Japanese Culture – Japon Online http://japononline.net/ Fri, 17 Sep 2021 22:40:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 https://japononline.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/default1-150x150.png Japanese Culture – Japon Online http://japononline.net/ 32 32 ‘Their locks were the centerpiece of their outfits’: Dark hair dazzles at the Met Gala | 2021 Met Gala https://japononline.net/their-locks-were-the-centerpiece-of-their-outfits-dark-hair-dazzles-at-the-met-gala-2021-met-gala/ https://japononline.net/their-locks-were-the-centerpiece-of-their-outfits-dark-hair-dazzles-at-the-met-gala-2021-met-gala/#respond Fri, 17 Sep 2021 21:16:00 +0000 https://japononline.net/their-locks-were-the-centerpiece-of-their-outfits-dark-hair-dazzles-at-the-met-gala-2021-met-gala/ TDark hair art was on display in eclectic glory at the Met Gala, from Naomi Osaka’s hair sculpture, Lupita Nyong’o waves, Olympian Allyson Felix’s halo of cornrows to Amandla Stenberg’s braided durag , says Dr Joseph L Underwood, co-author of Textures: The History and Art of Black hair. Playing on the theme of the event, […]]]>

TDark hair art was on display in eclectic glory at the Met Gala, from Naomi Osaka’s hair sculpture, Lupita Nyong’o waves, Olympian Allyson Felix’s halo of cornrows to Amandla Stenberg’s braided durag , says Dr Joseph L Underwood, co-author of Textures: The History and Art of Black hair. Playing on the theme of the event, America, the black hair vernacular was brought to high fashion

“I think the Met Gala can make room for celebrities to support and celebrate black designers, black stylists and glam black teams in a way that hasn’t been done in the past,” says stylist Naeemah LaFond, who styled for Gossip Girl’s Whitney Peak. “Fashion has often ‘borrowed’ the black experience both in design and in the beauty aesthetic of black women. “

Indeed, the black hair policy continues to be a problem in the United States. Only 12 states have passed the Crown Act (legislation that prevents discrimination against dark hair), while reports of mismanaged dark hair on the set of Hollywood films are an indicator of the misunderstandings that continue to persist around dark hair. . This week, Jada Pinkett Smith recalled her “brutal” experience on the set of The Nutty Professor.

Actor Lupita Nyong’o at the 2021 Met Gala. Photograph: Taylor Hill / WireImage

Along with political fashion statements, many have used the red carpet to send messages through their hair. “I think the clearest (message) came from Naomi Osaka,” Dr Underwood thinks. The tennis ace wore chunky braids, braided top knots, and a fan design that blended his Haitian and Japanese ancestors. “(She) asserted that cultural interbreeding is what defines contemporary America.”

“I thought it was more than important that we marry the beauty and pride of (Osaka) ‘s Haitian and Japanese heritage, allowing them the same platform,” said Harper. “The bow was a nod to the innocence of the ribbons of Haitian schoolgirls adorning their hair for school. Jennifer Behr’s braids adorned with red cherry blossoms were to illustrate the revival and the ephemeral.

For actress Gabrielle Union, who was reportedly fired from America’s Got Talent because her hair was “too dark,” her appearance in a sleek bun was important. “Her hair is the story of black women refusing to perform [for] a white society that still suffers from anti-blackness, ”explains St Clair Detrick-Jules, author of My Beautiful Black Hair. She adds that years after Giuliana Rancic, host of the 2015 Oscars, said singer Zendaya’s dreadlocks probably smelled like “patchouli oil or weed” (she apologized later), he said. was significant to see “Chloe and Halle Bailey, Kerby Jean-Raymond [making] their locks a centerpiece of their outfits ”.

This article was edited on September 17, 2021 to correctly assign a citation to Dr. Joseph L Underwood.


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In 1940s Japan, a trophy wife becomes a spy https://japononline.net/in-1940s-japan-a-trophy-wife-becomes-a-spy/ https://japononline.net/in-1940s-japan-a-trophy-wife-becomes-a-spy/#respond Thu, 16 Sep 2021 20:33:00 +0000 https://japononline.net/in-1940s-japan-a-trophy-wife-becomes-a-spy/ Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s new historical drama The wife of a spy is a slow-burning Machiavellian film that is particularly attached to appearances. From his immaculate photography to his constant investigation of his character’s fashion choices and cultural tastes, he investigates the multiple meanings of the act of looking. When protagonist Satoko Fukuhara (Yu Aoi) first appears, […]]]>


Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s new historical drama The wife of a spy is a slow-burning Machiavellian film that is particularly attached to appearances. From his immaculate photography to his constant investigation of his character’s fashion choices and cultural tastes, he investigates the multiple meanings of the act of looking. When protagonist Satoko Fukuhara (Yu Aoi) first appears, it is as “Yuriko”, a mysterious character in a movie that her husband Yusaku (Issey Takahashi) is filming. However, the man is not a professional director, and this penchant for cinema quickly turns out to be only a hobby. Import / export businessman in the 40s in Kobe, Yusaku surrounds himself with collaborators and foreign friends, which brings the local police, led by Satoko’s childhood friend, Taiji (Masahiro Higashide), to question his true allegiance. After returning from an eventful trip to occupied Manchuria, where Yusaku witnesses atrocities committed by the Japanese military, Satoko begins to see his country in a different light.

Of The wife of a spy

To meet the demands of the public broadcaster NHK, which produced the film, Kurosawa shot The wife of a spy on an 8K digital camera. Such high definition technology gives a crisp and sometimes stiff look, which is curious for a period film so devoted to traditional celluloid. This manifests itself in everything from comments on Mizoguchi’s latest iteration to Yusaku’s filming in Manchuria, which he plans to use in a talk about heinous war crimes there. Tributes to the Age of Silence abound – not only through the work of Yusaku and Satoko, but also in the eerie images of Manchuria, which are reminiscent of A page of madness, 1926 Teinosuke Kinugasa’s pioneering masterpiece on a mental asylum.

Of The wife of a spy

In the first half of the film, Satoko is just a pawn in the game between Yusaku and Taiji, but the back half makes it clear that she is the true center of the story. As Yusaku’s film in the film foreshadows, she ultimately decides to steal her evidence from the Manchu experiences and use it to expose her betrayal and break free from the cocoon he enveloped her in. However, as with most caper stories, there is more to her scheme. Aoi’s intelligent performance gives Satoko an increasing dimensionality through this metamorphosis, as instead of leaving him, they come closer together through espionage. “I’m happy,” she says when Yusaku begins to treat her like her equal, “I finally feel like I’m living with you.” No longer naive or fragile, she transforms into a shrewd actress in her own right, perhaps the only one truly capable of understanding Japan’s politics and its ruinous future.

The wife of a spy opens in select theaters on September 17th.

In the Blacticing space, curator and collector Kevin Jones presents objects deeply charged with emotion, connection and care.


Dobkin caught the attention of critics early on with his eccentric and sometimes self-deprecating works, which often center the lesbian identity.


“Oxford has a complex social divide that tends to be overlooked,” says photographer Arturo Soto.




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Welcome the unexpected in Studio Ghibli’s new film, “Earwig and the Witch” https://japononline.net/welcome-the-unexpected-in-studio-ghiblis-new-film-earwig-and-the-witch/ https://japononline.net/welcome-the-unexpected-in-studio-ghiblis-new-film-earwig-and-the-witch/#respond Wed, 15 Sep 2021 04:10:08 +0000 https://japononline.net/welcome-the-unexpected-in-studio-ghiblis-new-film-earwig-and-the-witch/ ~~ ~ Ghibli’s latest animated feature film, Earwig and the witch released in theaters in Japan on August 27. Unlike his several previous blockbuster animated films, such as My neighbor Totoro (1988) and Abducted as if by magic (2001), with this new film production company, Studio Ghibli is embarking on a whole new way of […]]]>

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Innovators in Japan develop new technologies to fight coronavirus

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Ghibli’s latest animated feature film, Earwig and the witch released in theaters in Japan on August 27.

Unlike his several previous blockbuster animated films, such as My neighbor Totoro (1988) and Abducted as if by magic (2001), with this new film production company, Studio Ghibli is embarking on a whole new way of telling the story.

Earwig and the witch is created using 3D computer graphics for the first time. The Sankei Shimbun and JAPAN Before spoke to the film’s director, Goro Miyazaki (54), to find out more.

In the story, Aya (Earwig in the English version), a 10-year-old girl, is adopted by a witch and forced to do housework. At first, she isn’t keen on the idea because she had been promised that she would be taught magic, and she sees no sign of it. At this point, Aya rebels and defends herself.

“Aya is a good child,” Goro Miyazaki laughs. “But she’s not a typical Ghibli-style heroine.”

The story is loosely based on a novel by Diana Wynne Jones, an English writer who also wrote the story of Howl’s Moving Castle (2004), another Ghibli film.

But unlike the previous anime, this story begins and ends with a burlesque scene in the witch’s house.

As Goro Miyazaki explained, “I thought it would be more interesting to create something focusing on the characters rather than relying on the storyline, like in previous animated films.”

Noting that this work is reminiscent of some original animated films, except that it uses the latest 3D animation technology, Miyazaki added, “I thought we might have a chance to be successful there.”

Director Goro Miyazaki (photo by Ken Ishii)

Enter the world of his father

Goro is the eldest son of Hayao Miyazaki, 80, who has directed and created many Studio Ghibli masterpieces. Goro had stayed away from his father’s cinematic world, instead designing parks and other facilities as a landscape architect, until he was asked to build the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Tokyo. Once it is finished, he becomes its director.

Then Studio Ghibli was faced with a problem: Hayao Miyazaki expressed his willingness to retire, but the Studio wanted to see more animated films in order to make the museum a success.

Goro, who was producing the film Tales of Earthsea (2006), gave Studio Ghibli food for thought, and recommended it as a successor.

But the father was furious. “I will not defend a director with amateur tastes,” he said. The father and son did not speak to each other for three years thereafter.

A workaholic, Hayao Miyazaki rarely came home at night when Goro was a child, so the two rarely had an argument during the son’s formative years. Yet when Goro entered Studio Ghibli, the master director was ruthlessly strict.

In the end, however, the father relented. Tales of Earthsea (2006), he nods and lets Goro make this third film, Earwig and the witch, handing over the original script and telling his son, “Do whatever you want.”

What is earwig’s message?

Aya (Earwig) isn’t a typical Studio Ghibli character, so what was Goro Miyazaki trying to convey through her?

“With declining birth rates, I think children today must feel suffocated to live in an environment where they are surrounded by adults. I wanted to explore how they see their world, what they want to be and how they can get there, ”the director said.

The typical Studio Ghibli character is clean, decent and beautiful. Aya isn’t one of them, but that’s what makes her interesting, suggests young Miyazaki.

Earwig and the witch released in Japan from August 27. The film lasts one hour and 22 minutes.

ABOUT GORO MIYAZAKI

Goro Miyazaki was born in Tokyo in 1967. Choosing not to follow in his father’s footsteps, he worked as a landscaper after graduating from Shinshu University. He was director of the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Tokyo, from 2001 to 2005, before joining Studio Ghibli as an animated film director.

His Studio Ghibli films include Tales of Earthsea (2006), From up there on Poppy Hill (2011) and the television series Ronja, the thief’s daughter (NHK BS Premium, 2014).

He is also designing a new Ghibli Park, scheduled to open in Aichi Prefecture in 2022.

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(Click on here read the article in Japanese)

Author: Ken Ishii


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Sports world’s best 2021 Met Gala outfits including Serena Williams, Simone Biles https://japononline.net/sports-worlds-best-2021-met-gala-outfits-including-serena-williams-simone-biles/ https://japononline.net/sports-worlds-best-2021-met-gala-outfits-including-serena-williams-simone-biles/#respond Tue, 14 Sep 2021 11:52:36 +0000 https://japononline.net/sports-worlds-best-2021-met-gala-outfits-including-serena-williams-simone-biles/ Celebrities from the sports world presented their “A” fashion game Monday night at the annual Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Star athletes – and a few famous spouses of star athletes – have gone out of their way to stand out on the red carpet. The gala, which […]]]>

Celebrities from the sports world presented their “A” fashion game Monday night at the annual Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Star athletes – and a few famous spouses of star athletes – have gone out of their way to stand out on the red carpet.

The gala, which raises millions each year for the museum’s Costume Institute, has been postponed to 2020 due to COVID-19, and the 2021 resumption has been moved from the usual May date to September and the end of the Fashion Week. The designers used the extra time to produce special looks.

The Costume Institute has an exhibit at the Met every year. The theme of this year’s exhibition is “In America: A Fashion Lexicon”. The gala outfits have been adapted to this theme.

How well did the participants make their fashion statements? SN has compiled a list of the 10 (actually 11) best dressed.

Serena williams

(Getty Images)

Williams is a heavyweight in the fashion game with his own lines. On Monday night, she was locked in a cape of pink and black feathers, a look she said was “superhero inspired.”

PHOTOS: Serena’s classic fashion looks

Ciara

(Getty Images)

The music superstar portrayed her husband, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, with a dress in the style of his uniform and an accessory designed to resemble a soccer ball. Wilson was at home studying film and cutting it with Peyton and Eli Manning on the brothers’ alternative show “Monday Night Football”.

MORE: Timeline of the Wilson-Ciara Relationship

Allyson Felix

(Getty Images)

Felix became America’s most decorated track athlete and female athlete this summer when she won her 10th and 11th career Olympic medals at the Tokyo Games. She was much slower going up those stairs.

Simone Bilès

(Getty Images)

The great gymnast showed her strength by wearing a dress that weighed 88 pounds. It took over 100 people and 6,650 hours to produce the three-in-one piece, Vogue reported.

Gabrielle Union

(Getty Images)

Former NBA superstar’s wife Dwyane Wade told Entertainment Tonight that work on her dress began in April and lasted 1,400 hours.

Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry

(Getty Images)

If it’s not clear in the image, it’s white stars in Westbrook’s hair. Curry, who came with his wife, Ayesha, sported a clean look.

Megan Rapinoe

(Getty Images)

The star of the United States Women’s National Football Team wore her own flag elements with this pantsuit.

Naomi Osaka

(Getty Images)

The tennis champion was co-chair of this year’s gala. She made her grand entrance in a dress that paid homage to her Japanese heritage. The coin incorporated Koi fish, symbols of luck and good fortune in Japanese culture.

Emma Raducanu

(Getty Images)

What a week for the tennis teenager. She won the women’s US Open title on Saturday after first having to qualify for the tournament. On Monday, she mingled with entertainment and fashion stars. She may have even greeted her opponent in the final, Canadian teenager Leylah Annie Fernandez.

MORE: Raducanu First Qualifier To Win Open Era Grand Slam Event

Shai Gilgeous-Alexandre

(Getty Images)

The rising NBA star removed the turtleneck as part of her ensemble. The Toronto native enjoyed a year of career with the Thunder last season until he injured his foot.


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Utagawa Kuniyoshi: When censorship hits, art becomes fun https://japononline.net/utagawa-kuniyoshi-when-censorship-hits-art-becomes-fun/ https://japononline.net/utagawa-kuniyoshi-when-censorship-hits-art-becomes-fun/#respond Sat, 11 Sep 2021 01:00:44 +0000 https://japononline.net/utagawa-kuniyoshi-when-censorship-hits-art-becomes-fun/ Witty and unpredictable: this is how Akira Watanabe, chief curator of the Ota Memorial Art Museum, describes Utagawa Kuniyoshi, one of the most gifted Japanese woodcut artists of the 19th century. . He quickly adds, however, that Kuniyoshi was much more than that. He was also a sympathetic optimist, a man with a great sense […]]]>

Witty and unpredictable: this is how Akira Watanabe, chief curator of the Ota Memorial Art Museum, describes Utagawa Kuniyoshi, one of the most gifted Japanese woodcut artists of the 19th century. . He quickly adds, however, that Kuniyoshi was much more than that. He was also a sympathetic optimist, a man with a great sense of humor who never lost heart. “Even when his work runs out due to restrictions imposed by the Tokugawa shogunate, or when it is under investigation by the magistrate’s office,” Watanabe explains via email, “Kuniyoshi never gave up “.

These qualities have served him well. Born in the Nihonbashi district of Edo (now Tokyo) in 1797, Kuniyoshi lived in a society that often appeared on the verge of collapse. He also underwent a profound transformation during his lifetime: in 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry and his “black ships” made their way through Edo Bay and forced Japan out of its self-imposed isolation. . The first treaty ports, which soon swarmed with foreigners, opened a few years later. When Kuniyoshi died in 1861, the end of the Tokugawa regime was clearly foreseeable.

Kuniyoshi’s beginnings as an artist were auspicious, albeit mundane. In his early teens, he apprenticed with Utagawa Toyokuni, the greatest print designer of his time. It was from Toyokuni, in 1814, that Kuniyoshi received its art name, a combination of 國 (kuni), the second character of its master’s nickname, with 芳 (yoshi), the first kanji of its own childhood name, Yoshisaburo. This marked its formal introduction into the Utagawa artistic lineage.

Utagawa Kuniyoshi’s ‘Temporary Nest of Yoshiwara Sparrows’ | WITH THE AUTHORIZATION OF THE OTA MEMORIAL ART MUSEUM

However, success was initially elusive and Kuniyoshi worked in near anonymity for over a decade. His big breakthrough finally came in 1826, when he began work on a series of warrior prints depicting the chivalrous – though often pugnacious – heroes of the Chinese novel “The Water Margin”, known as “Suikoden” “in Japanese, which became popular in the archipelago towards the end of the 18th century. The series grew to 74 models and lasted for four years. It was a huge commercial and popular success.

As Kuniyoshi’s fortunes improved, that of the nation rapidly deteriorated. Poor harvests in 1833 led to widespread famine in the middle of the decade. Riots broke out across the country and violence has spread on an unprecedented scale. In cities like Edo, the capital of Japan and one of the world’s largest metropolises with over a million people, the price of rice and other staples has skyrocketed.

Watanabe sees intriguing parallels with our world, which is also plagued by a series of issues, ranging from an accelerating climate crisis and growing geopolitical tensions to an ongoing pandemic. As in the 1830s, he says, “people live under various restrictions today,” which gave him the idea for an exhibition exploring how Kuniyoshi handled the social and economic constraints of his time.

The resulting show, which premiered on September 4, is split into two parts. The first, titled “Make the Gloomy World Laugh! : Cartoons and the State of Society ”, runs through September 26 and focuses on gig (cartoons) and other works intended to be social critiques. The second segment, “Astonish the people of Edo !: Warriors and Landscapes”, will be presented from October 1 to 24. He will present the landscapes of Kuniyoshi as well as his war engravings, undoubtedly the most famous part of his work.

“Courageous Woman, Okane in Omi Province” by Utagawa Kuniyoshi |  WITH THE AUTHORIZATION OF THE OTA MEMORIAL ART MUSEUM
“Courageous Woman, Okane in Omi Province” by Utagawa Kuniyoshi | WITH THE AUTHORIZATION OF THE OTA MEMORIAL ART MUSEUM

For Kuniyoshi and his artistic circle, 1841 was a turning point. In that year, Tokugawa Ienari died, the libertine father of more than 50 children and the oldest shogun – he held the post for 50 years. At that point, the government could no longer ignore the appalling state of the nation, and Yenari’s passing provided the impetus for the adoption of a set of drastic measures known as the Tenpo reforms ( 1841-1843). They were applied with varying levels of zeal until 1848.

As in the past, morality and sumptuary laws came first. These designers have hit graphic designers hard by imposing strict restrictions on artistic freedom. For example, the number of colors used in a woodcut was capped at eight, and retail prices were capped. More worrying was the ban on certain subjects: kabuki actors in dashing dresses, courtesans in suggestive poses, carefully combed inamorata. These were the favorite themes of collectors, and they were now banned.

And yet, Kuniyoshi’s production during this period suggests that he found inspiration where other artists did not. One of his favorite tricks was to replace human beings with creatures of all kinds.

“He anthropomorphized everything, using cats and other animals as well as plants and toys,” says Watanabe. “He drew works full of silly puns. Indeed, it takes little effort to imagine Kuniyoshi in his studio, giving a sardonic smile to a nearby student as he finishes the sketch that would form the basis of “Yoshiwara’s Temporary Sparrows Nest”. “The tempo reforms had banned the performance of courtesans in pleasure quarters,” says Watanabe, “so Kuniyoshi replaced them with sparrows. “

Portrait of Utagawa Kuniyoshi by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi |  WITH THE AUTHORIZATION OF THE OTA MEMORIAL ART MUSEUM
Portrait of Utagawa Kuniyoshi by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi | WITH THE AUTHORIZATION OF THE OTA MEMORIAL ART MUSEUM

Fallen leaves, fish, cats, depraved deities – Kuniyoshi found vehicles everywhere for his satire. After the shogunate banned kabuki scenes, it responded with “Corn’s Comic: Corn Swinging the Hair”, Watanabe’s favorite cartoon. In this dance scene, which would have been widely recognized by Edo theater enthusiasts, Kuniyoshi gave his performer the shape of a corn cob, her wraps a green kimono, her silky lock of hair in a wild swirl. . He flanked this dancer by two musicians, each adorned with an equally ridiculous vegetable-shaped head. You can almost hear the giggles of the plebeians of Edo.

But Kuniyoshi was dangerously testing the patience of the censors. If he was careful to keep the letter of the law, he clearly didn’t care about his mind. He has been warned more than once and suffered a severe reprimand at least once, when he was forced to spend time in handcuffs. Nonetheless, there is no indication that it calmed down his mischievous spirit.

Although humor is at the heart of Kuniyoshi’s artistic production, his aesthetic sensibility comes from elsewhere. One obvious source of inspiration was Western art. While Japan’s official policy of isolation remained in place for much of the artist’s life, European books and printed materials were widely available, largely thanks to the Dutch commercial station in Dejima, Nagasaki. . Over time, Kuniyoshi accumulated a large collection of copperplate prints, possibly hundreds, which he often turned to for ideas.

“Brave Woman, Okane in Omi Province” provides a good example of how these have influenced her work. At first glance, the crimson underdress, the black obi and the intricately patterned kimono of the female figure are reassuringly Japanese. But the surrounding landscape gives off a different vibe: plumes of clouds rise in voluptuous zigzags, the mountains recede to a point vanishing in the distance, deep chiaroscuro shadows add volume to the horse’s limbs. . These are all Western representation devices. In this particular case – there are many more – researchers were even able to trace the exact model of Kuniyoshi’s horse to a print by Francis Barlow (1626-1704), an English illustrator.

In the mid-1850s, Kuniyoshi suffered a stroke. This was followed by a slow and only partial recovery. As a result, his production declined markedly and his creativity faded. Although physically diminished, it is tempting to imagine that its spiritual core has remained intact. A portrait drawn more than a decade after his death by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, his most talented pupil, provides tantalizing proof: Sitting next to one of his beloved cats with his back to the viewer, the late master is sitting, nonchalant. His head is turned slightly, just enough to allow us to see his smile: he is still so mischievous.

The exhibition of Utagawa Kuniyoshi’s works will take place in two parts. “Make the Gloomy World Laugh! : Cartoons and the State of Society ”will run until September 26, and“ Astonish the people of Edo! : Warriors and Landscapes ”will take place from October 1 to 24 at the Ota Memorial Art Museum. For more details, visit ukiyoe-ota-muse.jp/exhibition-eng.

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“Best Day Walks Japan”: a more relaxed approach to hiking in Japan https://japononline.net/best-day-walks-japan-a-more-relaxed-approach-to-hiking-in-japan/ https://japononline.net/best-day-walks-japan-a-more-relaxed-approach-to-hiking-in-japan/#respond Wed, 08 Sep 2021 01:10:18 +0000 https://japononline.net/best-day-walks-japan-a-more-relaxed-approach-to-hiking-in-japan/ In 2001, Lonely Planet published its flagship guide “Hike in Japan,” a collection of over 70 hikes spanning the length of the country from Iriomote Island from Okinawa to Mount Rishiri in the far north. The now-out-of-print book features some of the most beautiful hikes in Japan, but it is mostly aimed at engaged people […]]]>

In 2001, Lonely Planet published its flagship guide “Hike in Japan,” a collection of over 70 hikes spanning the length of the country from Iriomote Island from Okinawa to Mount Rishiri in the far north. The now-out-of-print book features some of the most beautiful hikes in Japan, but it is mostly aimed at engaged people prepared for long, multi-day trips and sleepless bus rides to tackle distant peaks.

Best Day Trips in Japan: Easy Nature Getaways, by Craig McLachlan, Rebecca Milner and Ray Bartlett
224 pages
PLANET ALONE

Lonely Planet’s new book, “Best Day Walks Japan: Easy Escapes into Nature,” takes a more relaxed approach. Like its predecessor, it covers routes across the country (although unfortunately Okinawa is omitted), with 60 walks and accompanying maps. The hikes are united in duration, most of which last no more than a day – Mount Fuji and the 1,400-kilometer Shikoku Pilgrimage are notable exceptions – but otherwise offer a fantastic variety: there are hikes. of a day, walks in caves, walks on the few routes suitable for children.

Each route is listed as “easy,” “moderate” or “difficult,” with clear directions for the journey time, allowing you to choose something that fits your schedule and desired level of activity. Another interesting touch is the “Take a break” section on each route, which gives details of great places to stay, local hot springs, cafes, shrines, visitor centers and much more, to pull off. the best out of every hike.

The included photographs are glorious, showing Japan’s wilder side in color, and make the book a welcome departure from the classic edition that came before it, which was devoid of photos outside of its cover. The downside is that this isn’t a book made to be carried in a sturdy backpack: it’s bigger and heavier with ink at almost 500 grams, and doesn’t come with a waterproof cover. as the coveted “Hiking and Trekking in Japan Guide to the Alps and Mount Fuji published by Tom Fay and Wes Lang in 2019.

Like many guides, “Best Day Walks Japan” is a great source of inspiration, but it is not a book to be relied upon alone. While some of the higher peaks have made it clear when the mountain is in season, not all walks and hikes contain specific information about the best time to visit, and readers should check the details beforehand to find out. make sure they are not. go when the trails are too crowded, or completely out of season and therefore inaccessible or even dangerous.

The book maintains a fairly consistent format of two pages per trail, which is great for shorter, easier hikes, but sometimes limits descriptions of longer, more difficult hikes, where a wrong turn can be the difference between a fantastic day. on the mountain and get lost in high ground. If you are planning to venture to one of the more ambitious peaks, it would be a good idea to carry dedicated maps and make sure you have the right equipment, especially if you are heading late in the season when the high mountains start to fall. become very cold.

One final warning: As with any print edition that deals with mountains, information is likely to quickly become out of date (some has been outdated despite the book’s recent publication), so check local sources before heading to the hills. Typhoons in particular have tremendous power to alter and close routes, and as the pandemic continues, many mountain huts and local buses are operating at reduced capacity.

Twenty years after Lonely Planet published its first guidebook, “Best Day Walks Japan” is an important and exciting addition to English hiking literature in Japan and a useful starting point for anyone wishing to start hiking here, that you are a seasoned local or new to the country. Pair it with the original “Hiking in Japan” guide and you are ready to enjoy some of the most beautiful places the country has to offer.

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The crackdown on reality shows in the Middle Kingdom is more about the politics of the strong leader than the androgyny of fame https://japononline.net/the-crackdown-on-reality-shows-in-the-middle-kingdom-is-more-about-the-politics-of-the-strong-leader-than-the-androgyny-of-fame/ https://japononline.net/the-crackdown-on-reality-shows-in-the-middle-kingdom-is-more-about-the-politics-of-the-strong-leader-than-the-androgyny-of-fame/#respond Sat, 04 Sep 2021 01:13:32 +0000 https://japononline.net/the-crackdown-on-reality-shows-in-the-middle-kingdom-is-more-about-the-politics-of-the-strong-leader-than-the-androgyny-of-fame/ It’s not quite the Cultural Revolution, but Xi Jinping’s “national rejuvenation” is certainly doing its best to catch up. The latest target for Chinese regulators is popular culture, especially American Idol voting shows. The government, in a conspicuous attempt to curb irrational idolatry around fame, told broadcasters to “resolutely end sissies and other anomalous aesthetics” […]]]>

It’s not quite the Cultural Revolution, but Xi Jinping’s “national rejuvenation” is certainly doing its best to catch up. The latest target for Chinese regulators is popular culture, especially American Idol voting shows. The government, in a conspicuous attempt to curb irrational idolatry around fame, told broadcasters to “resolutely end sissies and other anomalous aesthetics” and instead “vigorously promote the excellent traditional culture. Chinese, revolutionary culture and advanced socialist culture “.

The decline in fertility rates in China has raised some concern, which is cited as a reason for the crackdown on “sissy men.” More likely, however, is the fact that popular culture – despite strict government controls – tends to incorporate elements from various sources. The androgynous aesthetic that so worries the party-state is the hallmark of K-Pop and Japanese culture – two countries the Chinese Communist Party is unlikely to want as a soft power influence among young people. . And, as with other countries with strong leaders, including democracies, it’s not irrational celebrity worship that worries Chinese authorities – it’s just the celebration of the “wrong” type of celebrity.

“Traditional Chinese culture” coupled with “revolutionary culture” and “advanced socialist culture” is nothing more than a summary of “Xi Jinping thought”, recently incorporated into the school and university curricula of China. ‘Middle Kingdom. Too often, it’s easy to forget that political personality cults, whether left or right, are among the most dangerous and irrational idol cults. Add to this an overwhelming obsession with masculinity, and the real reason for the aversion to “idol shows” becomes clear. Rulers of a certain kind, eager to be the only objects of worship, only eliminate competition. When it comes to the Chinese idol, there can only be one.

This editorial first appeared in the print edition on September 4, 2021 under the title “Chinese Idol”.


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Curating in COVID: challenges and victories https://japononline.net/curating-in-covid-challenges-and-victories/ https://japononline.net/curating-in-covid-challenges-and-victories/#respond Tue, 31 Aug 2021 22:06:17 +0000 https://japononline.net/curating-in-covid-challenges-and-victories/ Melbourne-based curator Natalie King is no stranger to remote curating, having been tasked with presenting Tracey Moffatt’s work for the Australian pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2017, among other international exhibitions. important in Japan, Indonesia, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and India. , Thailand and New Zealand. But she had never organized a major international exhibition […]]]>

Melbourne-based curator Natalie King is no stranger to remote curating, having been tasked with presenting Tracey Moffatt’s work for the Australian pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2017, among other international exhibitions. important in Japan, Indonesia, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and India. , Thailand and New Zealand.

But she had never organized a major international exhibition entirely on Zoom – until the pandemic. The exhibition Reversible Destiny: Contemporary Australian and Japanese Photography opened last week at the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum (TOP), as part of the Cultural Olympiad of the Olympic Games, and it’s a show King co-hosted remotely during COVID, while also preparing for the presentation of the artist Yuki Kihara for Aotearoa / New Zealand at the 59th Venice Biennale 2022.

Speaking on a virtual media call last week, she said: “Pandemic curation across borders, time zones and various lockdown stages has made us more determined to ensure that artists’ imaginations are at the center of society. “

Reversible Destiny: Contemporary Australian and Japanese Photography brings together four Australian and four photo-based Japanese artists who contemplate our destiny while reflecting on our shared past, and had been postponed from 2020, so King and co-curator Yuri Yamada were determined to move his presentation forward.

King explained of the exhibit: “Photographers have the uncanny ability to cut down on time and imagine pasts futures and present possibilities. This paradox and this circular logic can allow us to consider the cycle of life, our memories and our current situation of global instability. ‘

Val Wens, Kawah ljen 3 (Ijen Crater) 2018. Collection of the Tokyo Photographic Museum. Courtesy of the artist and KRONENBERG MAIS WRIGHT.

MOVE FORWARD, RATHER THAN POSTPONEMENT

On a call to virtual media, King joined his colleagues in Japan for the opening of the exhibition, saying, “We were determined to make sure this exhibition was delivered despite the postponement and the enormous uncertainty. the world as we know it started to fall apart, we found a way forward.

King refers to the fact that during a short window when the borders were lifted, they made the decision to ship the work to Tokyo earlier than expected.

“One of the results we initiated as soon as COVID hit was to ensure that the works were acquired by the museum – and as soon as the borders opened – we shipped the works to Tokyo, so when the exhibition seemed (again) precarious, they would reside in this first exhibition of photographs, ”she told ArtsHub.

“I think it’s possible to reshape and recalibrate projects and find ways to make them happen under these circumstances. Cancellation was not an option I was prepared to consider, ”King said. “It’s been three years of work, and I have a relationship with the co-curator and the museum, and we trusted each other.

Read: What does “international” mean after the pandemic for the programming of exhibitions?

“A lot of my colleagues have canceled shows. But I felt that the exhibition was too late and that it would have been too tragic to cancel it. We also had stakeholders and financial and academic partners to consider, and this is part of the Olympic cultural festival – so a lot of commitments to honor.

She continued: ‘[As curators] we all struggle with the way you work when you are not there. We found a method that worked in settings – I always found a way to do it. ‘

Maree Clarke, Kylie and Matari, 2020, inkjet print. Courtesy of Vivien Anderson Gallery.

ZOOM AS CO-CURATOR

“Last week I was on Zoom to set up an exhibit – this was a first in my 25 years as a curator,” King told ArtsHub. “While it wasn’t ideal, it wasn’t as limiting as I thought it would be.”

“We had virtually worked out the floor plans and layout of the exhibit, so it was [very] resolved. We had decided on the color of the walls and the construction – everything had been done beforehand – and I joined Zoom as the works of art were placed against the walls.

“I took Zoom tours twice a day. I really had to be guided by the museum team. Every step of the way, I was involved and was truly grateful for it, ”King said of the five-day installation period.

King said it was all about being prepared and professional.

Read: Fast forward 12 months: Four curators’ predictions for the visual arts

“You have to do a lot of scenario planning. It’s the same with the preparation for Venice [2022 Biennial] right now, and the logistics of this project – I’m here in Melbourne, Yuki’s [Kihara] in Samoa, and we are working on a project for New Zealand in Venice. ‘

King added that she was luckily at Apia in March (2020) just before the first blockages – “a week before, and we could work side by side. And now we’re in Zoom contact every other day.

She added that she luckily also did much of the initial fieldwork for Reversible fate, with co-curator Yuri Yamada visiting Australia, and her in Japan, just before the closures.

Perhaps it is this pre-pandemic in-person contact that gives a curator the confidence to move forward.

King said one of the biggest challenges for Conservatives globally right now is freight and the need to find alternative shipping routes. “You have to plan with a longer time frame,” she said.

Read: Is your international career a threat or a victory?

She said another conservation challenge in COVID was less about the installation or movement of artwork, than its reveal.

“For me, the apex of an exhibition is to be in the museum with the works of art and the artists and to unveil them during the press preview. This was refused to many… I found the Zoom press appeal very moving, ”she added.

“The museum was really respectful to keep me posted, but it’s tinged with a sadness that neither of us were there; that the artist is not there, ”King continued.

“Everyone had to recalibrate several times; it’s very difficult, King said. “That this has happened is a miracle, especially with our calendars endlessly evaporating. “

On a brighter note, King celebrated the artists. “We need to find ways to keep museums open in one form or another, and for artists and their works to be treasured – they are central to our thinking, as custodians of our imaginations – and as as conservatives, we need to make sure their work is seen. . ‘

King said that one of the benefits of this global hub in the curatorial space is that it has allowed more time to work on the accompanying publications, and in the case of Reversible fate, an online symposium will present ideas from the exhibition in a way that goes beyond a real version.

Posted on TOP’s YouTube channel in October, King will join his conservative colleague Mami Kataoka in the symposium discussion. She (like King who is preparing for Venice) is curator of the next edition of the Aichi Triennale in Japan, which is scheduled to open in July 2022.

CAN LOCKING LOCALISM LEAD TO PAROCHIALISM?

King agreed that a local focus is necessary to support our arts and culture sector during the pandemic, but this strategy could sound the alarm bells for long-term impact.

“The imagination has no boundaries; we must give up the parish, she said.

“Physical boundaries can be crossed by imagination and extraordinary thinking. We have an obligation that our artist, curators and performers are active internationally, even in moderate form. We can still send films and digital media… We have to ask ourselves, “What is possible and how can I work in the most expansive, imaginative and inclusive way that guides my way of working? “

King believes we can overcome the obstacles of COVID tenaciously. “In every tragedy there is an opportunity. Our museums [in Australia] maybe closed, but Europe is open! Museums are open all over the world; the Venice Architecture Biennale receives over 1,000 visitors a day.

“Who wants to work in a self-reflecting echo chamber? We must continue to organize and continue to work internationally, ”she concluded.

Reversible Destiny: Contemporary Australian and Japanese Photography is presented to the public in Tokyo from August 24 to October 31.

Artists: Maree Clarke, Rosemary Laing, Polixeni Papapetrou, Val Wens, Ishiuchi Miyako, Katayama Mari, Hatakeyama Naoya, Yokomizo Shizuka.

Natalie King OAM is a business professor at the Victorian College of the Arts at the University of Melbourne. In 2020, she received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).

Gina Fairley is the National Visual Arts Editor for ArtsHub. For a decade, she worked as a freelance writer and curator across Southeast Asia and was previously the regional editor for the Hong Kong-based magazines Asian Art News and World Sculpture News. Prior to writing, she worked as an arts director in America and Australia for 14 years, including in regional galleries, biennials and commercial sectors. She is based in Mittagong, regional NSW. Twitter: @ginafairley Instagram: fairleygina


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Photographer Eddie Otchere: “Culture moves to the space that allows it to grow” https://japononline.net/photographer-eddie-otchere-culture-moves-to-the-space-that-allows-it-to-grow/ https://japononline.net/photographer-eddie-otchere-culture-moves-to-the-space-that-allows-it-to-grow/#respond Sat, 28 Aug 2021 04:01:42 +0000 https://japononline.net/photographer-eddie-otchere-culture-moves-to-the-space-that-allows-it-to-grow/ “Photography has a lot to teach us about creativity and entrepreneurship,” says Eddie Otchere. “It’s more than art. Photographers have to make reality cool. Otchere, 47, may be the patron saint of British urban photography. He captured the euphoria of London clubs with vivid intensity before making some of the most iconic images of the […]]]>

“Photography has a lot to teach us about creativity and entrepreneurship,” says Eddie Otchere. “It’s more than art. Photographers have to make reality cool.

Otchere, 47, may be the patron saint of British urban photography. He captured the euphoria of London clubs with vivid intensity before making some of the most iconic images of the Wu-Tang Clan and other luminaries of hip-hop. Inspired by photographers such as Neil Kenlock and Charlie Phillips, documenters of post-Windrush black British life, and Ghanaian photographer James Barnor, Otchere describes himself as being in love with the ‘film romance’.

He is a strong advocate of ‘anti-digital’ photography and its unhurried creative process and is part of a London studio collective Film’s Not Dead, which buys, repairs and sells old cameras and teaches students the ropes. of the analog trade. “I love shooting with bastard cameras, old Japanese imitations of classic German cameras,” he says. He denigrates the use of Photoshop to retouch images, believing that “there is nothing unique or distinguishable about digital aesthetics”.

I speak to Otchere via video call from his home in South London before the re-release of Junglist, the mesmerizing and immersive novel he co-wrote with Andrew Green in 1994. Set in the burgeoning London drum and bass scene, which he also filmed, Junglist was inspired in part by cosmic imagery and Afrofuturist messages on the album covers of experimental jazz musician Sun Ra. After four young protagonists over the course of a long weekend, the novel is an exhilarating description of life in the towers at a time when Zone 1 was still full of abandoned and underdeveloped spaces that allowed its inhabitants to ‘innovate. Much of our conversation revolves around the UK capital and its ability to become a world leader in music and art after Brexit.

Pile of loudspeakers in the streets of Notting Hill © Eddie Otchere

Growing up in an estate in south London, with a Ghanaian mother and a British father, Otchere is not entirely critical of gentrification, arguing that many areas need to be renovated due to their dysfunctional architecture and their flawed rehousing policies. Or as they wrote in Junglist: “Elevators filled with piss, young wanderers like packs of wolves, shapeshifters, life on edge. Dark, dangerous, erratic. . . My reality, gray, dark, hard, sharp. Relentless, relentless. Reality flies away. “

In the early 1990s, at a time when, he said, “no conservatism was beating down on people who wanted to dance”, Londoners began to mold this reality into their own image. Otchere refers to the emergence of a hyperlocal style of rave music and the rise of pirate radio stations broadcasting from the Brutalist towers. “The creativity of the working class always manages to overcome the loopholes in the system’s assumptions about how people should live,” he says.

Windmill Court in Brent, London
Windmill Court in Brent, London © Eddie Otchere

But urban redevelopment comes with risks and rewards, warns Otchere. And the rewards often don’t last. “There is this wonderful moment in the first two years of living in a gentrified neighborhood. It’s like an idyllic post-capitalist utopia – the two communities, rich and poor, are there, hanging around – before the final death knell, after the arrival of the joggers, the Mac Store arrives and that’s it: we’re gone.

Otchere spent several years making connections in New York City, photographing the Wu-Tang Clan, Jay-Z, and others at a time when hip-hop was becoming culturally and commercially mainstream. Like London, some parts of the city have changed to the point of being unrecognizable. “Now Brooklyn is the new New York, but it’s a safer city with nothing to feed my camera or enrich my creativity,” he tells me, adding that “culture is moving into the space that allows it. to develop oneself”.

Goldie at her Metalheadz Club party at the Blue Note in Hoxton in the mid-90s

Goldie at his Metalheadz club night at the Blue Note in Hoxton in the mid-1990s © Eddie Otchere

A portrait of Jay-Z in New York

A portrait of Jay-Z in New York, originally published in Mixmag in 1995 © Eddie Otchere

Our conversation returns to London. “We have to be seen as doing it right. The jungle has given us this advantage. I want London to come back to the top, ”says Otchere. “[But] our conversations are dominated by corona and Brexit. We are not moving forward, we are not proposing new ideas. It’s about wanting to encourage these conversations again.

It is not certain that urban music genres can explode again like the jungle and filth did, because in the internet age there are fewer opportunities for a new kind of music to explode. music thrives out of the spotlight. He doubts he would be at the heart of a revolutionary scene these days anyway: “My talent in the 1990s was to be one step ahead. This is such a great advantage. It only happens when you are so dedicated to your thing.

Method Man of the Wu-Tang Clan buying milk from a newsagent in Earl's Court

Method Man of the Wu-Tang Clan buying milk from a newsagent in Earl’s Court © Eddie Otchere

But he was impressed by the internet-focused youth activism during the Black Lives Matter protests. “This generation has done what they’re good at: they’ve used their technology, their language, their abilities to advance their agenda in the hearts and minds of everyone on the planet. It was their fight.

Encouraging young talent has been important to Otchere since he organized his first workshops in 2002, helping graffiti artists in Brixton monetize their art by printing t-shirts. He describes how his workshops in Brighton help lift working class children out of their shells. When mentoring artists at the start of their careers, he emphasizes the importance of “creative turmoil” – making a living from art. “All of my teaching is about the relationship to creativity and real money,” he says.

DJ Fabio playing Metalheadz

DJ Fabio playing Metalheadz © Eddie Otchere

A crowd at Metalheadz

A crowd at the Metalheadz party © Eddie Otchere

It does not focus exclusively on the UK. His work with James Barnor, the subject of a retrospective at the Serpentine Gallery in London, led him to reassess his relationship with Ghana, prompting him to promote the cultural activity he animates there. He has organized workshops with young photographers and rents his house in Accra at affordable rates to young creatives. “Culture itself is Accra’s greatest capital and it is collectively nurtured by the community,” he says.

Britain is becoming, in Otchere’s eyes, “more precarious as a nation” after Brexit and pandemic lockdowns. He believes that the role of popular creativity in promoting the progressive qualities of the country is now more important than ever: “Culture has value, culture has value – how do we celebrate that? I don’t know what England want to say to each other, but what I do know is that England did a really good job when we were dancing.

The late R&B singer Aaliyah

The late R&B singer Aaliyah © Eddie Otchere

Rapper Rza as his alter ego Bobby Digital in the 1990s

Rapper Rza as his alter ego Bobby Digital in the 1990s © Eddie Otchere

Otchere’s photos are frequently exhibited, he continues to work with young artists and is a judge in the Portrait of Britain photography competition. Even in an age of endless online images, he believes that an image has the power to change people’s thinking. “I’m still the type of guy who believes a photo can end wars.”

“Junglist” by Two Fingas & James T Kirk (Andrew Green and Eddie Otchere) is reissued by Repeater

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Dennis Frost ’98 | University of Wittenberg https://japononline.net/dennis-frost-98-university-of-wittenberg/ https://japononline.net/dennis-frost-98-university-of-wittenberg/#respond Tue, 24 Aug 2021 22:54:59 +0000 https://japononline.net/dennis-frost-98-university-of-wittenberg/ With the 2021 Paralympic Games in Tokyo starting today, sports fans can learn more about the history of the games and the importance of sports for people with disabilities, especially in the host country, by More Than Medals: A History of Paralympic and Disabled Sports in Postwar Japan (Cornell University Press, 2021) by Dennis Frost, […]]]>

With the 2021 Paralympic Games in Tokyo starting today, sports fans can learn more about the history of the games and the importance of sports for people with disabilities, especially in the host country, by More Than Medals: A History of Paralympic and Disabled Sports in Postwar Japan (Cornell University Press, 2021) by Dennis Frost, graduated from University of Wittenberg in 1998.

Frost uses interviews with Japanese athletes, media sources and institutional documents to examine the development of disabled sports in Japan, the first country outside of Europe to host the Paralympic Games, and the impact that sporting events have eu on perceptions of disability, as well as the promotion of disability policy and rehabilitation techniques.

“The Paralympic Games and other events have played – and continue to play – a central role in promoting the development of sport for people with disabilities in Japan and beyond,” said Frost.

“This development has included the creation of new institutions, the expansion of possibilities for people with disabilities to practice sports in different fields and the increase of popular and media interest in sports for the disabled and athletes with disabilities.”

The book illustrates the ways in which international attention and media coverage of events impacted public understanding of disability, challenging “some stigma associated with disability while strengthening or even creating others,” said he declared.

Frost’s interest in Japan and East Asia began while a student in Wittenberg. Arriving at university with the intention of pursuing a career in international law, he decided on a whim to enroll in Japanese classes in his first year. This decision led to a major in East Asian Studies, a year abroad and a Fulbright Fellowship in Japan, a PhD in East Asian Languages ​​and Cultures from Columbia University, a career as a university professor giving courses on the history of East Asia and the publication of two books on sport in Japan.

“I wanted to do what my teachers at Witt had done for me: help people discover their own passions for learning about East Asia,” said Frost, who is currently Wen Chao Chen professor of science. Social Studies of East Asia and Director of East Asian Studies. at Kalamazoo College in Michigan. “Of course, none of this was part of my original plan, so it’s no exaggeration to say that my experience with the Japanese and East Asian studies programs at Witt has changed my life.”

Inspiration for More than medals also has its origins in Wittenberg, where Frost was Professor Freeman East Asian Studies in 2005-2006. When a student expressed interest in exploring the Nagano 1998 Paralympic Games for a classroom presentation, Frost realized that he knew little about the subject himself, even though he was teaching a class called Sports in East Asia. After completing his first book, he started researching the history of disabled sports in Japan in 2011.

“Over the next decade my work on the project continued to unfold in really interesting and unexpected ways,” he said. “This is another great example of how a unique, unexpected and seemingly simple experience can have a truly profound impact on our lives. “

Frost noted that US TV coverage of the 2021 Paralympic Games will be significantly expanded this year. According to NBC Sports, the coverage will include a record 1,200 hours as well as the first NBC broadcasts in prime time. The matches are scheduled to take place from August 24 to September 5.

He would like those watching the events to understand that “they are rooted in a much longer history of Japan’s engagement with the Paralympic movement and decades of work by promoters, activists and athletes,” did he declare. “At the end of the day, I think it’s critical to remember that changes happen as a result of all of this work. Events themselves don’t cause change, but people do.


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