New Theater Provides Immersive Experience

New theater provides immersive experienceIHI Stage Around Tokyo in Toyosu, Tokyo, is only the second theater in the world with a revolving seating area. It opened in late March with a popular play by the Gekidan Shinkansen theater company, and I took in a show to see what all the fuss was about.

The seating in the auditorium began moving as soon as the performance started. The action-packed period fantasy, "Dokurojo no Shichinin: Season Hana," is a new version of "Dokurojo no Shichinin" (Seven Souls In The Skull Castle), depicting a pair of wandering samurai (played by Shun Oguri and Koji Yamamoto) who set out to fight against the tyrannical lord of Dokurojo, a fictitious castle in the Kanto region during the Sengoku warring states period in the 16th century.

Kanta On Manga / Weird Science Manga Highlights 'umwelt'

KANTA ON MANGA / Weird science manga highlights 'Umwelt'

Rapid progress is being made in the field of genome editing, an advanced type of genetic engineering that involves directly rewriting genes. A technology called CRISPR-Cas9, which was introduced in 2012, is said to be able to edit gene information as simply as carrying out a cut and paste command on a computer, and there are hopes that the technology could lead to cures for hereditary diseases.

At the same time, some have said the ability to freely modify the genes of fertilized eggs is moving us closer to creating "designer babies." This week’s manga, "Designs," presents a world in the not-too-distant future where genetic technology has advanced even further and with more sinister results.

Japanese Pays Record $110 Mil. For Artist Basquiat Work At Auction

Japanese pays record $110 mil. for artist Basquiat work at auction

A Japanese fashion entrepreneur bought at a New York auction a skull painting by the late U.S. artist Jean-Michel Basquiat for around $110.5 million, marking the highest price ever paid at auction for a work by an American artist, according to auctioneer Sotheby's.


Early-onset Dementia Patients Tackle Symptoms Through 'clinical Art'

Early-onset dementia patients tackle symptoms through 'clinical art'

Early-onset dementia patients are facing their symptoms head-on through a "clinical art" program to stimulate their brains at the Nagisa Warakuen facility for the elderly in Tokyo's Edogawa Ward.

"Ashitaba Art" is a monthly program that the facility began holding roughly two years ago that challenges dementia patients who began developing symptoms before the age of 65 to maintain their current mental functions through creating works of art.

Novelty Shopping Meets Vital Regional Branding At Japan's Antenna Shops

Novelty shopping meets vital regional branding at Japan's antenna shops

‘Antenna shop’ might have the sound of an establishment selling electrical parts mysteriously absent of any labels, however here in Japan they are anything but.  On these shores the antenna shop has grown to become a permanent and prominent arm of regional marketing strategy.  Any prefecture or town in Japan with ambitions of becoming a default destination for the tourist and the investor will, by now, have in place an outpost through which they can offer, at a distance, the consumer a sample of their region’s boasts.  Usually in the form of food.  The shelves of antenna shops are well stocked with preserves and pickles, requisite souvenir snacks, novelty ready-meals, and cuts of meat not to be found outside of a posh supermarket.  

To the consumer, this may all sound like pleasant novelty.  And it is.  These stores are typically not a part of the daily shop.  For the region they represent, however, they are a lifeline of sorts.  

The Art Of The Used-car Deal In Japan: A Pretender's Guide

The art of the used-car deal in Japan: A pretender's guide

Key vocab:  中古車 / chukosha - used car.

Let’s be clear from the get go; this expat is knows as much about cars as Jeremy Clarkson knows about when to hold his tongue.  To this effect, consider what follows very much a layman’s experience of the used-car market and purchasing procedures in Japan.

Part Of Hiroshima A-bomb Museum Reopens, Full Renovation Eyed Next Yr

Part of Hiroshima A-bomb museum reopens, full renovation eyed next yr

The east building of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum reopened Wednesday following completion of renovations, with a new multimedia display showing images of the western Japan city before and after the U.S. bombing in 1945.

The museum said its main building will be closed Wednesday for quake-resistance works, with the aim of reopening in July 2018.

Mansai's Art Marks Setagaya Theater's 2 Decades

Mansai's art marks Setagaya theater's 2 decades

The Setagaya Public Theatre in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month as a pioneering venue for plays and dance performances with distinctive characteristics.

To commemorate the occasion, the theater started the month with the kyogen play "Tojin Zumo." Performers include professional kyogen actors such as Nomura Mansaku and Nomura Mansai, the artistic director of the theater, as well as people selected from the general public. A noh stage was built inside the venue for the program.

Court Rejects Appeals In Obscenity Case Over 'vagina Art'

Court rejects appeals in obscenity case over 'vagina art'

The Tokyo High Court on April 13 upheld a ruling that dismissed an obscenity charge related to "vagina art" but found the artist guilty of distributing obscene material.

Both prosecutors and the defendant, manga artist Megumi Igarashi, had appealed the district court ruling.

Sigma Announces 14mm F1.8, 24-70mm F2.8 And 135mm F1.8 Art Lenses

Sigma announces 14mm F1.8, 24-70mm F2.8 and 135mm F1.8 Art lensesSigma has released a trio of its high-end 'Art' lenses: two primes and one zoom. All three are designed for full-frame Canon, Nikon and Sigma bodies.
The first is the ultra-wide 14mm F1.8 DG HSM, which Sigma claims is the 'world's first and only F1.8 ultra-wide-angle lens.' The lens has 16 elements, three of which are FLD (low dispersion) and four are SLD (super-low-dispersion).

Miffy Creator Dick Bruna Fondly Remembered As Japanophile

Miffy creator Dick Bruna fondly remembered as JapanophileThe life and work of Dutch illustrator and author Dick Bruna, who passed away on Feb. 16, will no doubt be cherished in many different ways -- with the main one probably being his cartoon creation "Miffy."
However, it is also worth remembering that the man behind the globally renowned cartoon rabbit was a passionate Japanophile with a deep interest in the country's culture and current affairs.