Tuesday, February 10, 2009



So basically, today is called "Kinkokuki no nenbi" which is the dawning of the Japanese identity as a country and as a nation circa 660 B.C.E. This is not Imperial Japan, Modern Japan, or Democratic Japan... this is a holiday celebrating the birth of Japan herself.

Granted there were many people on the Island before that time, 660 B.C.E. is the date estimated for when the "Japanese Identity" as an independent region came into being. As such, it is sort of like Japan's unofficial Birthday. Meaning it's a national holiday filled with patriotism or "Aikokushin" i.e. love of one's country.

And to celebrate Japan's ancient history I am sharing with you a TAICHI SAOTOME video. He is a male Kabuki dancer/performer. He specialized in modern Kabuki dance styles, and does Kabuki acting as well. He is the most famous Kabuki star in Japan. They say every 100 years there is but one Kabuki actor as graceful, elegant, and awe inspiring as this man.

Kabuki is traditional Japanese song and dance and is usually performed by men, who dress up as females, wearing glamorous Japanese kimonos, wigs, and women's makeup and use 'feminine' grace and elegance to enhance the dance performance. It's one of Japan's most ancient and well respected art forms, and may be why so many men dress up as women on modern Japanese variety television (something I may blog about in the near future). In Japanese culture this transvestite cross-dressing behavior is totally acceptable and is a cultural norm. After seeing the amazing Taichi Saotome dance, you'll understand how it can be so well accepted.

Kabuki theater according to Wikipedia is:

Kabuki (歌舞伎 kabuki?) is the highly stylised classical Japanese dance-drama. Kabuki theatre is known for the stylization of its drama and for the elaborate make-up worn by some of its performers. The individual kanji characters, from left to right, mean sing (歌), dance (舞), and skill (伎). Kabuki is therefore sometimes translated as "the art of singing and dancing." These are, however, ateji, characters that do not reflect actual etymology. The kanji of 'skill', is however generally referred to as a performer in kabuki theatre. The word kabuki is believed to derive from the verb kabuku, meaning "to lean" or "to be out of the ordinary", so kabuki can be interpreted to mean "avant-garde" or "bizarre" theatre.[1] The expression kabukimono (歌舞伎者) referred originally to those who were bizarrely dressed and swaggered on a street.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Crazy Japanese TV

I do love the Tommy Lee Jones Boss commercials. They're hilarious. Just seeing one makes me want to grow up to be Tommy Lee Jones.

Anyway, the rest of Japanese TV is pretty strange. Amusing, but strange. Sometimes I just feel like a good show with a story instead of variety hour. But every once and a while there is something I just have to laugh at on Japanese TV. This video is one of them.