Archive for August, 2011

August 31, 2011

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda needs to restore unity within the DPJ

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda needs to restore unity within the DPJ

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Democratic Party of Japan elected Yoshihiko Noda to be the new leader of Japan and this was ratified on August 30 by parliament. In the early period he may find respite from petty squabbling within the factional based system in Japan because factionalism blights the DPJ and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).  However, in order for the DPJ to regain trust then unity is essential and sound economic policies must follow but this will not be easy given the political reality of Japan.

Yoshihiko Noda needs to focus on economic initiatives and reconstruction for the damaged areas of Japan which were hit by the deadly earthquake and tsunami. At the same time he needs to rebuild or to at least show unity within the DPJ instead of factionalism appearing to dominate and political bigwigs need to be constrained.  The new prime minister also needs to work out a new supplementary budget and in the upper house Yoshihiko Noda needs to persuade some opposition parties to get on board and support his plans.

The new leader of Japan is known for being very conservative when it comes to fiscal policies and given Japan’s enormous public debt then is not such a bad thing.  However, in order to push through major economic measures he needs to build consensus within the DPJ and to show the electorate that the new leader does have a clear objective and that he will work hard to reign in discontent.

The strong yen is another area of major concern and the same applies to the deflationary malaise.  Also, Yoshihiko Noda should dip into the enormous reserves of Japan in order to utilize these funds because events after March 11 have created a major economic headache.  At the same time, the new leader must focus on energy related issues and the nuclear factor must not be destroyed based on political short-sightedness. Therefore, real radical change needs to be thought out deeply before dismantling a very strong source of energy.

The main party bigwig within the DPJ, Ozawa, needs to be told bluntly that he can’t hold a gun to the head of the elected leader of the DPJ when the going gets tough.  Also, it is hoped that Yoshihiko Noda’s decision to elect Azuma Koshiishi to be the secretary general is a sign of mending fences and not weakness towards Ozawa.

The sad reality is that while Yoshihiko Noda may have a genuine reform program in the offing he may be constrained by his balancing act of creating a consensus hierarchy of political rivals within the upper echelons of the proposed new cabinet.  This in itself shows you the weakness of his position at the moment but surely members of the DPJ must realize that they are on borrowed time if they turn against their own leader once more. After all, the electorate is becoming disenchanted with petty infighting.

The taxation issue is complex because you have divisions within the DPJ about tax hikes but many also understand that more revenue is needed and the LDP may not be so problematic on this issue.  However, smaller opposition parties have a different view about this alongside individuals within the DPJ and LDP – therefore, taxation policies will be closely monitored and scrutinized depending on the seriousness of Yoshihiko Noda’s economic reforms.

Yoshihiko Noda fully understands that the honeymoon period will be short within the DPJ if factionalism can’t be contained. Also, he knows full well that the honeymoon period with the electorate will nose dive based on past history.  However, despite all the shortcomings, it is time for the new leader of Japan to take the bull by the horns and to focus on neglected issues and to help in the reconstruction of Japan.  

http://moderntokyotimes.com

Advertisements
August 29, 2011

Yoshihiko Noda to become new Prime Minister of Japan

Yoshihiko Noda to become new Prime Minister of Japan

James Jomo and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The new leader of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) was announced and it emerged that Yoshihiko Noda had won the run off in the second round.  This paves the way for Yoshihiko Noda to become the next leader of Japan and this will take place tomorrow.  Yoshihiko Noda is a fiscal conservative and it will be interesting to see if he increases consumption tax or if he will be constrained by multiple factors.

In the first round of voting it was clear that Banri Kaieda was the most popular but he could not obtain a clear majority and once the vote went to the second round then the Seiji Maehara block and others went over to Yoshihiko Noda.  However, the vote between Yoshihiko Noda and Banri Kaieda was close (215-177) and this in itself shows you the uncertainty which exists within the DPJ.

Seiji Maehara should never have put his hat in the ring because the donation scandal was only six months ago and clearly the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) would have made the most of this.  Therefore, he could not muster enough votes and he was knocked out and never reached the second round of votes.  The vote should be a wake-up call to Seiji Maehara because his advisors made a poor decision.

In another article about the election by the Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “Issues related to the pension system, low birth rate, helping families, greater de-centralization, taxation, health care system, and other areas, alongside the urgent need to help people who are suffering because of the March 11 earthquake/tsunami, is what the majority of people are concerned about.”

Yoshihiko Noda does have a reputation of working well with the bureaucrats and this fiscal conservative will certainly be tried and tested because of the huge public debt and enormous restructuring of areas which were hit hard by the tsunami.  Added to this is the energy problem, ongoing reality of Fukushima and the nuclear crisis, the strong yen and other serious issues.

It is essential that Yoshihiko Noda is supported fully by all members of the DPJ and the mass media and general public need to be patient because the new leader faces many difficult problems. However, given all the domestic issues that he faces and knowing the nature of past events, then time will not be on his side and the usual impatience will rear its head in the near future.

Japan needs to break free from changing political leaders and Yoshihiko Noda needs breathing space.  Therefore, it is hoped that the new leader of Japan will implement major political reforms and that he will not be dragged down by political infighting, petty point scoring by the opposition, and a media circus when the going gets tough.

http://moderntokyotimes.com

August 29, 2011

DPJ to elect a new Prime Minister of Japan

DPJ to elect a new Prime Minister of Japan

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

 

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) will elect a new prime minister and given the nature of events in Japan then this issue is a damp squib.  After all, with so many leaders coming and going it seems rather pointless to expect any real breathing space for the newly elected leader. 

According to the editorial of The Daily Yomiuri “Unless the DPJ has serious discussions on concrete measures to rebuild its relations with bureaucrats and opposition parties, it will not be able to revive itself as a ruling party.

The same editorial by The Daily Yomiuri published on August 28 also stressed that “In the diplomatic sphere, Kan failed to exercise any effective leadership over the planned relocation of the U.S. Marines Corps’ Futenma Air Station in Okinawa Prefecture.  China and Russia in effect took advantage of his seeming lack of interest in state sovereignty to press their claims over the Senkaku Islands and northern territories, respectively.”

These comments, however, don’t belong to Naoto Kan because all these issues existed before he was elected and China and the Russian Federation have grown in power and strength in recent times. Also, the problem which exists in Okinawa relates to past political leaders in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), external pressure from America and the Hatoyama fiasco meant that Naoto Kan was constrained.

The main opposition party, the LDP, can’t ignore its political legacy and the last twenty years have seen one failed administration after another.  The Koizumi administration led to major isolation within northeast Asia because every regional nation apart from Taiwan was disillusioned by his pointless gestures over past history.  Therefore, at least Naoto Kan understands the delicate nature of northeast Asia and the changing reality with regards to China’s growing power.

Bread and butter issues are much more important and futile comments aimed at the Russian Federation is not in the interest of Japan.  Instead, Japan needs to work with the Russian Federation and diversify its energy policy and only Moscow can free Japan from over-reliance on energy from the Middle East.

Issues related to the pension system, low birth rate, helping families, greater de-centralization, taxation, health care system, and other areas, alongside the urgent need to help people who are suffering because of the March 11 earthquake/tsunami, is what the majority of people are concerned about.

The five candidates to become the next leader of Japan are Seiji Maehara (49), Sumio Mabuchi (51), Yoshihiko Noda (54), Banri Kaieda (62) and Michihiko Kano (69).  If Michihiko Kano is elected then it would be based on steadying the ship. The most popular choice according to opinion polls is Seiji Maehara. However, the donation scandal may prevent him from being elected by fellow DPJ member because of the closeness of his resignation which happened only six months ago.

Banri Kaieda is the main economist within the DPJ and given the nature of events then he would appear a realistic choice. Similar sentiments can be stated about Yoshihiko Noda who is the Finance Minister but some worry about his closeness to bureaucrats.

Sumio Mabuchi seems strong minded and he is mainly outside the power-politics of factionalism and this could provide a respite from factionalism within the DPJ.  However, the leading bigwig in the DPJ, Ichiro Ozawa, is supporting Banri Kaieda and Sumio Mabuchi may struggle to overcome the factional vote which will go against him.

Irrespective of who is elected, the most important thing is for the entire party to get behind the new leader but this is most unlikely to happen in the long-term.  The political system and the two main parties in Japan need to look at themselves seriously because they are not helping in stabilizing this nation.

http://moderntokyotimes.com  – plesae visit 

August 28, 2011

Ogawa Kazumasa and Nobuyoshi Araki: traditional photos to sexuality

Ogawa Kazumasa and Nobuyoshi Araki: traditional photos to sexuality

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The photography of Ogawa Kazumasa provides a glimpse into the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in Japan.  He and others enable people to grasp aspects of Japanese culture and history in this period and Ogawa Kazumasa shows part of the struggle between tradition and modernization.

Nobuyoshi Araki, on the other hand, shows aspects of the sexual revolution which erupted in cities throughout the world. However, the images of Nobuyoshi Araki have a distinctive Tokyo feel.  The subject theme may be a million miles apart but both photographers are responding to a world which is changing.

Irrespective of the motives behind Ogawa Kazumasa and Nobuyoshi Araki, they both provide glimpses into the world they saw/see around them.  Neither are passive bystanders and their images show rich detail and labels are easy to put on individuals but the images have no labels because people will look at them for different reasons and draw their own conclusions.

Indeed, while most emphasis about Nobuyoshi Araki focuses on the sexual nature of his images this is also an illusion. After all, Nobuyoshi Araki is a very broad photographer and his themes are varied.

Turning back to the world of Ogawa Kazumasa then clearly events were changing quickly and the same applies to society and thought patterns.

Ironically it wasn’t old Japan and the samurai which was a threat to regional nations. Instead it was the modernized and Western influenced Japan which began the darkside of Japan’s militarization and colonial period.  It appears that a duality appeared within the psyche of military and political leaders in Japan and this applies to the threat of being the victim of Western encroachment and at the same time to join the Western club and taking over nations just like Western powers had done.

Ogawa Kazumasa witnessed this changing Japan and the liberal tendencies which also came about because of contact with the outside world.  Therefore, this world provided many opportunities for Ogawa Kazumasa who was born in 1860 and died in 1929.

The power of Ogawa Kazumasa can be witnessed within his images because often it is like looking into a mirror of a different world.  The images even when the theme is simplistic are powerful and time and motion appears to have stopped in order to capture the moment.

In my article called Ogawa Kazumasa: a photographer of style and panache, I comment that “His images remain vivid today and like Nobuyoshi Araki, but for very different reasons, both photographers provide images of a real Japan.  Ogawa Kazumasa provides images of a Japan which is caught between tradition and the onset of Western influence. “

“However, Nobuyoshi Araki focuses on the sexual nature of Tokyo in modern times but he does this with a rare quality and unlike the blandness of Kishin Shinoyama who lacks individuality or genuine creativity; Nobuyoshi Araki provides images which enlighten people to the changing nature of aspects of Tokyo culture and he does this with a rare talent.” 

“It is obvious that Ogawa Kazumasa and Nobuyoshi Araki are like chalk and cheese but in one way both are similar despite the huge differences of composition, style, time in history, techniques, different technology, art forms, and so forth; but both provide a style which opens up the subject matter that they enter and for Nobuyoshi Araki this applies to Tokyo and for Ogawa Kazumasa it applies to Japan.”

I think the analogy with Nobuyoshi Araki is true despite the complexity of both individuals and the images that they have given the world.  In the soul of Nobuyoshi Araki you can witness the hidden and sexual side of Tokyo in modern times but irrespective if this is hidden from most people it is part of reality.

The same reality was being shown by Ogawa Kazumasa but in a more natural form despite this the images of both individuals are powerful for contrasting reasons.  Ogawa Kazumasa shows a world in change but with many people clinging to the old world and others being victims of this changing world. This applies to modern concepts which challenged traditional crafts and obliterated many traditional based companies.

Like all societies in change you had many winners and losers and big business and modernization destroyed many. Also, more intensive labor markets uprooted people and when economic depression took route in Germany and Japan it gave the twin forces of fascism and communism a chance.

Ogawa Kazumasa was on the fringe of the real struggle between democrats, militarists, and communists in Japan and at the heart for many you had traditionalists in Japan who wanted to preserve the best of Japanese culture. 

In a way, but based on other factors, Nobuyoshi Araki, shows glimpses into a world where social morality, female emancipation, modern technology, greater freedom, sexual revolution of the 1960s, movement of people from the countryside to Tokyo, and a host of other factors, all merge together within negative criminal forces who saw an opening to exploit once more. 

Of course, for many images by Nobuyoshi Araki the theme also provides glimpses into genuine sexual urges and emancipation from conservatism and freeing the soul from all constraints.  

 

In my article called Nobuyoshi Araki shows the cultural side of Tokyo in the flesh. I comment that “…Nobuyoshi Araki goes much further because this famous photographer opens up a Tokyo which is often neglected or not imagined.  He also fuses his photography with the landscape of Tokyo amidst naked bodies or ladies being tied up and his imagery is clearly powerful.”

“Therefore, Nobuyoshi Araki is also focusing on the emptiness of entertainment districts and the sex industry; albeit from an erotic human form and the energy and visual nature of his photography expresses many emotions.”

“Like any artist; people will see different things within his photography and while some people will gain from his works others may reject him on various grounds.  However, if you look deeper into his work then Nobuyoshi Araki is providing a real glimpse into a Tokyo which exists and not only this, he does this by creating a rare energy within simplistic and complex themes.”

Ogawa Kazumasa was a founding member of Nihon Sashinkai (Japan Photographic Society) and his images show glimpses of the Meiji era and Taisho period. Therefore, Ogawa Kazumasa, Enami Nobukuni, Tamamura Kosaburo, and others in the same period, have provided images of high quality and more important, they have left a legacy whereby individuals can see aspects of old Japan and the changes which were taking place.

Ogawa Kazumasa and Nobuyoshi Araki also provide nostalgia despite their themes being very different.  Nobuyoshi Araki commented about nostalgia that “In a way, I guess so. People say photography should try to avoid being nostalgic, but I simply say photographs are nostalgic. The meaning of nostalgia for me is not sad memories or something that has disappeared; not just memories. For me nostalgia is like the warmth in a mother’s belly.”

Therefore, if you want to witness aspects of both worlds then Ogawa Kazumasa and Nobuyoshi Araki do this with great artistic skill. Irrespective of the motives or themes and the time difference between both individuals, they were blessed with rare skills. Also, they have shared their world and the world around them with vast numbers of people all over the world and Nobuyoshi Araki continues to express aspects of Tokyo.

In life (Nobuyoshi Araki) and death (Ogawa Kazumasa) both artists have connected with the world and when Nobuyoshi Araki passes away in the future he, just like Ogawa Kazumasa, will leave a valuable legacy.

http://oldphoto.lb.nagasaki-u.ac.jp/unive/  (Photo gallery and very high quality)

http://www.baxleystamps.com/litho/ogawa.shtml  

(Fantastic information about Ogawa Kazumasa)

http://www.artnet.com/artists/nobuyoshi-araki/ Nobuyoshi Araki

http://www.arakinobuyoshi.com/ Nobuyoshi Araki

 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

Please note that Ogawa Kazumasa was born in Saitama prefecture which is near Tokyo but I have entered him under Tokyo because he was based on Tokyo and this is where his career began in the field of photography, printing, and publishing.

August 26, 2011

Kim Tae-hee to play a leading role in Japanese drama

Kim Tae-hee to play a leading role in Japanese drama

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Kim Tae-hee is to play a leading role in a Japanese drama series called “Boku to Star no 99 Nichi” (99 Days of Me and My Star) and this once more shows the influence of South Korean entertainment in Japan.  A host of South Korean dramas have been shown in Japan in recent times and now more and more music groups from this nation are hitting the headlines in Japan.

Kim Tae-hee is elegant, stylish, highly intelligent and extremely beautiful.  The new drama, Boku to Star no 99 Nichi, is reported to share similar themes with Notting Hill which was a hit film from the United Kingdom. Obviously, cultural differences, plot lines, and other realities, mean that Boku to Star no 99 Nichi will be very different from Notting Hill but the angle is within the feel.

My Princess and Iris opened up Japan to Kim Tae-hee because both South Korean dramas built up a strong fan base for this talented lady. Therefore, while this will be her first time in a Japanese drama it is crystal clear that her fans will be waiting for her debut drama in Japan.

Kim Tae-hee will play a role whereby she falls in love with a down to earth Japanese man. The plot therefore is clearly similar to Notting Hill and Han Yu-na (Kim Tae-hee) who is the famous Korean actress in the drama will highlight the passions of two individuals who hail from different walks of life. 

Nishijima Hidetoshi is the Japanese actor that she will be passionate about in the drama. Therefore, everything seems set up for this drama to make impact and it is a great start for Kim Tae-hee to ease her way into Japanese dramas and perhaps further afield in the future.

Tensions still persist because of history and recent demonstrations against Fuji TV in Tokyo and the usual territorial dispute is a reminder that nothing is plain sailing. However, for most viewers in Japan who watch this drama it will be nothing more than a romantic drama and the fans of Kim Tae-hee will get another chance to see their favorite actress.

The plot line is not the most sophisticated but neither was Notting Hill but if the drama can build up passion, sense of humor, uncertainty and other angles, then her fans will be happy and hopefully Kim Tae-hee will grow in even more popularity in Japan.

The drama will hit television and be aired in October this year on Fuji TV.

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

August 26, 2011

PM Kan announces resignation and another leader of Japan bites the dust

PM Kan announces resignation and another leader of Japan bites the dust

James Jomo and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Prime Minister of Japan, Naoto Kan, did the usual today because he announced that he would resign like he promised. This once more puts Japan in the media spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Simply put, the political system is a failure and sadly this nation is not seen to be serious when it comes to the echelon of the political system.

Not all blame can be put on the politicians. Frankly speaking, the media in Japan is woefully irresponsible on the whole because ridiculous polls and pressure are put on leaders in Japan all the time. Therefore, it is time to ban the media circus and political polls which are used in order to force political leaders to resign and the electorate should give political leaders a chance.

It is a complete fiasco and if the leader of America visited Japan tomorrow you would hear platitudes despite the economic and unemployment mess in this nation.  Not picking on America, the same would happen to other political leaders where everything negative is ignored. However, when it comes to the leader of Japan it is rebuke, mock and “the leader must go” and this is irksome and irresponsible.

In the article written by Michel Le Bon and Lee Jay Walker titled Japan and the political farce: the race is on to replace PM Kan. They commented that This international embarrassment is just that but nothing seems to change apart from rebuke, petty point scoring, political shenanigans, and rash decision making.  In the past it was hoped that the Democratic Party of Japan would change elements of the political landscape.  Instead, they have followed the Liberal Democratic Party and elect internally and resign without any elected mandate and of course both parties can’t find anyone strong enough to put either house in order.”

Therefore, Japan is going to have their sixth leader in five year – it is political suicide and grossly irresponsible.  This begs the question, why don’t politicians, the media and the electorate care?

Of course, many people will be concerned but either they are the silent majority or they are people involved in the media and the political system who don’t have any power to change this wretched situation.

If Japan wants to be taken seriously then it is vital that the political system is changed in order to meet global standards where high office deals with important issues, irrespective if the times are good or bad. 

Japan needs to wake up because frankly speaking this nation is an embarrassment when it comes to politics. Enough is enough, I wish, but I know that change isn’t around the corner and the same self-destruct political system will just continue and the media circus will be waiting for the next leader to make a mistake and everything will start all over again.

I know that Buddhism believes in reincarnation but you can’t reincarnate political leaders with high quality. Instead inferior individuals keep on getting their chance because the system allows it.

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/08/24/japan-and-the-political-farce-the-race-is-on-to-replace-pm-kan/

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/08/25/seiji-maehara-from-resigning-6-months-earlier-to-possible-next-leader-of-japan/

http://moderntokyotimes.com

August 25, 2011

Seiji Maehara: from resigning 6 months earlier to possible next leader of Japan

Seiji Maehara: from resigning 6 months earlier to possible next leader of Japan

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

If you are outside of Japan then the political landscape is so strange because leaders of this nation don’t have appetites to stay around for the duration.  Therefore, a new leader will shortly emerge in Japan but if the pattern of old continues then within a few months his or her ratings will fall by the wayside.

It is reported that Seiji Maehara is a front-runner and that he stands a good chance of becoming the next leader of Japan.  This may or may not happen because politics in Japan is very fragile and the past may come back to haunt him. After all, he only resigned six months ago and in most highly advanced political systems he would stand no chance because of the closeness to his last resignation.

Also, since the tragic events of March 11 the profile of Seiji Maehara left the media circus and he remained distant from policy makers. Therefore, his resignation six months ago and being distant from recent policy decisions should be a negative when it comes to being selected by members within the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ).

However, in Japan nothing is clear cut apart from the joy of forcing leading political figures to resign. If we take this logic at first hand it would seem bizarre that Seiji Maehara would even run and surely the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) will pounce on his last resignation.

Seiji Maehara while remaining outside of administration circles in the last six months can hardly play the card that he was distant from the current Prime Minister of Japan, Naoto Kan, because he was the Foreign Minister under him.  However, some people are stating that he seems outside the current administration which is hated but this is misleading because he had a very high ranking position under Naoto Kan.

It is still unclear who will be selected internally within the DPJ but the LDP will believe that Seiji Maehara is fair game if he is selected and clearly one single mistake will make him yet another lame duck leader.  If his resignation had happened a few years before and he had re-entered the highest ranks of power then his candidacy would make sense.

However, if he is selected after being forced to resign six months earlier then surely the LDP will be thinking that their time is near again.  The strangeness of politics in Japan is unique within the leading industrial nations but because of this he may be selected. 

This, however, points to rashness within the political system and surely the entire system needs changing in order for Japan to become a mature political nation based on solid periods of power once being elected.

Seiji Maehara may or he may not be the best person to take over the leadership of Japan but this should not be the issue.  The issue should be based on his resignation only six months earlier and how this puts the leading office in Japan into a bad light.

http://moderntokyotimes.com please visit

 
 

 
August 25, 2011

Tokyo National Museum: Kukai’s World and The Arts of Esoteric Buddhism

Tokyo National Museum: Kukai’s World and The Arts of Esoteric Buddhism

Michel Le Bon and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Tokyo National Museum is currently showing an exhibition about Kukai and Esoteric Buddhism.  Kukai is of major importance in Japan and this applies to Shingon Buddhism and the rich legacy he left, and in time this rich legacy would reach many distant lands.  Therefore, the current exhibition at the Tokyo National Museum will highlight the richness of his teaching, Shingon Buddhism, Koyasan, cultural factors and take you into the world of Esoteric Buddhism.

Kukai (774-835) who became known as Kobo Daishi established the first monastery in the ninth century on mount Koya (Koya-san).  The Shingon sect had a different thought pattern within the many schools of Buddhism and Kukai believed that enlightenment could be attained in one lifetime.

His theory that enlightenment could be attained in one lifetime was very powerful in his day and it gave hope and a new freshness to Buddhist thought within Japan.  Kukai also spread his message and thinking on the top of Mount Koya which is situated in Wakayama and you can imagine the impact of nature and the isolation of Koyasan on his thinking.

In an earlier article by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “Kukai was a searcher and he visited China and during his stay he studied Esoteric Buddhism.  Initially, he prayed for peace and prosperity because he could not find inner-peace within city life, therefore, he searched for a place where he could meditate and become even more spiritual.” 

“When Kukai saw the stunning nature of Koyasan it was clear to him that he had found the place which he desired.  The mountains meant that he was cut off from everyday city life in this period and the sublime beauty of nature added to the mysterious feel of Koyasan.”

“Today, in the modern period, other worlds still survive and in Koyasan you feel the richness of culture, the souls of the dead within the mysterious graveyards, the beauty of life within the grounds of so many Buddhist temples and a culture which still survives.”

Near the end of Kukai’s life he stopped taking food and water and instead he meditated and it was reported that his body did not decay for several years.  Many legends have sprung up about Kukai and one claims that Kukai was transformed into an eternal Samadhi. Therefore, the legend states that Kukai wanders around Mount Koya where he is awaiting a major spiritual event to take place and this applies to the next Buddha Maitreya appearing.

Other legends have developed, therefore, if you want to understand about Kukai and esoteric Buddhism then the exhibition at Tokyo National Museum is a must.  If you reside far from Tokyo in Japan or in another nation, then check the website which will be supplied and read more about this very important individual.

http://www.tnm.jp/modules/r_free_page/index.php?id=1393 Tokyo National Museum

http://www.visiblemantra.org/kukai.html Kukai and information

http://ww2.coastal.edu/rgreen/ Kukai and information

http://www.shukubo.jp/eng/  (stunning Koyasan)

http://www.koyasan.org/         (Information about Koyasn)

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/06/26/koyasan-in-wakayama-stunning-mysterious-and-sublime-architecture/

(If you attend the exhibition after reading this article then please mention that Modern Tokyo Times highlighted the exhibition)

 
 
August 23, 2011

Keisai Eisen and View of Shogetsu Pond: ukiyo-e and pure bliss

Keisai Eisen and View of Shogetsu Pond: ukiyo-e and pure bliss

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Keisai Eisen was a complex individual because he could compose stunning images of tranquility but private matters were more complex and he apparently owned a brothel and was a heavy drinker.  However, the image of the View of Shogetsu Pond is based on bliss and the wonders of nature in all its simplicity and richness.

The artistic work of Keisai Eisen which went into creating the View of Shogetsu Pond is truly stunning.  This applies to nature and humanity being together in oneness and everything looks in perfect order.

It could be that Keisai Eisen was a real heavy drinker or that he used wit when describing himself so negatively.  After all, he was a writer and a sublime artist therefore we can only take at face value when he implied that he was …a hard-drinking, rather dissolute artist.”

However, the residence of the brothel did exist in Nezu, Tokyo, and it was called Wakatakeya.  This would indicate an element of truth about aspects of his negative statement about himself.

Therefore, were stunning images like the View of Shogetsu Pond a mirage to how he desired to see the world?  Alternatively, it could be that this piece of work had little value when it came to the real meaning and like all works of art, the individual can read different things into the real meaning and come up with countless theories.

The quaint bridge and houses in the background looks like a place of safety and peace. Mountains in the distance also seem like guardians and being ready to pounce on any future calamity.

This world was very different to the real world of Keisai Eisen and the brothel he owned called Wakatakeya.  It matters not that his brothel burnt down because of misfortune. The fact is that he was involved in ungentlemanly behavior but this man of letters was very complex.

However, even if he was involved in brothels does this add to the beauty of the View of Shogetsu Pond by Keisai Eisen or does it distract from the harmonic image he created?     

http://www.viewingjapaneseprints.net/texts/ukiyoetexts/ukiyoe_pages/eisen3.html

http://www.artelino.com/articles/keisai-eisen.asp 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

August 23, 2011

Dreaming about Chouzuki Maryou: my favorite ero-cosplayer to old erotic French images

Dreaming about Chouzuki Maryou: my favorite ero-cosplayer to old erotic French images

Michel Le Bon and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Chouzuki Maryou is a gorgeous and full bodied ero-cosplayer and in a land where so many females are thin then her body and sexuality shines right through.  It is obvious in Japan that maid café, elements of cosplay, ero-cosplay, explicit manga, love hotels, and chican on trains and selling on video, that sexuality is everywhere and the sex trade is enormous and a growing sector. 

One only needs to look at young lady groups strutting around in thigh high boots and other sexy forms of style, to understand the reality of what sells.  Why not?  In my beloved France we have the Moulin Rouge and famous cancan dance and the history of this astounding place is so rich and even today La Goulue (Louise Weber – 1865-1929) remains a legend.

Therefore, I marvel at the natural beauty of Chouzuki Maryou because she is busty, natural and curvy. The fashion model type ladies on Japanese television and dancers at the Moulin Rouge often look so perfect and flexible in movement. However, what about more buxom ladies who don’t fill the bill in the glamour industry……is their beauty not wanted?

Cosplay is about escapism and dreaming about a different world but if you go to any major convention it is obvious that the sexual side is important.  With Chouzuki Maryou, she goes one step further because she is proud to be an adorable ero-cosplayer and to feel the sexual side of her nature.

Chouzuki Maryou says “I originally liked 18+ ero-doujinshi, so I’m trying to do something like that, but in the photographic medium – it’s great fun!”

It is apparent that Chouzuki Maryou is happy and proud of what she does and her radiant smile is evidence of this and clearly she is in control of her destiny.  Her photo shoots and dress style is very far from the Moulin Rouge but sexuality links them but in different ways.

If anything, the old photos of naked French ladies which are exhibited in art museums relate to Chouzuki Maryou.  This applies to innocence despite the sexuality of old naked images of French ladies and the photo shoots of Chouzuki Maryou.

Of course, you have much hypocrisy in the world because if a famous artist of the past painted a naked lady it was deemed to be culture and art. Therefore, I see the artistic nature of Chouzuki Maryou and old images of French ladies who seem so delectable and pure.

Chouzuki Maryou may not be your usual sexual pin-up but her natural body, within the slimness of the majority of Tokyo ladies, stands out. Also, her buxom figure and ero-cosplay images show innocence despite the subject matter being based on sexuality.

The old sexual photos of France are the same because despite the subject matter you have a gracefulness about the images.  Maybe it is nostalgia and this could also be the connection with Chouzuki Maryou because in Japan it is easy to have nostalgia for buxom ladies because you don’t see so many.

Irrespective of the reason, dreaming about Chouzuki Maryou and old Paris is not so bad because in both I can escape.  In this sense, maybe the real cosplayer is my mind?

http://moderntokyotimes.com