Articles by: C.B. Liddell
The Last Word

Japan’s tragic aftermath reveals some sensitive economic indicators

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The Last Word

How Japan can turn the tables on its economic decline

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The Last Word

Death comes to the expat—unexpectedly

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The Last Word

Human life is sacred. So hang Tatsuya Ichihashi

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The Last Word

Beware Japan’s new political beast

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The Last Word

Saitama has its Obama Moment

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Features

A rogue’s gallery of heinous killers reveals the dark soul of a nation

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Art

Get out of your head at this all-night art fest

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Art

21_21 Design Sight doesn't go against the grain

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Art

A fashionable look at the ephemeral in Omotesando

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Art

All the fun of the fair

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Art

All the fun of the fair

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Art

The Mori looks at the man behind the myth

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Art

Cleveland’s quaint collection of Japanese art at the Tokyo National

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Art

Avant-garde Architecture at the ICC

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Art

Impressive Impressionism at the NMWA

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Art

Impressive Impressionism at the NMWA

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Art

A photographic legend exposed at MoMAT

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Art

A photographic legend exposed at MoMAT

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Art

Japan’s first family of art at the Idemitsu

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Art

Japan’s first family of art at the Idemitsu

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Art

Japan’s haiku capital vacuum packed for a Tokyo audience

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Art

Sensory overload at Diesel Gallery

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Art

Food for thought at the Idemitsu

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Art

Preparing for 2020 by looking back at 1964

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Art

Iconoclasm and irony at the NACT

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Art

The civilization of the sea at Ueno’s shrunken pond

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Art

History painted by the defeated at MoMA

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Art

The wabi-sabi side of an electronics genius on show at the Shiodome

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Art

Love and hate battle it out at the Mori’s 10th anniversary show

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Art

More to Mucha at the Mori

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Art

My big skinny Greek painting at Tokyo Met

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Art

Religion and art come together at the Tokyo National Museum

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Art

Contemporary art with popular appeal at Roppongi’s NACT

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Art

Take your eyeballs on a visual joyride

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Art

Going beyond the photographic

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Art

Strange new forms of life and art take shape at the ICC

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Artifacts

The ukiyo-e master placed in context

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Art

A turbulent century of Japanese art at a renewed MOMAT

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Art

Free exhibition recalling Japanese-American wartime experience

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Art

Japan’s Shinto legacy at the TNM

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Art

Neo-Nihonga retro-yakuza pastiche

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Art

A touch of madness at the Sompo

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Art

Make up for art at Diesel

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Art

Coming back to kawaii in Yokohama

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Artifacts

Life-size fun at the Museum of Modern Art Saitama

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Art

A Pre-Raphaelite Master in Tokyo’s Little London

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CDs & DVDs

Choice of Weapon

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Art

Art and nature battle it out in Saitama

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Art

Tokyo’s newest museum brings Nihonga to Nakameguro

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CDs & DVDs

The Temper Trap

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Art

The Mori shows the feminism and femininity of the avant-garde Korean artist

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Art

A town-and-country look at the “father of modern painting”

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Art

Find your own way at this feast of variety

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Art

The first major Japan exhibition of the abstract superstar

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Art

The Garden as Zen and Art at the Watarium

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CDs & DVDs

Chris Cornell

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Art

Creative synergy remembered at Tokyo’s temple of style

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Artifacts

Get into Noh, face first

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Artifacts

Poetry and Old Testament visions make a perfect holiday exhibition

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Art

An entertaining show tries to reboot Japan’s lost fashion edge

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Artifacts

Last weekend of this exhibition evoking 1960s NYC

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Art

America but (sadly) not as we know it, at the NACT

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CDs & DVDs

A timeless rock institution only partially aided by his zombie makeup

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Art

Get into architecture this fall, with a major symposium and related exhibitions

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Art

The second part of the 100th anniversary show honors the legacy of an artistic phenomenon

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Art

Impressionism with frills

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Art

Mixed-up movie magic delights at the Hara

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Art

An irrepressible ukiyo-e talent shines at the Ota

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CDs & DVDs

Big Dogz

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Artifacts

Modern art with an inherently Japanese aesthetic

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Art

Tokyo’s biggest art event channels sympathy for an injured nation

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CDs & DVDs

Smother

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CDs & DVDs

I Am Very Far

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Artifacts

On paper, putting ancient Buddhist artifacts next to original artwork from a comic book depicting the life of Buddha might seem somewhat irreverent and even a bit tacky, but “Buddha — The Story in Manga and Art” at the Tokyo National Museum turns out to be a stylish and classy show. This may be because ...

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Art

The Teien takes us for a mysterious walk in the woods

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Artifacts

"Chronicle of Showa Era Erotic Gegika"

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CDs & DVDs

Blood Pressure

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Music

The doom metalers offer quake catharsis and carnivore guilt on their final tour

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Art

Tokyo’s emptiest art venue stages a requiem for the voiceless

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Agenda

If you want to see a great gig, check out someone like KT Tunstall, whose career is essentially built on her ability to cut it live rather than in the studio. Since stunning the audience on BBC live music show “Later… with Jools Holland” with her deftly managed pedalled-up acoustic and husky singing back in ...

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CDs & DVDs

Losing Sleep

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Artifacts

In the classic comedy Play it Again, Sam, Woody Allen’s character, in Bogart mode, suavely says, “I love the rain; it washes memories off the sidewalk of life.” Somebody else who loves the rain—and any other kind of inclement weather—is French photographer Christophe Jacrot. This is not because it helps him forget, but because it ...

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Art

The NACT takes a short-sighted, Francophone look at an international art movement

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Music

The metal monster ploughs ahead by putting egos on hold

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Artifacts

Masaya Yoshioka’s approach to art is simple. Working as a carpenter, the self-taught artist occasionally puts down his tools to pick up a paintbrush and depict the things that flash through his mind. Being a relatively young, red-blooded heterosexual male, those thoughts are often of naked ladies or couples in flagrante delicto. Using a fluid, ...

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CDs & DVDs

Anna Calvi

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Art

The Suntory ramps it up with some rocking rococo ceramics

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Music

The techno-shy Canadians breathe new life into electronica’s grooves

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CDs & DVDs

From Midnight to Sunshine

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Art

A rising star astounds with a death-obsessed show at the Mori

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Agenda

Heavy metal groups are notorious for their complex genealogies, as members switch bands and moonlight for other outfits. Greek metal warhorse Firewind is no exception—both singer Apollo Papathanasio and lead guitarist Gus G put in stellar performances at last year’s Loud Park festival, but with different bands. While Papathanasio provided a charismatic focus to Swedish ...

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Live Reports

Studio Coast, November 26

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Artifacts

For me, Argentina has always been two parts Diego Maradona to one part invasion of the Falklands, with a twist of Borges’ “magical realism” thrown in. Now I’ll have to remix this neat little cocktail to include the talents on display at “An Intimate roar about sex, corruption and gamble” (sic), an exhibition of three ...

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CDs & DVDs

King of the Waves

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Art

A new shrine to real excellence opens in Chiba

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CDs & DVDs

Wilderness Heart

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Artifacts

The demographic trends resulting from its famous “one-child” policy—plenty of male offspring but fewer lassies—mean that China should get used to the idea of a burgeoning gay population. Offering an intriguing insight into the country’s present-day gay scene is Rhapsody for my Wretched Little Universe, at the often interesting Zen Foto Gallery. The exhibition presents ...

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Art

The Yokohama Museum of Art freshens up an old master

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Music

The ex-Libertine is finally free to step away from the big guitars

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Live Reports

Saitama Super Arena, Oct 16-17

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Artifacts

Sengai (1750-1837) was the head abbot of Shofuku-ji, a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyushu, but it’s his post-retirement career for which he’s now famous. After stepping down as chief priest, Sengai took up ink painting, turning out rough, doodle-like brushworks, often with verses or proverbs. These were done at the request of local people, including ...

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Art

The Mori scales up a show of small ideas to fill a big space

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Artifacts

Exploring themes of freedom, martyrdom and history, US artist Paddy Shaw unveils his new exhibition, “Variation on Mission X,” at Hiromart Gallery in Bunkyo-ku. The centerpiece of the show is “The Seven Severed Heads” series, which features iconic victims of oppression, ranging from Scottish hero William Wallace to modern figures like film director Theo Van ...

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Art

As the John Lennon Museum winds down, MOMA Saitama revives the '60s

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Artifacts

New technology spreads fastest if it can be adapted to a sexual purpose. Without the appeal of erotic application, inventions like videotape, internet and 3D TV would probably still be looking for start-up capital. As demonstrated by the new exhibition “Look at Me! Portrait Photographs of Nude” (sic), photography in the 19th century was no ...

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Artifacts

It’s no coincidence that the Sompo Japan Museum of Art is hosting its new show, “World of Trick Art: It’s Fun to be Fooled,” during summer. As the saying goes, “children of all ages” will enjoy this exhibition, including those who are actually on their school holidays. Just so we don’t get too confused, the ...

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Art

An extensive exhibition at the Tokyo National Museum leads straight to the souvenir shop

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CDs & DVDs

Serotonin

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Artifacts

No one who visited the Lucie Rie exhibition at the National Art Center Tokyo recently could have failed to notice the prominent part played in the ceramic artist’s career by Hans Coper (1920-81). Like Rie, Coper was a Jew from Central Europe who escaped the Nazi takeover and the ovens of Auschwitz and found himself ...

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Art

A photo legend snaps Paris and Kyoto minus the clichés

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Art

It’s nihonga, Jim, but not as we know it

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Artifacts

Toyoshige Watanabe is one of those Japanese artists whose work is full of twee humor and visual puns of the kind that would work well in children’s picture books. Using a formal language that owes a great deal to Taro Okamoto, he paints and sculpts works that are just sophisticated enough to please curators but ...

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Art

A wide-ranging portmanteau show unpacks its wares at the NACT

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Artifacts

“The Japanese eat sushi all the time. And they are obsessed with kinky sex.” These are just a couple of the prejudices that Westerners have about Japan, according to Boris Hoppek, yet another German artist seemingly paying off his country’s moral deficit from WWII by banging on about tolerance and political correctness. In Ever, his ...

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Live Reports

Duo Music Exchange, June 4

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Art

MoMA Hayama pays tribute to Russian animation legends

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Live Reports

Hibiya Open Air Concert Hall, May 30

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CDs & DVDs

From Here to Here

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Artifacts

The sea is often associated with peace and serenity, but the reality is more complex. On the shoreline, the incessant crashing of waves is testament to the eternal battle with the land, while further out the vastness of the ocean holds a perpetual sense of horror and dread that fuels our sense of the sublime. ...

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Art

MoMAT poses itself a question… and gets lost looking for the answer

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Artifacts

One reason the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo was built so far from the city center was because it needed a big site, not only to run two exhibitions at a time (as it usually does) but also to store its massive collection of modern art. So what do you do when you have a ...

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Art

There are Reds under the beds at Meguro’s palatial Teien Art Museum

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CDs & DVDs

Place to Fall

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Artifacts

In certain walks of life, fame is a concept-driven thing—the more offbeat and unforgettable your concepts are, the more chance you have of standing out from the crowd. But in the world of fashion, where everybody has the same idea, this is not as easy as it sounds. One designer who has managed to take ...

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Art

A new venue in Marunouchi reboots the past with the first modernist

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Artifacts

Can there be filthy art and beautiful pornography? In a world where contemporary art is often lurid and explicit, and where “porn” can include the serenely beautiful work of Italian photographer Guido Argentini, the answer is clearly yes. Delicately poised on the fine line between art and smut, Argentini’s latest show, “Love Lyric” at Galerie ...

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Live Reports

Yokohama Arena, April 17

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Art

The Mori’s annual show ticks boxes and encourages lunatics

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Artifacts

Artist File, the annual group show of “currently active artists” at the National Art Center Tokyo, is always interesting. But it’s important to remember that the selections are made by a committee of curators on the public payroll, keen to show just how vital they are. This creates an unfortunate tendency to give visitors a ...

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Art

The annual event offers a time to indulge your senses and trust your taste

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Agenda

Thanks to Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll’s Victorian fantasy is very much flavor of the month. The tale—variously interpreted as a psychedelic parable or an exploration of pubescent female sexuality—also provides the inspiration for Trevor Brown’s latest exhibition at Bunkamura Gallery, “Time for Alice,” a joint show with doll artist Yuriko Yamayoshi. Brown ...

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Artifacts

Showing until April 11 at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Ono Chikkyo—120 Years After His Birth is a major retrospective of one of the most accessible of Japan’s nihonga painters. Born in 1889 and painting up until his death in 1979, Ono demonstrates some of the currents that flowed through Japanese neo-traditional art ...

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Live Reports

Saitama Super Arena, March 12

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Art

Purity and profanity on loan from Rome

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Artifacts

It’s not the meek who will inherit the Earth; it’s the breeders. Japan has finally woken up to this fact and is taking steps to counteract the silvering of the national demographic by encouraging women to use their ovaries more. Moreover, this imperative is now finding its way into culture expression. Nobuyoshi Araki + Katsura ...

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Live Reports

Daikanyama Unit, March 1

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Art

A major Impressionist is thrown into sharp focus at the NACT

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Artifacts

There’s no point having your own museum if you can’t use it to occasionally blow the family trumpet. That’s part of the story behind Hina Dolls of the Mitsui Family at the Mitsui Memorial Museum, showing the ornamental dolls once owned by the daughters of the powerful plutocrats. Japan has always had a strong doll ...

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Art

An architectural genius gets placed on a pedestal at Tokyo Opera City

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Artifacts

Realism is a troubling concept. Behind it lies the assumption that there is some objective “reality” on which we can all agree. Everyday Life, a retrospective of paintings by Masayoshi Aigasa (b. 1939) at the Sompo Japan Museum of Art, shows just how shaky such a premise is. Aigasa, a so-called realist painter, calmly and ...

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Art

A leading contemporary artist dissects Japan’s “lost generation”

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Artifacts

A lot of places around the world are going through hard times at the moment. Helsinki-based artists Tellervo Kalleinen and Oliver Kochta-Kalleinen have found a unique way to tap into the international angst and occasional black humor this generates with their “complaints choirs.” Visiting various cities around the world, the pair has been inviting ordinary ...

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Art

The lusciousness of lacquer delights at the Mitsui

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Art

A mixed show at the Mori unleashes morbid musings

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CDs & DVDs

Only Revolutions

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Art

The edgy contemporary artist unfurls her sad wings of destiny at the MOT

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CDs & DVDs

Geneva

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Artifacts

The starting point of Luxury in Fashion Reconsidered—a major fashion-themed exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo—is the need to revamp the idea of luxury for a post-credit-crunch, “herbivore” Japan that has been partly freed from the malevolent spell of brand-name-driven, Bubble-era consumerism. The exhibition presents an extensive historical survey of female Western fashions, ...

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Art

The National Art Center, Tokyo relives memories of European art

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CDs & DVDs

The Resistance

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Art

The NMWA asks, "What did the Romans ever do for us?"

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Art

Buddhist art cries freedom from behind the Bamboo Curtain

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Art

Slapdash ceramics stir the mind at the National Museum of Modern Art

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Art

The yin and yang of art are little in evidence at this uninspiring show

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