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Ainu Fight for Own Culture

Japan’s new government improves relations with Japan’s Ainu, the country’s indigenous inhabitants. Al Jazeera reports.

Al Jazeera • Wednesday February 24, 2010 • Society

Japan Gives Away Prizes to Get Tourists

The Japan Tourism Agency is offering prizes to people who invite their family and friends to visit Japan. With a goal of getting 10 million tourists to visit Japan in 2010, the agency has launched a two-month campaign centered around the Live Japan! campaign site.

• Friday December 18, 2009 • Cool SitesAdd Comment

Down and Out in Osaka Part 1

Last December Al Jazeera English broadcast a documentary about homeless in Osaka, an issue that I have also been covering since 1995. The Al Jazeera announcer mistakenly claims that the issue is ignored by Japanese media—it is more that the issue is barely known abroad. This is therefore a good introduction into an issue that has plagued Japanese society for many generations. Christian social activist Toyohiko Kagawa already fought the problem as early as the 1920s.

• Monday July 6, 2009 • SocietyAdd Comment

Down and Out in Osaka Part 2

Last December Al Jazeera English broadcast a documentary about homeless in Osaka, an issue that I have also been covering since 1995. The Al Jazeera announcer mistakenly claims that the issue is ignored by Japanese media—it is more that the issue is barely known abroad. This is therefore a good introduction into an issue that has plagued Japanese society for many generations. Christian social activist Toyohiko Kagawa already fought the problem as early as the 1920s.

• Monday July 6, 2009 • SocietyAdd Comment

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra Jungle Boogie

One of Shizuko Kasagi’s (see previous two entries) best known songs is undoubtedly the Jungle Boogie. Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, better known as Skapara, performs a thoroughly modern modern version of it in this clip.

• Saturday June 20, 2009 • FunAdd Comment

More Shizuko Kasagi

Searching for more video clips of Shizuko Kasagi (1914-1985), I found this one in which her song Tokyo Boogie Woogie is used as background music for film clips of Japan in 1948. I love the haircuts of the little girls and boys!

• Saturday June 20, 2009 • FunAdd Comment

Shizuko Kasagi's Shopping Boogie

Just discovered the Kaimono Boogie (Shopping Boogie) performed by Shizuko Kasagi (1914-1985) in 1950. Kasagi was known as the Queen of Boogie. If you understand Japanese, especially Osaka-ben, this one is a lot of fun to listen to. I like the part where she tries to get the attention of the elderly shopkeeper, who happens to be extremely hard of hearing.

• Saturday June 20, 2009 • FunAdd Comment