,000 by the end of the two-month struggle. U.S. soldiers were forced to pour aviation fuel into caves and ignite them in order to end the standoff of those who refused to surrender. One determined group of 34 Japanese soldiers remained in hiding until they were discovered in April of 1947. Pharmacist Mate 3rd Class Russell Fee returned from Peleliu with a fierce, uncompromising vision of America which would have a profound impact on the life and work of his son. Fifty-three years later, armed with his father's snapshots and diary which he had just uncovered, James Fee went to Peleliu to see with his own eyes the place where his father's vision had taken shape. The result of his five year quest is The Peleliu Project. more inside
Aichi Expo 2005 Review. Yuki of Kissui.net travels to the 2005 World Expo in Aichi, Japan and posts a wonderful review with great photos and commentary.
So you're on a trip to Japan with your mate before the World Cup. Your mate generously offers to wait for your bag at the carousel and tells you take his bag through customs. Next thing you know you are sitting in prison with frostbite possibly for the next 20 years. Your mum sets up a website to help get you out. Your "mate" is later arrested in Belgium for duping someone else, denies everything and is released on bail. Years later he is found dead on a railway line in Gloucester. You're still in jail after your final court hearing. Your 3 year old son doesn't understand where daddy has gone.
Nothing wrong with worldwide drug importation laws. Nothing at all.
Nothing wrong with worldwide drug importation laws. Nothing at all.