No60 [ENCOUNTER] A new cultural expression

As one of the foremost observers of contemporary culture, Kawamoto Saburo shares his views of turbulent Shinjuku. Kawamoto Saburo at the main entrance of the famous bookshop Kinokuniya.   Kawamoto Saburo is well known in Japan as a film and literary critic and a manga connoisseur, but his very [...]

No60 [MEMORIES] Yokoo, Oshima and the others

A major player on the art scene of the period, Yokoo Tadanori recalls his years in this emblematic district. Yokoo Tadanori in his studio designed by Isozaki Arata, 15 March 2018.   world-renowned graphic designer and painter Yokoo Tadanori is famous for his iconic posters and easily recognizab[...]

No60 [HISTORY] 50 years of change

From its time as one of Tokyo’s culture centres, Shinjuku has experienced profound upheaval. Shinjuku in 2018, photo by Jérémie Souteyrat.   after spending the last 25 years of my life in Tokyo, I can say more than ever that I’m in love with this city. When it comes to exciting, vibra[...]

No60 [FOCUS] Shinjuku 1968 – 2018

Just 50 years ago, this famous ward in the Japanese capital was one of the main centres of rebellion in the country. Shinjuku in 1968 as seen by Watanabe Hitomi in his book 1968 Shinjuku (pub. Machikarasha, Japan).   These may be photos of the past, but they show the present”. This testimonia[...]

[FOCUS HOKKAIDO] An open air laboratory

The hill of hope (Yubari kibo no oka) has lost some of its splendour, but the city council hopes that all is not lost.   Though Yubari is the poorest city in Japan, its inhabitants and those in charge believe in its future survival. Japan is frequently portrayed as a laboratory where all the ch[...]

[ENCOUNTER] Let the happiness in

In charge of Yubari since 2011, Suzuki Naomichi is fighting to transform the city.   In your official position, what have you done to become the symbol of a Japan, and a city, that refuses to die? SuzukINaomichi :The Tokyo Olympic Games will take place in 2020, and five years later, in 2025, th[...]
Tezuka Osamu and Mighty Atom at the Tezuka Productions office in Saitama.

[FOCUS] Tezuka Osamu, the original

Tezuka Osamu and Mighty Atom at the Tezuka Productions office in Saitama.   Frederik L. Schodt was one of the very few Westerners to become close friends with the mangaka. Few people outside Japan have known Tezuka Osamu as well as Frederik L. Schodt. Not only did the veteran author and transla[...]

[FOCUS] A visit to Tezuka Productions

Black Jack is one of the most famous manga by Tezuka Osamu.   The company aims to keep the memory of this brilliant artist alive, and to preserve and display his original work. Saitama may not be considered exactly cool by many Japanese, but in the last few years this prefecture just north of T[...]

[FOCUS] Between fiction and reality

Above : Extract from Red-Shirt Troops. Below : Extract from Rubi’s adventure.   We were able to immerse themselves in the make-believe world of the Mighty Atom, as its author knew how to make it seem real. We are used to seeing comic art as escapism – a genre in which improbable superheroes[...]

[FOCUS] There’s only one Atom statue

This character made Tezuka a legend in Japan and throughout the world, so naturally it’s been immortalised. Ask any anime fan if they know Hanno and they’ll tell you it’s the location for the Encouragement of Climb manga and TV series. The story is so popular that in the last few years this sm[...]