Shusaku Endo, The Author of “Silence” also wrote “Wonderful Fool”

September 22nd, 2015
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    Shusaku Endo

    Photo by Mario A

    Shusaku Endo

    His books reflect many of his childhood experiences, including the stigma of being an outsider, the experience of being a foreigner, the life of a hospital patient, and the struggle with TB. However, his books mainly deal with the moral fabric of life. His Catholic faith can be seen at some level in all of his books and it is often a central feature. Most of his characters struggle with complex moral dilemmas, and their choices often produce mixed or tragic results. His work may often be compared to that of Graham Greene.

  • Silence 1endosilence Martin Scorsese and Shusaku Endo’s ‘Silence’

    Shusaku Endo – born on 27 March 1923 in Tokyo – moved with his family to Dailan in Manchuria while still very young. He stayed there until the age of 10 when his mother took him back to Japan after divorcing his father. After returning to Japan to live in Kobe with his mother and an aunt, those early years in Manchuria may have created in Endo a sense of alienation from mainstream Japanese culture that profoundly affected him. The defining moment of his life, however, was his baptism as a Catholic in 1934. His struggles to reconcile himself with a faith that was and still is very much a minority in Japan, his experiences as an outsider and with hospitalization for pleurisy and tuberculosis – all of these deeply impacted his sensibilities and thematic preoccupations as a novelist.

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    Tadanobu Asano replaced Ken Watanabe. He played the interpreter for the priests in “Silence”.

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    Sea and Poison
    Kei Kumai
    Wonderful Fool

    Shusaku Endo was an extremely funny man, a satirist who made a fortune presenting long-running humorous Japanese TV shows and was something of a household name.

    Japanese Photographer Kenro Izu – Echoes of Prayer & People

    April 2nd, 2015
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    Egypt 107, 1983
    Gelatin Silver print

    Echoes of Prayer and People

    More photos at Kenro Izu (homepage)

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    EL 1#4, 2013
    Gelatin Silver Print

    Varanasi, India 2013. At the “House of Liberation” a free housing where people come to die near the holy river Ganges

  • Bhutan 250, 20051aKenroIzuBut

  • India <> <> <> 1akenroIzuInd
    India 8, 2008
    Platinum-Palladium printan

  • Kenro Izu wiki1akenro-izu-with-his-camera

    Kenro Izu (井津 建郎 Izu Kenrō?, born 1949) is a Japanese-born photographer based in the United States.[1]

    Izu attended Nihon University College of Art in Tokyo from 1969-1972. After moving to the United States in 1972, he spent two years working as a photo assistant in New York City and subsequently established his own studio, specializing in still life photography. Since 1979, in addition to his well established commercial work, Kenro began his serious professional commitment to his fine art photography, traveling the world to capture the sacred ancient stone monuments in their natural settings. He traveled and documented Egypt, Syria, Jordan, England, Scotland, Mexico, France and Easter Island (Chile).

    He has also focused on Buddhism and Hindu monuments in South East Asia: Cambodia, Burma, Indonesia, Vietnam and India. Through them, he captures profound beauty with natural states of decay. Izu founded Friends Without a Border, an organization devoted to raising funds for children’s hospitals in Cambodia. Profits from select prints sales and his book, Light Over Ancient Angkor, are donated to this cause. Izu is the recipient of the 2007 Lucie Awards’ Visionary Photographer award, and was published by En Foco’s photographic journal Nueva Luz.

  • Soseki Natsume – Kokoro

    February 9th, 2015
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    Film still from Kokoro.

    Kon Ichikawa directed Kokoro with Masayuki Mori (a prominent actor from Rashomon, Ugetsu Monogatari, Uki-Gumo, A Woman Ascends the Starirs)

    Kokoro means “Heart” in Japanese.

    Michiyo Aratama from Kokoro

  • Natsume Soseki was born on February 9, 1867

    Politics, Philosophy, and Myth in
    Natsume Soseki’s First Trilogy

    The role of the literary artist in Japan ‘s long history is an honored one in large measure due to the power of language and literature to lift consciousness through imagination. Among Japan ‘s most gifted literary artists is Natsume Soseki (1867-1916), regarded by Nobel laureate Oe Kenzaburo as Japan ‘s “national writer”

    Kojin Karatani and Natsume Soseki Natsume Soseki (previous post)

  • Shuji Terayama – Labyrinth Tale, Tarot & Klaus Kinski

    December 9th, 2014
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    Klaus Kinski in Fruits of Passion directed by Terayama Shuji

  • Pencil Dracula Terayamay Shuji animation gif Shuji Terayama (previous post)

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    Arielle Dombasle – (married to Henri Bernard Levy) and Klaus Kinski in Fruits of Passion.

  • Tarot Deck Dark and Strange - Shuji Terayama <> <> Labyrinth Tale (See an amazing film)

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    Sayonara Takakura Ken – Legendary Japanese Actor Dead at 83

    November 17th, 2014
  • Takakura Ken Legendary Japanese Actor Dead at 83 (South China Morning Post)

    Obit from Twitch –


    Takakura Ken’s favorite film is The Deer Hunter” (youtube – japanese only)


    Film still from Yakuza (directed by Sydney Pollack)

  • Mainichi shinbun (photo slideshow).

  • Genpei Akasegawa – Death of Neo Dada Artist

    October 26th, 2014
  • R.I.P Genpei Akasegawa – (he was 77 years old.)

    Artnet (obit)

    Genpei Akasegawa is a pseudonymof Japanese artist Katsuhiko Akasegawa (born 1937). During the 1950s and 1960s, he became involved within the Neo-Dada movement, when he formed the Hi-Red Center collective. In 1970s he worked with the idea of Hyper-Art, ordinary street object that happened to look like a conceptual artwork. For what was to become the “Thousand-yen bill incident”, Akasegawa sent out invitations to a solo exhibition in 1963, in a cash envelope mailed through the post. The printed invitation reproduced a 1,000-yen note with the exhibition details at the back, when the local police notice, they arrested him for producing counterfeits.

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    “A Record of the Wind” by Genpei Akasagawa

  • Going Nowhere (see more images here)

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    See Zero yen

    His irreverent humor and cunning observation of everyday life made him popular as a writer, peaking with his 1998 book Rõjinryoku, in which he put forth a hilariously positive take on the declining capabilities of the elderly. Hyperart: Thomasson, marks a crucial turning point in his metamorphosis from a subversive culture to a popular culturatus.

  • Caterpiller – Koji Wakamatsu

    October 17th, 2014
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  • Caterpiller trailer

  • Caterpiller wiki

    Caterpillar is a 2010 Japanese drama film directed by Kōji Wakamatsu, partially drawn from Edogawa Rampo’s banned short-story “The Caterpillar” (芋虫 Imomushi?)
    The film is a critique of the right-wing militarist nationalism that guided Japan’s conduct in Asia during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II. The film deals with various issues, such as war crimes, handicapped veterans, and spousal abuse. The film also deals with themes of sexual perversion and features graphic sex scenes.

    It was nominated for the Golden Bear at the 60th Berlin International Film Festival.[4] Shinobu Terajima received the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival for her portrayal of Kurokawa’s wife.

  • Koji Wakamatsu 1koji-wakamatsu

    (1 April 1936 – 17 October 2012)

    MUBI page

    The Essential Films of Koji Wakamatsu


    Toru Takemitsu – How His Film Scores Shaped Post War Japanese Cinema

    October 8th, 2014
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    Toru Takemitsu (武満 徹 Takemitsu Tōru, October 8, 1930 – February 20, 1996) photo by Kinoshita Akira

    Composer and writer on aesthetics and music theory. Takemitsu’s contribution to film music was considerable; in under 40 years he composed music for over 100 films. via wiki

    Follow his works.. you’ll get the best of post war Japanese cinema.

  • Double suicide Double Suicide Trailer (youtube)

  • See Woman in the Dunes full film (Abe Kobo, Teshigahara, Toru Takemitsu)

    Hiroshi Teshigahara Two films based on novels by Abe Kobo, The Face of Another, Woman in the Dunes, Rikyu about the zen/artist/tea master. and Pitfall –
    Click to see large – Rikyu 1rikyuMikuni

  • The Burmese Harp 1Toruburmeseharp

    The Burmese Harp full film (youtube) directed by Kon Ichikawa

  • Harakiri – trailer (youtube) (With Masaki Kobayashi – Takemitsu also did the film scores for Kwaidan and Samurai Rebellion)

  • Takemitsu also composed for Black Rain (Imamura Shohei), Ran, Dodeskaden (Akira Kurosawa), Empire of Passion (Nagisa Oshima) and Rising Sun (Philip Kaufman).

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    Iannis Xenakis (previous post)

    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.

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

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  • 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)