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'Butoh': the dance of death and disease

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The first dance in Japan may well have been a mythological striptease. In one of the most famous episodes from Japanese folklore, the goddess Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto entices Amaterasu Omikami, the sun deity, to come out of hiding by ripping off her clothes and dancing. The elemental irreverence of this moment is ...

Reading kimono: the lexicon of dress

May 21, 2016

Reading kimono: the lexicon of dress

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How Karun Thakar, a passionate collector of textiles, acquired his assortment of kimono is a story in itself. Exposed to fabric techniques in his mother’s couture shop in Delhi, Thakar’s growing curiosity repeatedly took him to Istanbul and Peshawar as he amassed of a ...

The vagina, in all its 'obscene' glory

May 7, 2016

The vagina, in all its 'obscene' glory

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You’ve probably heard of Japanese artist known as Rokudenashiko (“good for nothing girl”), who was arrested in 2014 for sending the 3-D data of her genitals to patrons of her successful crowdfunding campaign to create a vagina-shaped kayak. And although the Japanese-language press echoed ...

Judy Blume talks Tumblr, possible new book

May 4, 2016

Judy Blume talks Tumblr, possible new book

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Judy Blume has many projects on her mind. She recently helped open a bookstore in Key West, Florida, where she lives much of the year. She’s starting to promote the paperback edition of her novel “In the Unlikely Event,” set in her native New ...

Black Illumination: the abyss of Keiji Nishitani

Apr 30, 2016

Black Illumination: the abyss of Keiji Nishitani

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I’ve always felt there are basically two kinds of philosophers: those who begin in wonder and those who begin in despair. Though the philosopher Keiji Nishitani (1900-90) was arguably the latter kind, he struggled throughout his life to see the world with wonder. At ...