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Joji Sakurai

For Joji Sakurai's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Solitary mosaic artist Takako Hirai chips away at expression

People | WHY DID YOU LEAVE JAPAN? Dec 16, 2017

Solitary mosaic artist Takako Hirai chips away at expression

In a cramped studio in Ravenna, Italy, Takako Hirai runs her finger along the cracks in a mosaic artwork depicting dappled light in a park. The spaces between the tiles, she explains, determine the flow and movement of a mosaic, even more than the arrangement of the pieces themselves — as if meaning were slipping through the cracks to be teased out by the observer. It makes mosaic the perfect medium for embedding the kakushi-e, or hidden images, that the artist from Kumamoto places in her work — both to hide her inner self and reveal it. ...

Kano Ozawa breathes fresh air into opera direction in Turin

People | WHY DID YOU LEAVE JAPAN? Sep 9, 2017

Kano Ozawa breathes fresh air into opera direction in Turin

In the Roman amphitheater of Verona, Italy, the elephants and horses in ancient Egyptian regalia marched onto stage to the thunderous chords of Guiseppe Verdi's opera "Aida." The singers filled the balmy night with their voices, soaring over the trumpets and crashing cymbals of the orchestra — and for one girl watching the spectacle it seemed like "a world of dreams." ...

Japan's first Christmas

Lifestyle Dec 24, 2016

Japan's first Christmas

In a letter home to Portuguese brethren, Jesuit missionary Pedro de Alcacova writes of singing a Mass to Japanese believers in 1552: "Our voices weren't good," he recalls, "still the Christian believers rejoiced." It was Christmas Eve in Yamaguchi, and the patience, if not faith, ...

National Mar 29, 2011

Season of special poignancy

The cherry trees will soon blossom in Japan. It will be a particularly poignant sight. Even in normal times, the "sakura" flowers are a cause for rejoicing tinged with sadness, because they fall at the moment of their greatest beauty. They are the embodiment of ...