Arts & Entertainment

‘Ukulele Strikes a Chord with San Jose Japantown Music Instructor

Originally trained as a computer hardware programmer, Rodney Takahashi has turned his passion for the ‘ukulele into a successful career as a music instructor. Takahashi teaches lessons at his store, Ukulele Jams, at 565 North Sixth Street in San Jose’s Japantown. The classes cover ‘ukulele picking, strumming and music theory. Takahashi, who originally operated his […]

‘Astro Boy’ Falls Short of Tezuka’s Trademark Storytelling Style

This past month, Astro Boy, one of Japan’s greatest icons, made his debut in U.S. movie theaters. The new film,  appropriately titled “Astro Boy,” is directed by British animator David Bowers (“Flushed Away”) and produced by Hong Kong’s Imagi Studios’ (the CGI-animated “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”) — with some oversight by Tezuka Productions, the company […]

‘The Cove’ Puts Health Risk at Forefront, But Japanese Side Not Convinced

TOKYO — A U.S. documentary film about dolphin hunting in Japan places its focus on the health risks that could arise from eating mercury-laden dolphin meat, relegating to the sidelines the aspect of animal rights protection and brushing aside claims of traditional customs. But Japanese authorities and scientists are not convinced by the warning message […]

Uncovering Tokyo’s Yakuza and Nightlife

For 12 years, Jake Adelstein was embroiled in the seedy underbelly of Tokyo crime and nightlife, spending late nights schmoozing with police, conducting investigations at brothels and fielding death threats from the Japanese mafia. Adelstein himself, however, was not in law enforcement or a criminal. Rather, from 1993 to 2005, Adelstein worked as a crime […]

ENTERTAINMENT RE-ORIENTED: Race and Reality: The ‘Balloon Boy,’ Jon & Kate

On Wednesday last week, a six-year-old hapa boy captured the attention of the world when it was reported that he was trapped in a homemade helium balloon floating 15,000 feet in the air. Falcon Heene, dubbed “the balloon boy,” replaced President Obama’s New Orleans town hall meeting as the day’s big story on cable news. […]

Military Service and Legal Challenges: Martial Law in Hawaii

(Note: The following is an excerpt from the book “A Tragedy of Democracy: Japanese Confinement in North America,” published by Columbia University Press) Intimately connected to the confinement of U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry was the denial of civil rights to all civilians, Japanese Americans and others, under wartime military dictatorship in Hawaii. Although there […]

SFMOMA’s First Postwar Japanese Photography Exhibit Charts the Evolution of Japanese Art and Society

A young woman sitting in a garden, her kimono pulled back defiantly to reveal a single naked breast. A stray dog, glaring menacingly, teeth bared. A woman’s head, eyes gaping, jammed beneath the armpit of a muscular man, seemingly detached from her body but very much alive. These are images from postwar Japan as seen […]

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