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Posts Tagged ‘Samurai’

Book Review: Samurai Assassins: “Dark Murder” And The Meiji Restoration 1853-1868 By Romulus Hillsborough

This first-ever account in English of the assassins who drove the revolution details one of the most volatile periods in Japanese history!

Samurai Assassins coverHillsborough refers to this, his latest book, as ‘a study of the ideology and psychology behind the “samurai revolution”’ and that it certainly is. Thankfully for once, it is not a book that focuses on or sensationalises the assassinations of ‘foreign barbarians’ in a period in Japan when political assassinations flourished, not least of which were those of the foreigners residing in Japan. This a fact attested to by the British Legation’s interpreter Thomas McClatchie, himself a student of Kenjutsu under Sakikabara Kenkichi, in his 1879 letter to Morita Kan’ya’s invitation to visit the Kabuki theatre – ‘In Japan people like the so called rōnin with their katana swords have long been in Read more…

Film Review: Silence – A Film By Martin Scorsese

January 9, 2017 Leave a comment

Sometimes silence is the deadliest sound!

silence_posterBased on Shusaku Endo’s 1966 novel Martin Scorsese’s film ‘Silence’ is the third adaptation of the novel following ‘Chinmoku’, a 1971 film adaptation by Masahiro Shinoda, and the 1996 Portuguese version ‘Os Olhos da Ásia’ (The Eyes of Asia) by João Mário Lourenço Bagão Grilo.

Directed by Martin Scorsese, with a screenplay by Scorsese and Jay Cocks, it is set in the historical ‘Kakure Kirishitan’ (Hidden Christian) period of 17th century Japan. The main story takes place between 1640-1641, a few Read more…

Film Review: Mifune – The Last Samurai

October 16, 2016 1 comment

A celebration of the greatest actor from the Golden Age of Japanese Cinema!

mifune_strandbanner

Doing the rounds of this year’s film festivals and screened at this year’s British Film Institute’s London Film Festival is ‘Mifune: The Last Samurai’, a new documentary directed by the Oscar winning Director Steven Okazaki (‘Days of Waiting’, ‘Unfinished Business’), produced by Toshiaki Nakazawa (‘13 Samurai’, ‘Hara Kiri: Death of a Read more…

Book Review: Samurai Revolution By Romulus Hillsborough

August 29, 2016 1 comment

The Dawn of Modern Japan as seen through the eyes of the Shōgun’s Last Samurai!

samurai revolution front coverThis book, based on twenty-five years of research by Romulus Hillsborough who spent sixteen years living in Japan, joins his growing portfolio of his other works on the pivotal characters and themes of the Bakumatsu Period and the Meiji Restoration bringing many of them together in a welcome work that covers the pivotal period that heralded the end of the Japanese feudal era and the beginning of the industrial and political modernisation of Japan.

Something of a tome ‘Samurai Revolution’ is written as two books. The first covers the conflicting interests of the Tokugawa Bakufu in Edo (modern day Tōkyō) and the Imperial Court in Kyōto and the inter clan alliances which had been forged nearly three hundred years before in the triumphs and Read more…

Event: Sumie Black And Wash Painting Workshop

Learn from a master the art of expressing yourself through the use of brush and ink!

Calligraphy 4Date: 13th May 2016

Time: 18.30 – 22.00

Venue: Hammersmith, London (Private home – contact for details)

Price: £30.00 – Includes equipment (ink, rice paper and brush) and Japanese dinner. Read more…

Book Review: Photography In Japan 1853 – 1912

A delight to the eye and a treasure trove of information!

Girl in Heavy StormPhotography in Japan 1853-1912 , originally published in 2006, provides a fascinating glimpse into the world of early photography in Japan often little known outside academic circles or those with a specific interest in the period when Japan was undergoing rapid modernisation.

Though most people are generally unaware of the larger scope of the world of early photography in Japan and the early photographs of both non-Japanese and Japanese photographers, some with little more than a passing interest may be aware of the photographs of Felice Beato, which have recently had a fair amount of publicity, some of which are included in this book. The book follows the beginnings of photography in Japan from its introduction by foreigners through its Read more…

Film Review: Uzumasa Limelight (Uzumasa Raimuraito)

A homage to Charlie Chaplin’s LIMELIGHT!

Uzumasa limelightWinner of the Cheval Noir Award and Best Actor Award at the 2014 Fantasia International Film Festival, the Audience Award at the 2014 New York Asian Film Festival and the 2014 Camera Japan Festival, and the official selection at both the 2014 Hawaii International Film Festival and the 2014 Shanghai International Film Festival.  Read more…

JAPAN CUTS: Festival Of New Japanese Film Announces Full Slate Of NY Premieres

July 9-19, 2015 at Japan Society

JAPAN CUTS logoExpanded 9th Edition Boasts Nearly 30 Features, Dozens of Shorts,

Classic Restorations and Most Special Guests Ever!

New York, NY – North America’s largest festival of Japanese Read more…

Ningyo: The Art Of The Japanese Doll Competition Closed And The Winner Is…

October 8, 2014 Leave a comment

A winner has been chosen!

Ningyo - The Art of the Japanese DollThanks to everyone who entered the competition to win a copy of the book Ningyo: The Art Of The Japanese Doll.

Sadly there can only be one winner.

And the winner is… Read more…

WIN NINGYO: The Art Of The Japanese Doll By Alan Scott Pate

September 21, 2014 8 comments

Hooray! It’s competition time again!

Ningyo - The Art of the Japanese DollFamed the world over for their intricate beauty, Japanese dolls (ningyo) have played an important role in Japanese art and culture. Ningyo: The Art of the Japanese Doll (read review here) is the first comprehensive book on antique Japanese dolls and figurines published in English. The book focuses on dolls in six categories:

  • GOSHO-NINGYO: Palace Dolls and Auspicious Wishes
  • HINA-NINGYO: Dolls for the Girl’s Day Festival
  • MUSHA-NINGYO: Warrior Dolls for the Boy’s Day Festival
  • ISHO-NINGYO: Fashion Dolls and Popular Culture
  • NINGYO IN THE THEATER: Entertaining the Gods and Man
  • NINGYO AND HEALTH: Dolls as Talisman and Tool

Read more…

The Art of the Japanese Sword Competition Now Closed And the Winner Is…

September 16, 2014 2 comments

A winner has been chosen!

The Art Of The Japanese Sword - The Craft Of Swordmaking And Its AppreciationThanks to everyone who entered the competition to win a copy of the book The Art of the Japanese Sword.

Sadly there can only be one winner.

And the winner is… Read more…

Book Review: The Art Of The Japanese Sword: The Craft Of Swordmaking And Its Appreciation

August 28, 2014 1 comment

Like people and snowflakes, no two Japanese swords are the same!

The Art Of The Japanese Sword - The Craft Of Swordmaking And Its AppreciationWritten by Yoshindo Yoshihara (a third generation swordsmith) with Leon and Hiroko Kapp, The Art of the Japanese Sword is a beautiful large format book (effectively printed on glossy black paper with white text) that focuses on the production and understanding of the symbolic steel weapon once used by samurai and now admired by art collectors all round the world as an object of perfection, although many people use them to practice traditional Japanese martial arts like Iaido (the art of drawing the sword). Read more…

Hyper Japan 2014 In Pictures

August 7, 2014 2 comments

The UK’s biggest celebration of Japanese culture!

Hyper Japan 2014 logoEvery year since it first began back in 2010, the annual London event Hyper Japan keeps getting better and better, not to mention bigger and bigger, and this year’s extravaganza held on 25 – 27 July at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre was no exception.

The fantastic line-up catered to all tastes in Japanese pop-culture from traditional dancers and musicians like the very popular Hyper Japan regulars Hibiki Ichikawa and Akari Mochizuki, who this time around were accompanied by guitarist Hide Takemoto, to contemporary Read more…

Theatre Review: ‘Kaidan Chibusa no Enoki’ (The Ghost Tale Of The Wet Nurse Tree)

July 17, 2014 2 comments

The Heisei Nakamura-za company performs Kabuki at the Lincoln Centre Festival, NYC!

Heisei Nakamura-za Photo by ShochikuThe Lincoln Centre Festival performance of the Kabuki play ‘Kaidan Chibusa no Enoki’ (The Ghost Tale of the Wet Nurse Tree) took place in NYC from 7th – 12th July 2014 at the Rose Theatre. Having inherited the dream of their father Nakamura Kanzaburō XVIII, who sadly passed away in December 2012, the performance run was dedicated to him by his sons Nakamura Kankurō VI and Nakamura Shichinosuke II. Kanzaburō helped establish the Heisei Nakamuraza, a portable Read more…

DVD Review: Hakuoki: Demon of the Floating Blossom OVA Collection

June 4, 2014 1 comment

“A Memory of Snow Flowers”

Hakuoki OVA Collection coverWith a series 1 and 2 collection, there is a prequel and now an OVA to enjoy for those who are fans of bishonen series where the men have handsome, sometimes beautiful facial features, long hair and flamboyant manner. This OVA starts in December 1866 before the 1868 – 69 Boshin War and focuses first on the enemy who wanted to infiltrate and take down the Shinsengumi headquarters, hoping to make a name for themselves.

The OVA is made up of six episodes that are about each of the Shinsengumi characters. Souji is his usual comical self, but this time Read more…

An English translation of ‘Meiji Gekidan: Ranpu No Moto Ni Te’ (Talks On Meiji Era Theatre: Under The Lamp) By Okamoto Kidō

April 14, 2014 2 comments

Translation was undertaken for Kabuki fans who are unable to read Japanese!

Okamoto KidoBorn October 15th 1872 to Okamoto Keinosuke (a samurai retainer of the Tokugawa Shōgunate who, after the Meiji Restoration, went to work for the British Legation as an interpreter) Okamoto Kidō is best known outside of Japan for his mystery novel ‘The Curious Casebook of Inspector Hanshichi’. His family were avid Kabuki fans and well-connected in the theatre world. Though Kidō announced his intention at an early age to become a Kabuki playwright as a consequence of his father’s bankruptcy he had to skip University and Read more…

Anime Review: Hakuoki

March 2, 2014 2 comments

Yukimura Chizuru’s father holds the key to Japan’s bloodshed. She must find him!

Hakuoki  anime seriesThe Hakuoki series, which includes two seasons and a third season that acts as a prequel, is a romantic take on historical characters and events, with a bit of vampire/mysticism thrown in for good measure. The mystical nature of the show is not an unusual turn for anime to take, but this series manages to be both intriguing and action-packed while remaining Read more…

The Nakasendo Road Part Three: Day 7 – 10

October 29, 2013 Leave a comment

Third and final part: Japanophile Trevor Skingle ‘walks Japan’ to raise funds for the humanitarian charity RedR UK!

Nakasedno Road Part Three Day 7 - 10Day Seven: O-tsumago to Kiso-Fukushima – Reports came in that 800mm of rain had fallen on Kyōto as a result of the typhoon Man Yi, that the level of the Kamogawa River at Sanjo Obashi Bridge where the group had walked a few nights before was phenomenally high and there had been Read more…

The Nakasendo Road Part Two: Day 4 -6

October 16, 2013 Leave a comment

Part Two of Three: Japanophile Trevor Skingle ‘walks Japan’ to raise funds for the humanitarian charity RedR UK!

Nakasendo Road Part Two Day 4 - 6Day Four: Hosokute to Okute – For those who had suffered from the unseasonal heat the day’s walk was limited to hiking from Hosokute to Okute, whilst the remainder of the group went on to complete the second part of the hike across Jūsan Toge (Thirteen Passes) into Ena. After an early morning stretch outside the Read more…