Archives for the month of: October, 2011

TeamLab, チームラボ, is a Tokyo based group, headed by Toshiyuki Inoko, that works in a variety of spaces, from conceptual installation art, through video and web technologies to industrial design. The group reconceptualizes commonplace objects as well as traditional forms and cultural expressions to create pieces that are at times quirky, beautiful and  inspired.

All original images : : copyright Teamlab Inc

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It’s appropriate that the Tokyo International Anime Festival 2011, held in October by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and The Association of Japanese Animations to promote the country’s influential anime business, will take place in Akihabara, the otaku heart of Japan.  

Otaku, the geeks, hobbyists and hard-core fanboys – and to a lesser extent girls – of pop cultural phenomena, particularly manga, anime and virtual games, were first labeled as such in the early 1980s, most famously by Akio Nakamori in 1983 in his ‘ An Investigation of “Otaku” ‘ essays. The culture has come a long way, from being derided by mainstream Japanese to becoming one of the nation’s most influential cultural products and the basis of some of its biggest industries and spawning otaku-friendly commercial and social outlets.

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On October 18, Kindle owners around the world will be able to start reading the first two volumes of 1Q84, Haruki Murakami’s latest magnum opus, the novel that became an instant best-seller in Japan when it was first published in 2009.

That the English language launch of Murakami’s latest three-volume masterwork is creating a media stir is telling of the author’s growing stature in the world of literature. British gambling firm Ladbrokes even had him listed at 8/1 odds as a contender to win this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature. For fans of Murakami, Japan’s most renowned contemporary writer, these are exciting times.

Original images : : copyright Vintage & Knopf

If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.

Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)

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Issey Miyake is one of the holy trinity of Japanese fashion design. Along with Rei Kawakubo, founder of COMME des GARÇONS, and Yohji Yamamoto, Miyake was instrumental in reinvigorating the global fashion scene in the 1980s with clothing that helped to create an avant-garde fashion identity that was uniquely Japanese. Miyake, however, is no ordinary fashion designer. Business considerations aside, he approached clothing as a sculptor, shaping fabric through traditional techniques and employing methods that are technologically innovative to create clothing that is as much art as fashion.

 

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On the streets of modern Tokyo, the sight of a kimono manages to add a fresh, exotic texture to the city, a lyrical reminder of the culture’s rich history, tradition and art.

An enduring artefact of the past, the kimono remains an element of the significant markers of contemporary life in Japan, appearing at deaths and marriages, spiritual ceremonies and festivals. It is also worn by practitioners of the traditional arts such as kendo or chanoyu or as one of the uniforms of workers in the hospitality industry. 

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