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 Robert Michael Poole

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Robert Michael Poole
Robert Michael Poole is a specialist on the Japanese music and entertainment scene and has been contributing to The Japan Times since 2008. He has also written for Newsweek, CNN, The Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal.
For Robert Michael Poole's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
May 22, 2009
Tattoo you — Mika's call to arms
"I believe in my voice as a singer," declares Mika Nakashima, alluding to the three words tattooed in English around her right wrist. " 'Trust your voice,' in a broad sense, means we should accept everything and believe in many things. I learned this in New York and developed myself in many ways that I don't want to ever forget."
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Mar 27, 2009
Duffy savors fruits of success
"Half of my quarter of a century belongs to music, so I never belonged to anything else," says Welsh songstress Duffy. "I feel very able and ready!"
CULTURE / Music
Mar 27, 2009
Duffy savors fruits of success
"Half of my quarter of a century belongs to music, so I never belonged to anything else," says Welsh songstress Duffy. "I feel very able and ready!"
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Mar 20, 2009
No constrictions on BoA's ambitions
"It has always been my dream to debut in America!" BoA announces gleefully. "Every Asian artist has that dream of Hollywood or the Billboard chart, and this is the perfect time to go to America."
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Mar 13, 2009
Morning Musume not ready to graduate yet
Most artists dream of longevity, but few are afforded significant time in the limelight. The paradox of all-girl group Morning Musume, 12 years since they began, is the enforced time-limit its members face in order for the group to remain forever young.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Feb 27, 2009
Angela Aki turns to the keys for answers
"I search for answers a lot in life when I feel like I don't know which way to go or what's right or wrong," says singer-songwriter Angela Aki. "So I turn to the piano and search for the answers through songs, and I figured in the end that the searching process has all the answers you are truly looking for."
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Feb 13, 2009
Towa Tei wallows in optimism for art's sake
"In Tokyo, there is too much information," says famed Japanese producer and DJ Towa Tei. "Even if you don't want to listen to music, you are raped into listening to something you don't like at the convenience store. So I try to go somewhere quiet and listen whenever I want to!"
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Feb 6, 2009
Coma-Chi "Red Naked"
Even the most optimistic critic could be excused for approaching with trepidation the major-label debut for one of only a handful of domestic female rappers. But fears that 24-year-old Coma-Chi is about to deliver a pale imitation of a genre exhausted in the early 2000s by the likes of Missy Elliott and Eve are nixed within the explosive first two tracks of "Red Naked."
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Nov 21, 2008
J-pop starlet Yuna Ito gets her groove back
"I got my heart broken for the first time," laments Yuna Ito, "at the unbelievable age of 24!"
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Nov 20, 2008
You and whose Ami?
When singer and actress Ami Suzuki appears in the TBS drama "Love Letter" this month, she'll finally realize the end of a remarkable comeback.
Japan Times
CULTURE
Nov 13, 2008
Understanding Ueto, Japan's reluctant star
"I never wished to become an actress or a star who performs on TV," explains Aya Ueto, the prominent model and actress. "I took this role because my management gave it to me."
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Oct 31, 2008
Now in their 50s, Def Leppard are still ferocious
Legendary English rock band Def Leppard brought the circus back to town last week. Paired up with fellow hair-metal survivors Whitesnake, the group began a four-date Japan tour with two nights at the prestigious Nippon Budokan in central Tokyo on Oct. 23 and 24.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Sep 12, 2008
She, herself and AI
With her sights set on achieving her long-held ambition of winning a Grammy award, Los Angeles-born and Tokyo-based vocalist AI is adamant that dreams only come true with hard graft.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Aug 22, 2008
Seasoned J-pop duo ELT keep it positive
"When I'm walking beside her, people tell me I'm a lucky guy," sang John Lennon on the 1964 Beatles track "Every Little Thing." Sitting comfortably next to iconic lead singer Kaori Mochida of the band of the same name, guitarist Ichiro Ito has had 12 years to get used to such a feeling. However, he admits that though the elder one of the duo, he was the more intimidated when they first met back in 1996.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Jul 10, 2008
Asian stars united by earthquake disaster
'When it has to happen, it will happen," declares a bullish Judy Ongg, a Taiwan-born actress, singer and novelist based in Japan. "When you think it has to be done, you have to do it yourself."
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
Jul 10, 2008
Island chanteuse Hajime finds tranquillity on Saturn
It wouldn't be the obvious place to look. And yet singer Hajime Chitose was seeking a new peace of mind when, 1.3 billion km away, she found what she was looking for.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music
May 16, 2008
R&B queen Double adds jewel to crown
Staying at the top of the game after 10 years is no mean feat in Japan's fickle music business. As one of the first artists to bring American-style R&B to these shores, Double's achievements are doubly impressive. And now she's celebrating her first decade with an album of collaborations with Japanese and American artists such as De La Soul, Ak'sent, AI and Kreva. To top it off comes "Black Diamond," a pulsating duet with self-styled "Queen of hip-pop" Namie Amuro.
CULTURE / Music
Apr 11, 2008
Bahashishi "Kaleidoscope"
"Putting the heart of the world into music" is the theme of Osaka-based quintet Bahashishi, who graduate to a major label with this, their second album. Taking their name from the Swahili for "heart," the band, led by effervescent vocalist Yurari, have a clear J-pop-with-a-conscience mission, which results in highly-polished pleasantness that matches the compelling and potent vocal delivery of UA with the melodic craft of contemporaries Singer Songer.

Longform

Historically, kabuki was considered the entertainment of the merchant and peasant classes, a far cry from how it is regarded today.
For Japan's oldest kabuki theater, the show must go on