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Oki Dub Ainu Band Japan Tour 07

Kjeld Duits, Thursday, January 18, 2007 Posted: 10:02 AM JST

(by Jean Miyake Downey) - Oki and the Dub Ainu Band kick off this year's Japan tour in Kyoto on January 19 at the Metro, which describes their music as "roots music meets club sound."


100,000 Pages Declassified in Search for Japanese War Crimes Records

Kjeld Duits, Wednesday, January 17, 2007 Posted: 08:38 PM JST

The Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group (IWG) announces the availability of 100,000 pages of recently declassified records as a result of a search for files relevant to Japanese war crimes. In addition, the IWG presents a new reference book, Researching Japanese War Crimes Records: Introductory Essays and an electronic records finding aid that will help researchers locate and use the thousands of new and extant files in the National Archives related to the war in the Pacific.


Australia Bans Japanese Whalers from its Ports

Kjeld Duits, Monday, January 15, 2007 Posted: 07:13 PM JST

AFP reports that Japanese whaling ships on their annual hunt in the Antarctic are banned from docking in Australia and should use restraint in looming clashes with protesters, Canberra has said. A fleet of six Japanese whalers plans to kill nearly 1,000 whales in the name of scientific research, while activists from Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd conservation groups have threatened to try and stop them.

Australia's Environment Minister Ian Campbell told national radio he was strongly opposed to whaling and the Japanese fleet operating in the Southern Ocean would not be allowed to enter Australian ports. "They can only do that with my permission and I will not grant permission to Japanese whaling vessels or support vessels to use Australian ports," he said. "They are banned from Australian ports as long as I'm the minister."

Keywords: national_news

The Famed Tokaido Today

Kjeld Duits, Monday, January 15, 2007 Posted: 07:02 PM JST

Dutch photographer Guus Rijven has published a photography book on the historical Tokaido route as it looks today. The Tokaido or Great Coastal Route is the oldest and most well known road in Japan. It linked East to West, emperor to general, and spiritual leader to worldly ruler. Men in power realized the significance of the route thoroughly. The supervisor of the Tokaido supervised the whole country at the same time. Thatís why 53 stations or halting-places were officially established along the five hundred kilometers between Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto.


Interactive Art Project in Kyoto

Kjeld Duits, Monday, January 15, 2007 Posted: 05:59 PM JST

Kyoto-based photographer/designer/artist Markuz Wernli interacted with the citizens of Kyoto last Autumn with his Momentarium Project. For 59 days, Wernli offered one-hour "public interventions" with the theme "at your service". He would for example perform a tea ceremony on a busy sidewalk in the center of Kyoto, or stick thank you notes for garbage collectors on trash bags (what a nice thing to do!). His very human and fun project has been summarized on a small video clip (click on "FULL STORY" to watch it) on which Wernli himself explains what and why he did. FUN!


How Much do You Make?

Kjeld Duits, Monday, January 15, 2007 Posted: 04:25 PM JST

In December 2006, Nippon Keidanren (the Japan Business Federation) published the results of a survey on regular wages in June 2006, showing wage levels of "standard" employed workers who joined their companies immediately after graduation from school and have stayed with the same companies since.


Lifetime Employment is Back in Vogue

Kjeld Duits, Monday, January 15, 2007 Posted: 04:22 PM JST

A survey by the Japan Productivity Center for Socio-Economic Development entitled "Survey on Views of Newly Employed Employees in Fiscal Year 2006" shows that some 30 percent of the new employees surveyed, the highest proportion in the last ten years, said that they would like to work for their current company for the rest of life. The figure was 14.2 percent in 1998.


Veteran Politician Reports no Progress in North Korea

Kjeld Duits, Monday, January 15, 2007 Posted: 02:43 PM JST

Veteran politician Taku Yamasaki, former vice president of the LDP, returned home empty-handed from a surprise trip to North Korea on Saturday. The highly criticized visit was against the wishes of Prime Minister Abe, but the 70-year-old Yamasaki claimed it was necessary to have "dialogue" with North Korea. Japan-North Korea relations are currently deadlocked over Pyongyang's nuclear test and the return of abducted Japanese nationals.


Books about Early Japanese Photography

Kjeld Duits, Monday, January 15, 2007 Posted: 02:18 PM JST

Buying vintage photographs of Japan is an expensive and time-consuming enterprise. Luckily there are several excellent books available with collections of these beautiful images. Hereby a list of the very best books about early Japanese photography:


Cool Sites : Old Japan

Kjeld Duits, Monday, January 15, 2007 Posted: 01:45 PM JST

Compared with Europe, there is surprisingly little left of pre-war Japanese architecture. It is very hard to imagine what Japan looked like a hundred years ago, let lone several hundred years ago. Luckily, there are many photographic images of old Japan. Some remain in their original form, others only exist as vintage postcards. Here is a list of some sites with collections of such photography:

Japanese Old Photographs
Online database of old photos from the collection of Nagasaki University Library. Mainly taken from the 1860s to the 1890s and colored by professional painters. Recommended! (ENG JPN)

101 Views of old Nagasaki
101 Views of old Nagasaki (ca 1910s) from old hand tinted postcards. (ENG)

NYPL: Japan
Digital archive of documents and photographs at The New York Public Library. Lots of images of people, but also a large number of views of cities, villages and landscapes. Recommended! (ENG)

Old Tokyo
An introduction to Meiji, Taisho and early Showa Tokyo (roughly early 1900s), using vintage postcards. A gem of a site, bringing the old capital back to live in a wonderful manner. (ENG)

Old Japan
UK-based company buying and selling 19th Century photographs of Japan, China and Korea. Site features a large database of images. (ENG)

Dealer of antique albumen photographs. Has a very impressive selection of Japanese photographs. Highly recommended! (ENG)

Kyoto Kitayama Archives
Large collection of old photographs and maps of Kyoto in the archives of Kyoto Prefectural Library. The site is difficult to get used to if you don't read Japanese, but it is worth the investment. (JPN)

Summer in Japan, A
Stereoviews of Japan ca 1877 by photographer William Henry Metcalf. (ENG)

History of Japan from 1800, The
A few photographs of Japan from the Meiji Period on the site of the Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University. (ENG)

Photographic Views of Meiji
Brief, but educational, introduction to photography of the Meiji Period by Richard Gadd is the Director of the The Monterey Museum of Art. (ENG)

Old Japanese Postcards
Black and white or hand coloured postcards from approx. 1900 to 1920 from the collection of Anker Nielsen. Site design is very dated, but the postcards are beautiful. (ENG)

Furu Ehagaki Sanpo
The name of the site says it all: a stroll with old postcards. Japan of the early 20th century as recorded by photographers who sold their work as beautiful hand-tinted postcards. (JPN)

Lost Hotels of Japan, The
A beautiful collection of postcards of early 20th century Western style hotels in Japan. None of these exist anymore, so these postcards and this site are a quiet testament. (JPN)

Scenic Mementos of Japan
Images, mainly from before the invention of the photograph, of scenes from the 17th to the beginning of the 20th century Japan are digitized and linked together by region, period, and selected topics. Mostly woodblock prints showing a Japan that has long vanished. (ENG JPN)

Old Photographs
Hundreds of links to sites with vintage photographs. (JPN)

Find more sites related to Japan at Japan Links. Special section for historical documents of Japan. Also search for "photographs" and "postcards".

Keywords: cool_sites

North Korea Prepares for New Nuclear Test - Experts

Kjeld Duits, Friday, January 12, 2007 Posted: 04:59 PM JST

Experts at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies of the Monterey Institute of International Studies warn that North Korea is preparing for a new nuclear test.


Seditious Beauty

Kjeld Duits, Friday, January 12, 2007 Posted: 11:29 AM JST

Japanese woodblock prints, now considered a highly regarded art, for a long time played a very diferent role in Japanese life. They commented and influenced, inspired and educated. Some prints were even banned, while some artists and publishers were arrested and spent time in jail. In this essay on his website, reprinted here with his permission, Tokyo-based ukiyoe artist David Bull talks about the important role of the Japanese woodblock print:


Vintage Postcards

Kjeld Duits, Friday, January 12, 2007 Posted: 10:41 AM JST

Vintage postcards of Japan are becoming increasingly popular in this country. There is even a flow back to Japan of such cards from foreign countries. Here is a list of shops selling vintage postcards. If you know others, tell me!


Japanese Woodblock Prints

Kjeld Duits, Friday, January 12, 2007 Posted: 09:17 AM JST

Ukiyo-e, Japanese Woodblock Prints, are a delight to look at. You'd expect to see them anywhere in their country of origin. But if you don't know where to look, they are amazingly difficult to find. Here is a short list for the art-lovers among us. Most of the comments are by ukiyo-e artist David Bull.


Ainu Folk Tales in English

Kjeld Duits, Sunday, January 7, 2007 Posted: 02:29 PM JST

Although Japanese politicians often like to promote Japan as a "homogeneous" nation. The truth is quite different. Japan is home to quite a few minority groups, some of them racial, others social. One of the groups that has suffered most from the homogeneous myth is the Ainu, a race of people indigenous to northern Japan. Since 1999, a team of people from a variety of nations and professions has been working to give the rich Ainu culture the attention it so rightly deserves. Under the moniker of U-e-peker they have been making Ainu folk-tales available in English.


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The now legendary Sir Ernest Mason Satow (1843-1929) was a member of the British legation in Tokyo for twenty-one years. This classic book is based on the author's detailed diary, personal encounters, and keen memory. In it, Satow records the history of the critical years of social and political upheaval that accompanied Japan's first encounters with the West around the time of the Meiji Restoration. Fascinating.
Stone Bridge Press

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