Saturday, April 30, 2011

"Women Film Pioneers Project Online - JAPAN section"

Announcement from H-Japan:

The Women Film Pioneers Project Online began as a multi-volume publication project, and expanded so rapidly, and in such a promising way, that it has since been developed into an online database project overseen by Professor Jane Gaines at Columbia University, and hosted by Columbia’s Center for Digital Scholarship and Research. Please check out the project’s current guidelines webpage, where you can read more details, obtain guidelines for participating, and download model examples for contributions of career profiles and overview essays.

The WFP website itself will be going live shortly, but the project is still seeking participants for the section on Japan.

The project’s objective, as described on the WFP website, is three-fold:

1. to jump start historical research on the work of women filmmakers from the early years of cinema, ending with the coming of sound;
2. to facilitate a cross-nation connection between research;
3. to reconfigure world film knowledge by foregrounding an undocumented phenomenon: that these women worked in many capacities.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Spring 2011 Body/Comm Japan Beauty Poster Workshop

Spring has sprung and once again Body/Comm students are contemplating beauty in Japan: this semester's poster workshop, tempered with research and discussion, produced creative illustrations of cool, cute, sexy, and western influences combined with leg-enhancing, eye-opening, nail decorating and slim/youthful body manipulations that make up notions of contemporary beauty in Japan.

Great stuff this semester! Thanks for all of your efforts. Click here to see posters from previous semesters.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Photography, Video and Visual Journalism: 1) Conveying the Sadness in Japan’s Stoicism, and 2) 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake

Photo by David Guttenfelder/Associated Press; image borrowed from The New York Times' Lens Blog.

Associated Press photographer David Guttenfelder lives in Japan and was able to capture some great shots to document the 311 disaster and after effects. 

Here's another documentation, in e-book form.  Text comes from the product description.

In just over a week, a group of unpaid professional and citizen journalists who met on Twitter created a book to raise money for Japanese Red Cross earthquake and tsunami relief efforts. In addition to essays, artwork and photographs submitted by people around the world, including people who endured the disaster and journalists who covered it, 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the Japan Earthquake contains a piece by Yoko Ono, and work created specifically for the book by authors William Gibson, Barry Eisler and Jake Adelstein.

“The primary goal,” says the book's editor, a British resident of Japan, “is to record the moment, and in doing so raise money for the Japanese Red Cross Society to help the thousands of homeless, hungry and cold survivors of the earthquake and tsunami. The biggest frustration for many of us was being unable to help these victims. I don’t have any medical skills, and I’m not a helicopter pilot, but I can edit. A few tweets pulled together nearly everything – all the participants, all the expertise – and in just over a week we had created a book including stories from an 80-year-old grandfather in Sendai, a couple in Canada waiting to hear if their relatives were okay, and a Japanese family who left their home, telling their young son they might never be able to return."

ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the price you pay (net of VAT, sales and other taxes) goes to the Japanese Red Cross Society to aid the victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. If you'd like to donate more, please visit the Japanese Red Cross Society website, where you can donate either via Paypal or bank transfer (watch out for the fees, though!) or the American Red Cross Society, which accepts donations directed to its Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami fund (but only accepts donations made with U.S.-issued credit cards).

And of course, if you like the book, please tell your friends, and tell them to give generously as well! Thank you! Japan really does appreciate your help! 


Thursday, April 14, 2011

"Family photos retrieved from tsunami-hit areas..."

Family photos retrieved from tsunami-hit areas are on display at an elementary school gymnasium, where they are gradually being cleaned and put on display by volunteers, in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture. Self-Defense Force personnel and residents have been bringing photos and albums found in the wreckage of local homes, in the hope that their owners will find them.

Photo and text from Japan Today, 4/14/11:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cherry Blossom Viewing 2011

There is some tradition at VAOJ of sharing cherry blossom photos every spring; these come from near my home. Sunday was a beautiful day for walking along the stream and enjoying the scene. A local community group displays senryu poems along with the cherry blossoms every year. With all of the disasters of late, some have suggested forgoing ohanami parties this year. Maybe low key events during the day are more appropriate under these conditions. But on the other hand, some return to normality might welcome. Japanese baseball, after a postponement, started today. Let's hope cherry blossoms and Hanshin Tigers lift people's spirits.

Monday, April 11, 2011

"Minister tells prosecutors to record all interrogations on trial basis"

Follow up to the Presumed Guilty thread; article from today's Japan Today:

Justice Minister Satsuki Eda has told Prosecutor General Haruo Kasama to make audio and video recordings of all interrogations by prosecutors of suspects on a trial basis as part of efforts to reform the nation’s prosecution system.

In response to the instructions, Kasama said that prosecution investigative teams will proactively make trial recordings of their interrogations of suspects in some cases to examine how that would affect investigations.

Kasama also said a task force was set up at the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office on Friday to promote the reform of the prosecution system which was damaged last year by an evidence tampering and coverup scandal related to an investigation into abuse of the postal discount system.

The Supreme Prosecutors Office has already decided to make such recordings of some parts of interrogations of suspects by elite investigative teams in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya as well as for cases 
subject to citizen judge trials.

Eda’s nine-point instructions also include the establishment of an in-house inspection team within prosecutors’ offices to check on prosecutors and for outside experts to be invited to provide advice.

The instructions were in line with recent proposals by a government advisory panel to the justice minister for expanding the scope of audio and video recordings of interrogations.

While asking the prosecutor general to file a progress report in about a year, Eda also instructed his ministry to begin preparations to consult with the Legislative Council to establish a new criminal justice system. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Mori Lecture on the Status of Sign Language @ Japanese Sign Language「Atelier」

Recently Soya Mori visited Hirakata-shi and gave a special lecture sponsored by a local sign language group. Mori is the Deputy Director and a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Developing Economies (Poverty Alleviation and Social Development Studies Group, Interdisciplinary Studies Center). He is also an expert in the linguistics of sign languages. His lecture dealt with the situation of handicapped people and sign languages in various countries, especially those in Asia. It was a real treat to see his very academic lecture on sign language in Japanese Sign Language. You can learn more about his group and his research at the Institute of Developing Economies website.


These photos document his lecture and the reception that followed.

An important tangent: This lecture's sponsoring group recently changed its name from "Sign Language Circle 「Atelier」" to "Japanese Sign Language 「Atelier」." There are hundreds of sign language circles in Japan - Atelier wanted to distinguish itself and affirm that they study and promote Japanese Sign Language as opposed to Signed Japanese (which is what most sign language circles in Japan study.) Currently the Japanese Federation of the Deaf is not promoting JSL or identifying it as a real language on par with Japanese. This is an odd stance, especially considering the research of Mori and countless others on the linguistics of sign languages. The name change is a political action aimed at spreading awareness and fighting discrimination in the realms of communication and education.