Peace follows turbulent times

| Jul 6, 2008

Peace follows turbulent times

by David Hickey

“It was a nightmare,” laughs Tokyo-based author David Peace of a recent trip to Paris to promote the French version of his most successful novel, “The Damned Utd.” A fictionalized account of Brian Clough’s tumultuous 44-day reign in 1974 as manager of Leeds United ...

Arata Isozaki: astonishing by design

| Jun 1, 2008

Arata Isozaki: astonishing by design

by Edan Corkill

If the entire Japanese architectural fraternity was one big royal family, then Arata Isozaki would be a king approaching the end of a long and glorious reign. The “pedigree” of this majestically silver-maned 76-year-old is, quite simply, faultless. Architecturally speaking, Isozaki’s “father” was the ...

| May 4, 2008

Acting with joy in his soul

by Nobuko Tanaka

Even in today’s theater world in Japan, which tends to venerate age, at just 52 Hideki Noda is already a towering, legendary figure. Wherever you go and talk to dramatists or stage performers, you will find his name and achievements almost invariably come up. ...

| Apr 6, 2008

A storied life of luck and literary passions

by Yoko Hani

Regardless of whether you take it with a pinch of salt or think this consummate professional is simply being modest, Tom Maschler says that throughout his celebrated publishing career, “luck” has often played a significant role. Certainly, as he writes in his 2005 autobiography ...

| Mar 2, 2008

'Mr. Cute' shares his wisdoms and wit

by Tomoko Otake

Shintaro Tsuji isn’t joking when he says he wants to make Hello Kitty, his company’s best-selling character, into a brand name that rivals Gucci or Hermes. “Did you go and see it?” the founder and president of Sanrio Co. asked enthusiastically during our interview, ...

Ocean of wit and wisdoms

| Dec 2, 2007

Ocean of wit and wisdoms

by Raju Thakrar

Lhamo Thondup was born on July 6, 1935 in Taktster, a small village in the Amdo region of northeast Tibet. But neither his parents — farmers who grew barley, buckwheat and potatoes — nor his three elder brothers and one elder sister (a younger ...

The kids are not OK, top educator warns

| Nov 4, 2007

The kids are not OK, top educator warns

by Tomoko Otake

To a growing legion of educated, enlightened and empowered mothers in Japan and abroad, Sue Palmer’s advice on how to bring up children might sound — if not heard in context — too old-fashioned, too alarmist or even maybe too naive to prepare their ...

Off-stage woman stars in men's theater world

| Oct 7, 2007

Off-stage woman stars in men's theater world

by Nobuko Tanaka

Just as in the realm of politics, in the arts world — and here, particularly regarding the performing arts — different countries adopt different policies depending on their historical and economic circumstances. The United States, for example, takes a free-market stance on the arts ...

Destined to act wild

| Sep 2, 2007

Destined to act wild

by Raju Thakrar

When Danjuro Ichikawa stomps around the stage in flamboyant costumes, his face painted in red-and-white makeup and his voice virtually bellowing, it is kabuki in its rawest, most dramatic form. This actor and his ancestors through 11 previous generations have been wreaking havoc in ...

Mr. Hiroshima-san

| Aug 5, 2007

Mr. Hiroshima-san

by Eric Prideaux

In a sense, it is the ultimate irony: The man appointed to oversee the memorial to victims of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945 by an American B-29 aircraft is . . . an American. But antiwar activist Steven L. ...

Writer on the road of life

| Jul 1, 2007

Writer on the road of life

by Tomoko Otake

Kotaro Sawaki is one of the most popular nonfiction writers in Japan. He made his name with “Shinya Tokkyu (Midnight Express),” a reportage of a yearlong overland trip through Asia and Europe he took when he was in his mid-20s. Those stories — whose ...