NIKKOR Motion Gallery




ロボットはかわいいです! Meet Japan’s Robear: Strength of a Robot, Face of a Bear


Meet Japan’s Robear

The Art of Japanese Woodblock: Upcoming Katsushika MFA Boston Exhibition


The art of Japanese woodblock master Katsushika Hokusai will flood the MFA Boston from April 5 through August 9, in possibly one of the largest shows of his work ever mounted in the U.S. The exhibition will be comprised of 200 works from its collection, spanning the artist’s 70-year career.

Imagery from Hokusai’s ukiyo-e woodblock prints and paintings have become iconic all over the world, and the MFA Boston happens to have the largest collection of Japanese art outside of Japan. Prints such as Under the Waves Off Kanagawa and Phoenix will be presented alongside lesser-known pieces, such as painted lanterns and delicate cut-out dioramas.

Three Women Playing Musical Instruments, (1818-44). (Photo: MFA Boston)

Three Women Playing Musical Instruments, (1818-44). (Photo: MFA Boston)

Museum-goers will be given a rare chance to see a textile work by the artist: a piece of silk square (called a faukusa in Japanese) that prominently features a mythological Chinese lion. The piece would most likely have been used as a gift wrapper in the 19th century. Read the rest of this entry »

Honest Tokyo: 3.3 Billion Yen of Lost Cash Handed in to Police in 2014 Alone

Originally posted on RocketNews24:

yen 1

Imagine this. You’re at a fireworks festival with almost one million people in attendance. Everyone is scrambling for a place to sit and stampeding for the exit when it’s over. In between standing in line for a tasty treat and being dazzled by the fireworks spectacle, you realize something terrible. You’ve lost your wallet. Now what?

In Japan, you just go to the nearest police box, or koban! In 2014 alone, a stunning amount of cash and lost possessions was turned into police stations around Tokyo. In cash alone, over 3.3 billion yen was turned in. That’s a whopping US$27.8 million picked up and taken to the authorities. Could that happen anywhere else in the world?

View original 359 more words

[VIDEO] 人間かと思った! Wonder Festival: Meet Asuna, the Hyperreal Android

Wonder Festival is a semiannual Japanese convention dedicated to model and figure-building which attracts all manner of pros, amateurs, and cosplayers from across the country(read more)


人間かと思った! 日本企業が作った美少女アンドロイド「ASUNA」ちゃんがリアルすぎる

In Japan, Man’s Best Friend is Actually a Robot

Woodblock Print: Torii Kiyoshige

RISDM 20-1074

Torii Kiyoshige

Japanese, fl. 1720s-1760s

Nishinomiya Shinroku, publisher

Otani Hiroji II (Nidai Otani Hiroji),

Collected nicknames of the floating world, 1750s-1760s
Polychrome woodblock print/RISD Museum

Japan Successfully Launches New Spy Satellite

Japan successfully completed the launch of a radar reconnaissance satellite on Sunday morning, the Kyodo news agency reports. The launch was performed from the Tanegashima Space Center in the Kagoshima Prefecture in the south of Japan at 10:21 local time (01:30 GMT). The satellite was taken into orbit by the H-2A (H-IIA) carrier rocket.japan-h2-palms-day-lg

This is the fifth spy satellite that Japan has launched into the  Earth’s orbit. It will allow to capture objects on the surface of the Earth at high resolution during nighttime and through clouds. The other four Japanese satellites that are orbiting the Earth include two optical imaging spacecraft and two radar imagers.

Japan plans to launch another reconnaissance satellite in March, as part of the Information Gathering Satellite (IGS) series. The IGS program was initiated after North Korea attempted to launch a satellite in August 1998. The rocket carrying the satellite overflew Japan and fell into the Pacific Ocean.

Source: Sputnik News


Vintage Japanese Ad: Yamaha Keyboard


[AUDIO] Japanese Opera Singer Records 信じられない Cover of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’


TeamYellow & RocketNews 24 deliver this gem:

While we don’t usually think about successful opera singers breaking into the rock music industry, there’s one man out there to prove that classically trained performers can, in fact, appreciate decidedly more “modern-sounding” music.

Japanese operatic tenor Ken Nishikiori (錦織 健) is one of the most prolific opera singers to come out of Japan. But recently the 55-year-old has been making waves on the net not for his sweeping operatic vocals, but for his astounding cover of British rock band Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody!”

As part of my father’s mandatory musical education while growing up, I was always surrounded by a host of classic rock bands (the Kinks in particular). Although Queen wasn’t one of his personal choices, even I can recognize some of the band’s biggest hits, such as the 51D4gS98m+L._SL250_hugely influential “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

[Check out the CD “Ken Nishikiori Tenor Recital LIVE” at Amazon]

The song was originally written by Freddie Mercury for the band’s 1975 album A Night at the Opera. Notably, it features an approximately one-minute-long “operatic” segment within the song, right after the guitar solo. The effect of this choir-like vocal multi-tracking was achieved by having Mercury and the other band members record their voices for up to ten to twelve hours per day, for a grand total of 180 separate overdubs.

▼”Bohemian Rhapsody,” aka “179 dubs too many”


Enter Ken Nishikiori. The Shimane Prefecture native graduated from the Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo and is today celebrated as a successful operatic tenor in his home country. In his spare time, he also participates in another ongoing gig in the form of a rock band that was originally formed during his school days–the Shimane Ken Band ( シマネ健バンド).


Nishikiori has a chance to shine as a rock vocalist through this separate outlet, while at the same time pay tribute to Queen, one of his own personal favorite bands. The band has so far released two CDs, one in October 2010 and the other in May of 2011, both of which exclusively contain Queen cover tracks.


Shimane Ken Band’s Seven Songs of Queen, also known as Kagayakeru nanatsu no uta (輝ける7つの歌) in Japanese. Read the rest of this entry »

Billiken Godzilla: Model Kit Box Art


Billiken Godzilla, 1954 (Model Kit Box Art)

[VIDEO] ISIS Threatens Obama, Japanese and Jordanian Hostages in New Online Messages

Will Ripley reports that a new ISIS video has surfaced and includes a threat to kill Japanese hostage Kenji Goto and a Jordanian pilot in the next 24 hours

Hammer Cocked: Satellite Photos Reveal China Military Buildup on Island Near Senkakus


 reports: Recent satellite photos of an island off the coast of China confirm Beijing’s buildup of military forces within attack range of Japan’s Senkaku islands.

“If you want to rate the level of tension, this is the PLA reaching for its holster. When forces start deploying to Nanji Island, that means the hammer is cocked.”

– Rick Fisher, a senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center

Construction of a helicopter base on Nanji Island was observed by a commercial spy satellite in October. The island is off the coast of Zhejiang province—some 186 miles northwest of the Senkakus, a group of resource-rich islets China calls the Diaoyu Islands.

The imagery, obtained from the Airbus Defense and Space-owned Pleaides satellite, reveals China is constructing an airfield with 10 landing pads for helicopters on Nanji Island.

The Pléiades system was designed under the French-Italian ORFEO program (Optical & Radar Federated Earth Observation) between 2001 and 2003

The Pléiades system was designed under the French-Italian ORFEO program (Optical & Radar Federated Earth Observation) between 2001 and 2003

Military analysts said the new military base appears to be preparation by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army for an attack or seizure of the Senkakus.

“China’s new heli-base on Nanji Island demonstrates that the PLA is preparing for an offensive military operation against the Senkaku/Daiyoutai Islands,” said Rick Fisher, a senior fellow with the International Assessment and Strategy Center.

“If you want to rate the level of tension, this is the PLA reaching for its holster. When forces start deploying to Nanji Island, that means the hammer is cocked.”

© CNES (2014), Distribution Airbus DS / Spot Image / IHS

© CNES (2014), Distribution Airbus DS / Spot Image / IHS

The military buildup on Nanji was first disclosed by Japan’s Kyodo News Service last month. Kyodo, quoting Chinese sources, said a landing strip was being built.

However, the satellite photos, reported last week by IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, a trade publication, did not indicate construction of an airstrip, only helicopter landing pads. The helicopter pads are an indication that China plans to use the base for transporting troops and forces by helicopter and not for longer-range air transports or fighter jets.

China has been engaged in a tense confrontation with Japan over the Senkakus since 2012, when Tokyo, in a bid to clarify the status of the uninhabited islands, purchased three of the islands from private owners in a bid to prevent Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara from buying them.

Since then, Chinese ships and warplanes, as well as unmanned surveillance drones, have been flying close to the islands, prompting numerous Japanese maritime and aerial intercepts.

Jane’s reported the helicopter base construction is new. The construction is not visible in photos taken earlier than October 2013.

Google Earth screenshot

Google Earth screenshot

Wind turbines also are visible additions to the island that are located on a ridge on the southeast part of the island. Radar and communications equipment also is visible.

China’s Defense Ministry did not dispute the military buildup on Nanji. Read the rest of this entry »

[VIDEO] How to Drink with Japanese People

MOVIE LIFE KYOTO is a video series which aims to introduce Japanese culture to foreigners in a light-hearted and humorous fashion. With English narration and Japanese subtitles, they’re filled with little factoids and hilariously on-point observations that will be of interest to foreign visitors and a source of much ‘that’s so true!’ amusement for Japanese people, too…(read more)


Japanese Government Working to Verify Islamic State Beheading Video


TOKYO, Jan. 24 (UPI) — Japanese leaders are meeting to determine the authenticity of a video that purportedly shows Islamic State hostage Kenji Goto holding a photo of fellow hostage Haruna Yukawa after being beheaded.

“I am Kenji Goto Jogo. You have seen the photo of my cellmate Haruna slaughtered in the land of the Islamic Caliphate. You were warned. You were given a deadline and so my captives acted upon their words.”

– Islamic State hostage Kenji Goto

The video shows a still image of Goto, a Japanese freelance journalist, holding the photo and a man’s voice claiming to be Goto blaming Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the death. The man said the IS no longer wants a $200 million ransom, but instead the release of Sajedah Rishawi, an alleged suicide bomber who is believed to have participated in a 2005 attack in Jordan.


“I am Kenji Goto Jogo,” Goto said. “You have seen the photo of my cellmate Haruna slaughtered in the land of the Islamic Caliphate. You were warned. You were given a deadline and so my captives acted upon their words.” Read the rest of this entry »

Did Japan Botch ISIS Hostage Deal?


The country’s ISIS hostage crisis is a tragedy—one that its government helped to create. Is the Abe administration more concerned with saving face than saving lives?

TOKYO — Jake Adelstein writes: ISIS says it will kill two Japanese hostages if the Japanese government fails to pay a $200 million ransom  by 12:50 a.m. ET Friday. But The Daily Beast has learned that the current crisis might have been averted last year if the Japanese government had not interfered in negotiations to save the first hostage captured by the terrorist group. Indeed, even now Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration seems more interested in saving face than saving lives.ISIS, which has already executed thousands of Iraqis and Syrians, as well as international aid workers and reporters, captured Haruna Yukawa, the founder of a private security company, in northern Syria in August 2014. The next month, the group asked Japanese journalist Kosuke Tsuneoka to mediate the trial it was planning to stage against Yukawa, 42, whom it suspected of being a spy.japanese-hostages

Tsuneoka, who was held hostage in 2010 in Afghanistan and is one of the few Japanese journalists with a pipeline to ISIS, told The Daily Beast last year that the group invited him and Japanese Muslim scholar Hassan Ko Nakata to follow the trial as an Arabic translator.

“There has been some speculation in Japan that the government’s inaction leading up to the release of the hostage video was an attempt to deepen the country’s involvement in the fight against ISIS and justify its remilitarization. Since last year, Abe and his Cabinet have been pushing for a reinterpretation of Japan’s pacifist constitution under the guise of ‘collective self-defense’ that would allow Japan to go to war with its allies…”

But Tsuneoka said he and Nakata were not allowed to travel to Syria to try to negotiate Yukawa’s release after the police raided their homes on October 6, a day before their planned departure, and seized their passports. Tsuneoka was detained for questioning for 24 hours but was not arrested.


“…They also have announced intentions to abolish Article 9, the Japanese constitutional clause that forsakes warfare. These moves have met with widespread opposition among the Japanese but have been downplayed in Japan’s increasingly compliant media.”

Police sources said the raid stemmed from an ongoing police investigation into Tsuneoka’s involvement with a student who may have been attempting to join ISIS. Tsuneoka and the student are under suspicion of violating the rarely enforced Article 93 of Japan’s criminal code, which prohibits “preparing or plotting to wage war privately upon a foreign state”; if arrested, tried, and convicted, the two could face up to five years in prison. Tsuneoka has denied the allegations, though he acknowledges buying an airplane ticket for the student, who had no credit card.

“Now a backlash against the government’s handling of the crisis is growing, with thousands of people tweeting, with some sarcasm, that the prime minister should give himself up to ISIS in exchange for Goto.”

The day after the raid, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters that Japan would take measures to “curb extremists.” Japanese nationals would be barred from traveling to Syria, Iraq, or other countries in pursuit of terrorist acts and from offering financial resources to terrorists and extremist groups, in line with domestic law. Read the rest of this entry »

[VIDEO] What Happens When You Scratch a Capybara’s Back? カピバラを連続ヘブン状態に


Enjoy scratching with many capybaras. (Very relaxing to watch)


Good News from Japan: ‘We’re not killing ourselves as much as we were a few years ago’



Real Time Japan – WSJ



ご挨拶、人間!Customers at Some Banks in Tokyo Will Soon be Greeted by a Robot


[POSTER] Japan: ‘Touch of Evil’



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