Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

OSAMU TEZUKA

2012-05-26

AstroIt is not really well known that Japan has been a major player in the development of cartoons and comic art. I think they deserve more credit; credit where credit is due — take Iwao Takamoto, for example, Iwao worked for Disney on films such as “101 Dalmatians” and “Lady & The Tramp”, but he also created Penelope Pitstop and Scooby-Doo for Hanna Barbera.

Scooby-DooTakamoto was Americanised, and his subjects were western in all respects, but the Japanese nevertheless managed to develop their own spin on things, and this has grown to be a massive market of  Animé (animations) and Manga.

For Animé, we have Studio Ghibli of Tokyo who make full-length animated movies, and are often referred to as the Japanese Disney. My children adore Spirited Away, My Neighbour Tortoro, Pom Poko, Ponyo and Howl’s Moving Castle. In fact, Spirited Away is the only film made outside the English-speaking world to win an Oscar, and it grossed over $274 worldwide.

Studio Ghibli

Manga is often known as BD – a Belgian/ French term “bandes dessinées” which simply means “drawn Strips”. This is considered better than the American term, “Comic”, which carries the implication of being funny or at least not-serious.

There is a long traditional Japanese history in Manga, and is very influential in producing graphic art novels, particularly of a serious or adult nature. Manga stories are often made into Animé, if popular enough.

TezukaThe Golden Age of Manga dates back to just after World War II, and to one man — Osamu Tezuka.

At just 17, Tezuka created his first pieces of work, The Diary of Ma-chan and Shin Takarajima (New Treasure Island). He single-handedly invented the stylistic attributes that makes Manga distinct. He gave Manga its style, particularly the invention of Manga eyes, which have been massively influential on Japanese Manga and Animé.

1989-02-09, Tezuka died of stomach cancer in Tokyo.

As an idea of how highly Tezuka was regarded, the city of Takarazuka, Hyogo, where he grew up, has opened a museum in his memory. Japanese Postage Stamps were issued in his honour in 1997. And, the Japanese toy company Kaiyodo began manufacturing a series of figurines of Tezuka‘s creations in 2003.

Osamu Tezuka is held in high regard all over the world; and rightly so. He is a massive influence on street art, graffiti, and comics.

When I first saw his work, I was amazed that it was from the 40s and 50s. He was so ahead of his time. This is merely my small tribute to a great man. Check him out on the internet — and then spread the word.

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MIYAVI

2010-04-11

[Picture fo Japanese Rock Guitarist, Miyavi]Some amazing things are happening in music around the world. As a family, we have enjoyed South Korean girl rap-pop from the Wonder Girls, and (at the other end of the spectrum), I am a huge fan of Cornelius.

From the bluesy origins of Ali Farka Touré and Ba Cissoko to the Russian whizzkid, Temur Kvitelashvili, I love that the focus is shifting from the UK and USA elsewhere for a change.

My latest find is Miyavi — he’s an amazing Japanese force of nature.

[Embedded video from You Tube  – Selfish Love]

Yes, he is a man (in fact “Mayavi” means “Male”), although he’s pretty feminine looking — and he’s also straight; his real name is Ishihara Takamasa and he’s married to pop singer “Melody“. Together they have a daughter called Lovelie Miyavi Ishihara.

Here’s a picture of Melody his lovely wife:

[Picture of Melody Japanese Singer]

There must be many quarrels in their house over hair products and lipstick!

Anyway, Miyavi has loads of CD albums, singles, DVDs and is apparently never off magazines over in Japan.  Both he and Melody are big stars. Miyavi certainly has the talent. The style, acoustically, is slappy, clappy, percussive and funky and if you like Andy McKee, Don Ross, Erik Mongrain, or even Tommy Emmanuel, he could be worth checking out.  I guess what sets Miyavi apart, is his fashion and his age (he was born late in 1981) when compared with these guys. Anyway, I like him; he’s not really taking himself very seriously, he is entertaining, he is fun, but behind that, he’s got a serious talent.

[Embedded clip from youtube:]

Enjoy!

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