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In the News

Metro Tokyo ordinance on sexually explicit manga walks fine line on freedom of speech
The Mainichi Daily News, 12/13/2010
SDP head criticizes Kan's possible dispatch of SDF to Korean Peninsula
The Japan Times, 12/13/2010
2 Japanese local assembly members visit one of Senkaku Islands
Associated Press, 12/13/2010
Why Japan is ready for anything Pyongyang might want to throw at it
Guardian, 03/01/2010
Japan disputes racism allegations at U.N. panel
Kyodo, 02/26/2010

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Japanese Dolphin Drive Hunts: Right or Wrong?

Dolphin in Taiji

On the coast of the small Japanese town of Taiji some ten fishing boats are bobbing quietly up and down on the quiet waves. Fishermen on the boats beat on long metal poles which are stuck into the water. At the end of each pipe is a metal disc which drives the noise into the water like a loudspeaker. About five dolphins flee away from the terrifying sound, in front of the bows of the boats. For hundreds of years this dolphin hunt has been taking place. Now it has to stop say nature activists.

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• Friday October 7, 2005 •

Selling Fruits to the World

Shoichi Aoki

Thanks to his book FRUITS (more than 100,000 copies sold worldwide), Shoichi Aoki’s street magazine Fruits is now better known abroad than in Japan itself. The magazine with an almost cult-like following in Japan has been documenting Tokyo street fashion since 1996. I had an exclusive interview with Aoki.

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• Wednesday August 25, 2004 • Add Comment

An Island of Ghosts

Gunkanjima

Off the coast of the Japanese city of Nagasaki lies a terrifying symbol of shortsighted development. Out of the dark blue East China Sea rises a dead island covered with dilapidated concrete buildings. Forms of life are absent. No people, no animals. However, in the not so distant past more than five thousand inhabitants lived here. The voices of children echoed from the houses, laughter sounded in the streets. Now only dead concrete is left. This is the island Hashima, once the most densely populated place in the world.

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• Tuesday August 24, 2004 • Add Comment

Real Japanese Fashion

30504-117.jpg

The 1995 earthquake that devastated Kobe and environs destroyed something inside fashion designer Takuya Sawada (1967) as well. “It was an incredible shock. Western-style buildings and even highways came tumbling down. I thought ‘wow, concrete is really brittle’,” says Takuya Sawada. “Everything I believed in was demolished. It shattered something inside me too.” Just as he describes the pain he felt at the time, RINGO Shina’s ‘Odaijini’ (‘Get well soon’) plays in the background. We both laugh at the coincidence.

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• Sunday June 1, 2003 • Add Comment [1]

"I am Not an Artist..."

Sayaka Adachi

I discovered Sayaka Adachi (1977), or Chitchi, while I was taking Street Fashion photos in Osaka’s very trendy Horie district. Walking out of a park my eye got a glimpse of a huge painting hanging in a second floor gallery. The work pulled me into the building and up a gaudy staircase until I arrived in a large space with paintings showing faces of young Japanese that were very colorful and very ‘now’.

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• Thursday January 2, 2003 • Add Comment

The Cute Pink Bear with Blood on its Claws

Gloomy by Mori Chack

The character Gloomy the Bear at first sight looks like a possible friend of Hello Kitty. Cute face, pink skin, simply drawn in basic colors. And then, suddenly, you notice the blood on its claws. Japanese illustrator Mori Chack’s creation is the most horrible nightmare you can ever fall in love with.

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• Friday November 1, 2002 • Add Comment