Archive for the 'Tokyo' Category

Japanese architecture from the 19th to the 21st century

8 March, 2008


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.

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)

Until 31 March, 2008

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

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


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.)

Fabrica exhibition in Tokyo

5 February, 2008


Benetton’s advertising campaigns are always striking. It’s no surprise, then, to discover that the company’s founder, Luciano Benetton, founded an institution to nurture the creative talents of new and emerging artists: Fabrica.

Fabrica’s Les Yeux Ouverts exhibition is currently at Shiodome Italia in Tokyo, featuring a selection of the most important works from the 14 years since its inception. One of the biggest displays features a project for “Colors” magazine (see photo, above).

18 January – 2 March 2008

Shiodomeitalia Tokyo Shiodome Shio-site n.5, 2-14-1 Higashi-shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0021.

Adults: ¥700; Students: ¥500

Interview with Fabrica’s General Manager, Alfio Pozzoni, at PingMag.

Further information from Tokyo Art Beat.

Tokyo hit by snow, for once

4 February, 2008

Snow in Tokyo

East Asia is currently suffering a very harsh winter, with some parts of China seeing their heaviest snowfalls in 100 years. Even Tokyo is suffering, which is a rare event indeed.

More than 200 people were injured and one man died after yesterday’s snowfall in the Kanto region. Road and rail services were affected, although most routes were back to normal by this afternoon.

No further snow is forecast for Tokyo this week.

(Further information from AFP: “One dead, more than 200 injured in Japan snow“)