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James Hadfield

For James Hadfield's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

TIFF takes viewers beyond the comfort zone

Oct 19, 2016

TIFF takes viewers beyond the comfort zone

While sifting through the movies submitted for this year's Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF), competition programming director Yoshihiko Yatabe says he noticed a recurring theme. "I was struck by the number of films involving immigrants and refugees," he says. "It's become such a big issue, ...

Shugo Tokumaru gets his friends involved on new album 'Toss'

Oct 13, 2016

Shugo Tokumaru gets his friends involved on new album 'Toss'

A couple of months ago, Shugo Tokumaru released a video on YouTube that showed him preparing an elaborate meal from an unlikely set of ingredients. In it, he took a selection of toy instruments — a ukulele, a recorder, some castanets, a party horn ...

'Jason Bourne': The invincible franchise

/ Oct 12, 2016

'Jason Bourne': The invincible franchise

It's the Bourne revival: Matt Damon is Bourne again. After an unsuccessful attempt to transfer the franchise to Jeremy Renner in 2012's "The Bourne Legacy," Damon has returned to his most iconic role as the brainwashed CIA super-soldier. He's the real deal, the Sean ...

A hive of sonic activity stirs on Kafka's Ibiki release

Oct 9, 2016

A hive of sonic activity stirs on Kafka's Ibiki release

There's something curious happening on "Nemutte," the sophomore album by Tokyo-based instrumental trio Kafka's Ibiki. When it performs live, the group specializes in long, patiently evolving improvisations that occupy a liminal zone between jazz, ambient, minimalism and experimental rock. One such performance, at SuperDeluxe in ...

'Star Trek' lives on and prospers

/ Oct 5, 2016

'Star Trek' lives on and prospers

In principle, it's hard to dislike "Star Trek." Each time the crew of the USS Enterprise venture into the great beyond, broadcasting their mantra of peace and intergalactic harmony, it's a riposte to the iffy politics advocated by other movie franchises: they're the United ...

Hany Abu-Assad: Making strong voices heard

Sep 21, 2016

Hany Abu-Assad: Making strong voices heard

Ever since the first series of "Pop Idol" screened on British TV in 2001, the televised music competition has become practically inescapable, with franchises springing up everywhere from Macedonia to the Maldives. Given how cannily stage-managed these "reality" shows really are, though, it almost ...

'The Red Turtle': Studio Ghibli takes an intriguing turn

/ Sep 14, 2016

'The Red Turtle': Studio Ghibli takes an intriguing turn

Two years ago the English-speaking internet world was shaken by the news that Japan's most beloved animation house, Studio Ghibli, would be closing its doors for good. The story, which originated from a fan blog and was picked up by a variety of more ...

'Gods of Egypt': What an ungodly mess

/ Aug 31, 2016

'Gods of Egypt': What an ungodly mess

In the latest issue of Kinema Junpo, Japan's most venerable film magazine, you can read a lengthy tribute to Gaga, the dogged independent movie distributor that's marking its 30th anniversary this year. The occasion is certainly worth commemorating: This is the company that released ...

Koenji's Awa Odori festival celebrates 60 years

Aug 25, 2016

Koenji's Awa Odori festival celebrates 60 years

For the past few weeks, visitors and residents in Koenji have been haunted by a song — a plaintive, pentatonic melody that seems to circle endlessly, never quite resolving. You can hear it playing over speakers on the station platform just before the train ...