Archive for March, 2008

Japanese architecture from the 19th to the 21st century

8 March, 2008

Model

Tokyo is not renowned for its preservation of old buildings, in fact finding any over fifty years old is something of a minor miracle. Thankfully, the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum’s current exhibition – Rememberance of Places Past – is a wonderful collection of photographs of Japanese architecture from the 19th century to the present day, and provides a wonderful insight into how Tokyo has changed over the past hundred years.

Venue
Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum
21-9, Shirokanedai 5-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0071
Click here for a map of the local area

Nearest station
Tokyo Metro Shirokanedai (6 mins) or JR Meguro (7 mins)

Date
Until 31 March, 2008

Admission
10.00am to 6.00pm daily
Adults ¥200, Students ¥160

You can visit the official web page here (Japanese only, I’m afraid)

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Obama, Japan, cheers on Obama, the man

7 March, 2008

Despite Barack Obama’s recent setback in the Democratic race, the people of Obama continue to provide him with their unwavering support, as this news report shows:

See also: “Japanese town goes Obama-crazy

Right-wing activist commits suicide in front of Japanese parliament

5 March, 2008

 Imperial Japanese WWII-era propaganda poster

A suspected right-wing activist arrived at the Japanese parliament building by taxi, got out and shot himself this morning, in an apparent protest against Japan’s warming ties with China.

Police discovered two letters on the dead man’s body: one addressed to Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and one to the Japanese media.

Fukuda is known for his willingness to forge stronger links with near-neighbour China, and his refusal to visit Yasukuni, a shrine dedicated to Japan’s war dead. Prime Ministerial visits to Yasukuni are a particularly sensitive issue for Chinese and Koreans, as 12 convicted World War II class A war criminals are enshrined there.

For the right-wing nationalists (uyoku), Yasukuni remains a rallying point and symbol of Japan’s imperial past, despite former Emperor Hirohito’s to visit the shrine from 1978 until his death because of the enshrinement of war criminals. The current Emperor, Akihito, has never visited Yasukuni.

(See Wikipedia’s pages on Yasukuni Shrine and  Japanese nationalism for history and background information to supplement this story.)

Japan looks to developing countries for whaling support

4 March, 2008

Whale of a time

With most of the developed world clearly set against Japan’s continuing whaling escapades, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs flew delegates from twelve developing countries to Tokyo on Monday for a seminar in the hope that they may join the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and increase support for the resumption of “sustainable” whaling.

Unsurprisingly, Greenpeace was not in the least bit pleased:

“[This meeting] is a clear signal that Japan’s only concern is to roll back decades of protection for whales and resume commercial whaling.”
-Rob Nicoll, whales campaigner for Greenpeace Australia and the Pacific

Full story from BBC News Online: “Japan seeks new allies on whaling