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[VIDEO] Trump Looks to Strengthen U.S. Trade Ties with Japan

Boston Herald Columnist, Adriana Cohen, former Bush senior campaign advisor, Mark Serrano, and Club for Growth president, David McIntosh on President Trump’s trade policies and his desire to put America first.

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Note: the above image is from Japanese social media. Original source unknown. But very typical of popular ‘kawaii’ image editing apps. See more of our Japan coverage here.

 

 

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Japan, U.S. Affirm Senkakus Defense Under Article 5 

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WASHINGTON — Yujiro Okabe reports: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House on Friday afternoon (early Saturday JST) before they held a press conference together.

Regarding the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, Abe said during the press conference, “We have affirmed that they are within the scope of Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty,” which obliges U.S. forces to defend Japan.

Trump stressed, “We are committed to the security of Japan.”

Abe also revealed that they have agreed to start holding a dialogue headed by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso and Vice President Mike Pence, aiming to expand trade and investment between the two countries. Read the rest of this entry »


Go Fast With Super Oil!

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[VIDEO] Tokyo Girls

This feature documentary is a candid journey into the world of 4 young Canadian women who work as well-paid hostesses in exclusive Japanese nightclubs. Lured by adventure and easy money, these modern-day geisha find themselves caught up in the mizu shobai – the complex “floating water world” of Tokyo clubs and bars.

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Drawn by fast money, some women become consumed by the lavish lifestyle and forget why they came. One hostess calls it “losing the plot.” With a pulsating visual style, Tokyo Girls captures the raw energy of urban Japan and its fascination with the new. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Americans Gather Near U.S. Embassy in Tokyo to Protest Trump’s Travel Ban 日本のアメリカ大使館前で入国制限令に対するデモ

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TOKYO –  reports: A group of demonstrators gathered Tuesday morning near the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo to protest President Donald Trump’s executive order suspending the entry of refugees and restricting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Roughly 50 people, mainly Americans living in Japan, gathered near the embassy in Minato Ward at around 8 a.m. They held signs with slogans like “Build bridges, not walls,” “No Muslim ban” and “Immigrants make America great.”

“We will protest in solidarity with these individuals, including refugees from war-torn nations, as we stand against this unlawful, immoral and unjust action,” the organizers said in a Monday news release.

“We urge the Trump administration to cancel this executive order and to obey federal court orders against its implementation, and we ask all elected officials and world leaders to speak out against this despicable act,” it said.

Organizer Jesse Glickstein, an American lawyer living in Japan, said the demonstration was part of the global backlash against the immigration clampdown. Protests flared up around the world soon after the policy was implemented last Friday, which is also International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Glickstein, who is Jewish, said his grandparents immigrated to the U.S. after surviving the Holocaust.

“This, to me, is possibly the most offensive thing a president can do,” Glickstein said before the protest began.

“I think this is important so that the Japanese people understand that the majority of Americans are not in agreement with this,” he said. “We welcome refugees, we welcome diversity, and this administration honestly is basically … waging war on this concept.”

Protester Alexander Gonzalez said he rejects the policy because it targets specific citizens. Read the rest of this entry »


Chinese Spy Ship Enters Japan’s Territorial Waters for Second Time Since End of WWII 

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In an aggressive move, a Chinese naval reconnaissance vessel enters waters near Kuchinoerabu Island off Kagoshima Prefecture.

 reports: A Chinese navy reconnaissance vessel entered Japanese territorial waters near Kuchinoerabu Island off Kagoshima Prefecture early Wednesday morning — the first time since 2004 that a Chinese military ship has done so.

Wednesday’s incursion comes just under a week after a Chinese naval frigate entered the contiguous zone just outside Japan’s territorial waters near the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

According to the Defense Ministry, a Maritime Self Defense Force P-3C patrol aircraft spotted the Chinese spy ship sailing into Japanese waters west of Kuchinoerabu at around 3:30 a.m.

The ministry said it warned the Chinese ship to exit the territorial waters — generally defined under international law as within 12 nautical miles (22 km) of a nation’s land border — prompting it to leave the waters south of Yakushima Island, sailing southeast, at around 5 a.m.

Wednesday’s incursion was the second time since the end of World War II that a Chinese military ship entered Japanese waters. The last time was in 2004, when a Chinese submarine was detected in the territorial waters near Ishigaki Island in Okinawa Prefecture. In response, Yoshinori Ono, the Defense Agency’s director general at the time, ordered the MSDF to boost its maritime security measures.

Such an order was not issued this time as the Chinese ship left before the Defense Ministry could determine if the passage involved any malicious intent, the ministry said.

U.S. Navy leadership and senior officers from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (Navy) meet for lunch aboard the Chinese destroyer Harbin (DDG 112) marking the conclusion of a U.S.-China counter piracy exercise between Harbin and the guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87). Mason is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Gary M. Keen/Released)

International law allows all ships, regardless of their country of registration, to pass through another country’s territorial waters so long as they do not endanger the peace and security of the coastal state.

While Beijing’s intentions remain unclear, Defense Minister Gen Nakatani said that the Chinese ship entered the waters after following two Indian ships participating in the trilateral Malabar drills. Japan, the U.S. and India have been conducting those exercises in the waters east of Okinawa, near the Senkakus, since last Friday.

[Read the full story here, at The Japan Times]

The Chinese ship also shadowed the U.S. aircraft carrier John C. Stennis, which was participating in the joint exercise, Reuters reported, citing a Japanese official.

The intrusion by the Chinese navy comes just six days after a Chinese Navy frigate entered the contiguous waters near the Japanese-administered Senkakus, which are also claimed by China and Taiwan, where they are known as the Diaoyu and Tiaoyutai, respectively.

While the Senkakus are uninhabited, Kuchinoerabu Island has a population of 123 as of the end of last month. It is a popular tourist destination and a part of Yakushima National Park. Read the rest of this entry »


Shinzo Abe, James Mattis Reaffirm U.S. Commitment on Senkakus

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Visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis clearly said during talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday afternoon that the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture are within the scope of Article 5 of the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, which obliges the United States to defend Japan, according to a senior government official who attended the meeting.

At the opening of the meeting, Abe said he hopes and is certain the two countries “can demonstrate in our country and abroad that the Japan-U.S. alliance is unshakable.” In response, Mattis said that he intended to make clear during the meeting that Article 5 of the security treaty will be important five years or 10 years from now, just as it was a year ago or five years ago.

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Mattis arrived in Tokyo on the day to hold talks with the prime minister, Defense Minister Tomomi Inada and other members of Abe’s Cabinet to exchange views on the security environment in East Asia and to address mutual security concerns. The new U.S. defense chief’s visit to Japan marks the first by a U.S. Cabinet member under the administration of President Donald Trump. The ministerial meeting with Inada is scheduled for Saturday, after which they will hold a joint press conference.

During these talks, the two sides are also expected to confirm that the United States will firmly uphold the “nuclear umbrella” (see below) over Japan in its defense.

During his presidential election campaign last year, Trump was ambiguous about defending the Senkakus and also suggested that if Japan doesn’t contribute its due share to shouldering the burden of stationing U.S. forces in Japan, it would be acceptable for Japan to possess its own nuclear weapons to confront North Korea’s nuclear threat. These remarks caused apprehension on the Japanese side.

Read the rest of this entry »


Shinzo Abe to Propose Plan for Creating 700,000 U.S. Jobs

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe intends to propose during a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump on Feb. 10 a bilateral economic cooperation plan, including the creation of a $450 billion (¥51 trillion) market through railways and other infrastructure investments in the United States to generate 700,000 jobs, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

Trump has recently been stepping up criticism against the Japanese car market and the depreciation of the yen. Given the circumstances, Abe plans to emphasize during the upcoming talks that the bilateral cooperation will be of great advantage to the U.S. economy.

A draft for the Japan-U.S. economic cooperation plan sets forth bilateral cooperation in five fields as the “Japan-U.S. growth and employment initiative.” The five fields are: development of the world’s most advanced infrastructure in the United States; drawing on demand for infrastructure around the world; research and development of robots and artificial intelligence; collaboration in new areas such as cyber and space; and cooperation in employment and defense.

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The envisioned infrastructure development in the United States includes high-speed railway projects in the northeastern part of the country, and in Texas and California, to which Japan would provide technical cooperation and extend low-interest loans. Japan would also help replace as many as 3,000 train cars currently in use on railways and subways with new models over the next 10 years.

Japan would further cooperate in highly efficient gas-fired power generation and the latest compact nuclear power generation systems.

In the research and development field, the draft calls for cooperation between Japan, which has the edge in robot technology, and the United States, which leads the world in AI technology.

Japan and the United States will jointly develop robots to be used for inspecting aging infrastructure, decommissioning nuclear power plants, and carrying out medical diagnosis and surgery.

Read the rest of this entry »


Japan Readies Facts for Defense Talks

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The government is rushing to compile details of its financial burden to host U.S. forces in Japan in preparation for a meeting of the defense chiefs of the two countries on Saturday, as well as for a separate meeting of the leaders scheduled for Feb. 10.

The U.S. side has intimated that it has no intention of demanding an increase in Japan’s share of the costs of stationing U.S. forces during the defense chiefs’ talks. However, the unpredictability of the U.S. administration under President Donald Trump is spurring the Japanese government to maintain a vigilant stance.

Defense Minister Tomomi Inada spoke at a press conference on Tuesday about her upcoming meeting with new U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis. Although she declined to reveal whether the costs of hosting U.S. forces are on the agenda, Inada did say, “I intend to convey Japan’s position firmly and I hope the meeting will allow us to exchange opinions candidly.”

Pentagon spokesperson Jeff Davis had said the aim of Mattis’ visit to Japan was to strengthen ties and not to submit a list of demands. This has led some to believe that the state of Japan’s financial burden with regard to U.S. bases will not come up at the ministerial meeting.

Trump, however, did refer to increasing Japan’s burden during the U.S. presidential campaign. “We’re preparing to be ready to explain that Japan already has a heavy load, in case there is a demand,” a source inside the Defense Ministry said.

Costs of stationing U.S. forces in Japan include land prices and other costs relevant to providing facilities and sites. These are paid for by the Japanese side in keeping with the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement, while all other costs, in principle, are covered by the United States.

However, since fiscal 1978, the Japanese side has been expanding the range of its expenses based on demands from the United States. Currently, personnel costs for base employees as well as lighting, heating and water costs are also funded by the Japanese side. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEOS] History of Japan; Reaction Mashup 

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Japan: Taking Cosplay to a New Level 

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Shiguma Aika, second from left, talks with other cosplayers at a broadcasting studio in Osaka.

OSAKA — Keisuke Uranishi reports: An Osaka-based woman is amping up her creativity in a bid to make a difference as a cosplayer.

Shiguma Aika is a famous cosplayer who became known outside Japan about 10 years ago.

“I believe cosplay is a culture Japan can be proud of. I want to be even more creative than now.”

“We can overcome the language barrier and quickly get along with foreigners — that’s one of the good effects of cosplaying,” she said to listeners at the end of an internet radio program late last year.

Sporting bright white hair, Aika appeared on the show with three other cosplayers. Seated in a broadcasting studio, they looked like they had stepped out of an anime world.

“We can overcome the language barrier and quickly get along with foreigners — that’s one of the good effects of cosplaying.”But Aika is not content just to get into a character by cosplaying. She also uses it to express the world the character lives in and share its allure with spectators and other people. She aims to perform “creative cosplay,” shedding new light on the work in question and make it shine more brightly.

“In reality, wars are always going on. I had fun cosplaying, but then I thought I might be able to go a step further and use cosplaying to express [more serious] themes, such as the nature of war and love for humanity.”

For example, Aika and her fellow cosplayers performed a scene from a popular game inspired by the Shinsengumi samurai warrior force at a festival about Japan in Shanghai in February 2012. The Shinsengumi fought for the Tokugawa shogunate in the years leading up to the Meiji Restoration in 1868.

[Read the full story here, at The Japan News]

The performance won huge praise from the audience as they demonstrated a theatrical sword fight on stage filled with the passion of Shinsengumi members, many of whom died at a young age.

The festival was a formal event and commemorated the 40th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties between Japan and China. But the organizers, which included the Japanese Consulate in Shanghai, recognized cosplay as an important cultural field that plays a role in the “Cool Japan” promotional movement, and decided to invite Aika and her fellow cosplayers.

Aika said she gained a lot of confidence as a cosplayer at the festival.

Love and war

Aika comes from Osaka, and became fascinated with cosplay in her adolescence. She devoted herself to it more and more because she felt that trying to look like her favorite manga characters would bring her closer to them in mind as well. Read the rest of this entry »


レッドスカルさんは を使っています:…

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Japanese Aren’t So Sure About Donald Trump, But They Love Ivanka 

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Japan is warily welcoming Donald Trump as the US president, wondering what his administration will mean for their security alliance and already seeing what it means for their trade relationship.

But there are no such mixed feelings about Trump’s eldest daughter: Ivanka Trump is widely revered as the perfect woman here.

“This is the woman I like now. Ivanka Trump. I love it that she’s not only beautiful but also clever and has a graceful air. I think women should be kind and gentle.”

— Sachiko W. on a portrait that Trump had posted on Instagram

Among some Japanese women, Ivanka Trump is seen as an aspirational figure who has combined motherhood and career while managing to look perfectly put-together all the time (although her glamorous Instagram photos never show the retinues of nannies and assistants and hairdressers that answer the question of “how does she do it all?”).

Japan remains a highly patriarchal society, where men spend long hours at the office and women are often expected to give up their jobs after getting married or having babies.

“She is a good example that a woman can do an outstanding job and handle a misogynist father like Trump, without pushing too much of a feminist agenda or confronting men too much.”

— Shinzato, 32, a freelance writer and mother of a 6-year-old daughter.

But Trump offers an example of how to be strong but not scary, said Yuriko Shinzato, 32, a freelance writer and mother of a 6-year-old daughter.

“She is a good example that a woman can do an outstanding job and handle a misogynist father like Trump, without pushing too much of a feminist agenda or confronting men too much,” Shinzato, who blogs about Ivanka Trump’s fashion and lifestyle, told the Japan Times.

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“That is something that Japanese women want but have a hard time doing in a still male-dominated society.”

As a result, the Trump daughter has quite a following here. The Japanese internet was abuzz after the election at a tabloid report that Trump might be the next American ambassador to Japan, and she won Japanese fans when she posted a video of her daughter, Arabella Rose, performing the song “Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen” by the Japanese comedian known as Pikotaro.

Japanese women gush about her on social media.

“This is the woman I like now. Ivanka Trump. I love it that she’s not only beautiful but also clever and has a graceful air. I think women should be kind and gentle,” wrote Sachiko W. on a portrait that Trump had posted on Instagram.

“Trump’s eldest daughter Ivanka-san, who made it into the administration transfer team. She waved at me when I called out to her at the Trump Tower.”

— Mari Maeda, on Twitter

On Twitter, news announcer Mari Maeda posted a photo of Trump in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York.

“Trump’s eldest daughter Ivanka-san, who made it into the administration transfer team. She waved at me when I called out to her at the Trump Tower,” Maeda wrote.

“What a figure she has even after having three children. So frank and cute! Her jewelry brand is popular but some fans say they want her to become the president because of her intelligence and beauty.” Read the rest of this entry »


Japan: ‘City & Design’ Magazine, Cover Illustration by Isamu Kurita, 1966

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Nervous in Japan: Book Buyers Snatching up Variety of Books About Trump

Books related to U.S. President Donald Trump have increased in popularity as the new leader takes office.

Signs at Yaesu Book Center’s flagship branch in Chuo Ward, Tokyo, read, “Trump inaugurated as president” and “How will the world change?” with portraits of the former businessman displayed near the entrance of the shop.

The special section features about 20 Trump-related books, including collections of his speeches and forecasts on the impact of his presidency on the Japanese economy. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTOS] East-West World: Abandoned American Frontier Theme Park in Japan

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Western Village first opened its doors back in the early 1970s. Originally quite a modest affair known as Kinugawa Family Ranch, the Wild West theme park did well and gradually expanded, hence the name change. Yet despite such success, changing times resulted in changing fortunes, and in 2006 it was forced to close — meaning that the park now sits empty and forlorn by the side of the road. An odd, wholly unexpected sight in a relatively sparsely populated area a few hours north of Tokyo.

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Increasingly battered by the weather and years of neglect, it nonetheless still retains the look one would expect.

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abandoned western theme park in japan

Visiting at the end of a politically tumultuous 2016, however, it wasn’t these out of place structures that made an impact. Instead, it was the park’s haunted looking residents and their unintended, yet no less terrifying depiction of a world turned utterly upside down. The world in which we currently live in, basically.

Considering its theme, and the period in which Western Village opened, it’s perhaps not surprising that one particular, distinctly larger-than-life personality was chosen to front it.

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And, as a follicly challenged right winger with a weirdly orange complexion, such a choice seems disturbingly prescient.

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So now, instead of an innocent recreation of all things cowboy-related, this celebrity led world feels like a truly disturbing vision of a potentially very near future. One in which the inner machinations and ulterior motives of those pulling the presidential strings are very much to the fore.

abandoned western theme park in japan Read the rest of this entry »


The Evolution of the Japanese Ego: Part I 

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Michael Hoffman writes: When Adam and Eve defied God, creator and master of the universe, and ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge, what did they learn? To say “I.”

They learned that they were “naked” — they were selves, egos. As such, there was no place for them in paradise. Their expulsion was “the fall of man,” narrated in the biblical Book of Genesis.

This seems a long way from Japan. It is. Japanese myth records no “fall,” no defiance of the undefiable, no primeval descent into selfhood. The Japanese ego evolved very differently from the Western one.

This is the introductory installment of a four-part series examining what the Japanese mean when they say “I.”

A peculiarity of the Japanese language gives it many first-person pronouns, varying with circumstances, rank, age and gender, but comparatively few occasions to use them. Japanese often leaves sentence subjects
unspoken. You can speak of yourself without emphasizing and reinforcing, as Western languages force you to do, your “I-ness.”

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Japanese tradition denigrates not only selfishness but selfhood. To Buddhism it was a delusion; to Confucianism, an object of “self-cultivation” whose ultimate object is self-denying, society-dedicated “benevolence.” Bushido, the “way of the warrior,” was especially hard on the self. “The way of the warrior is death,” declared the grim 18th-century military treatise known as the “Hagakure.” “This means choosing death whenever there is a choice between life and death.” The self that instinctively protests51e9jgsshl-_sl250_ its death sentence must be rigorously suppressed: “Every day without fail one should consider oneself as dead.”

[Check out Michael Hoffman’s book, “In The Land of the Kami: A Journey Into The Hearts of Japan at Amazon.com]

The first “I” in Japanese literature is identifiable but not nameable — her name is unknown. A noblewoman and poetess, she lived in 10th-century Kyoto and left posterity a diary — the “Kagero Nikki” (“Gossamer Diary”). It’s a brilliant portrait of a soul in torment. Her “I” is her suffering; her suffering forces her into the black hole of selfhood. Hers is no plea for individualism; if anything she pleads for release from it. She would be anyone other than herself, if only she could. Other people were like other people; only she was different, condemned to the morbid isolation of selfhood by an insufficiently attentive husband and the perversity (which she admits) of her own feelings. Sharing a husband was gall to her. Polygamy among the aristocracy was the norm. Other noblewomen resigned themselves to it, more or less graciously. Why couldn’t she? Why did she alone torture herself over slights and neglect that others shrugged off? Because she was she. She wanted a husband “30 days and 30 nights a month,” and, knowing she demanded the impossible, refused to settle for less. “If only the Buddha would let me be reborn in Enlightenment,” she prays. In other words: If only the Buddha would release me from the agony of selfhood. It never happens.

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Between the long peace of her time and the long peace of the Edo Period (1603-1868) stand 500 years of war — civil war, mostly — in which bushido prevailed. Life was nothing, death everything, the self a mere sacrifice to be laid on the altar of loyalty. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Fascinating 3D-Printed Light-Based Zoetrope by Akinori Goto 

Media artist Akinori Goto designed this fun 3d-printed zoetrope that when lit from the side reveals walking people. The piece was just on view at the Spiral Independent Creators Festival where it won both the Runner-up Grand Prix and the Audience Award. Video above from Tokyo Art Beat. (via Prosthetic Knowledge)

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sculpt-1 Read the rest of this entry »


Japanese Women See Aspirational Qualities in ‘De Facto First Lady’ Ivanka Trump

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Ayako Mie reports: Miyu Toyonaga was thrilled when she discovered who had visited her Instagram account last April. It was Ivanka Trump, her fashion icon, and she had liked a photo of Toyonaga with a leather clutch purse from Ivanka’s namesake brand.

“In a way I aspire to be like her. I would like to keep working even after I have a baby and have the option of living overseas.”

— 2012 Miss World Supermodel Japan

The 32-year-old Toyonaga, who works at the Tokyo office of an Australian commercial real estate firm, said she was struck by the elegant style and successful career of the model-turned-business executive when she first saw her Instagram pictures two or three years ago.

“In a way I aspire to be like her,” said the 2012 Miss World Supermodel Japan, who is preparing to set up a fashion e-commerce site like Ivanka. “I would like to keep working even after I have a baby and have the option of living overseas.”

Toyonaga’s views are unlikely to be embraced by those Americans still depressed about the stunning victory of her father, Donald Trump, in the U.S. presidential election in November.

Less than two weeks before he takes office, Ivanka has come under fire for her political ambitions and influence over the president-elect.

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“It goes without saying that she is very beautiful. But at the same time, she is a good example that a woman can do an outstanding job and handle a misogynist father like Trump, without pushing too much of a feminist agenda or confronting…men too much. That is something that Japanese women want but have a hard time doing in a still male-dominated society.”

–Shinzato, who has been introducing Ivanka’s fashion and overall lifestyle on her blog and an online publication called 4yuuu!

Donald Trump’s favorite child is also rumored to be replacing her media-shy stepmother, Melania, as a de facto first lady, as the former Slovenian fashion model stays in New York while her husband moves into the White House this month.

But some 10,800 km away from her glamorous Upper East Side apartment, Ivanka might find more supporters like Toyonaga.

[read the full story here, at The Japan Times]

For some Japanese women who struggle to juggle demanding jobs as working professionals, mothers and wives, America’s next “first daughter” might offer her own “Ivanka-ism” or post-feminist wisdom on how to survive in a male-oriented society.

The suave fashion entrepreneur appears to have mastered a successful career and picture-perfect family life with a millionaire husband and three children, without launching an all-out feminist war against what her father represents — a white, male-dominated, capitalist system.

Yuriko Shinzato, 32, a freelance writer and mother of a 6-year-old girl, said she believed Ivanka was the opposite of failed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who has often antagonized men in her efforts to climb the corporate and political ladder.

It was clear from her Instagram pictures, Shinzato said, that Instagram-savvy Ivanka marketed her image as a daughter, wife and mother, while finding success in her career.

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“It goes without saying that she is very beautiful,” said Shinzato, who has been introducing Ivanka’s fashion and overall lifestyle on her blog and an online publication called 4yuuu!

“But at the same time, she is a good example that a woman can do an outstanding job and handle a misogynist father like Trump, without pushing too much of a feminist agenda or confronting . . . men too much.

“That is something that Japanese women want but have a hard time doing in a still male-dominated society.”

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Despite Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for tapping more female talent, the environment for female working professionals has not improved significantly in Japan.

There remains a massive shortage of nurseries, and incidents of pregnant women being harassed in the workplace still surface. Read the rest of this entry »


U.S. Marines Send F-35 Stealth Fighter Squadron to Japan 

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It marks the first time for that stealth aircraft to be stationed overseas.

The US Marine Corps said it has sent a squadron of F-35B fighter jets to Japan, marking the first operational overseas deployment for the controversial aircraft that is under scrutiny from president-elect Donald Trump.

The deployment of the 10 planes to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni on Honshu Island marks a major milestone for the F-35, which has been bedeviled by technical glitches and soaring cost overruns.

With a current development and acquisition price tag already at $379 billion for a total of 2,443 F-35 aircraft, Lockheed Martin’s F-35 is the most expensive plane in history, and costs are set to go higher still.

The Marines’s version of the plane, known as the F-35B, is capable of conducting short takeoffs and vertical landings.

Trump last month sent shockwaves through the aerospace industry when he tweeted that he wanted rival Boeing to price out a possible alternative.

“Based on the tremendous cost and cost overruns of the Lockheed Martin F-35, I have asked Boeing to price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet!” Trump tweeted December 22.

The F/A-18 Super Hornet does not have stealth capabilities and has been in use since the late 1990s.

Once servicing, maintenance and other costs for the F-35 are factored in over the aircraft’s lifespan through 2070, overall program costs have been projected to rise to as much as $1.5 trillion.

Proponents of the F-35 tout its speed, close air-support capabilities, airborne agility and a massive array of sensors giving pilots unparalleled access to information. Read the rest of this entry »


Trump Taps Vax Alarmist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to Launch Review of Vaccines

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Vaccination skeptic alarmist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said he will oversee a presidential panel to review vaccine safety and science at the request of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, in a move likely to reignite debate over now-debunked research that tied childhood immunizations to autism.

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“President-elect Trump has some doubts about the current vaccine policy, and he has questions about it,” Kennedy, who has raised questions about the safety of vaccines, told reporters following a meeting with Trump in New York on Tuesday. “He asked me to chair a commission on vaccine safety and scientific integrity. I said I would.”

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Vaccine experts decried the appointment of a vocal vaccine skeptic to explore the safety of vaccines and their purported link with autism, an association raised by a paper published in The Lancet in 1998 that vaxxclaimed to find a connection between the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism.

That paper has been debunked, and The Lancet withdrew the study. Since then, numerous studies have affirmed the safety of the vaccine, most recently including a study of 100,000 children considered at high risk of developing autism.

“The concerns of public health officials and pediatricians and family doctors regarding the Trump administration and its attitude toward vaccines have just been reinforced,” said Dr. William Schaffner an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, who advises the federal panel that sets U.S. vaccine policy.

Schaffner said Kennedy has “raised issues that have been settled securely and completely by good science, and 80,0000 pediatricians, many family doctors and the World Health Organization all reinforce the current recommended childhood immunization schedule. They are safe and they are effective.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Akira Kurosawa’s Advice to Aspiring Filmmakers

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Japan’s ‘Genderless’ Blurring the Lines Between Pink and Blue

 


[VIDEO] History of Japan 

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Imagine consuming nitrous oxide, helium, and cocaine, then explaining Japanese history. What’s not to like? A funny video that compresses a lot of information into an entertaining, easy-to-unpack container.

 


[VIDEO] Akira Kurosawa: Composing Movement 

Can movement tell a story? Sure, if you’re as gifted as Akira Kurosawa. More than any other filmmaker, he had an innate understanding of movement and how to capture it onscreen. Join me today in studying the master, possibly the greatest composer of motion in film history.

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Interview Clips:
Sidney Lumet on RANhttp://bit.ly/1B7mfTD
Robert Altman on RASHOMONhttp://bit.ly/1BDuvL7
Paul Verhoeven on Kurosawa: http://bit.ly/197vwnS


China Criticizes Abe’s Pearl Harbor Visit 

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BEIJING/SEOUL (Jiji Press) — China on Wednesday criticized Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Pearl Harbor in Hawaii for his lack of deep reflection on the country’s past.

Noting that Japan waged a war of aggression against China and other Asian countries, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a press conference, “Reconciliation between the inflicters and victims must and can only be based upon sincere reflection and apology from the inflicters.” This is the only way to realize “a genuine and lasting reconciliation,” she said. For victimized countries in Asia, “one sincere apology” is more important than “dozens of smart shows,” Hua said.

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The People’s Daily newspaper of the Communist Party of China said in its Wednesday edition that the Pearl Harbor visit is criticized both in Japan and the United States because Abe made the trip before apologizing to war victims in Asian countries that Japan invaded during the war.

Meanwhile, a South Korean Foreign Ministry official, touching on Abe’s pledge never to wage war again in the speech, said that Japan, based on a correct understanding of history, should strive further to promote reconciliation and cooperation with neighbors that fell victim to its wartime militarism. Read the rest of this entry »


Russian Military Buildup on Disputed Isles Clouds Resolution of Row with Tokyo

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 reports: Even though Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed their recent agreement on joint economic activities on four disputed islands off Hokkaido is a step toward resolving the territorial row, the islands’ strategic importance for Russia is likely to continue complicating the decades-old issue.

Even if the agreed economic cooperation chiefly in the Russian Far East makes headway, the strategic importance of the Russian-held islands, claimed by Japan, bodes ill for Tokyo in its efforts to regain them, especially given the advance of China in the Arctic region and Russia’s need to maintain its nuclear deterrence, according to some analysts.

Japan claims that Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan and the Habomai islet group are an integral part of its territory and were illegally seized by the Soviet Union after Japan’s surrender in World War II in August 1945. Russia maintains the Soviet Union took the islands legitimately as the spoils of war.

Russia has been modernizing its military on the islands, which delineate the southern edge of the Sea of Okhotsk where Russian nuclear submarines are deployed. Read the rest of this entry »


Colonel Sanders Gets a Needed Makeover to Bring Him into 2017

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RocketNews24

Is the change a welcome eyeful? Or is this a case of too much too soon? You be the judge.

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[VIDEO] Tokyo Comic Con 2016 変態東京コミコン「グラビアポーズしてください!」

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Tokyo Comic-Con Bans, Then Un-Bans, Men From Cosplaying As Women Characters 

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Brian Ashcraft reports: This December, the Tokyo Comic-Con kicks off. The event should be similar to its San Diego counterpart, attracting celebrity guests and hordes of cosplayers. However, at the Tokyo event, there’s a significant difference: Men cannot cosplay in women’s clothing.

Update – October 27 5:00am: The Tokyo Comic-Con has reversed its ban on male cosplayers dressing as female characters.

As Anime News Network points out, the official site clearly states such under the “regarding cosplay outfits” section, writing that is “prohibited” for men to wear female clothing (男性による女装は禁止です). The ban uses the Japanese word “jyosou” (女装), a word which is defined as “wearing female clothing” and which has the explicit nuance of referring to men wearing women’s clothing. Read the rest of this entry »


Abe Visits Military Cemetery in Hawaii 

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HONOLULU — Hiroshi Tajima and Mai Fukuda report: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe laid flowers for American soldiers, including those killed in Japan’s 1941 Pearl Harbor attack, at a cemetery in Hawaii on Monday, the day before his scheduled visit to the harbor with U.S. President Barack Obama.

After arriving on the island of Oahu in the morning, Abe visited the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, in which remains of about 50,000 officers and soldiers — including those who lost their lives during the attack by the Imperial Japanese Navy — are buried.

The prime minister offered flowers and a moment of silence, before signing his name in a visitors’ book.

At the facility, Abe also laid flowers at the grave of U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, who had worked hard to promote the U.S.-Japan relationship until his death in December 2012.

The prime minister then visited a Japanese cemetery in Honolulu’s Makiki district, which houses a memorial for Japanese emigrants to Hawaii and soldiers killed at Pearl Harbor.

Abe showed his determination not to fight a war again by praying for both Japanese and American war dead. Read the rest of this entry »


Japan: Annual Births Set to Fall Below One Million for the First Time 

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The annual number of births in the country dipped below one million during 2016 for the first time since records became available, an estimate by the Health, Labor, and Welfare Ministry shows.

The number stands at 981,000, the lowest since 1899, according to the demographic statistic estimate released Thursday.

The ministry’s analysis showed the number of women in the age group of those giving birth is decreasing. The government is expected to urgently take further measures to address the declining birthrate.

The annual estimate shows that the number of people who died stands at 1.296 million, which is 6,000 more than last year. The number of deaths is thus expected to exceed that of births for 10 consecutive years. The gap, or the natural decrease in the population, is expected to hit a record high of 315,000.

The number of births has been declining since peaking at more than 2 million during the second baby boom from 1971 to 1974.

When the total fertility rate for 1989 hit a record low of 1.57, the situation was called the “1.57 shock” because the figure was even lower than in 1966 — a year in which giving birth was generally avoided in Japan due to a superstition. After that, measures to address the declining birthrate started being considered as important. Read the rest of this entry »


Comics: Fujiko Exhibition Focuses on Manufacturing in Manga

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The Fujiko F. Fujio Hometown Art Gallery in Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture, is celebrating its first anniversary with an exhibition on the theme of manufacturing in manga by Fujiko F. Fujio (1933-96).

Fujiko, who came from Takaoka, is known as the creator of “Doraemon” and other manga. The gallery introduces his life and work.

The ongoing commemorative exhibition, titled “Gengaten: Kiteretsu Daihyakka to Monozukuri,” features scenes from his manga showing characters making things. Takaoka is known as a city of manufacturing — hence the theme.

Many of Fujiko’s original drawings on display come from “Kiteretsu Daihyakka” (Kiteretsu encyclopedia), the central character of which loves to tinker with anything mechanical. There are pages from other works by Fujiko as well, including “Doraemon” and “Tebukuro Tetchan.”

The 30 original drawings currently on display will be changed twice during the exhibition, in April and August. In all, 90 original works from the Fujiko collection will be displayed in the exhibition, which will continue through the end of November next year.

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