Archive for July, 2012

July 25, 2012

Japanese art and Kamisaka Sekka: Rimpa, modernism and European influence

Japanese art and Kamisaka Sekka: Rimpa, modernism and European influence

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The artist Kamisaka Sekka (1866-1942) is one of the most mysterious Japanese artists to have hit the international world of art. This applies to his magical artwork which expresses the finer aspects of traditional Japanese art but fused with modernism and the impact of European art. Therefore, Kamisaka Sekka was an artist which belonged equally to the old world and new world of art which was impacting on the Japanese art scene.

Kamisaka Sekka was born in the cultural city of Kyoto and one can only imagine the splendor he must have witnessed in his early life. This similarly applies to the stunning reality of Kansai and places like Nara and Koyasan where religion, traditions and Japanese high culture, remains vibrant in the modern world.

The internal convulsions that hit Japan after the Meiji Restoration in 1868 radically altered the body politic of this nation. Indeed, Kamisaka Sekka lived in a period blighted by regional wars and major international wars. This reality highlights the convulsions that were sweeping through many nations whereby nationalism, capitalism, the colonial period, communism, technological innovations, religion, secularism, and so many different forces, were shaping the world for either the better or worse.

However, in the field of art then the same period provided enormous opportunities for Japanese artists to study various different art forms and to travel the world. Kamisaka Sekka would indeed travel to learn about new concepts and to open-up his artistic horizons to an even greater level. True to the nature of Kamisaka Sekka he gained enormously from his travels and studying about new art forms. However, he never lost sight of the power of Rimpa and the inner beauty of Japanese art.

From a very early age it was clear that Kamisaka Sekka was blessed with amazing artistic skills. In the early period he focused heavily on the traditions of Japanese Rimpa. However, he was always open to new art forms and styles. Therefore, modernism and traditions fused naturally together within his heart and this is the beauty of Kamisaka Sekka.

In an earlier article about Kamisaka Sekka I state that “In 1910 the Japanese government sent Kamisaka Sekka to the United Kingdom and while he stayed in Glasgow the Art Nouveau style would influenced him greatly. Kamisaka Sekka was also fascinated by Japonisme and he wanted to understand the attraction of Japanese art in the West and which areas appealed the most. Therefore, his time in Glasgow was most rewarding because his studies enlightened him in many areas.”

Also, the trip to Glasgow in 1910 further cemented his deep admiration of aspects of European art. His earlier trip to Europe in 1901 had impacted greatly on Kamisaka Sekka because the Paris International Exposition opened up his eyes to new fresh ideas and concepts.”

One can only imagination how the environment of Kyoto and his studies of Rimpa masters who blessed the Japanese art world had impacted on Kamisaka Sekka. Added to this were major Western art forms like Impressionism and Art Nouveau which reached his heart. Also, Kamisaka Sekka was fascinated about the impact of Japanese art on Western art. Therefore, in a world being torn apart by nationalism and politics you had artists like Kamisaka Sekka who studied the beauty of humanity and the power of different cultures.

The Art Institute of Chicago comments that “Centuries-old schools of art, such as the decorative Rimpa style with its quintessential Japanese literary and seasonal themes, had become unfashionable. To help keep the country’s unique artistic culture afloat, the government established a policy to upgrade the status of traditional artists that encouraged them to infuse their craft with a dose of modernism. Consequently, in 1910 Sekka was sent abroad to Glasgow, where he was heavily influenced by Art Nouveau. He came home to teach at the newly opened Kyoto Municipal School of Arts and Crafts. Thanks to Sekka, the Rimpa tradition remains a signature of Kyoto design to this day.”

Kamisaka Sekka highlights how individuals can learn new artistic thought patterns and art forms but remain within the initial environment despite fusing new ideas. He truly is an international artist who pushed new internal boundaries in order to produce stunning pieces of art. Therefore, when viewing his finest pieces of art you can feel many different things related to the past and modernity. This quality was done in a way which was not only natural but is strikingly unique and beautiful.

Many amazing artists have been born in Japan and without a shred of doubt Kamisaka Sekka belongs to the crème de la crème of Japanese art. His creativity and connection with the old world and modernism enabled him to reach new heights and to highlight many artistic angles.

 

http://www.vlinder-01.dds.nl/cdr/other%20art/sekka.htm

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

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July 25, 2012

Tokyo Times and Lifestyle in Kichijoji: Fashion and Living Environment

Tokyo Times and Lifestyle in Kichijoji: Fashion and Living Environment

Sarah Deschamps, Kanako Itamae and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Tokyo lifestyle provides a wealth of different options which appeal to different individuals. The district of Kichijoji is one of many lovely places to reside in Tokyo which is blessed with a lovely fashion district and places to relax. Therefore, this part of Tokyo is certainly blessed with huge pulling power and appeals greatly to many Tokyoites.

In many ways the feel to Kichijoji resembles the lifestyle of Shimokitazawa, Nakano and Jiyugaoka. Of course each district is very different with regards to design, layout, options available, and so forth. However, the fashion angle and independent feel certainly shares a similar background.

Likewise, these districts are far from the madding crowds of Harajuku, Ikebukuro, Omotesando, Shibuya, and Shinjuku. Therefore, you have a certain “community spirit” which still survives along with all the trappings of modernity. Also, with these fashionable and trendy areas being smaller in size then people can relax and enjoy the respective environments of Kichijoji, Shimokitazawa, Nakano, and Jiyugaoka.

Indeed, the lovely layout of Kichijoji means that people can relax while enjoying the ample shopping options which are provided. Independent boutiques and the fashion angle appeals greatly. Similarly, you have many nice café bars, restaurants and places to visit in order to enjoy the refined nightlife.

The fashion angle caters for people of all ages but Kichijoji also attracts the younger generation because of the vibrant fashion scene. After all, individuals often find “a hidden gem of a boutique” in the alleyways and shopping streets which may have been missed before. Therefore, the attraction of exquisite fashion, relaxing coffee shops, fancy restaurants and a stunning park are luring people to this stylish district in Tokyo.

Inokashira Koen (park) is a beautiful place to relax and think about the finer things in life. This adorable park appeals to friends, romantic couples, families, individuals, office workers and the whole array of factors which apply to beautiful open spaces. Also, Inokashira Koen works elegantly with the quaint alleyways and independent stores selling unique products.

The nightlife of Kichijoji is also vibrant and attracts the younger generation and people who adore music. Therefore, you have many places to enjoy live house, blues bars, jazz kissa (jazz coffee shops) and so much more. Kichijoji is known for the musical angle and this spark also enhances the lovely vibe about this part of Tokyo.

When everything is considered it is clear that the lifestyle of Kichijoji appeals to people of all age groups. Also, this vibrant district is blessed with a lovely fashion and musical angle which is extremely appealing. The central location area is busy because of department stores and boutiques. However, this soon changes when you walk around the alleyways and explore the many features of Kichijoji whereby people can relax at the pace they desire.

Kichijoji is a fantastic place to reside and likewise it is a great place to visit. Overall, the lifestyle is vibrant in the main central area. However, the quaintness in other parts of this district appeals greatly to people who adore a more tranquil life.

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com 

http://moderntokyotimes.com 

 

July 13, 2012

Tokyo and anime Bill 156: After more than 1 year and no real impact

Tokyo and anime Bill 156: After more than 1 year and no real impact

James Jono, Hiroshi Saito and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

 

The Governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, was adamant that Bill 156 would stem the tide of extreme sexual depictions of children in Japanese anime and manga. Other individuals countered that Bill 156 would infringe on artists and other forms of freedom by enforcing censorship throughout Tokyo. Therefore, both sides were extremely divided by the new measure which was introduced last year on July 1, 2011.

More than one year later in 2012 and it is clear that Bill 156 is either currently ineffective or that individuals with enforcement powers don’t believe that Bill 156 is being violated. Either way, the bullish comments about clamping down on extreme images of minors which can be found in some areas of Japanese anime and manga, appears not to have been materialized.

The Daily Yomiuri, one of the most powerful newspapers in Japan, commented in their article titled “No manga banned by Tokyo as too racy” comments that One year since Tokyo’s youth protection ordinances were revised to prevent the sale of anime and manga containing extreme sexual content to minors, not one publication has been deemed unfit for consumption.”

“Ryokichi Yama, head of the editing ethics committee at the Japan Magazine Publishers Association, which has more than 90 domestic publishers among its members, said the Tokyo government has not applied the new standard to any publications because it is cautious.”

Shintaro Ishihara believes differently because according to him individuals who are in the trade related to sexual images, stories, graphics, and so on, are acting more responsible. Therefore, Shintaro Ishihara states that“Writers and publishers have started using common sense when it comes to publishing books.”

This statement appears rather mild given the comments made by Shintaro Ishihara prior to the enactment of Bill 156. More than likely, both sides have responded in a mutually beneficial way which will maintain the vibrancy of Japanese anime and manga. After all, racy anime and manga can easily be bought in Tokyo and given the mass complexities of regulating a vibrant industry then maybe the “economic impact” is also infringing on a clampdown? If so, this begs the question of enacting Bill 156 in the first place.

It must be stated that many artists, individuals who adore the sexual nature of Japanese anime and manga, organizations which support the freedom of speech and a host of other areas voiced their opposition to Bill 156. The reasons are varied but the main central theme is “civil liberties” because artistic freedom is essential in all societies which are modern. Also, it is argued that the extreme nature of parts of Japanese anime and manga are based on “fantasy,” “connecting to a-make-belief-world” and natural escapism. Therefore, the viewers clearly understand that the images they are watching are nothing more than manga, anime and harmless erotica. This implies that it isn’t depicting reality and given this fact it is complex to clampdown against unreality.

The ordinance passed by Shintaro Ishihara was aimed at sexual scenes related which depict rape, child marriage, sexual abuse of minors, incest, and other areas of concern. Supporters of Bill 156 believe that safety measures are needed in order to protect children and society from sexual predators. However, do individual who watch sexual anime and manga scenes go on and abuse children? This once more relates to Japanese anime and mange being based on fantasy characters and not real life images of children. The gap is enormous and clearly children are abused sexually all over the world but to point the finger at Japanese anime and manga would be extreme.

Also, the ordinance only applies to Tokyo and this in itself highlights that if Bill 156 was regulated tightly then local business in this area would just relocated to Saitama, Kanagawa and Chiba. It takes roughly 11 minutes by express train or semi-express train to reach Saitama prefecture from Ikebukuro in Tokyo. Likewise, you can reach Kanagawa very quickly from Shinjuku by using the Odakyu Line and so forth. Therefore, even if Bill 156 was effectual it would not be solving anything – if anything, it would be spreading the problem to other areas.

In a past article by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “Also, what if you buy animation which depicts rape, incest, and the abuse of minors, from an online company based in another part of Japan?  Will this also become illegal?  If so, then what measures can prevent packages from containing the newly banned material and if individuals download their new purchase online then are they breaking the law? “

International organizations point the finger at Japan but more than likely Japanese crime rates and abuse against children will compare favorably with any nation in the world. Also, in Saudi Arabia it is legal under Islamic Sharia law for old men of 60 years old and even older, to marry young girls of 8 years of age and 10 years of age. This also happens in other nations which abide by Islamic sharia law. Therefore, which is worse?

In Japan it is clear that young children are protected by Japanese law from being forced into marriages which they don’t understand. This is in stark contrast to nations like Saudi Arabia and Yemen where state sanctioned Islam allows children to get married to old men. Therefore, are nations claiming that child marriage in Saudi Arabia is leading to an epidemic of child abuse in this country?

Japanese anime and manga is based on fantasy, escapism, and other aspects, and clearly you have a very creative angle to the characters involved, even if people don’t agree to the context. If you had a firm link between child abuse and rape in the real world then artists would come under great pressure in Japan. Yet, unlike the reality of Saudi Arabia and child marriage, it is clear that Japanese anime and manga is based on “unreality.”

Therefore, the best solution is for a compromise between both parties and not to force this situation underground because this would be more dangerous. Also, if Tokyo began to take legal action against artists involved in making anime and manga, then this could open up “a can of worms” related to other subjects.

http://www.costume-designer.info/page/4

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T120702004395.htm

http://moderntokyotimes.com

July 13, 2012

Japan fashion: Pringle of Scotland to enter Japanese market after deal with Sanyo Shokai

Japan fashion: Pringle of Scotland to enter Japanese market after deal with Sanyo Shokai

Kanako Itamae, Michel Lebon and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

 

On the grapevine of the fashion media it is stated that Sanyo Shokai and Pringle of Scotland have done a deal. Both companies are going to launch the Pringle 1815 and clearly with the success of Burberry in Japan, then Sanyo Shokai appear to be favoring continuity. Of course, Pringle of Scotland have different business ways and their fashion is inspirational by itself. However, you get the feeling that Sanyo Shokai is following certain aspects of the last deal with Burberry which will expire in the near future.

The new launch between Pringle of Scotland and Sanyo Shokai will be focused on the Pringle 1815 line. This appears to be a very good idea because of the rich history of this company which is obviously linked with the name. Likewise, for Pringle of Scotland they fully understand the power of Sanyo Shokai. Therefore, the medium-term “marriage” between both companies makes complete sense from both angles.

According to powerful sources the deal entails extensive apparel and accessories. The target is to launch men and ladies fashion by Pringle of Scotland by utilizing powerful departments stores in Japan and other destinations related to selected shops.

The opening date for Pringle 1815 is set for the spring period related to 2013. This gives both companies ample time to “iron out” any differences or possible confusion related to different cultural and business methodologies. In this sense, it is clear that Sanyo Shokai is going to be the guiding force.

Pringle of Scotland is famous for being an exquisite knitwear company which is in vogue with many famous individuals. Some famous individuals who adore Pringle of Scotland include Madonna, Nicole Kidman, David Beckham, Claudia Schiffer, Sophie Dahl and a host of other famous stars. Therefore, with Pringle of Scotland being connected with the rich and famous it is clear that this adorable company is in the spotlight.

Likewise in fashionable London you can find Pringle of Scotland in Bond Street, Bluewater Shopping Centre and Sloane Street. It is envisaged that highly selected places like Aoyama, Omotesando, Ginza and Yurakucho in Tokyo will be key target areas. Likewise, in Osaka fashionable places like Umeda will be in the running and the same may apply to Kobe which is a very vibrant fashion city in Japan. Therefore, it will be interesting to see the approach that Sanyo Shokai takes.

If individuals click onto http://www.pringlescotland.com/ the website of Pringle of Scotland then clearly you will be treated to adorable fashion. It is hoped that the new partnership with Sanyo Shokai will bear fruit because this company is blessed with an amazing and intriguing history. Also, with Japan being a major fashion centre in the world because of famous cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Kobe, then clearly the new deal between Pringle of Scotland and Sanyo Shokai is full of potential. After all, the products and color coordination of Pringle of Scotland is extremely sophisticated and elegant. Also, this company appeals greatly to both sexes and with such quality fabrics matched with innovation, then Japanese fashion lovers are in for a treat.

http://www.pringlescotland.com/

http://www.sanyo-shokai.co.jp/

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com  

July 13, 2012

Japanese art and Yumeji Takehisa: Radiant artist crushed by humanity

Japanese art and Yumeji Takehisa: Radiant artist crushed by humanity

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

In all nation states you have elites which control and often abuse power based on “special interests” and “secrecy.” Many individuals feel like “fodder” because so many dreams never materialize for the majority of people. This is the reality of life because justice is but a word and democracy without economic freedom is shallow. Likewise, the daily grind of paying taxes to governments which abuse the system based on various agendas is not only frustrating, it also destroys the spirit of many.

However, for individuals blessed with so much talent then these internal convulsions can unbalance and destroy artists because of the countless “false dawns.” Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin are prime examples. They both were blessed with so much talent but the system crushed them and made life extremely uncomfortable. Therefore, in time capitalists got rich on the labor of two individuals blighted by poverty and extreme dark moments.

While Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin faced their internal demons the same reality would also crush the world of Yumeji Takehisa. From radiance to despair, from hope and desire to abandonment and being disillusioned. In the end the final years of Yumeji Takehisa were filled with sorrow and internal alienation based on expectations which his art deserved. Yet the pathway of Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin awaited Yumeji Takehisa.

Paul Gauguin stated “without art there is no salvation” but even in death the “salvation” is mixed for this individual. Likewise, for Yumeji Takehisa even in death you still don’t have any real “salvation” when it applies to international recognition. However, death provided “salvation” for Vincent Van Gogh in its entirety when it applies to international esteem. For Paul Gauguin who was extremely sophisticated, this would have been enough but he remains blighted by aspects of his life which seems to linger when it is often forgotten when related to others.

Yumeji Takehisa died at the age of 49 in 1934 and clearly “the beautiful flower within” was gradually crushed during the final decade of his life on this earth. Likewise, his visit to America and Europe in 1931 didn’t deliver the results that he had hoped for. Indeed, if anything, it confirmed to him that he was “running against the grain” because his artist skills went unrewarded. Therefore, the international recognition that he craved for went unrewarded internationally despite being recognized by lay people in Japan.

On his return to Japan in 1933 he would soon enter a sanatorium because of ill health. The following year he would die in a sanatorium at the age of 49 and one can only imagine the helplessness and frustration that he felt. After all, even when Yumeji Takehisa gave everything to “open the eyes of the art world” he was still rejected. This was the same rejection within academia in Japan despite being popular with art lovers in this country. Not only was his determination in vain but to make matters worse his health deteriorated. This all happened while Yumeji Takehisa was trying to enlighten people within the international community.

Yumeji Takehisa had rebuilt so much after the 1923 Kanto earthquake which destroyed so much of his artwork. However, he bore this with great fortitude because he knew that vast numbers of people had lost so much more because so many people were killed by this tragic event. Indeed, Yumeji Takehisa was a prolific artist because he produced more than 3,000 pieces of art. Also, the poetic nature of Yumeji Takehisa meant that he was blessed with great innovation.

Sabine Schenk (Cultural News) states about his lack of recognition (Cultural News) that “The reason for this is that he didn’t fit the academic definition of fine arts during his active period from the 1900s to the 1930s, and that his work is not restricted to visual arts only, but ranges from painting, through all kinds of commercial arts, to poetry.”

Sabine Schenk further comments that “It is not easy to categorize him and outside of Japan he has not been recognized as part of the history of fine arts and, therefore, has not been the subject of detailed research, yet.”

Therefore, despite knowing artists of esteem in Japan during his lifetime and being popular outside of academia in the land of the rising sun, it is clear that his desire failed within the academic world and internationally. Even today you can’t find a great deal of research about Yumeji Takehisa and his name doesn’t ring a bell for the vast majority of art lovers internationally. Therefore, even in death “there is no salvation” for Yumeji Takehisa despite producing many stunning pieces of art. In time, it appears that apart from art lovers within Japan that his art will “not even become a shadow.”

http://www.culturalnews.com/?p=539 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com 

http://moderntokyotimes.com 

July 13, 2012

Kagoshima Governor supporting the nuclear restart wins the election: Nuclear hype in the media

Kagoshima Governor supporting the nuclear restart wins the election: Nuclear hype in the media

Walter Sebastian, Hiroshi Saito and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

 

The mass media keeps on telling the world that the majority of Japanese individuals are against nuclear power. However, the recent victory for Governor Yuichiro Ito points to the reality that the nuclear issue isn’t the main concern for the majority of Japanese people. Therefore, despite the hype it is clear that the “nuclear option” is viable just like it was for the past few decades. Also, with the increased imports of energy hitting the Japanese economy hard it is clear that more and more individuals will put the economic well being of Japan first.

After the tragic events of March 11, 2011, related to the brutal earthquake and tsunami which unleashed the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, the media spin is often anti nuclear. In fact, major agencies all over the world appear to “pick statistics out of thin air” when stating that the vast majority of Japanese citizens reject nuclear power. Yet clearly the election in Kagoshima, just like other elections, doesn’t back up this “alleged theory.”

In various elections held in Japan it is clear that individual politicians who support the resumption of nuclear power have won. Also, even when politicians won who may be against nuclear power, they were elected not on this reason but related to other factors. Therefore, despite the media hype and other negative postures towards nuclear power it is abundantly obvious that this issue isn’t the main focus for the vast majority of the Japanese electorate.

It also must be stated that over 19,000 people died because of the tsunami which destroyed so many places in the Tohoku region and surrounding area along the coast. On the other hand, the death total with regards to nuclear power remains to be zero. This isn’t to underestimate the seriousness of radiation in areas close to the stricken nuclear facility. The same applies to the local fisheries community and towns within the 30km zone which have been hit hard. However, it isn’t the Armageddon which was pictured by many articles during the early period of the crisis.

Not only this, if you visit Fukushima prefecture you will notice that the commercial capital in Koriyama is thriving. Similarly, while “some media agencies appear to have an agenda” this isn’t helping the local economy in Fukushima prefecture. After all, tourist numbers have been down despite gradually increasing in recent months.

Therefore, for individuals who are concerned about the livelihoods of people in Fukushima many have visited the tourist attractions to over compensate for people who have been manipulated by “false reporting” and over-hyped statements. Indeed, if individuals visit beautiful places like the Urabandai region in Fukushima, then clearly the stunning aspect of nature is a clear reminder that the vast majority of Fukushima prefecture is open to the business and tourist community.

Turning back to the Kagoshima gubernatorial election then Governor Yuichiro Ito was elected for the third time to continue to run this part of Japan at the local level. Yuichiro Ito supports the restarting of two nuclear power stations providing the new safety mechanisms have been firmly put in place. His challenger, Yoshitaka Mukohara, desired to block the return to nuclear energy in this prefecture and then scrapping the nuclear reactors in the future.

However, the vast majority of people selected Yuichiro Ito in Kagoshima despite all the media hype about nuclear power. Individuals elected him based on many factors which were unrelated to nuclear power and this is the point. Even if an individual wins who is anti-nuclear, it doesn’t imply that this was the reason why they were elected. Likewise, if individuals are selected because they support the resumption of nuclear power, it also doesn’t imply that the vast majority of people voted for this individual based on supporting nuclear energy.

The real issue for the majority of Japanese people is economics and not the nuclear issue. Therefore, Yuichiro Ito was elected on the grounds that he is restoring financial health to Kagoshima.

Some politicians, celebrities, the mass media, and so forth, are hyping the anti-nuclear issue because of their own agenda. Yet just like in Tokyo when anti-nuclear demonstrations are highlighted in the media – it is clear that on the very same day more people will be shopping for fashion items in stores throughout major fashion areas. After all, while the “nuclear issue” is important for anti-nuclear individuals despite the tsunami killing more than 19,000 people and nobody dying from the nuclear crisis, it is clear the majority of people are voting with their feat.

 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

July 13, 2012

Tokyo Fashion and lifestyle in Daikanyama and Ebisu

Tokyo Fashion and lifestyle in Daikanyama and Ebisu

Kanako Itamae, Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Daikanyama and Ebisu in Tokyo are notable for fashion and the lifestyle angle is richly appealing because despite being located in a notable part of this city, the refinement angle is a huge pulling power. Tokyo lifestyle in smaller quaint districts like Daikanyama, Jiyugaoka, Shimokitazawa, Hiroo, Nakameguro, and other sophisticated areas are highly desired. Therefore, despite the fashion angle belonging to all the above, it is clear that each area caters for a nice lifestyle irrespective if single, families, expatriates, students, age group, and so forth.

The fashion angle to Daikanyama is known to be hip, stylish, independent, and where creativity flourishes. The closeness to Ebisu and other adorable areas is another major pulling power. After all, Ebisu is blessed with lovely department stores and the layout is relaxing. The environment within the Yebisu Garden Place complex is a must place to visit because of the European architecture and open spaces.

For fashion lovers you have Mitsukoshi Department Store and Atre Department Store in Ebisu. In both stores you will find exquisite boutiques, lifestyle stores, and other amazing shops. Also, the eating area in Atre Department Store is not only elegant and stylish but the food is extremely delicious. Therefore, many shoppers like to relax in this lovely environment which is extremely refreshing.

Boutiques in Atre Department Store include Salon de la Trinit’e, Papill Onner, Allureville, N.Natural Beauty Basic, ENCHAINMENT UNI point de mignon, Lock Your Hearts, and so many other amazing fashion stores. Atre Department Store is extremely individualistic and on the seventh floor you have a cultural angle. Within the same department store you also have many scrumptious cake shops.

Likewise, in Mitsukoshi Department Store you have exquisite boutiques and many crème de la crème companies selling sophisticated products. Mitsukoshi in Ebisu is also extremely innovative and the location is richly rewarding because this fantastic store is located in the Yebisu Garden Place complex. Therefore, individuals visit for kid’s apparel, lifestyle products, fashion, Art products, shoes, beauty and relaxation, bags, accessories, food and you also have relaxing places to enjoy quiet moments over a delicious drink. After visiting this adorable department store you can then soak up the environment of Yebisu Garden Place.

In Daikanyama you have a delightful “European fashion district” and you also feel the same European influence at the Atre Department Store in Ebisu. This lovely feel about the place means that fashion lovers in Tokyo adore Daikanyama and Ebisu which share the same environment. Also, the independent feel to fashion in Daikanyama is most appealing and when fused with the “European fashion district,” it is easy to understand why this part of Tokyo is highly regarded.

Therefore, fashion stores like Evisu, Hollywood Ranch Market, Via Bus Stop, Actus, Silas and Maria, Loveless, Tsumori Chisato, APC, Arigato, Alfredo Bannister, Hemisphere, AS, and a host of other lovely boutiques, attract fashion lovers from all over Tokyo. The layout of Daikanyama is also nicely designed in the fashion area and you have many places to wine and dine in Daikanyama and Ebisu. This means that both districts appeal greatly based on lifestyle because within minutes of the busy areas you have lovely suburbs.

In Ebisu you also have the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and Beer Museum. Overall, the lifestyle is extremely appealing and for Tokyoites it is clear that both Ebisu and Daikanyama are extremely popular. The closeness to each other and to other districts like Hiroo, Nakameguro, Roppongi, and central Shibuya is also another major pulling power.

 

http://trinity-corp.net/

http://www.allureville.com/

http://www.mammina.co.jp/

http://n.naturalbeautybasic.com/

http://www.palgroup.co.jp/

http://www.atre.co.jp/shiten/index.php?scd=1

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

July 13, 2012

Mount Takao-san in Tokyo is an ideal place to visit

Mount Takao-san in Tokyo is an ideal place to visit

Olivier LeCourt, Hiroshi Saito and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Japanese tourism is internationally famous because of many different angles. This applies to the rich traditions of Japanese culture which can be found throughout this nation. Therefore, images of the Japanese tea ceremony, kabuki, ukiyo-e, Buddhism, Shintoism, Japanese gardens, kimono and other traditional clothes, onsen, sumo, Japanese calligraphy, martial arts, haiku, and a host of other intriguing aspects are conjured up in the mind.

Likewise, images of Tokyo and major cities like Osaka remind people of ultra-modernity, state-of-the-art-technology, skyscrapers, and various modern cultural angles related to cosplay, maid café, kawaii culture, anime, manga and a wealth of other areas. However, within Tokyo you also have stunning mountains in and around Mount Takao. Therefore, for Tokyoites and tourists alike, the mountain scenery of Mount Takao is a welcome escape from the buzzing reality of modern Tokyo.

Another major aspect of Mount Takao is that the mountain range is blessed with many religious dimensions. Therefore, during your walking time you will often notice special holy places. This aspect of Mount Takao means that individuals will find an inner-peace based on the natural scenery which is extremely stunning. At the same time, the religious dimension provides a spiritual re-awakening for individuals who have lapsed from religion and the same applies to individuals who may be atheist. This doesn’t imply that people will suddenly find spirituality. However, people can’t fail to notice the religious dimension which blends naturally with the environment.

The cultural aspect of Mount Takao is extremely special and the natural reality of Shintoism means that faith and nature meet naturally within this unique religion. Given this reality, the power of the past remains spiritually alive within the natural world despite the different centuries ushering in more technological progress. Also, despite all the technological progress it is clear that the stunning scenery of the countryside can’t be matched because of the natural potency of nature.

The historical legacy of Mount Takao is also very important because Emperor Shomu ordered the building of the Yakou-in Temple in 744. This rich legacy enabled the religious angle to develop to a greater degree and provided a strong historical lineage to be cherished and honored. Therefore, since the eighth century you have had countless number of pilgrims and non-religious people who have visited Mount Takao because of the cultural and religious dimensions of this part of Tokyo.

In another article by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “During your visit you will see a statue of “Tengu” and Tengu is believed to be a deified man who mastered ancient mountain worship. Tengu is noticeable by having a long nose but the undercurrents of ancestor worship, Shintoism, and believing in the spirit world of the mountain is striking……mythology and a wisdom now lost is symbolized by the image of Tengu.”

“From an outsiders point of view Tengu reminds me of a mixture of human form and nature whereby the individual was at one with the mountain that he loved and therefore was deified.”

Mount Takao is protected by the Meiji no Mori Takao Quasi-National Park therefore it is a place where wildlife can escape the onset of continuing developments. For Tokyoites who visit regularly, then this stunning place is a way of escaping all the stresses of modern life. Meanwhile, hikers will enjoy the various contours of Mount Takao.

Therefore, Mount Takao is a very special place to visit and it is protected by the Meiji no Mori Takao Quasi-National Park. This stunning part of Tokyo is a reminder that the old world is still alive and ticking. Also, despite the modern reality of Tokyo you still have a magnificent mountain range on the edges of this fabulous city to explore and enjoy.

Mount Takao is extremely therapeutic. Therefore, tourists, religious people, romantic couples, individuals seeking refreshment, photographers, school children, artists, culture vultures, and so much more, will find this adorable place deeply refreshing.

 

http://www.takaotozan.co.jp/takaotozan_eng1/  – Mount Takao-san

http://www.japan-guide.co  – Mount Takao-sanm/e/e3029.html

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/tokyo/takaosan.html  – Mount Takao-san

Takaosan-guchi Station via the  Keio Takao Line

http://moderntokyotimes.com  (please visit)

July 13, 2012

Tokyo fashion and tourism in Harajuku and Omotesando: Meiji Jingu to fashion

Tokyo fashion and tourism in Harajuku and Omotesando: Meiji Jingu to fashion

Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

 

In 2012 the Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku (Omohara) opened for business and this vibrant new shopping complex which caters for fashion highlights the dynamics of Harajuku and Omotesando. This applies to new fashion styles, major changes related to architecture, fresh thinking, and other powerful dynamics. Therefore, Omohara, just like Omotesando Hills, is continuing with this fresh approach but the beauty of the entire area is that Harajuku and Omotesando remain to be distinctive.

Fashion tourism is increasingly growing in Tokyo and this applies to both individuals who reside in other parts of Japan and to international tourists. Powerful fashion areas like Aoyama, Harajuku, Ginza, Shibuya, and Shinjuku, are internationally famous to individuals who adore fashion. The reasons behind this are various and extremely dramatic because this applies to refined boutiques to kawaii culture and a host of other fashion trends.

However, for first time visitors to Harajuku then clearly you have many dimensions to this stunning part of Tokyo which flows naturally into Omotesando. One major attraction is the Meiji Jingu shrine which is a stunning Shinto religious place of worship. The grounds are enormous and the natural flow of nature and Shinto is enshrined by the beautiful design and landscape which works magically together.

Therefore, the Meiji Jingu is a must place to visit in Tokyo because individuals can contemplate in the spacious surroundings and enjoy the adorable garden. Also, the freedom of the Shinto faith is a rich blessing because you don’t have any restrictions on dress sensibilities, no overt missionary work, and of course Shinto and nature are embedded together. Given this, the stunning architecture of the main religious area blends naturally with the environment. The various walks within the grounds are also very therapeutic and it is easy to forget that you are in central Tokyo. If you are lucky, then you may witness a wedding, special event or see Shinto holy people walking around in unique dress styles related to their faith.

Another amazing aspect of the Meiji Jingu is that just outside the main gate you will often see young adults dressed in amazing outfits. This applies to Lolita fashion, cosplay and other unique trends which can be found in this part of Tokyo. Therefore, within seconds people pass from the world of new fashion vibes and daring styles to the uniqueness of the Shinto faith. However, because of the laidback nature of Shintoism everything seems natural.

Within minutes of leaving the main Harajuku Yamanote train station you either enter the world of religion or the world of fashion. Of course, for tourists, they will enter both worlds and enjoy a nice walk in Yoyogi Park. Turning to the fashion angle, then the Takeshita-dori is extremely busy because so many youngsters who adore fashion and the subcultures of Harajuku visit this place. Indeed, for young Tokyoites it is “a rite of passage” and the same applies to young people visiting Harajuku from surrounding prefectures which include Chiba, Kanagawa, and Saitama.

The beauty of Harajuku and Omotesando is that the Takeshita-dori is a million miles away from the fashion vibes of the main street which connects these two amazing fashion districts. Therefore, the youthful nature of the Takeshita-dori, kawaii culture, Lolita fashion, mainstream fashion, casual fashion, exquisite styles, and so much more, can be found within the same environment. Given this, within minutes you enter different fashion zones and styles and the same applies to the architecture. Also, the backstreets of Harajuku going towards Shibuya and similar backstreets in Omotesando are laden with casual fashion companies and independent and daring boutiques.

Omotesando Hills on the main street which connects Harajuku and Omotesando is blessed with fantastic boutiques. The architecture of this shopping mall is also very stylish and inside you have a mystical feel about the place because of the layout and lighting. Exquisite boutiques follow naturally inside and this applies to Adore, Anterpima, Apartment Department, Betsey Johnson, Black Fleece, Escada Sport, iliann leob, Kiwa Sylphy, Martinique Le Conte, Milly, Tiara, Oriental News, Patrizia Pepe Firenze (Incontro) Tour H. creer (Merveille H.), Tracy Reese, Yves Saint Laurent, and Zara.

If you visit (http://www.omotesandohills.com/english/ ) the website of Omotesando Hills then you will note that you have many companies inside which cater for lifestyle and beauty. A partial list of companies related to this angle includes Createur Reveal (nail salon), hair make Pas de deux (hair salon), le bois (spa and beauty treatment), M.A.C. (cosmetics), and shu uemura beauty boutique (cosmetics).

Another recent angle to Harajuku and Omotesando is the new Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku complex which highlights fashion and other angles related to the area. The nickname of this place is Omohara and not only is this mall blessed with sophisticated boutiques but also you have a nice garden and places to sit outside. Omohara links both Harajuku and Omotesando together therefore the name Omohara is most suitable.

Inside this elegant building you have many exquisite boutiques and various different fashion trends. Fashion companies located within Omohara applies to The Shel’tter Tokyo, Charms, American Eagle Outfitters, Minnetonka, Laboratory Work ReCurrent, Pink Trick, Rady, Rione Doras, Juge ETTA, Loaves, Phoebe, Roomy’s, Amo’s Style by Triumph, Tommy Hilfiger, Cheek by Archives, Choosy Chu, Glam Baby, Flag, Goa, Humor Shop by A-net, and Jewelna Rose.

Also, within Omohara you have lifestyle stores and places to relax and enjoy your shopping experience. The rooftop observatory is also a real delight and clearly this attraction is extremely appealing. Therefore, Omohara, Omotesando Hills and Laforet Harajuku are collectively creating a real buzz and vibe. This buzz and vibe continues within independent boutiques like 6%DOKIDOKI throughout both fashion districts and this is what is so special about Harajuku and Omotesando. Simply put, the amazing diversity and creativity of both districts is not only a gem for Tokyo but it is also “an international fashion gem” for all fashion lovers.

Laforet Harajuku (http://www.laforet.ne.jp/is an iconic store alongside Shibuya 109 and Marui One in Shinjuku. Within Laforet Harajuku you have a plethora of diverse boutiques which cater for many different styles. Laforet Harajuku just like Shibuya 109 is “a rite of passage” for fashion lovers in Tokyo and the surrounding prefectures. Boutiques like Deicy, Topshop, Nomine, Lowrys Farm, and so many other amazing boutiques can be found in this fantastic fashion zone.

Harajuku and Omotesando are must places to visit if you adore Japanese and international fashion. The independent spirit of companies like 6%DOKIDOKI to the buzzing casual scene in the backstreets is a real treasure. Similarly, mainstream fashion and exquisite styles can be found in so many stores and fantastic shopping malls. At the same time, the Meiji Jingu is a reminder of “the spiritual dimension” to this lovely part of Tokyo providing individuals seek solace. Overall, both districts are extremely special and collectively they provide a fantastic destination to visit.

 

http://www.meijijingu.or.jp/english/ Meiji Jingu Shrine

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3006.html Meiji Jingu and other tourist information

http://omohara.tokyu-plaza.com/en/  Tokyu Plaza Omotesando Harajuku (Omohara)

http://www.japanforum.com/gallery/showgallery.php?cat=2    (Harajuku fashion)

http://sebastianz.jugem.jp/?eid=508     (personal blog of Sebastian Masuda)

http://www.dokidoki6.com/    (Please visit this fashion website of 6%Dokidoki) 

http://www.metrocity.nl/tokyo/streetfashion/harajuku-fashion/

http://www.omotesandohills.com/english/  Omotesando Hills Shopping Mall

Partial list of stores in Omotesando Hills

http://www.laforet.ne.jp/en/harajuku.html Laforet Harajuku 

http://www.adore2005.com/

http://anteprima.com/ 

http://www.ap-dp.com/

http://www.betseyjohnson.jp/ 

http://www.brooksbrothers.co.jp/fleece/index.html

http://www.erikonail.com/ 

http://www.escada.com/

http://www.iliannloeb.com/ 

http://eu.jimmychoo.com/en/restofworld/page/home?notify=yes

http://www.kiwasylphy.jp/ 

http://www.lebois.jp/

http://www.maccosmetics.co.jp/ 

http://www.merveilleh.co.jp/

http://www.melrose.co.jp/martinique/index.html 

http://ameblo.jp/oriental-news-omotesando/

http://www.incontro.co.jp/ 

http://www.melrose.co.jp/tiara/

http://www.pasdedeux.co.jp  

http://www.ysl.com/d/

http://moderntokyotimes.com/2011/10/14/tokyo-fashion-omotesando-hills-and-adorable-fashion-in-tokyo/ 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://www.moderntokyotimes.com

July 13, 2012

Pierre Bonnard and Japanese art: powerful thought patterns of Bonnard

Pierre Bonnard and Japanese art: powerful thought patterns of Bonnard

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Pierre Bonnard was born in 1867 in France which was one year before the Meiji Restoration in Japan. His father had hoped that Bonnard would become a barrister but clearly Bonnard was destined for the art world. In the early 1890s Bonnard met the enigmatic Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and throughout this decade his art would develop greatly.

Bonnard stated that “The artist who paints the emotions creates an enclosed world… the picture… which, like a book, has the same interest no matter where it happens to be. Such an artist, we may imagine, spends a great deal of time doing nothing but looking, both around him and inside him.” 

In 1890 it is reported that Bonnard truly came into touch with Japanese art despite first admiring this art form from the late 1880s. From this point onwards the richness of Japanese ukiyo-e remained within his artistic soul. Therefore, Bonnard would collect Japanese art throughout the rest of his lifetime. It must be stated that Japonisme (Japonism) was in vogue in the later part of the nineteenth century within powerful artistic circles. However, the first notable period of the growing influence of Japanese art within the Western artistic consciousness can be traced back to the 1860s. In saying that, the development of Japonism was exceptionally powerful in the last three decades of the nineteenth century.

Other artists who adored Japanese ukiyo-e includes Paul Gauguin, Vincent Van Gogh, Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Pierre Auguste-Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Mary Cassatt, and many other artists including James Abbot McNeill Whistler. Therefore, Bonnard was following in the footsteps of many artists outside of Japan who fell in love with the rich traditions of ukiyo-e.

Bonnard stated that “Painting has to get back to its original goal, examining the inner lives of human beings.” He also commented that Art will never be able to exist without nature” and that “You cannot possibly invent painting all by yourself.”

Bonnard was a member of an important artistic group during the most formative years of his art. This group was called Nabis which means prophet in the Hebrew language. Other significant members of Nabis include Maurice Denis and Edouard Vuillard. The artists within this group were inspired by new thinking and approaches to art. Therefore, a more personal and extremely decorative style was “set in stone” within an abstract style which was most rewarding.

The nickname of Bonnard highlights the power of Japanese ukiyo-e because he was called the “le Nabi tres Japonard.” It is clear that this nickname was cherished by Bonnard because it means “the ultra-Japanese Nabi.” His art studio also was further evidence of the power of ukiyo-e because individuals who visited him noted paintings by Hiroshige, Kunisada and Kuniyoshi.

Bonnard like Paul Gauguin and other notable artists was a deep thinker. He commented to Henri Mattisse that‘I agree with you that the painter’s only solid ground is the palette and colors, but as soon as the colors achieve an illusion, they are no longer judged, and the stupidities begin’ — stupidities, such as worrying about the correctness of a reflection?”

If “a reflection” of the art work of Bonnard is going to be focused on then the “reflection of Japanese art” can’t be ignored. Of course, just like the Nabi group and his deep thinking towards art, no single event or artistic movement can describe Bonnard. He was a free thinker during his youth and clearly Japanese art was one aspect of this rich artist who was blessed with amazing artistic skills. Likewise, the influence of Paul Gauguin and Stephane Mallarme, who was a Symbolist poet, entered his consciousness but Bonnard was never interested in following any concept which constrained his approach to art.

Bonnard stated that …when I and my friends adopted the Impressionists’ color programme in order to build on it we wanted to go beyond naturalistic color impressions – art, however, is not nature – We wanted a more rigorous composition. There was also so much more to extract from color as a means of expression. But developments ran ahead, society was ready to accept Cubism and Surrealism before we had reached what we had viewed as our ami…In a way we found ourselves hanging in mid air…”

The Santa Barbara Museum of Art responds to the above comment by stating that “Thus, the irony was that Impressionism was both a starling point and a trap for Bonnard. Yet it is acknowledged that Bonnard was not hostile to modern developments in art, rather he simply absorbed what he needed for his own experiments with color and form. As a result, Bonnard is in some ways a deceptive artist because his experiments were far more radical than one may realize at first glance.”

This article provides a brief glimpse into the importance of Japanese ukiyo-e for Bonnard. However, it is hoped that individuals will be inspired by the beauty of his art and the thought-patterns which meant so much to Bonnard.

http://www.sbmadocents.org/Collections/European%20Collection/Bonnard.html

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com