No20 [Movie] Tsukamoto’s hard-hitting film

Third Window Films, true to its habit of delivering some of the best Japanese films to grace the silver screen, presents Tokyo Fist. Tsuda meets Kojima again by chance, a friend he’s lost sight of for years. In their time apart he has become a professional boxer and worms his way into Tsuda’s r[...]

No20 [Anime] Vampires & co

Blood C The last Dark is a sequel, or rather an epilogue, to the animated series Blood C, although it does not follow the plot of the first film in the series; Blood: the last Vampire (2000). If you haven’t already had the opportunity to see the series, you might not be able to grasp the whole of [...]

No18 [Event] Literary expressions

Novellist Furukawa Hideo, together with poets Suga Keijiro and Ishida Mizuho, recount the story of post March 11th Japan. Writer Furukawa Hideo has previously told us how important it is for him to read his work in public. “One could say that I like to embody my writing. There’s something intere[...]

No18 [Music] The Miyavi touch

Miyavi is an unclassifiable musician who started his career in Visual Kei, a style which he then progressively moved away from. He is back in Europe for a series of long awaited concerts and will be in London, at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire, on the 15th of March at 7pm to perform some of the songs [...]

No17 [DVD] Criterion gives us a thrill with Zatoichi

One of Japan’s most popular characters, the blind masseur who handles a sword like no other, is the theme of a wonderful new boxed set. Twenty-five films starring this legendary character were released between 1962 and 1973, as well as a television series that ran for a hundred episodes (1976-1979[...]

No17 [Manga] A plunge into 1970s Japan

Yoshihiro Tatsui played a major part in manga history when, at the end of the 1950s, he coined the word gekiga (realist manga). Back then, manga were intended only for children but, working with Takao Saito and Masahiko Matsumoto, he endeavoured to create manga around more realistic subjects that ad[...]

No16 [Anime] A gem worthy of the greatest

© 2012 “WOLF CHILDREN” FILM PARTNER With Wolf Children, Hosoda Mamoru marks an important milestone in the history of animation. Hosoda Mamoru is a virtuoso. This is no exaggeration given the new dimension he has introduced to animation. He was recognised for The Girl Who Leapt Through T[...]

No16 [Book] From Tokyo to Pearl Harbour

In her latest book, Eri Hotta examines what led Japan to join a war it knew in advance was lost. Historian John Dower recalls: “Pearl Harbour remains the greatest symbol of victimization for the US. When Al-Qaida launched their attack against the World Trade Centre on September the 11th 2001, the [...]

No16 [Photography] The days after

Hatakeyama Naoya is a photographer. He is also a son, who on the 11th of March 2011 had received no news about his family living in Rikuzentakata on the northeast coast of the archipelago, that was swept away by the tsunami like so many other cities. Like many others he understood that something ter[...]

No15 [Literature] From Murakami with love

The author of Coin Locker Babies is back with a novel that has a lot to say about Japan’s years of crisis. Murakami Ryu is a committed writer and observer of society who has been involved for many years in encouraging his contemporaries to reflect on Japan’s situation. Unlike the other famous Mu[...]

No15 [Event] The British museum unveils “Spring Pictures”

Japanese eroticism is the source of many fantasies. From the 17th to the 19th century, shunga enthralled Western audiences. This beautiful exhibition tells their story. The word shunga, “spring pictures”, gathers together all kinds of erotic imagery, including books, scrolls and engravings. It c[...]

No15 [Cinema] A good film to see in Coventry

From the 31st of October to the 3rd of November, Coventry welcomes the East Winds Festival, one of the most important events dedicated to Asian cinema. Now in its third year, East Winds represents the only major film festival of East Asian cinema outside London and is certainly the first of its kind[...]

No14 [Event] Brighton, in tune with Tokyo again

The Brighton Japan festival intends to leave its mark for the sixth year running and this time is introducing a more international dimension. Brighton he yokoso! is what to say in Japanese to welcome visitors to this famous English seaside town. Despite its English location, Brighton will be adoptin[...]

No14 [Mascot] The Kumamon bear – happiness, made in Japan

One of the hundreds of friendly mascot characters in Japan, this adorable bear from Kumamoto prefecture who has captured the hearts of a nation came to Europe last July. On the fifth floor of the Loft department store in Shibuya, one of Tokyo’s most vibrant districts, the first time visitor might [...]

No14 [Event] Kyoto lands in Tent London

Since its advent in 2003, the London Design Festival has become one of the most important international events of its kind. It takes place between the 19th and the 22nd of September and its programme is particularly varied, with over 300 exhibitions and presentations, including the famous Tent Londo[...]

No12 [Cinema] Really the Land of Hope?

In a remarkable movie, Sono Sion illustrates the absurdity of the system’s response after a disaster in a magnificently poetic way. Sono Sion is one of the most interesting film directors to emerge from Japanese cinema in the past few years. He has built a solid reputation in his country and abroa[...]

No11 [Book] Ogawa unveils herself

“Revenge” is a book containing eleven novellas that form a composite portrait of a group of people who live in the same area. Ogawa’s style is very mundane and the reality she describes is brutal, often bloody and always sad, but the narrator weaves the thread of the narrative through common n[...]

No10 [Book] Higashino at his best

Wakayama Hiromi, assistant to famous artist Mashiba Ayane and her husband’s mistress, unfortunately discovers the husband lifeless in the marital home. It is later proved that he has been poisoned with arsenic after drinking a cup of coffee. Inspector Kusanagi is in no doubt: Mashiba Yoshitaka, th[...]

No9 [Zine] Revolution Will Be Photocopied

Before being published in widely distributed magazines, many work their magic in alternative publications. In the age of blogs and electronic communication, Japan seems to be one of the few countries left where people consistently enjoy reading printed media and such independent events as the Tokyo [...]

No9 [Exhibition] Two years on, let’s remember

The Asahi Shimbun, the second most widely sold newspaper in Japan, publishes deeply moving photos relating to the earthquake on the 11th of March 2011. The hills, the valleys, the headlands and the sea are landscapes that are just as touching as human lives; amidst the hectic nature and the deadly p[...]

No9 [Book] Entertainment made in Japan

Taking the name of the hotspring resort town in which it was founded in 1914, the Takarazuka Revue is a kaleidoscopic experience, both in terms of its theatricality and visual characteristics. This excellent book presents a detailed analysis of the Takarazuka Revue Troupe’s history, educational tr[...]

No8 [Cinema] Farewell Nagisa!

After his death on the 15th January at the age of 80, the director of In The Realm Of Senses left a huge legacy to cinema around the world. Oshima Nagisa, a unique film director and precursor of the so-called “Japanese New Wave” in the sixties and seventies, bowed out quietly on the 15th of Janu[...]

No8 [DVD] The woodsman and the Rain

Japanese cinema is full of surprises and is lucky to have a distributor in Great Britain that is open-minded and discerning in the choice of films that are regularly released. Third Window Films is a company that deserves praise, for it is rare in Europe to find one that takes an interest in Japanes[...]

No7 [Book] The best place to drink in the world

According to author Chris Bunting, Tokyo has a lot to offer the curious drinker. Is Tokyo the best city for booze in the world? English writer Chris Bunting is pretty sure it is. People outside Japan probably would not agree, but the Tokyo-based British journalist has gathered a huge amount of infor[...]

No7 [DVD] A treasure of a film

A village is ravaged by plague. The ninja Kagero escorts a troup of soldiers that have been sent to investigate but very soon, Tessai, one of the 8 demons of Kimon, attacks them. Only Kagero survives, saved by Jubei Kibagami, a lonesome samurai. Dakuan, a government agent, has ordered him to get rid[...]

No6 [DVD] Twilight in the country of the rising sun?

© Fuyumi Ono, Ryu Fujisaki/SHUEISHA, SHI KI Committee Adapted from Fuyumi Ono’s novel, Shi Ki is a high quality anime that you can now watch on DVD. Full of suspense, this story will send shivers up your spine. This gothic thriller was adapted from Fuyumi Ono’s novel (The Twelve Kingdoms). Shi [...]

No6 [Literature] Discovering or rediscovering Black Rain

Five years after the atomic bomb explodes, young Yasuko is living with her uncle and aunt in a village near Hiroshima where they took refuge after the city was destroyed. Graceful, clever, and gentle, Yasuko has yet to find a husband. A rumour says she was caught in the shower of black rain that fel[...]

No5 [Literature] The memory of our mothers

By continuing the work she started with her first novel, Julie Otsuka forcefully evokes the conditions of Japanese immigrants in America. On the boat, we were mostly virgins. We had long black hair and flat feet and we were not very tall.” It is with these words that Julie Otsuka starts her new no[...]

No5 [Exhibition] Kioku: fracture and memories

Until the 8th of December, Christian Ferreira will present the first collaborative installation by British artists Tom Milnes & Sabine Okami in the Accumulator Tower at Wapping Hydraulic Power Station. Titled “Kioku” (memory) this ambitious installation sees Milnes & Okami workin[...]

No4 [Literature] 1300 candles for the Kojiki

Compiled in the year 712, it is about time you were introduced to the ‘Record of Ancient Matters’, a monument of Japanese culture. In turn a cosmogony, a theogony, an epic, a history manual, a collection of songs, embracing the birth of gods and their cults, the Earth and its multiplicity of nam[...]

No4 [Photography] A red carpet for Moriyama

You can enjoy Daido Moriyama’s work at the Michael Hoppen Gallery until 20th October. It is a must see. Daido Moriyama is a traveller, a photographer and a fascinating author. He was born in 1938 and his childhood memories reach back to the Occupation of the Allied Powers. He began his career as [...]

No4 [Book] Mastering the art of narration

Mitsu is the narrator. He is twenty-seven years old and the father of an abnormal child, like his sister who committed suicide before she reached adulthood. Mitsu never gets over the suicide of his best friend. It is a recurring image throughout the novel. Taka, Mitsu’s younger brother, is back fr[...]

No3 [Event] Noh in Britain? we say yes!

On the 7th and 9th of September, two high quality shows will be presented in London and Orford in Suffolk, which combine classical Japanese theatre and British tradition. Noh theatre’s inheritance stems from the oldest forms of Japanese theatre. Its origins lie in religious celebrations that used [...]

No3 [Cinema] A well deserved tribute to Shindo and Yoshimura

© BFI Southbank Two great figures of Japan’s post-war cinema will be celebrated in an exhibition at the BFI Southbank, running until the 30th of July. It will be a good opportunity to discover their best movies. In Great Britain at least, a memorable anniversary in the history of Japanese cinemat[...]

No3 [Literature] I am a cat

The narrator of this tale is a cat who belongs to an English teacher ill at ease with himself and who suffers from depression and stomach pain. He observes the sick society of the Meiji era all sorts of intellectuals parading through the house of his master, meditating on the meaning of life. While [...]

No2 [DVD] Laughter for the benefit of all

People often say that the Japanese do not enjoy laughter and that they are always serious. However, just like in any society, laughter often arises in everyday life. People may laugh at different things in Japan to those we do in the West, but it is laughter nevertheless. The Japanese cinema is no e[...]

No1 [Exhibition] The wonderful land of Hello Kitty

Copyright Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts Until June 24th, at the SCVA, you can meet the characters who have been populating Japanese everyday life for the past fifty years. Bye Bye Kitty!!! No, this is no joke. A little over a year ago, New York’s Japan Society was hosting an exhibition with[...]

No1 [Literature] dial c for crime

This is a rendez-vous with one of Japan’s best authors. The Devotion Of Suspect X shows the maturity that crime novels have reached in the archipelago. After the Second World War, Japanese crime literature experienced the same diversification as in the West. The same categories of crime novels as [...]

No1 [DVD] on living happily ever after

In Roujin Z, the author of Akira tackles a burning subject. Unfortunately, Kitakubo’s adaptation doesn’t draw to its level. One of the companies that has been dealing with advertisement in the press is called France Bed. In spite of its name, it isn’t French, but it deals with selling all kind[...]

No1 [Manga] Fantasy on all floors

Ryugamine Mikado is a young teenager who dreams of the exciting life of big cities. when his childhood friend Kida Masaomi invites him, he gets transferred to a high school in Ikebukuro, in the northern quarters of the capital. Masaomi warns him about some people he should avoid: a violent man dress[...]

No1 [Exhibition] Kusama takes the Tate modern

© Yayoi Kusama and © Yayoi Kusama Studios Inc. A retrospective exhibition dedicated to the 83-year-old artist allows us to grasp both the diversity and the radicalism of her art. Upon arriving to Miyanoura harbour, on the island of Naoshima, the first thing that you notice is a gigantic red pumpki[...]