Sep 6

Justin’s Japan: LUCKYRICE and The Joy of Sake

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By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Shukan NY Seikatsu. Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

Autumn in New York is the season for delectable dishes, and this month has two unmissable events on the calendar.

First comes the annual LUCKYRICE New York Feast at Mandarin Oriental on September 22. Founded by Danielle Chang in 2010, this eagerly awaited event will once again showcase the city’s most enticing Asian food experiences, along with avant-garde spots, fine dining establishments and local superstar mom and pop shops. Tradition becomes progressive in this mash-up of culinary cuisines, with drinks provided by Asahi Beer and Suntory Whisky (for even more LUCKYRICE, check out their EPIC-urean Asian Feast hosted by BD Wong at Capitale on October 14).

Turning the spotlight to sake, returning for its 12th annual celebration in New York City is The Joy of Sake. The world’s largest sake tasting event outside of Japan comes to Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea on September 27, featuring a record 400 premium labels from every part of Japan and sake appetizers from 16 of New York’s finest restaurants, including Momofuku, Sakagura and SushiSamba.

While current statistics show that sake is losing ground to beer in Japan, it continues to make inroads in the U.S., especially among drink-savvy New Yorkers.

“In the last 10 years the amount of sake imported into New York has doubled as more and more people discover how good the premium labels can be,” says event organizer Chris Pearce. “The Joy of Sake is a celebration of the pleasures of the sake cup—and it’s also one of the best annual food and beverage events in New York.”

For more information and tickets, visit www.luckyrice.com and www.joyofsake.com.


Jul 14

Justin’s Japan: Ryoko Yonekura Returns to ‘Chicago’

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By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Shukan NY Seikatsu. Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

This month, “Chicago,” the longest-running American Broadway musical in history, features Japanese superstar actress Ryoko Yonekura in the role of Roxie Hart for 11 performances from July 3-13 at the Ambassador Theatre.

Yonekura originated the role of Hart in the Japanese-language production of “Chicago” in 2008 and played it again in 2010. She then learned the role in English and made her Broadway debut in 2012. Following her return to Broadway this year, Yonekura will join the “Chicago” U.S. national touring company in Tokyo August 2-13 at the Tokyu Theater Orb.

An actress who has enjoyed a steady career in film and television in Japan since the year 2000, Yonekura is best known from the TV Asahi series “Doctor X.” Recently, she appeared for an intimate discussion and meet and greet at Asia Society on June 27.

“Ryoko Yonekura is an amazing bridge builder between the U.S. and Japan. In 2012, she became the first Japanese person in the history of Broadway to play a major character as an American. We are really excited to have Ryoko back in New York,” said Josette Sheeran, president and CEO of Asia Society.

Featuring classic tunes by John Kander and Fred Ebb, “Chicago tells the story of Roxie Hart, a Jazz age nightclub dancer who murders her lover after an argument, and the media sensationalism that follows. Originally produced for Broadway in 1975 and revived in 1996, the show won six Tony Awards the following year, and the 2002 film adaptation starring Reneè Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere won Best Picture at the Academy Awards. For tickets, visit www.chicagothemusical.com.


May 30

Justin’s Japan: Mr. Big Returns with ‘Defying Gravity’

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By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Shukan NY Seikatsu. Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

Sometimes a band has something special that makes it transcend its own culture, creating a whole new tradition in a completely different place.

Since 1989, this has been the case with Mr. Big, the American hard rock quartet that mixes metallic virtuosity with melodic appeal. Best known for their international smash ballad “To Be with You” (a number one pop U.S. hit in 1992), the band has continued to enjoy massive success in Japan, having played over 100 large-scale concerts there to date and continuing to serve as an influence on Japan’s own music scene and its top artists.

Mr. Big’s drummer Pat Torpey and bassist Billy Sheehan have previously performed with Japan’s all-time most successful rock group B’z (with the latter even joining them on tour); lead singer Eric Martin has recorded a successful string of “Mr. Vocalist” albums consisting of songs originally made famous by female Japanese singers; and guitarist Paul Gilbert has appeared on Japanese talk shows displaying both his tremendous guitar chops and dedicated study of the language.

In a new tradition, the U.S. will get the first taste of all-new Mr. Big material as the group launches a 13-date national tour beginning May 31, with a New York stop at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill on June 10. The tour precedes the release of the group’s ninth studio album, “Defying Gravity,” available July 7 on Frontiers Records. The new songs will presumably make their live debut at these special American gigs.

For tickets to the show and more information, visit www.bbkingblues.com and www.mrbigsite.com.

Also on June 10 at 12:00 p.m., An Intimate Afternoon of Conversation and Music with Mr. Big will take place at The Cutting Room (44 East 32nd Street), featuring a longform interview with author and journalist Brad Tolinsk. This special event includes an opportunity for audience questions, a short acoustic performance, and a meet and greet. Tickets are $25; for more information, click here.

Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment since 2005. For more of his stories, visit http://jetaany.org/magazine.


Apr 15

Justin’s Japan: Charan-Po-Rantan Returns to New York

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By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Shukan NY Seikatsu. Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

What do you get when you take candy-coated J-pop idol fashion, frenetic European folk accordion melodies, and a stuffed pink pig—all happening on the same stage?

You get Charan-Po-Rantan, the “alternative chanson” duo of sisters Momo (vocals) and Koharu (accordion). Their music is an eclectic, multi-ethnic mix that combines originals from Koharu with inspired cover tunes ranging from Puffy to “Hava Nagilah” to the Super Mario Brothers theme, creating an infectious live experience.

Originally formed in 2009 and signed as Avex recording artists in 2014, Charan-Po-Rantan’s latest album was released in January. This popular live act has made a high-profile splash everywhere from Nippon Budokan to SXSW, and now the group has returned to New York for their first local gigs since 2015. Momo and Koharu kick things off by headlining Joe’s Pub on April 24, followed by an encore performance at Japan Society as part of the Godzilla Legend: Music of Akira Ifukube showcase with techno-pop band Hikashu on April 28.

In a statement about the upcoming shows, the group said, “We are so happy to be going back to our favorite place—New York! We heard that New York is called a salad bowl of different cultures, and our music is sometimes called ‘a melting pot of world music.’ Please come taste our Tokyo sound, which mixes different genres and eras.”

For more information and tickets, follow the group on Facebook at /charanporantan.


Feb 23

Justin’s Japan: ‘Your Name’ Premieres at NYICFF

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By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Shukan NY Seikatsu. Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

Now celebrating its 20th year, the New York International Children’s Film Festival returns this month, continuing its mission to cultivate an appreciation for the arts for moviegoers of all ages.

Anime films are a staple of NYICFF, and this year’s citywide selections are “Rudolf the Black Cat” (Feb. 25, March 4-5, 19), a modern-day CGI-animated tale of two kitties that celebrates the wonder of discovery; “Panda! Go Panda!” (Feb. 26, March 5, 11, 18), a retro classic from 1972 directed by Isao Takahata and featuring original concepts and character designs by Hayao Miyazaki; and “Ancien and the Magic Tablet” (March 18-19), a fender- and genre-bending film set in the not-too-distant future whose second screening also hosts director Kenji Kamiyama as part of the closing ceremonies.

By far, the most anticipated film is the East Coast premiere of “Your Name” (Feb. 25). Released in Japan last August, it smashed all box office records for the year and is currently the highest-grossing anime film worldwide (beating out Miyazaki’s own Oscar-winning “Spirited Away” by over $40 million at press time).

Written and directed by Makoto Shinkai (“5 Centimeters per Second”), “Your Name” tells the story of a young man living in Tokyo and a young woman living in the countryside who suddenly start switching bodies on a regular basis. It has been widely praised for both its animation style and emotional impact.

For more on this year’s festival, visit http://nyicff.org. Tickets are available at www.ticketweb.com.

 


Jan 25
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By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Shukan NY Seikatsu. Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

While riding the bullet train through Japan in 1989, the New York filmmaker Martin Scorsese was reading “Silence,” the award-winning 1966 Japanese historical novel by Shusaku Endo abut a Jesuit missionary’s persecution in 17th century Japan at a time when Christianity was practiced in secret following a national prohibition that lasted well into the mid-19th century.

Drawing from some of Endo’s personal experiences as a Japanese Catholic (as well as the director’s own religious upbringing as an altar boy in Little Italy), the film stars Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, Issei Ogata, and Tadanobu Asano. The film has drawn comparisons to Scorsese’s own 1988 film “The Last Temptation of Christ” with its themes of faith and perseverance, and has endured a decades-in-the-making journey to the big screen.

In a 2011 interview with “Deadline,” Scorsese said ahead of filming, “‘Silence’ is just something that I’m drawn to in that way. It’s been an obsession, it has to be done…it’s a strong, wonderful true story, a thriller in a way, but it deals with those questions.”

Released on Dec. 26, reviews have been glowing (reflecting an 87% Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes at press time), with the site calling it a “thoughtful, emotionally resonant look at spirituality and human nature that stands among the director’s finest works.”

“Silence” is now playing at select theaters in Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey. For more information, visit www.silencemovie.com.


Oct 9

Justin’s Japan: Yoshiki and ‘We Are X’

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By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Shukan NY Seikatsu. Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

The most influential rock band in Japanese history, X Japan has sold 30 million albums, performed a record 18 shows at Tokyo Dome, and even headlined Madison Square Garden in 2014. Led by their flamboyant drummer/pianist Yoshiki, the band rewrote the rules for both sound and style in the late ’80s and early ’90s, giving birth to the visual kei genre in the process.

After a series of struggles and rebirth, 2016 promises to be X’s biggest year yet on the global stage. The band is months away from releasing their first studio album in 20 years, and with October 21 comes the theatrical premiere of “We Are X,” a new award-winning documentary of the group from American director Stephen Kijak, best known for 2010’s “Stones in Exile.”

The film had its first-ever screening at Sundance in January, and Yoshiki himself appeared in New York last month for a special invitation-only screening of the film at the Crosby Street Hotel in Soho, where he participated in a Q&A with the director, played grand piano, and greeted some very lucky fans.

While X Japan has no current plans to tour America, fans hoping to see Yoshiki on stage won’t have to wait too long: Yoshiki Classical with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra makes its Carnegie Hall debut January 12 and 13. Tickets are available now. For more information on cities and premiere dates for the film, visit www.wearexfilm.com.

Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment since 2005. For more of his stories, visit http://jetaany.org/magazine.


Aug 14

Justin’s Japan: ‘The Osamu Tezuka Story’

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By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Shukan NY Seikatsu. Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment for JETAA since 2005. For more of his articles, click here.

This summer, get to know the “God of Manga.”

From Stone Bridge Press comes “The Osamu Tezuka Story,” a documentary manga biography of the influential artist and the birth and evolution of manga and anime in Japan.

Written and illustrated by longtime Tezuka associate Toshio Ban and newly translated into English by Frederik L. Schodt (author of “Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics”), this colossal 928-page trade paperback covers the entire life of Tezuka (1928-1989), warts and all.

“Readers may be surprised to see how honestly Tezuka is depicted, as an extraordinarily obsessed individual whose family rarely saw him and as someone who suffered from his creative impulse and hyper-competitiveness,” writes Schodt in the introduction.

The creator of such beloved characters as Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion, Tezuka also experimented with darker, more adult-themed works, penning more than 150,000 pages (over 700 volumes) in his lifetime, dwarfing any other manga artist. The book includes a detailed appendix of his complete creative output.

“As Tezuka grows and develops you are slowly introduced to his world and genius. This book isn’t just a book about a man, it’s a book about the development of a nation,” says Alexis Agliano Sanborn, a New York University program coordinator and Japan specialist. “Japan wouldn’t be the Japan it is today without Tezuka, and this book helps you realize it.”

For more information, visit www.stonebridge.com/catalog/the-osamu-tezuka-story.


Jun 23

Justin’s Japan: Lincoln Center Festival Debuts Takarazuka, Noh

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By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Shukan NY Seikatsu. Visit his Examiner.com Japanese culture page here for related stories.

From the roots of ancient Japan to the razzle-dazzle of Broadway, this summer’s Lincoln Center Festival will feature two very unique performances.

First up from July 13-17 is Kanze Noh Theatre. Known for its highly stylized masks and elegantly simple set featuring a single pine tree, this nearly 700-year-old dramatic form is one of the world’s oldest continuously performed genres of performance art and was recently designated an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. A descendent of the founder of Noh, Kiyokazu Kanze and his troupe will present five different Noh dramas as well as two Kyogen, the customary comic interlude in a Noh program.

July 20-24 serves up the North American premiere of Takarazuka CHICAGO, an all-female production of the classic 1975 Tony Award–winning musical with Kander and Ebb’s classic songs—sung entirely in Japanese with English supertitles—and Bob Fosse’s iconic choreography. Formed in 1914 to attract tourists to the hot springs town that bears its name, the Takarazuka Revue has grown into a cultural phenomenon in Japan, drawing a devoted fan base of 2.5 million theatergoers annually for its adaptations of classic Western and Japanese stories, movies, and plays. Whether viewed as a sly subversion of traditionally rigid gender roles or lavish, Las Vegas-style entertainment, Takarazuka is an unforgettable theatrical experience.

For more information, visit www.lincolncenterfestival.org.


May 26

Justin’s Japan —Nippon in New York: LuckyRice, New York Japan CineFest, cosplay party, AnimeNEXT

ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D returns to AnimeNEXT, coming to Atlantic City June 10-12. (Courtesy of Animenext.org)

ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D returns to AnimeNEXT, coming to Atlantic City June 10-12. (Courtesy of Animenext.org)

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Examiner.com. Visit his Japanese culture page here for related stories.

After an unusually chilly spring, it’s finally starting to feel like summer. Enjoy some seasonal events this month that celebrate the best of both fine art and pop art.

This month’s highlights include:

Thursday, June 2, 8:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.

LuckyRice New York Feast

Industry City, 233 37th Street (Brooklyn)

$88 GA, $150 VIP

Last appearing in Gotham for its Ramen Slurpfest back in October, this year’s New York Feast breathes new life this year as we move to a creative hub in Brooklyn to showcase the city’s most enticing Asian food experiences: from Southeast Asia to Western China, from fine dining global restaurants to local superstar mom and pop shops, from traditional dishes to fusion dishes that mash up culinary cultures. Enjoy tastings from over 30 curated chefs (including delectables from Pokéworks, Sushi Samba and Tuome), as well as dozens of craft cocktails, sake, beer, and beverages to keep you spirited throughout the night. VIP ticket holders gain guests one hour early admission.

June 2-3, 6:30 p.m.

New York Japan CineFest 2016

Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue

$12, $10 seniors/students, $8 members

Highlighting some of the most exciting new voices in cinema, New York Japan CineFest is an annual event that features works by emerging Japanese and Japanese American filmmakers. Over two programs of short films, standouts includeTOKYO COSMO, an anime study on loneliness; Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight: The Japanese War Brides, a real-life story about a trio of women who left Japan in the 1950s to start a new life in America; and Keino, a documentary about the eponymous custom motorcycle builder of Brooklyn’s Keino Cycles. A reception sponsored in part by Kirin Brewery of America will follow the first night’s screenings.

Saturday, June 4, 5:30 p.m.

J-Collabo Cosplay Party

J+B Design & Café, 300 7th Street (Brooklyn)

$8 (free for J-members)

For this Inaugural event, J-Collabo offers a very unique underground theme location for photos. Bring our own camera or have their professional photographer capture your costume! The winner of their contest will receive a special gift from J-Collabo Brooklyn. Enjoy J+B’s Nel drip coffee, Yuzu Ginger Lemon and Yuzu Ginger Ale, exquisite teas, sake, and Japanese morsels while browsing a selection of gorgeous Japanese artisanal merchandise at this neighborhood treasure chest of rare and enchanting items.

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May 13

Justin’s Japan: New York Japan CineFest

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By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Shukan NY Seikatsu. Visit his Examiner.com Japanese culture page here for related stories.

Next month, New York Japan CineFest returns to Asia Society for two nights of short films by emerging Japanese and Japanese American filmmakers, highlighting some of the most exciting new voices in cinema today.

This annual festival was originally founded by two filmmakers, Yasu Suzuki and Kosuke Furukawa, and event producer Hiroshi Kono of Mar Creation, Inc. It debuted in 2012, and this year’s event is presented by Mar Creation and Citi Series on Asian Arts and Culture, offering 13 short films ranging from five to 40 minutes each. While there are no official categories for New York Japan CineFest, genres include drama, comedy, documentary, animation, and stop-motion animation.

Standouts include TOKYO COSMO, an anime study on loneliness; Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight: The Japanese War Brides, a real-life story about a trio of women who left Japan in the 1950s to start a new life in America; and Keino, a documentary about the eponymous custom motorcycle builder of Brooklyn’s Keino Cycles.

All of this year’s films were originally released in the last two years. Many are debuting for the first time in New York, and a reception sponsored in part by Kirin Brewery of America will follow the first night’s screenings.

New York Japan CineFest will be held June 2-3 at Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue. For more information, click here.

Justin has written about Japanese arts and entertainment since 2005. For more of his stories, visit http://exm.nr/1qXud3i.


Apr 25

Justin’s Japan — Nippon in New York: Babymetal, Anime Fan Fest, Coppé, Eir Aoi, Hatsune Miku

Babymetal returns to New York at the PlayStation Theater May 4. (Courtesy of PlayStationtheater.com)

Babymetal returns to New York at the PlayStation Theater May 4. (Courtesy of PlayStationtheater.com)

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Examiner.com. Visit his Japanese culture page here for related stories.

As spring continues and the weather continues to warm, New Yorkers can enjoy activities all over the city both indoors and out.

This month’s highlights include:

Wednesday, May 4, 8:30 p.m.

Babymetal

PlayStation Theater, 1515 Broadway

$49.50

New York City welcomes the return of Babymetal, a genre-smashing trio of teenage girls who perform a fusion of metal and idol music dubbed kawaii(cute) metal. After playing to a capacity crowd at Hammerstein Ballroom in 2014, the group returns to support its second album Metal Resistance, now available on Amazon and iTunes. After playing venues like the Tokyo Dome and Wembley Arena in London, Babymetal is poised to become one of the biggest (and widely known abroad) Japanese musical acts today.

Friday, May 6, 8:00 p.m.

J-MUSIC Ensemble

Shrine, 2271 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard

Free

J-pop meets jazz! The J-MUSIC Ensemble is an NYC-based, jazz-rooted instrumental band that is devoted to bringing new perspectives to modern Japanese music, showcasing a fresh take on the best of J-pop, anime and video game tunes. This strikingly sonorous eight-piece band combines the elements of the electric guitar, keyboards, bass, and drums with a full horn section—saxophone, trumpet, and trombone–to deliver a full and powerful, yet dynamic, sound. Following in the jazz tradition, the horns do not play a background role in this instrumentation; instead, they are at the forefront and are put in the same role as leading singers.

May 6-8

Anime Fan Fest 2016

Garden State Exhibition Center, 50 Atrium Drive, Somerset (NJ)

$32-$114, children under 10 free

OTAKU USA Magazine, the largest anime and manga magazine in the U.S., and MAD Event Entertainment producers of Comic Con in Long Beach, CA, has partnered to produce the OTAKU USA Anime Fan Fest at the Garden State Convention Center. The first year event features a star-studded guest list of voice actors, cosplayers, and more! “After producing countless events celebrating comics and pop culture, and our first convention in New Jersey having been such a success, we decided the time was right to produce an anime show” said Martha Donato, executive director and founder of MAD Events. “When we had the opportunity to co-produce this event with the number one magazine for anime and manga, we knew we had the makings of what will be one of the biggest weekends of the year for fans in New Jersey!”

For the complete story, click here.


Mar 27

Justin’s Japan: Nippon in New York — Nippon in New York: Musicals, origami, the GazettE, Keiko Matsui, Sakura Matsuri

Japanese Kyogen Theater featuring Manzo Nomura IX comes to Asia Society April 14.

Japanese Kyogen Theater featuring Manzo Nomura IX comes to Asia Society April 14.

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Examiner.com. Visit his Japanese culture page here for related stories.

Spring has sprung in the Big Apple, and that means one thing: a new season of sounds, colors, and spectacular performing arts to match the blossoming sakura trees throughout the city.

This month’s highlights include:

Friday, April 1, 7:00 p.m.

Shunzo Ohno

Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway

$30 advance, $25 seniors, $35 day of show

Shunzo Ohno, one of the most versatile and influential trumpeters in modern jazz, returns with ReNew, his 16th album as a leader. ReNew injects elements of traditional jazz, hip-hop, spoken word, and free jazz, creating a tapestry of modern jazz that is distinctly his own. With “recovery to discovery” in mind, the genre-defying album is a testament to those affected by catastrophic events that have taken place throughout the world including the 2011 tsunami in Japan. The concert performance will begin with the documentary film Never Defeated: The Shunzo Ohno Story, which is based on Ohno’s powerful life experiences. The music for the film centers on The International Songwriting Competition Grand Prize award song (featured on ReNew), “Musashi.”

April 4-28

Origami in Action: A New Approach to Applied Origami

RESOBOX, 41-26 27th Street (Long Island City)

Free, opening reception Friday, April 8, 7:00 p.m.

Origami is the art of paper folding, which is often associated with Japanese culture. In modern usage, the word “origami” is used as an inclusive term for all folding practices, regardless of their culture of origin. The goal is to transform a flat sheet square of paper into a finished sculpture through folding and sculpting techniques. Today, origami is truly a global phenomenon. Best known for making pop-up comic books, artist Sam Ita was asked by emerging Italian publisher Nui Nui to create a series of origami books, beginning with paper planes. Continuing the series, he collaborated with two other innovative origamists: jewelry and fashion designer Adrienne Sack, and dragon aficionado and champion pumpkin carver Paul Frasco. Their colorful works will be revealed in this special exhibition.

April 8-23

Japan Sings! The Japanese Musical Film

Japan Society, 333 East 47th Street

$12/$9 Japan Society members, seniors & students EXCEPT screening of You Can Succeed, Too + Opening Night Party: $15/$12 Japan Society members, seniors & students

This spring, Japan Society celebrates the astonishing yet little-known world of Japanese musical films. The series focuses on the golden age of the “popular song film” starring teen idols and TV stars from the ’50s and ’60s. It also reaches back to prewar singing samurai and forward to twenty-first century genre mashups—10 songful cinema gems all on 35mm! Musical performance in these films incorporates Japanese musical tradition as well as the utopian space of the Hollywood musical to create a rich commentary on the intimate and unequal relation between Japan and the U.S. This series is guest curated by Michael Raine, Assistant Professor of Film Studies at Western University, Canada.

For the complete story, click here.


Mar 11

Justin’s Japan: The GazettE and BABYMETAL

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By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Shukan NY Seikatsu. Visit his Examiner.com Japanese culture page here for related stories.

Located in the heart of Times Square, the PlayStation Theater will host two popular Japanese rock acts later this spring.

Making their NYC debut April 29 are the GazettE, a Kanagawa-based rock quintet that follows in the footsteps of other Gotham-conquering visual kei acts like X Japan and L’Arc~en~Ciel. Formed in 2002, the band has performed in Europe multiple times since 2007, and will headline its first shows in America this spring in support of its latest album, 2015’s Dogma.

The band’s biggest world tour to date kicks off in Mexico City April 15, and will take them to a total of 11 countries outside of Japan, including stops in Dallas, San Francisco, and Los Angeles in the States. Still completely self-produced, the GazettE continue moving forward, uncompromised in their artistic and unique worldview at home and abroad.

May 4 brings the return of BABYMETAL, a trio of teenage girls who perform a fusion of metal and idol music dubbed kawaii (cute) metal. After playing to a capacity crowd at Hammerstein Ballroom in 2014, the group returns to support its second album “Metal Resistance,” which will be released in Japan and several English-speaking territories in April. After playing venues like the Tokyo Dome and Wembley Arena in London, BABYMETAL is poised to become one of the biggest (and widely known abroad) musical acts in Japan today.

For more information, visit www.playstationtheater.com.


Mar 1

Justin’s Japan: Nippon in New York: ‘The Boy and the Beast,’ Kabuki, 3/11, WagakkiBand, Hiromi

Mamoru Hosoda's The Boy and the Beast premieres March 4. (FUNimation)

Mamoru Hosoda’s The Boy and the Beast premieres March 4. (FUNimation)

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02) for Examiner.com. Visit his Japanese culture page here for related stories.

Tucked between Oscar and cherry blossom season, March offers an unmissable array of concerts, performances and exhibitions, along with a special gathering to mark the five-year anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

This month’s highlights include:

Tuesday, March 1, 8:00 p.m.

An Evening of Japanese Traditional Theatre

Carnegie Hall (Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage), 881 Seventh Avenue

$50-$500, student discount tickets available at the box office

Starring kabuki actor Ebizo Ichikawa, this performance highlights traditional Japanese music by showcasing three different traditional Japanese theatrical art forms: kabuki, noh, and kyogen. It is rare, even in Japan, to see these performed in the same evening and on the same stage. Artistic Director of the Grand Japan Theater Denjiro Tanaka is the son of Tadao Kamei, a noh musician, and Sataro Tanaka, the daughter of kabuki musicians. His shared lineage made this collaboration possible.

Opens Friday, March 4

The Boy and the Beast

AMC Empire 25; Angelika Film Center; Bow Tie Cinemas Chelsea

$14.50-$15.75

The latest feature film from award-winning Japanese director Mamoru Hosoda (Summer Wars, Wolf Children)! When Kyuta, a young orphan living on the streets of Shibuya, stumbles into a fantastic world of beasts, he’s taken in by Kumatetsu, a gruff, rough-around-the-edges warrior beast who’s been searching for the perfect apprentice. Despite their constant bickering, Kyuta and Kumatetsu begin training together and slowly form a bond as surrogate father and son. But when a deep darkness threatens to throw the human and beast worlds into chaos, the strong bond between this unlikely pair will be put to the ultimate test—a final showdown that will only be won if the two can finally work together using all of their combined strength and courage. This limited theatrical engagement is presented in English dub and the original Japanese audio with English subtitles—check your local theater for availability and showtimes.

March 4-9

Of Ghosts, Samurai and War: A Series of Classic Japanese Film

Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue

$12, $10 students/seniors, $8 members

In its history spanning more than 100 years, Japanese cinema has produced some of the most admired films that continue to enrich the world cinema discourse. Masterpieces by such greats as Akira Kurosawa (Rashomon), Kenji Mizoguchi (Ugetsu), and Kaneto Shindo (Onibaba) have proved their enduring influence on filmmaking and film appreciation.

The six films included in the series are set during Japan’s Middle Ages (12th to 17th century) and produced during the Japanese golden age of cinema in the 1950s and 1960s—a time when Japan’s memory of war was still vivid. Using a variety of narrative and visual techniques, these filmmakers present a humanist approach to understanding life during war: from the struggle for power, to the quest for justice, or even the mere fight for survival. These rarely screened 35mm film prints also represent the best of Japanese cinema for their visual designs, color schemes, music, narrative strategies and performance styles, offering a pristine and essential viewing experience.

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