Aomori town creates gigantic artwork out of rice paddiesBy Casey BaseelNational Jul. 19, 2014 - 06:35AM JSTTOKYO —For most of the year, the tiny town of Inakadate in Aomori Prefecture doesn’t get a lot of visitors. With only some 8,000 residents, most of whom make their living through agriculture, there’s not much to do there, unless you feel like staring at the farmers’ fields.Every summer, though, droves of visitors come to do just that, as Inakadate’s rice paddies transform into gigantic works of art. And this year is no exception.In 1993, Inakadate decided to create huge mosaics out of rice plants in order to drum up publicity for the town and attract tourists. The event was such a hit that it’s become an annual event that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors.While the most common variety of rice plant grows in bright green stalks, by planting differently colored strains in carefully selected positions, lines and shapes can be formed.Up close, the designs may not look like much. Pull back far enough, though, and they’ll take your breath away.This year, the scene is from the folk tale “Hagoromo,” in which a fisherman finds a magical coat of feathers belonging to a celestial dancer. The intricate image was created by utilizing 10 different types of rice plants.Inakadate has devoted three fields to its art project this year. Zoomed into the second, we see a sail boat floating in the waters near Mt. Fuji, which was chosen to commemorate its newly acquired status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.The final field takes its inspiration from neither myth nor nature, but from anime, with an extra-long recreation of the cast of Sazae-san, which has been airing continually since 1969.Sadly, the beautiful designs will disappear just as quickly. If you’re interested in seeing Inakadate’s rice paddy art for yourself, you’ll want to make the trip up to Aomori by mid-August, because soon after that all that art will be harvested, and not too much later, it’ll be dinner.
Source: Japaaan
Read article HERE

Aomori town creates gigantic artwork out of rice paddies
By Casey Baseel
National Jul. 19, 2014 - 06:35AM JST

TOKYO —

For most of the year, the tiny town of Inakadate in Aomori Prefecture doesn’t get a lot of visitors. With only some 8,000 residents, most of whom make their living through agriculture, there’s not much to do there, unless you feel like staring at the farmers’ fields.

Every summer, though, droves of visitors come to do just that, as Inakadate’s rice paddies transform into gigantic works of art. And this year is no exception.

In 1993, Inakadate decided to create huge mosaics out of rice plants in order to drum up publicity for the town and attract tourists. The event was such a hit that it’s become an annual event that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors.

While the most common variety of rice plant grows in bright green stalks, by planting differently colored strains in carefully selected positions, lines and shapes can be formed.

Up close, the designs may not look like much. Pull back far enough, though, and they’ll take your breath away.

This year, the scene is from the folk tale “Hagoromo,” in which a fisherman finds a magical coat of feathers belonging to a celestial dancer. The intricate image was created by utilizing 10 different types of rice plants.

Inakadate has devoted three fields to its art project this year. Zoomed into the second, we see a sail boat floating in the waters near Mt. Fuji, which was chosen to commemorate its newly acquired status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The final field takes its inspiration from neither myth nor nature, but from anime, with an extra-long recreation of the cast of Sazae-san, which has been airing continually since 1969.

Sadly, the beautiful designs will disappear just as quickly. If you’re interested in seeing Inakadate’s rice paddy art for yourself, you’ll want to make the trip up to Aomori by mid-August, because soon after that all that art will be harvested, and not too much later, it’ll be dinner.

Source: Japaaan

Read article HERE

Arrest of Tokyo vagina artist sparks free expression protestCrime Jul. 16, 2014 - 01:47PM JSTTOKYO —Japanese police have arrested a Tokyo artist on obscenity charges for distributing data that allowed recipients to make 3D prints of her vagina, sparking protests over what supporters said was an attack on free expression.Megumi Igarashi, 42, who calls herself Rokude Nashiko which roughly translates as “bastard kid”, had been trying to raise funds online to pay for the construction of a kayak, using a 3D printer, modeled on the shape of her genitals.Japan has a notoriously vibrant pornography industry that caters to a vast array of tastes. But obscenity laws still forbid the depiction of actual genitalia, which usually appear censored or pixellated in images and videos.The artist—who has created other genital-inspired artworks—was arrested Saturday for “distributing data that could create an obscene shape through a 3D printer,” a police spokesman told AFP on Tuesday.Before her arrest, Igarashi—who remained in detention on Tuesday—had collected about one million yen through an Internet crowd funding site.In exchange for donations, she supplied data to supporters that would let them create 3D prints of her genitals.Igarashi’s supporters said they were shocked by what they described as the police’s unusually broad use of Japan’s obscenity laws in this case.Activist Minori Kitahara said police raided Igarashi’s office and seized 20 of her artworks.“Japan is still a society where those who try to express women’s sexuality are suppressed, while men’s sexuality is overly tolerated,” she said.Japan’s pornography industry is predominantly targeted at men and the country only last month made the possession of child pornography illegal.The ban excludes “manga” comics—those aimed at adults as well as children, “anime” video and computer-generated graphics, following calls to protect freedom of expression.Campaigners had long urged Japan to toughen its stance on child pornography, complaining it was a major source of the material for global markets.If convicted, Igarashi could receive up to two years in jail or a fine of as much as 2.5 million yen, according to her lawyer. See article HERE

Arrest of Tokyo vagina artist sparks free expression protest
Crime Jul. 16, 2014 - 01:47PM JST

TOKYO —

Japanese police have arrested a Tokyo artist on obscenity charges for distributing data that allowed recipients to make 3D prints of her vagina, sparking protests over what supporters said was an attack on free expression.

Megumi Igarashi, 42, who calls herself Rokude Nashiko which roughly translates as “bastard kid”, had been trying to raise funds online to pay for the construction of a kayak, using a 3D printer, modeled on the shape of her genitals.

Japan has a notoriously vibrant pornography industry that caters to a vast array of tastes. But obscenity laws still forbid the depiction of actual genitalia, which usually appear censored or pixellated in images and videos.

The artist—who has created other genital-inspired artworks—was arrested Saturday for “distributing data that could create an obscene shape through a 3D printer,” a police spokesman told AFP on Tuesday.

Before her arrest, Igarashi—who remained in detention on Tuesday—had collected about one million yen through an Internet crowd funding site.

In exchange for donations, she supplied data to supporters that would let them create 3D prints of her genitals.

Igarashi’s supporters said they were shocked by what they described as the police’s unusually broad use of Japan’s obscenity laws in this case.

Activist Minori Kitahara said police raided Igarashi’s office and seized 20 of her artworks.

“Japan is still a society where those who try to express women’s sexuality are suppressed, while men’s sexuality is overly tolerated,” she said.

Japan’s pornography industry is predominantly targeted at men and the country only last month made the possession of child pornography illegal.

The ban excludes “manga” comics—those aimed at adults as well as children, “anime” video and computer-generated graphics, following calls to protect freedom of expression.

Campaigners had long urged Japan to toughen its stance on child pornography, complaining it was a major source of the material for global markets.

If convicted, Igarashi could receive up to two years in jail or a fine of as much as 2.5 million yen, according to her lawyer.

See article HERE

'Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist' to get theatrical premiere in TokyoBy Fran WrigleyEntertainment Jul. 14, 2014 - 06:21AM JSTTOKYO —The brainchild of martial arts expert and lifelong “Street Fighter” devotee Joey Ansah, live-action series “Assassin’s Fist” was finally released on May 23 this year. Of course, you could stay home and watch the episodes on YouTube via Machinama‘s official channel, but if you happen to be in Tokyo on August 2, you could take in a special screening of the entire series in one night.The Human Trust Cinema in Shibuya is hosting the one-off event, which in addition to showing all episodes of the web series on the big screen will also include a talk session with Koichi Sugiyama and Tomoaki Ayano, producer and assistant producer respectively of “Ultra Street Fighter IV.”Adaptations stemming from the classic video game “Street Fighter,” which was released in 1987, have a chequered history. Ansah, with his co-director Christian Howard, will no doubt be hoping to erase from our collective memory the widely-panned 1994 live-action film.In an interview with self-proclaimed “nerd-orientated news site” Den of Geek, Ansah also revealed that his previous project “Street Fighter: Legacy,” although released as a fan-made production, was actually financed by the marketing division of Capcom, the game’s makers. Ansah says that Capcom “got cold feet” on seeing the trailer, and he was forced to remove all their branding from the movie. “The irony is”, he adds, “‘Legacy’ came out and broke YouTube records and had a 98.8% approval rating.”Ansah has spoken of his aim, with “Assassin’s Fist,” of making a series that is faithful to the spirit of the original game: the martial arts moves are achieved without visual effects, and the attention to detail in plotline and costuming has been roundly praised.Tickets for the August 2 screening, which average at 1,300 yen go on sale July 26 at the Human Trust Cinema, Shibuya, and can also be purchased online.See article HERE

'Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist' to get theatrical premiere in Tokyo
By Fran Wrigley
Entertainment Jul. 14, 2014 - 06:21AM JST

TOKYO —

The brainchild of martial arts expert and lifelong “Street Fighter” devotee Joey Ansah, live-action series “Assassin’s Fist” was finally released on May 23 this year. Of course, you could stay home and watch the episodes on YouTube via Machinama‘s official channel, but if you happen to be in Tokyo on August 2, you could take in a special screening of the entire series in one night.

The Human Trust Cinema in Shibuya is hosting the one-off event, which in addition to showing all episodes of the web series on the big screen will also include a talk session with Koichi Sugiyama and Tomoaki Ayano, producer and assistant producer respectively of “Ultra Street Fighter IV.”

Adaptations stemming from the classic video game “Street Fighter,” which was released in 1987, have a chequered history. Ansah, with his co-director Christian Howard, will no doubt be hoping to erase from our collective memory the widely-panned 1994 live-action film.

In an interview with self-proclaimed “nerd-orientated news site” Den of Geek, Ansah also revealed that his previous project “Street Fighter: Legacy,” although released as a fan-made production, was actually financed by the marketing division of Capcom, the game’s makers. Ansah says that Capcom “got cold feet” on seeing the trailer, and he was forced to remove all their branding from the movie. “The irony is”, he adds, “‘Legacy’ came out and broke YouTube records and had a 98.8% approval rating.”

Ansah has spoken of his aim, with “Assassin’s Fist,” of making a series that is faithful to the spirit of the original game: the martial arts moves are achieved without visual effects, and the attention to detail in plotline and costuming has been roundly praised.

Tickets for the August 2 screening, which average at 1,300 yen go on sale July 26 at the Human Trust Cinema, Shibuya, and can also be purchased online.

See article HERE