February 6th, 2013

Japan’s fashion industry protests arrest of photographer Leslie Kee over obscenity


Following the news about the arrest of Singaporean photographer Leslie Kee on Monday, the fashionistas of Japan have begun to speak out against the charges of selling a book that contained obscene pictures. The Tokyo-based artist, who has snapped pictures of a number of Japanese pop stars, as well as international celebrities like Lady Gaga and Beyonce, is facing up to two years in jail and/or fines as high as 2.5 million yen (approx. $27,000) for selling seven copies of a book at his gallery that had uncensored photos of male genitalia.

Yamamuro Kazz, a Japanese magazine editor and fashion journalist, wrote on his website that he was surprised by Kee’s arrest, questioning the police motivation as the books were only sold at the 41 year old’s gallery event, a place only really known by people who are familiar with the artist and his works. The books, which are a part of the Photographer’s Super series, and have roughly 50 pages each of pictures with nude males, were only sold to two different customers. In addition to Kee, two employees of the book’s publisher were also arrested. Officials say the book was in violation of Japan’s laws that require any pictures of male or female genitalia to be censored, which is most often done by pixellation, and frequently seen in the country’s pornography. The police apparently found out about Kee’s gallery showing and plans to sell the books from posts on his Facebook page.

Kazz continued his comments, saying that “the legal interpretation of whether genitals were exposed or not (and whether the work is obscene or not) is totally irrelevant to the intention of an artist.” With such a blanket enforcement of the censorship law, it leaves little room for artistic expressions or depictions that are not sexually explicit. For Kee to be arrested and charged for such violations would mean the works of Terry Richardson and Robert Mapplethorpe, two prominent U.S. photographers, would also have to be considered obscene.

Ai Tominaga, a popular model, posted on her Twitter account that she was “shocked for Japan,” while other social network users agreed with her sentiments, one person wrote that Kee’s arrest showed how unsophisticated a culture Japan really is. Coincidentally, Mapplethorpe was actually the subject of 2008 lawsuit that saw Japan’s top court rule that the photographer’s nude pictures were not obscene. The ruling was seen a significant victory in a nearly decade-long fight against censorship laws after a Japanese publisher had Mapplethorpe’s book seized in 1999 when returning from the U.S.

japan daily press

Cast of “Oshin” film revealed, Aya Ueto to play Oshin’s mother


On Tuesday, a press conference was held in Tokyo to announce the cast of Shin Togashi’s upcoming Oshin movie. Aya Ueto will play Oshin’s mother Fuji Tanimura, taking over the role played by Pinko Izumi in the original TV drama.

The massively successful drama originally aired on NHK almost 30 years ago, earning an average rating of 52.6% with a high of 62.9%.

While the drama spanned Oshin’s entire life during its year-long run, the film will instead focus primarily her childhood years in the early 19th century. With the harsh, yet beautiful natural surroundings of Yamagata Prefecture as a backdrop, the story revolves around a young peasant girl who perseveres through various hardships and experiences growth.

Ueto’s fellow cast members were also revealed at the event. Child actress Kokone Hamada was selected from 2,471 participants in an open audition to play young Oshin. Pinko Izumi will return to play the grandmother at Kaga-ya, a family-owned rice wholesaler. Kayoko Kishimoto will play Tsune, an employee at Nakagawa Lumber Shop. Ayako Kobayashi will play Mino, the young wife at Kaga-ya. Ryosuke Nogi will play Seitaro, proprietor of Kaga-ya. Jitsuko Yoshimura will play Naka Tanimura, Oshin’s grandmother. Shinnosuke Mitsushima will play a deserter named Shunsaku. And finally, Guts Ishimatsu will play an old charcoal maker named Matsuzou.

Filming of “Oshin” will begin in mid-February with a release planned for October.



Chinese Family Ashamed After Little Japanese Boy’s Visit

From Douban:

A little Japanese child came to our home, and embarrassed our entire family

Please patiently read until the end, because what I have to say is definitely not one of those comparisons between the living and learning capabilities of Chinese and Japanese children you often see online.

Recently my second cousin who married in Japan and her Japanese husband returned to her side of the family on a visit, bringing with them a little Japanese child, apparently the child of her Japanese husband’s relative who was very interested in China and so came along with them. My second cousin, her husband, and the Japanese child all stayed at my cousin’s home, because my cousin’s son is about the same age as the Japanese child, and they could be playmates.

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Source: ChinaSMACK, douban
Well I believe this is a good read after all the recent tension.
  • fma245

Miyano Mamoru to Perform Solo at Budokan

It was just announced that he will be having his solo concert at Nippon Budokan arena on 04 Oct 2013.

Miyano has released three studio albums and eight singles to date. His latest single, "ULTRA FLY," is the theme song for the Ultraman Retsuden television series. He has also performed themes for Inu X Boku Secret Service, Koutetsu Sangokushi, and Uta no Prince-sama - Maji Love 1000%. He currently voices Taichi Mashima is Chihayafuru 2, Takuto Tsunashi in the upcoming Star Driver the Movie, and a role in the March release of Kindaichi Case Files.

A Mamoru Miyano Live Tour 2012-2013 ~Beginning!~ DVD of this most recent tour will go on sale on June 8 — Miyano's birthday. Miyano will also hold birthday concerts at June 8 and June 9 at Chiba's Maihama Amphitheater. His ninth single, "Kanon," will go on sale on April 10.

A number of female voice actresses such as Yukari Tamura, Nana Mizuki, Maaya Sakamoto, and Yui Horie have performed in the arena.

Source: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2013-02-03/mamoru-miyano-is-1st-male-voice-actor-to-perform-solo-at-budokan

GRANRODEO has also performed at the Budokan and also the DGS duo (Hiroshi Kamiya and Ono Daisuke) is having a event in the arena this month

AKB48 singer's YouTube apology still stirring debate

A member of hugely popular Japanese all-girl group AKB48 shaved her head and issued a tearful videotaped apology on YouTube last week for violating the megagroup’s no-dating rule, sparking a national debate over whether the group’s management exerts too much control over its performers.

Pictures of Minami Minegishi in closely-cropped hair have been splashed across Japanese newspapers and triggered heated discussion on Twitter and television talk shows since last Friday. The 20-year-old made the video, posted on the group AKB48’s website, after she was caught by a gossip magazine leaving a boy’s apartment.

The group denied forcing her to cut her hair. “If you ask me whether it was necessary for her to shave her head, I would say it wasn’t,” said AKB manager Tomonobu Togasaki in a statement. “But Minegishi said she felt strongly about it.”

Others questioned whether any member of the group would have been allowed to take such a drastic step of her own accord.

“Was it a witch hunt or a marketing strategy?” asked Hideomi Tanaka, an economist and AKB fan. “If the latter, I’ve had enough of such calculated actions. What we want to see is idols, not bullying.”

Minegishi’s apparent misery prompted comments likening her head shaving to corporal punishment, which has rocked Japan since a high school basketball player committed suicide recently after being beaten up by his coach.

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“Backstabber!!!” Fan Sends Enraged Message to AKB48's Yukirin for Attending Dating Party


Whether it’s sports teams, animation or girly pop groups, when it comes to fandom, there are distinct levels of dedication. And when the hardest of hardcore fans feels betrayed by the object of their affection, they make it clear. Sometimes, they even record a video message and upload it to YouTube.

Already viewed some 50,000 times, the following video was uploaded yesterday by an enraged AKB48 fan after reading the news that 21-year-old band member Yuki Kashiwagi was allegedly present at a goukon dating party with members of Japan’s Olympic men’s soccer team.

“That’s not so scandalous, is it?” you may ask. Well, let’s find out how this young man feels about the whole affair.

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