R.I. P Yoshiko Yamaguchi/Ri-Ko-Ran – Diva of China & Japan

September 15th, 2014
  • Wartime film idol, propaganda tool Rikoran dies at 94 Japan times

  • Japanese Actress Shirley Yamaguchi, Who Starred in ‘House of Bamboo,’ Dies at 94 (Variety)

  • Yoshiko Yamaguchi1cYamguchi

    photo via

    Shirley and Charlie 1charlieYamaguchi
    (photo via)

    Yoshiko Yamaguchi and Isamu Noguchi1IsamuYoshiko

    photo via
    See previous post

    Hollywood reporter -

    After her first marriage to Japanese-American sculptor Isamu Noguchi ended in the mid-1950s, Yamaguchi married Hiroshi Ohtaka, who was Japan’s ambassador to Burma, now Myanmar, and occasionally appeared on television. In 1974, she was elected to parliament’s Upper House as a member of the governing Liberal Democratic Party and served until 1992. She was among the contributors to a private atonement fund for Asian “comfort women” used as prostitutes for Japan’s wartime military.

  • Shanghai no Onna 1952 (youtube)

  • Caught Between China & Japan: Superstar Li Xianglan

    She called China her fatherland and Japan her motherland.

  • 1mifunescandal
    (Scandal – directed by Kurosawa)

    She was active in promoting relations with China and other Asian countries. One of her concerns was Japanese “comfort women” military brothels, an issue that still strains ties between Japan and its neighbours.

    In her 1987 autobiography, Yamaguchi wrote she was shellshocked when she watched “China Nights” to prepare the book. “Why did I have to appear in such a movie and perform as ‘Chinese actress Ri Koran (Li Xianglan)’? I felt miserable realising this at this advanced age and I had sleepless nights for months.”

    However, according to some Japanese bloggers, the movie was not widely taken as a pure propaganda film but was appreciated by many people in both Japan and China.

    “I think song is something that helps shrink boundaries and distances,” Yamaguchi told public broadcaster NHK in 1985. “I myself suffered much as I was trapped in a war between two countries as long as I remember. Therefore I am determined not to tolerate any war.” (via)

    On Kawara – His Last Day – July 10, 2014

    July 10th, 2014
  • 1boxOnkawara


    On Kawara via artnet
    A giant of conceptual art dead at 81

  • Click to enlarge 1thing_kawara_

  • On Kawara wiki

  • He was life, blood, heart

    Alan Sondheim (via netBehavior)

    On July 8, 2014, Guggenheim announced On Kawara solo show for 2015 .

    Equinox Flower – Mother’s Day 2014

    May 10th, 2014

  • Ozu and mother (via)

    Ozu Yasujiro Story #1 (youtube)

    Ozu Yasujiro Sotry 2

  • Ozu and his mother

    “Ozu remained single and childless all of his life and stayed alone with his mother who died less than two years before his own death.
    Ozu died in 1963 of cancer on his 60th birthday.. buried with his mother. His grave at Engaku-ji in Kamakura bears no name—just the character mu (“nothingness”)”

    Happy mother’s day!

    Sayonara Osamu Kokufu – 1970 – 2014

    May 1st, 2014
  • Mario A told us the sad news that Osamu Kokufu was accidentally killed at his exhibition space. He was only 44 years old.

    Via Digmeout

    Born in 1970. Graduated from Kyoto University, art research course in 1994.
    Creating an original dream machines called KOKUFUMOBIL that have many interesting functions. One of his machines’ inside is converted into a fridge and the other one is converted into tropical jungle. He made a walker that has a helmet with a propeller. His machines are materialized of our child-hood dream. Also which includes an ecological point of view, such as measuring the exhaust gas by balloons and visualize it. Car with a sail run by wind power. Watering the garden in the air by wind power.

  • Kokufu House

  • Osamu Kokufu click to see large

    Artist Osamu KOKUFU, 44, passed away on April 29th. R.I.P. (Mainichi – in Japanese only)

  • Mobile (vimeo)

  • Shigeru Ban – Architect of Emergency Shlter wins Pritzker

    March 25th, 2014
  • Click to see large
    Humanitarian activities (design boom)

    Shigeru Ban (NY times) wins Pritzker

    The Guardian on Shigeru Ban

  • David Shapiro

    My student Shigeru Ban wins the Pritzker for his work in temporary structures. Look up his curtain house blowing in wind. And for his tubes of cardboard. I loved a poem he wrote that was about being confused at 20 by going from Japan to New York all the time. His embrace of victims of the storms. Proud of his clear architecture.Another example of the greatness of John Hejduk’s conception of the social contract which is, after all, architecture. The fantasies at Cooper became the poetry within disaster. Cardboard !

    Shigeru Ban.Paper tube emergency shelter .Time lapse video

  • Zatoichi Actor Katsu Shintaro Entertained the Balthus Family

    January 15th, 2014
  • Balthus and Setsuko, Chateau-d’Oex, Switzerland, 1989 ..

    Setsuko was a painter

  • (Katsu Shintaro -wiki)

  • Harumi (Balthus daughter) is a Jewlery designer
    Beauty of Spring (Vimeo) (Created by Donatella Wenders/Mrs Wim Wenders)
    Bono makes an apperance.. and unlike Balthus little girls Harumi grew up to became a mother.

  • Rilke
    Baladine and Balthus (photo via)
    Letter to Balthus - Rilke was the lover of Baladine Klossowski, the mother of Balthus.

    Previous post on Rilke

  • Balthus at the Mets

  • Zatoichi meets Yojimbo

    Kojima Ichiro – Tsugaru Photographer + Tugaru Shamisen.

    December 27th, 2013

    Ichiro Kojima (onlinebrowsing) – see more photos.

    Kojima (b. 1924, Aomori, Japan) served the war effort in China during World War II and returned to his homeland, Aomori, in 1946. Having passed through several jobs, he began to help out in the family business, a photographic equipment shop.
    Tsugaru, the series in this exhibition, was shot during Kojima’s first four years as a photographer; it may be said that it was during this time he worked on Tsugaru where Kojima developed his characteristic printing technique.

    more here..

  • Photo via

  • Under the guidance of an experienced beggar, the younger blind man would learn the basics of shamisen and begging. These men, called bousama (sarcastically meaning “honorable monk,”), were definitely at the bottom of the social ladder. They traveled through farming and fishing areas, where they would be able to play for food in order to survive.
    Tsugaru History

    Tsugaru-Aomori Japan (see map)

    Ohayo Ozu Yasujiro – 2013

    December 12th, 2013

  • (Google Japan honored Ozu on his birthday)

    Ozu was born on Dec 12, 1903.. he passed away on his birthday Dec 12 1963.

  • Ohayo trailer (youtube)

    Click to see Sada Keiji

    I love you…..

  • Hear his Voice

  • I was born but... (previous Post)

    Tokyo Chorus (previous post – Okada Tokihiko) -

    Floating Words (previous post)

    See Tokyo Twilight here.

    Katue Kitasono – Plastic Poems – Theory & Practice

    November 13th, 2013
  • The Camera Can Create a Lovely Poem Even from Trifling

  • Katue Kitasono - Plastic Poems on view at LACMA till December 1, 2013.


    billions of ladies with billions of tongues have billions of peacocks
    billions of ladies with billions of peacocks are calm as billions of


  • Katue
    Thing Net I

    Thing Net II

    On View a Reconsideration of Katue Kitasono (NYtimes)

  • Theory and Practice


    Jacket - 3 Poems Black Fire

    Toyoko Yamasaki – Champion of Social Issues Dies at 88

    September 30th, 2013
  • Toyoko Tamasaki wiki

    Author Toyoko Yamasaki, known for best-selling novels getting to the heart of social problems, such as corruption and injustice, died on Sept. 29. She was 88.
    Yamasaki won fame in 1965 with “Shiroi Kyoto” (The white tower), which shed light on the dark side of the medical world and the problem of malpractice.
    Other representative novels include “Karei-naru Ichizoku” (The grand family) on corruption among politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats; “Fumo Chitai” (Wasteland) about the life of a former military officer who returned from Siberia; and “Daichi no Ko” (Son of the earth) about the life of a man left behind in China at the end of World War II.

    Asahi obit

    Japan times obit

    Toyoko Yamasaki“Huffpo/Japan

    “Futatsu no Sokoku” (Two Homelands) tells the story of the lives of three California-born sons of Japanese immigrants during the years surrounding World War II.

  • List of her novels at Amazon.

    Ken Watanabe as the chairman of an airline workers labor union during aftermath of the tragic 1985 crash of JAL Flight 123. Due to the way the story portrays people who are still in positions of power today, the airline industry has long been unhelpful in bringing this story to the big screen.

    The Sun that does not set promo (+ trailer )

    Miyake, Morimura Collaborate + Citizen Keene Adopts a Son

    June 18th, 2013
  • This photo by Morimura is a departure from his usual satirical performances.

  • Issey Miyake collaborated with the performance artist.. see him upside down wrapped in something.

  • Cute Dog

    See more Yasumasa Morimura

  • Happy birthday Donald Keene .. he is 91 years old.

    His latest adventure? Professor Keene adopted a son.

    The adoption grew out of a friendship that started in 2006, and eventually led to Mr. Uehara’s moving into Mr. Keene’s Tokyo home and helping the older man out with things like keeping his large collection of books organized.

    Interesting review of his book by Colin Marshall.. Donald Keene on Familiar Terms.

    His autobiography is an excellent read.. what an amazing life.

    Keene Observation Donald Keene

    Enigmatic Emperor Emperor Meiji

    Donald Richie – After Life

    February 25th, 2013

    Obit from Guardian

    For generations of scholars, critics and artists who have made Japan their field, Richie was a hugely influential and inspirational presence, opening a window on a ceaselessly fascinating world. Those who knew him personally will remember him for his endless approachability, enthusiasm, energy and generosity with his time, even in his final years of illness.

    Richie suggested a title change to Kore eda’s wonderful life to After Life. (Japan times – Master Critic)
    Donald R had a high praise for Still Walking calling the film..a staggering achievement..(previous post - Still Walking)

    Lafcadio Hearn of our time?
    Image via
    Kafu was his favorite authors among others Kawabata Yasunari and Junichiro Tanizaki.

  • Japanese Portraits, picture of different people..

  • Donald Richtie 1924- 2013 (Diplomat obit)

    “It is, in fact, an injustice to call Richie a writer on Japan; really, he is a writer on artifice and time and death, on being human. And most of all he’s a writer on the particularly modern art of learning how to be a foreigner.”

    In the introduction, Iyer goes on to place Richie in the company of literary figures such as Graham Greene, Jan Morris, Paul Bowles and Somerset Maugham.

    Donald Ritchie at his best talking about Bresson

  • A Film by Donald Richie

  • Freedom within bounds (kyoto journal)

    Donald Richie and Kawabata.Richie and Kawabata

    Paul Schrader says “Whatever we in the West know about Japanese film, and how we know it, we most likely owe to Donald Richie.” Richie also penned analyses of two of Japan’s best known filmmakers: Yasujiro Ozu and Akira Kurosawa.

    via his wiki

    Richie wrote the English subtitles for Akira Kurosawa’s films Kagemusha (1980), Red Beard, and Dreams

    Among those he counted as his friends and intimates were the writers Marguerite Yourcenar, Susan Sontag, Christopher Isherwood, Anthony Thwaite, and Angela Carter. (Inclined View – Japan times)

    Watch viedo here..Life in Japanese film Donald Richie
    Citizen Kane opend his eyes.. he got a camera.
    On Mishima was still taboo in Japan according to Donald R.
    Yamato damashi – religion of Japan.. they believe in themselves.
    Drunken Angel was his first introduction to Japanese film.
    Individuality in Kurosawa. (Dostoevsky in Kurosawa).
    On Kagemusha.
    Katsu Shintaro..was considered – Shintaro brought his own camera crew..the fight erupted.
    the part went to Nakadai Tatsuya..Richie saw it as a mistake..

    Why women are great actresses .. they practice duplucity in Japanese culture.
    Women in Ozu real woman
    Women in mizoguchi.. women as victims..
    Naruse has a dark view of women
    Strong women in Imamura they do whatever…

    Ozu Menekata sisters not a good film according to Ritchie..
    He also said Simone Beauvoir was better philosopher than Sartre, Colette better writer than Scott Fitzgerald.

    Update: Remembering Donald (No1 Shinbun)