Posts tagged ‘tokyo times.’

September 6, 2012

Remembering the fashion sector after the tragic tsunami which killed over 19,000 people

Remembering the fashion sector after the tragic tsunami which killed over 19,000 people 

Michel Lebon, Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The events of March 11, 2011, in Japan will forever be etched into the memory of this nation because of the utter devastation that followed. Over 19,000 people perished because of the tsunami which followed the 9.0 magnitude earthquake. Therefore, this event is now embedded within the psyche of Japan and this applies to both the trauma and the response to such devastation.

Internationally, countless nations supported Japan and likewise individuals, charities, organizations and various sectors gave generously to help the people who were hit the hardest. The fashion industry within Japan and outside of this country also supported the people of Tohoku. Likewise, the nuclear shadow meant that many people in the surrounding areas were also worried about this aspect. Given this reality, local fashion companies in Tokyo and other cities provided not only material support but also emotional support.

In Tokyo for example you had the Mighty Harajuku Project which was the brainchild of Sebastian Masuda (6% DOKIDOKI). While internationally powerful fashion houses responded to the tsunami in many different ways in order to support the people of Japan.

Often the fashion industry is portrayed to be “one dimensional” but clearly this sector is far from “one dimensional.” On the contrary, many within the fashion sector responded with care and sincerity. Giorgio Armani, and many other famous people within the fashion sector, showed the “heart of fashion” to the people of Japan.

Indeed, the deep shock of the tsunami and the enormous loss of life encouraged Giorgio Armani to show his deep respect of Japan. He did this during the Paris Fashion Week show in July of last year. During this major fashion event Giorgio Armani incorporated aspects of Japanese culture within his adorable designs.

In an earlier article by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “Funds being donated by Armani are much appreciated and the same applies to other famous fashion designers who have done so much to support the people of Japan. Often people only see a single dimension towards fashion and this applies to enhancing beauty.”

“Armani’s exclusive haute couture collection (Fall/Winter 2011-2012) during the Paris Fashion Week highlighted the rich heritage of Japan.  His amazing designs focused on dresses being based on the kimono-style, elegant floral prints on exquisite silk, kanzashi, elements of geisha, and other unique images of Japanese symbols were fused within the stunning Armani collection.”

It may appear that fashion and the tsunami are a million miles apart and in terms of what happened on this tragic day, then this is true. However, in other areas both events came together because fashion helped many people during the psychological stress process and lack of confidence related to the nuclear crisis. Therefore, fashion for many people was “therapeutic” and a way of fighting back against so much trauma and despondency.

Financially, then all economic support was welcomed because many communities were devastated by the brutal tsunami. Alongside the financial aspect was a feeling that other people all over the world truly cared about the plight of people who had been hit the hardest. Once more this helped in the area of psychology.

In the past Japan had been a place for famous international brands to “make hay” and since this tragic event the fashion sector is once more buzzing in this country. In this sense, many international fashion companies and individuals were highlighting their deep appreciation related to past and current connections which remain strong. Giorgio Armani commented that he had been “profoundly moved by the tragic events” related to March 11, 2011.

Giorgio Armani’s fashion show titled the Hommage au Japon meant that his entire fashion collection highlighted the natural beauty of Japanese culture within amazing styles. This genuine warmth was appreciated deeply within the fashion sector in Japan and among lay people who adore the fashion sector. Like usual, the collection highlighted the panache of the individual who created such a stunning fashion display.

Overall, many within the international fashion sector showed their love of Japan by providing many different types of support. This applies to economic support, psychological factors, a collective feeling of humanity, showing the people of Japan that they weren’t alone during this tragic period and in other vital areas.

 

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

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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

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

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

June 25, 2012

Kanzashi in Japan being utilized for many fashion styles and occasions

Kanzashi in Japan being utilized for many fashion styles and occasions

Hiroshi Saito, Michel Lebon and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Edo era witnessed the real growth and power of kanzashi in Japan despite aspects of the roots being traced back all the way to the Jomon period. Japanese artisans increasingly utilized new innovations throughout the Edo period and this enabled greater sophistication which enhanced the power of kanzashi. Also, the ukiyo-e art movement blossomed throughout the same period and many famous artists highlighted the beauty of Japanese women. Therefore, the visibility of kanzashi was witnessed within many Japanese traditions.

Today in the modern world the concept of kanzashi is equated with beauty, sophistication, stunning artistry, and within traditional dress styles of Japan where hair ornaments enhance the beauty to another level. However, modern day kanzashi is easily available and extremely cheap providing you shop around. Therefore, the degree and sophistication of kanzashi varies enormously and this applies to price mechanisms, quality, dress-style, purpose, and so forth.

Kanzashi is also very flexible when it comes to different age groups and the same applies to utilization. This means that you can witness kanzashi on the streets of Harajuku (Tokyo), Namba (Osaka), Ikebukuro (Tokyo), and throughout trendy fashionable areas in Japan. Alternatively, kanzashi can be witnessed in the most refined areas of Japan where sophistication and tradition remains powerful.

It did appear that kanzashi would be marginalized in Japan once modernization began to flourish. After all, the changing nature of Western hairstyles, dress, music, and other important areas, meant that new approaches to beauty and dress were in full sway throughout the twentieth century in Japan. The earlier root of modernization belongs to the Meiji era but clearly further developments throughout the following century would alter the landscape of Japan.

This meant that kanzashi was becoming marginalized and mainly connected with Japanese high culture and traditions. Therefore, kanzashi became equated with the world of geisha, high culture, traditional weddings, Japanese tea ceremony, and other important aspects of Japanese culture. In a sense, it is true that kanzashi still remains powerful within cultural traditions in Japan but today the development of kanzashi continues to spin in many directions.

After all, kawaii (adorable/cute) culture within the dress style angle does enable kanzashi to flourish because of the natural beauty and concept of this thinking. Of course, kanzashi is not part and parcel of kawaii culture but it is an angle which is utilized by individuals who adore the fashion side of this movement.

Another major development of kanzashi is that today you can find fashion conscious individuals all over the world being fascinated by this Japanese cultural angle. Therefore, the power of the “old world” and high culture in Japan is a huge pulling power internationally. At the same time, the influence of kawaii culture, maid café, animation, and other major themes within Japan are also being transmitted to a greater international audience. Of course, kanzashi isn’t naturally linked to animation but the cultural power of Japanese anime/manga means that younger individuals all over the world are being drawn into learning more about Japanese culture. Also, in some anime you will witness kanzashi and it just highlights how this medium is spreading into new directions.

In an earlier article by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “Of course nothing remains static because purest kanzashi is based on gold/silver plated metals, tortoiseshell, lacquered wood and silk – but in the world of accessible fashion and accessories then kanzashi is also being made by using plastics and other materials.”

“Traditional makers of kanzashi remain loyal to the firm foundations of this fashion piece in Japan and international makers also desire to maintain the high culture aspect and rich artistry of kanzashi.”

The power of kanzashi is that it can be utilized to highlight mainstream fashion accessories, high culture, alternative fashion, festivals, and within many areas of traditional Japanese culture. Therefore, kanzashi can be seen in many aspects of modern life while also being powerful within rich Japanese traditions. The same also applies to the price mechanism and quality of individual kanzashi hair ornaments. For this reason, kanzashi continues to thrive and develop within Japan and internationally.

http://www.atelierkanawa.com/#!tsumami-kanzashi

http://www1.odn.ne.jp/maya/english/enknshop.htm

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

January 4, 2012

Tokyo tourism and gardens: Rikugien and Kiyosumi are exquisite gardens

Tokyo tourism and gardens: Rikugien and Kiyosumi are exquisite gardens

Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Tokyo is an enormous city which attracts Japanese tourists, international tourists, and business people, all year round. This ultra-modern city means many things to different people because for some it is all about modernity but to others they want to dig deep and see the rich culture of Tokyo and Japan. Of course, for others it is a mixture of both and for busy business people it may just be a flying visit because of the nature of commerce.

However, irrespective of the reason why people visit Tokyo or if you are a Tokyoite, the gardens in Tokyo provide a place to relax, to look at sunning nature, to understand aspects of Japanese culture, and more important, to escape the “madding crowd.” Therefore, the gardens of Tokyo are not only therapeutic but the richness and style is a wonder to behold because you can feel continuity, a fusion of ideas, and feel the passion of Japanese gardeners who put everything into their work in order to create a different world

Rikugien Gardens and Kiyosumi Gardens are just two of the many gardens to visit in Tokyo and both provide a different ambience. Also, both gardens are located in quiet parts of Tokyo because Komagome and Kiyosumi Shirakawa are a million miles away from the fashion orientated districts of Shibuya and Shinjuku. This aspect makes a welcome change because the pace of life is much slower but you still have many quaint shops in Komagome which cater for handcrafts, antiques, and local goods.  

Komagome is extremely close to Ikebukuro and Ueno by the Yamanote Train Line and in a way Rikugien Gardens is a perfect link. This applies to the bustling nature of fashion and commerce in Ikebukuro and the many museums located in Ueno. Also, in Ueno you will find the fashion scene in full flow and a major park which is the central theme to this lively and important part of Tokyo.

However, Komagome is a sleepy suburb but a great place to relax because of Rikugien Gardens and nearby is Kyu-Furukawa Gardens. Therefore, garden lovers have the opportunity to visit both stunning places because they are in close proximity.  

All the main gardens in Tokyo are beautifully maintained and Rikugien is extremely spacious. This enables individuals to follow the main route around the exquisite pond or to walk around more natural parts of this garden by relaxing in quiet areas. The winter period, spring season, and late autumn are most relaxing because you have no dreaded mosquitoes bothering you unlike in the height of summer whereby you need mosquito spray.

Another lovely aspect of Rikugien Gardens is that you can rest and drink delicious traditional Japanese tea and eat a scrumptious small Japanese sweet. The location of the small resting place is located near to the pond and the scenery is truly stunning. Therefore, while drinking delicious Japanese tea you can feel the spirituality of Rikugien and this simplistic pleasure creates a lovely feeling for tourists who want to feel the old Japan.

Kiyosumi Gardens is equally beautiful and to reach Kiyosumi Shirakawa you need to take either the Toei Oedo Line or Hanzomon Line. Also, in Kiyosumi Shirakawa and the surrounding area you have many museums to visit and a good guide book will enhance your visit.

In a past article about Kiyosumi Gardens by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “The Iso-Watari section is a real treat because the stepping-stone pathways lead across the pond where it is shallow. For children, it is a time of fantastic pleasure because they can enjoy playful times and be connected with nature at its best. Also, for adults, the “child inside” comes flooding back when you walk on the stepping-stone pathways and at all times you will have opportunities to see fish in the pond.”

“Inside Kiyosumi Gardens you also have stylish buildings and this applies to the Ryotei building and Taisho Kinenkan. These buildings heighten the cultural aspects and ambience of Kiyosumi Gardens. Therefore, if you enjoy photography you can combine architecture and nature together and of course each angle provides a new image to treasure.”

Kiyosumi Gardens is a place where individuals, friends, or groups touring Tokyo, can sit back and look at sublime views. Also, the little pathways by stepping stones are an enthralling feature of this exquisite garden. Given this, the pamphlet guide in different languages is most welcome because it highlights important factors about Kiyosumi Gardens.

Japanese gardens are also spiritual and philosophical and each garden may have a different angle. This applies to the fusion of the respective garden with Buddhist elements, Confucian aspects, Taoism factors or being Japan, a mixture of all and of course the role of nature in the indigenous faith of Shintoism is powerful. Given this, the background of each garden is often very intriguing because Japanese gardens connect “the self” with nature. Also, space, layout, monuments, and other aspects, are meant to transcend everyday life therefore you can clearly feel the therapeutic nature of gardens in Japan.

The entire area provides many hidden treasures and this applies to the Fukagawa Edo Museum, Basho Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art and the Morishita Culture Center. Therefore, it is important to check respective websites to see what options are available to you when you visit this part of Tokyo.

Koto City in Tokyo highlights a different ultra-modern city by focusing on culture, art, haiku, music, history, and other rich traditions. Kiyosumi Gardens is a lovely central point to your visit and the different museums open up a new world and this applies to either tradition or the modern vibes of the Museum of Contemporary Art. 

The gardens highlighted in this article are truly beautiful therefore please visit the links provided below.

Please visit the links below for more information about the gardens highlighted

http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/rikugien/index.html Rikugien Gardens

http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/kiyosumi/    Kiyosumi Gardens

http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/kyu-furukawa/ Kyu-Furukawa Gardens

More tourist information about places named

http://www.kcf.or.jp/fukagawa/event_list.html   Koto City Fukagawa Edo Museum

http://www.kcf.or.jp/basyo/index.html  Basho Museum

http://www.mot-art-museum.jp/eng/  Museum of Contemporary Art

http://shintomin.com/xoops/modules/chapox2/content.php?lid=12   Morishita Culture Center

ALL IMAGES FROM MODERN TOKYO TIMES

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

 

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November 30, 2011

Tokyo fashion and gardens: Rikugien, Kyu-Furukawa and fashion in Omotesando

Tokyo fashion and gardens: Rikugien, Kyu-Furukawa and fashion in Omotesando

Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The beauty of Tokyo is that this mega-modern city caters for various lifestyles and areas change quickly. If you adore fashion then Tokyo is an amazing city because you have a plethora of choices. Therefore, each fashion district is buzzing for different reasons and on the opposite side of the coin you have many lovely gardens to relax and enjoy stunning nature.

Omotesando is famous for high-end fashion because you have so many fabulous companies to visit.  This applies to international boutiques and Japanese boutiques. Also, the closeness to Aoyama, Harajuku and Shibuya means that this fashion area is one of the most dynamic in the world. This isn’t an overstatement, it is based on facts and the same applies to the diversity of fashion.

Therefore, in Omotesando you are on the edge of so many different styles. This applies to exquisite and elegant fashion, kawaii trends, street styles, Lolita fashion, Dolly Kei, Vintage fashion, mainstream, and a host of other styles. Also, the age range changes quickly and this all adds to a fantastic buzz and natural energy.

Grimoire is on the border of Harajuku and Shibuya and this company is extremely unique and vibrant. The same applies to many other companies like 6% DOKIDOKI and the talented designer Sebastian Masuda. Therefore, with companies like Grimoire, Candy, and 6%DOKIDOKI (Harajuku), you can feel a lovely individualistic style and other amazing boutiques have created a lovely buzz and vibrant spirit.

If you love more mainstream fashion and elegant designs by top notch boutiques then a visit to Omotesando Hills is a real treat. Inside this building of stunning architecture you have countless international and Japanese boutiques which are sublime.

This applies to stunning boutiques in Omotesando Hills which include Adore, Anterpima, Betsey Johnson, Black Fleece, Escada Sport, Tour H. creer (Merveille H.), Yves Saint Laurent, Zara, Tracy Reese, Kiwa Sylphy, iliann loeb, Milly, Tiara, Apartment Department, Martinique Le Conte, Patrizia Pepe Firenze (Incontro), Oriental News and so many others. In truth, every single boutique is a wonder to behold and the design and architecture of Omotesando Hills is a real treasure.

Therefore, if you love fashion then “think” Omotesando, Harajuku, Aoyama and Shibuya. Of course you have many fantastic fashion districts in Tokyo but this collective area is difficult to beat in any nation. After all, you can travel between each area on foot and the different trends and styles are amazing.

On the opposite side of the fashion coin in Tokyo are the many gardens which grace this amazing city. If you want a lovely contrast between vibrant and buzzing Tokyo with a more sedate and tranquil area, then Komagome is well worth visiting. This applies to lovely gardens and many Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines to visit alongside shops which focus on antiques and other products.

It is difficult to imagine than Komagome is so close to Ikebukuro with all its trendy fashion in yet another fashion district in Tokyo. Alternatively, it is also difficult to believe that Komagome is so close to Ueno which is blessed with so many museums and tourist places to visit. Also, fashion in Ueno is electric but in its own distinctive style and you have a more Northeast Asia feel about Ueno than the usual Tokyo vibe.

Yet in Komagome you can enjoy the stunning gardens of Rikugien and Kyu-Furukawa which is in the same area. Both gardens are kept beautiful all year round and the main walkways provide glimpses into the ethics of Japanese gardens.  Therefore, space, time, views, emotions, minimalism, and other elements, fuse naturally with aspects of Confucianism, Buddhism and Shintoism.

A real added bonus in Rikugien is that you can sit down and drink traditional Japanese tea and eat delicious Japanese sweets. At the same time, the view is amazing and you can look out and gaze at the stunning pond and see nature in all its beauty.

The pond in both gardens is the central theme but if you desire you can walk around more secluded areas. Komagome is extremely rewarding because of the therapeutic nature of both gardens. Therefore, if you want to escape the buzzing fashion districts of Tokyo or to enjoy the best of both worlds, then a visit to Komagome is essential.

The shopping district in Komagome is only small but you will find folk art stores, antiques, traditional Japanese sweets, Japanese dyed garments, ceramics, independent shops and so much more. Also, if you search around you will feel the sedate and tranquil nature of this part of Tokyo and another world will open up to you.

Kyu-Furukawa Garden is a little more natural despite the garden being well kept and while Rikugien Garden is the more famous garden, both gardens enrich each other. Not only this, the architecture of the Josiah Condor (1852-1920) Western-style residence in the Kyu-Furukawa Garden is a lovely bonus. Therefore, this building alongside the rose garden provides a lovely British and Japanese theme.  

Overall, Omotesando and Komagome may seem like chalk and cheese however, this is what makes Tokyo so special. Therefore, a visit to both places will make Tokyo come alive and Tokyoites and tourists gain from both amazing places.

Please visit the  links  below for more information about both gardens

http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/rikugien/index.html

http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/kyu-furukawa/

http://www.omotesandohills.com/english/shops-restaurants/index.html  

Individual fashion companies

http://www.dokidoki6.com/

http://www.grimoire.jp/

http://candy-nippon.com/

Omotesando Hills

http://www.omotesandohills.com/english/  

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/

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com  

ALL FASHION IMAGES BY MODERN TOKYO TIMES

October 25, 2011

Tokyo Tourism: Rikugien Garden and Kyu-Furukawa Garden in Komagome

Tokyo Tourism: Rikugien Garden and Kyu-Furukawa Garden in Komagome

Olivier LeCourt and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Tokyo is ultra-modern and because of the sheer size of the population and rich diversity of this superb capital city, you have endless places to visit. However, if you want to feel a more sedate side of Tokyo and enjoy beautiful gardens, then Komagome is a real treat because Rikugien Garden is very beautiful and Kyu-Furukawa Garden is within walking distance.

Indeed, it is difficult to imagine that Komagome is so close to the buzzing districts of Ikebukuro and Ueno. This applies to the slow pace of life which is in stark contrast to the intensity of life in the other two mentioned districts. However, despite the sedate nature of life in Komagome you have splendid places to visit and the area is higly desirable.

Not only this, you have many quaint shops selling pottery, antiques, clothing, and other types of goods. Also, you have beautiful Buddhist temples and a genuine feel of a refined Tokyo where the old culture survives and not only in images. This in itself is a lovely contrast to the mega fashion districts of Tokyo and the commercial heartland.

The gardens in Komagome are very beautiful all year round and both gardens have their own style and unique feel. Rikugien is a stunning garden which is extremely well cared for and away from the main walkway you have areas which are relatively quiet even during a busy day.   

Another added bonus of Rikugien is that you can drink traditional Japanese tea and eat a small Japanese sweet while being surrounded by stunning nature. This is most rewarding because the lovely taste of traditional Japanese tea matches the serenity and stunning views which are provided by this exquisite garden.

During your visit to Rikugien you will notice many gardeners who care deeply about their work and because of their professionalism and focus on detail, the visitor is blessed by the ethical aspects of the garden. This applies to space, time, minimalism and fusing the world of nature within the concepts of Japanese culture and ethics.

The walk around the pond is very therapeutic and uplifting and if you desire to escape and venture into a more wild area of the garden, then the choice is open to you. The contrast of both areas fuses well together and the feeling of serenity is very refreshing.

On leaving Rikugien Garden it is well worth browsing around the small shopping area because Komagome is also a treasure by itself. The shopping district is only small but you will find folk art stores, antiques, traditional Japanese sweets, Japanese dyed garments, ceramics, independent shops and so much more. 

Another stunning garden to visit in the same district is Kyu-Furukawa Garden and despite the rose garden section, this garden is more natural. This applies to the more wild nature of the garden whereby nature often dictates over human interference.

Of course gardeners maintain the garden and have reshaped many aspects but you still have the feeling that nature is more natural in contrast to the ethical aspects of Rikugien. The pond and the garden appear smaller in size compared with Rikugien but the contrasting feel compliments both gardens and you have a nice ambient feel in Kyu-Furukawa.

Josiah Condor (1852-1920) designed the Western-style residence in the garden and this feature creates a distinctive environment. This fine building blends together a nice English and Japanese theme and Kyu-Furukawa gains from the creativity of Josiah Condor.

Irrespective if you are a Tokyoite or a tourist, it is clear that Komagome should be high on your list if you adore gardens and culture.

http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/rikugien/index.html

http://teien.tokyo-park.or.jp/en/kyu-furukawa/

Please visit the above links for more information about both gardens

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com 

http://moderntokyotimes.com