Yoshitomo Nara puts the heart back in art

Jul 20, 2012

Yoshitomo Nara puts the heart back in art

The induction of manga-style painting into Japan’s contemporary art canon over the last 15 years can be put down to the work of not one but two artists. Sure, it was Takashi Murakami who laid the theoretical foundations, spelling out links with classical painting ...

Ukraine and Japan's radioactive bond

Jul 12, 2012

Ukraine and Japan's radioactive bond

Bedecked in an odd yellow protective suit and wandering through a ruined landscape, the figure could be a member of the first landing party of an invading alien army. And yet, to the Ukrainian audience at the current Kiev Biennale, the scene is immediately ...

Rug's secrets to unravel in Gion

Jul 6, 2012

Rug's secrets to unravel in Gion

The results of a nifty piece of historical sleuthing are on display in Kyoto through July 18 in an exhibition timed to coincide with the city’s renowned Gion Festival. Visitors to that famed festival in years past will remember that each of the majestic, ...

Sakamoto gently rallies the troops for No Nukes 2012

Jul 5, 2012

Sakamoto gently rallies the troops for No Nukes 2012

The demonstrations against the restarting of the Oi nuclear power plant held recently on Friday nights outside Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s residence are very much directed at the occupant of that abode, but they are attracting attention around the world, too. One of their ...

Resident of last Dojunkai laments passing of '20s icons

Jun 17, 2012

Resident of last Dojunkai laments passing of '20s icons

“One of the members of the residents association once told me that we shouldn’t talk to journalists, but I have nothing to lose now.” Helmut Rudolph was sitting on a low couch, surveying the interior of his tiny, 20-sq.-meter apartment. It seemed as though ...

Tsunami-spoiled pics given new life

Jun 7, 2012

Tsunami-spoiled pics given new life

Of all the many and varied recovery and repair efforts now under way following the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, few would be as fiddly as the Rikuzentakata Disaster Document Digitalization Project. Each Wednesday night and on weekends, a ...

Play reveals <em>manzai'</em>s U.S. roots

May 25, 2012

Play reveals manzai's U.S. roots

Watching the fast-paced, two-person manzai routines that characterize much of Japanese TV comedy these days, it’s difficult to imagine that two key influences on that genre’s birth were stars of cinema’s silent era: Harold Lloyd and Charlie Chaplin. It’s also difficult to imagine that ...