• 世界を駆けめぐる最強スナイパーのアニメ映画

    [From April Issue 2010]

    Golgo13 (Directed by DEZAKI Osamu)

    Golgo13 is a professional assassin whose real name, age and nationality, are unknown. In this hard-boiled action film, the multilingual Golgo, alias Duke TOGO, kills indiscriminately at the request of politicians, millionaires and ordinary citizens. With a grim outlook, Golgo is a cool guy who never wastes time, and he is merciless, with everyone.

    The original character written and illustrated by SAITO Takao has been serialized in print since January 1969, and still continues today. Initially released in 1983, Golgo13 is known as the world’s first animated film to use computer graphics. In 1973 a live-action version was produced, starring TAKAKURA Ken, after whom Saito had supposedly modeled Golgo. More recently, the first animated TV version was also broadcast.

    The story starts just off the Californian coast where wealthy oil baron Leonard DAWSON is celebrating his 62nd birthday aboard a cruise ship. No sooner does he announce that he will remain his company’s chairman, while welcoming his only son, Robert, as the new president, than Robert is shot dead, by Golgo.

    Following another successful assassination assignment, this time of a woman in Sicily, Italy, Golgo finds himself the target of a volley of bullets, but manages to escape. General T. JEFFERSON, the Director of the U.S. Pentagon Intelligence Agency, along with the FBI and the CIA, continue plotting his eventual demise.

    It is soon revealed that the mastermind behind the failed Golgo assassination attempt is none other than Leonard Dawson. Having vowed vengeance for the murder of his only son, Dawson uses his influence to contract the agencies for the kill. However, Robert’s widow, Laura, attacks Dawson, saying the person they should kill is the one who initially hired Golgo. But Dawson doesn’t respond.

    One after another formidable adversaries such as the quick and flexible Big Snake, as well as the notorious assassins, Silver and Gold, are sent out to try to kill Golgo. He struggles to defeat them, and finally corners the puppet master Dawson, who admits that it was Robert himself who requested his own assassination, as a way of foregoing his father’s impossible expectations. Dawson then jumps out of a window of his company’s building, but is shot in the head by Golgo just before impact.

    One night, a women with lifeless eyes stands in the streets as Golgo passes her by. Recognizing him as her beloved husband’s assassin, Laura reaches for the gun that she secretly carries and takes aim from behind. A shot rings out, but it’s never known whether or not the bullet hits its target. The film ends with Golgo just walking away from the camera.


    ゴルゴ13(出崎統 監督)








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  • 亡くなった人の新たな旅立ちを支える納棺師の物語

    [From March Issue 2010]

    Departures (Directed by TAKITA Yojiro)

    “Departures” is the drama that won the 81st Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 2009 Oscars. At the 32nd Japan Academy Awards, it won the Best Film Award, in addition to other awards for its cast and crew.

    The main character KOBAYASHI Daigo (MOTOKI Masahiro) is a former cellist. He gives up his career after his orchestra in Tokyo is disbanded. He moves back to his old home in Yamagata Prefecture with his wife Mika (HIROSUE Ryoko) and looks for a new job. He notices a classified ad that says, “assisting travels,” and feeling certain that the NK Agent company is a travel agency, he requests an interview.

    The company president (YAMAZAKI Tsutomu) doesn’t bother reading Daigo’s resume and hires him on the spot. But Daigo is worried because he still doesn’t know what kind of work it is. Timidly he asks, only to find out that his job is encoffinment, the task of placing dead people in coffins. Apparently the classified ad was miss-written and should have read “assisting departures (deaths).” Daigo further learns that the company’s name, NK, is short for “NouKan” (encoffinment).

    Daigo can only tell Mika that his work is related to “ceremonial occasions.” Mika misunderstands this to mean that he is now working at a wedding hall. On his first job, he deals with the corpse of an old woman who lived alone and was found two weeks after she died. He vomits.

    Gradually Daigo starts to feel pride in his work, which is greatly appreciated by the bereaved families. Then, Mika finally learns what he really does and begs him to “get a regular job.” While Mika gets upset and returns home to her parents, Daigo remains, instead, focusing on becoming a full-fledged mortician.

    Mika suddenly returns to tell Daigo that they are going to have a baby. He is happy to hear that, but again Mika presses him to change his job because she thinks their child will eventually be bullied because of it. Then, Daigo’s cell phone rings. It’s his childhood friend YAMASHITA, who also once suggested that he find a “better job,” telling him that his mother, Tsuyako, has just died.

    Daigo and Mika face Tsuyako’s corpse, and in front of Yamashita, his family and Mika, he encoffins the body. He makes up her face and dresses her in her favorite scarf and kimono. Finally Yamashita and Mika both realize just how serious Daigo takes his job, and they both come to understand and appreciate his work.

    Later, Daigo receives a telegram informing him of the death of his estranged father. He does not remember his father, who left his mother when Daigo was only six years old. For Daigo, who also lost his mother, the concept of “parents” is almost nonexistent. Initially Daigo refuses to claim the corpse. But, persuaded by Mika and others, he decides to see his father’s corpse. There, he is freed from his hatred and conducts his father’s encoffinment.


    おくりびと(滝田二郎 監督)









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  • 親しみやすい人が好き ― 日本人のファン心理

    [From February Issue 2010]

    In recent years more Japanese are becoming fans of people who are not especially well-known, but have specific charms. It ranges from weather forecasters to entertainers. Why are the Japanese bewitched by them?

    Since 2007, NHK Service Center, Inc. has been selling calendars of weather forecasters. In the first year, they made a calendar showing both male and female forecasters. From the next year, however, the calendar only featured female forecasters, and in 2009 it added pictures of “weather girls” clad in yukata (kimono for summer). The first printed copies of the 2010 version have sold out and they have decided to print additional copies.

    Dressed in casual-style clothes, NHK’s weather girls describe the weather in simple words. Because of their “friendly next-door neighbor” looks, they’ve become nearly as popular as TV entertainers. Especially popular is NAKARAI Sae, who is nicknamed the “7:28 Lover” because she always appears on TV at 7:28 p.m.

    In November 2009 an event was held in Sakura-shi, Chiba Prefecture, where a female idol group called “Sakura-gumi” performed a concert and shook hands with fans. The group, made up of Japanese and Chinese members, sings and dances in ninja costumes. Although they just debuted in August, a number of avid fans turned up to speak to them and ask for handshakes.

    “They came all the way from China and are trying hard in Japan, so I really hope they will succeed,” says a man who came by bullet train from Fukushima Prefecture. He is a fan of the Chinese twins in the group, SAKURA Ranmaru and SAKURA Benimaru. “They have a great memory because they could soon recognize me. They look a little skinnier than before, and I’m a little concerned about that,” says the man.

    ASAMI Chiyuki is a singer who has released five CD albums and often appears on TV and radio programs. Moreover, she puts on a live show in Tokyo’s Inokashira Park on a regular basis. Asami is also surrounded by many supportive fans. When she was still unknown, for example, one of her fans taught her how to play the guitar. From another fan who worked at a hotel, she learned manners such as how to bow properly.

    Even now, her fans help prepare for her concert at the park. They get to the park hours before the concert and set up by laying down sheets and arranging chairs. They also stand at intervals along the way from the station to the venue so as to guide new fans. They buy and bring things that Asami likes or that are good for her health as well as food from Yamaguchi Prefecture, where she is from.

    “Chiyuki-chan is like my daughter,” says a man who became her fan on March 18, 2005. “When I walked out of the ticket gate, a voice caught my ears, a very natural singing voice which made me feel great,” he continued of the moment he first heard her perform. “When a TV crew is shooting, she gets really nervous. That makes me feel uneasy as well and I start praying, ‘Please sing well.’ ”

    “Chiyuki-chan still calls me ‘Uncle’ even after she has become so famous,” says another man. “If it were not for her, I would have secluded myself in my house after retirement. But I started working again after I became her fan. With the money from that job, I buy her CDs and go to her concerts throughout Japan to support her. I’ve made friends with some of my fellow fans. So this is what I live for.”

    KIMURA Junko, who lives in Tokyo, has favorite musical actors. “Rather than buying brand-name items or ready-made goods, I place special orders with stores,” she says about the gifts she gives them. “I think of something that he can hand out to other actors he works with and that will also make him happy. Or some food that is good for his health.”

    Fans are often seen waiting outside of the stage door (the exit for actors) and giving them presents or asking for autographs. Kimura sometimes talks to the actors at the stage door before she decides what to buy for them. “When I read my favorite actor’s blog, it said, ‘I haven’t been eating enough vegetables lately.’ So after checking with him at the stage door to see if he wanted vegetables, I sent him a big box filled with vegetables,” she says.

    “Fans observe us really well,” says SASAKI Nobuhiko, a top-class dancer who performs in the famous Imperial Theater and also choreographs musicals. “One time, I was feeling sick and had a mask on when passing through the stage door. Soon after that, new masks were sent to me. And another time, I was dancing naked from the waist up in a show. Then, a fan gave me a hand-made shawl that I could easily fling on and off.”

    “I feel that behind such behavior on the part of fans lies the Japanese custom of guessing what others want, the custom of thinking about what the other person wants to receive, rather than what you want to give them,” says Sasaki. “For example, a fan sent vegetables and meat to a group of actors who can cook, but she sent sashimi along with paper plates and soy sauce to another group who can’t cook. When we look busy, fans never ask for autographs.”

    Not all fans, however, are on close terms with actors, according to Sasaki. “Actors who like to have friendly relationships tend to get fans who will take care of small things for them, and those who like to be alone will attract those kinds of fans. But I guess there are more actors now who want to interact with fans naturally as human beings. That seems to be the case with the actors around me,” he says.

    “I give stuff to the actors or wait for them at the stage door because I want to show my support for them, but I also want them to remember me a little,” says Kimura. “Besides, there are more actors who blog these days, and it makes me happy when the actors write about what I gave them, which is another reason for doing all this.”

    “When I got the hand-made shawl, I was touched because it felt like my mother or girlfriend taking care of me,” says Sasaki. “There was also a girl who asked me to write a message for her ailing grandmother.” It might be Japanese fans’ tendency to like approachable entertainers and support them as if they were family.

    Text: SAZAKI Ryo







    あさみ ちゆきさんはCDアルバムを5枚発売し、テレビにラジオにと活躍する歌手です。また東京の井の頭公園でも定期的にライブをしています。そのあさみさんの周りにも、多くの温かいファンがいます。例えば、まだ有名でなかった頃には、ファンがギターの弾き方を教えてくれました。ホテルマンだったファンからはおじぎなどマナーを習いました。







    文:砂崎 良


    ただし佐々木さんはファンの全員が、役者と親しくつきあっているのではないと言います。「アットホームな関係が好きな役者には、細かく面倒を見てくれるファンがつく気がしますし、一人でいるのが好きな役者には、そういうファンがつく気がします。人間として自然なつきあいを望む役者が以前より増えたのでは? 自分の周りを見ていると、そういう気はします」。



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  • 新しい歌舞伎座 ―― 伝統と革新

    [From February Issue 2010]

    The Kabuki-za Theater is in eastern Ginza, a fashionable part of Tokyo known for its high-end stores. A theater for the traditional Japanese performing art of kabuki, the Japanese-style building is characterized by its impressive roof and is registered as a tangible cultural asset. But it has been decided that the theater will be rebuilt because it’s getting old – a new theater and an office building will be constructed on the same site.

    Kabuki has about 400 years of history and continues to preserve its tradition. For example, a family system in which the performing art is handed down from parent to child is still considered the norm. Kabuki plays mostly deal with stories from the Edo period and the lines contain old Japanese that is not used today. So even Japanese sometimes use audio guides.

    Another feature of kabuki is that it changes flexibly to accommodate changes in the times and the political landscape. Take kabuki actors for instance. When kabuki first started, most actors were women. But the then government banned female actors, saying they would corrupt public morals. So boys started to perform instead, which was also subsequently banned by the government. That’s how men came to perform kabuki.

    Kabuki plays do not just preserve tradition. In the Edo period, new works were often created based on actual incidents, such as “Chushingura” (The Treasury of Loyal Retainers). From the Meiji period onward, some new kabuki plays were created by exploring and incorporating noh (another traditional dramatic art form) and Western plays.

    Among the latest kabuki plays are “the Super Kabuki,” which incorporate modern music and a traditional Chinese performing art, and “the Cocoon Kabuki,” which are staged in a Shibuya theater just like modern plays. Some kabuki actors are also active in other fields outside kabuki, such as television, film, and even musicals. Not only do some actors perform kabuki plays overseas but they also appear in traditional performing arts in other countries.

    Given this historical background, it’s no wonder that the Kabuki-za Theater is changing as well. After all, the theater itself came out of a change. In the old days kabuki was played in small theaters called “shibai-goya” (play huts), but in the Meiji period there was a movement toward modernizing plays called the “Theater Enhancement Movement.” Amid this movement the Kabuki-za Theater was built in Ginza in 1889.

    What was new about the theater was its Western-style exterior and electric lights, the most modern equipment of the time. A little over two decades after its completion, however, the Kabuki-za Theater saw its exterior changed to a Japanese-style in 1911 because the Imperial Theater, with a Western-style appearance, was to be built in Hibiya. After that, the theater experienced two fires and it was reconstructed each time. The current one is the fourth version.

    The fifth-generation Kabuki-za Theater will be equipped with elevators and escalators, features lacking in the old one. Meanwhile, the stage will retain the old style and traditional seats such as sajiki (balcony seats) and makumiseki (non reserved seats) will remain unchanged. The old and new elements of the Kabuki-za Theater symbolize the tradition and innovation of kabuki. The current theater will be used till this April, and the new theater will be completed in 2013.

    Shochiku Co., Ltd.
    Chuo-ku Kyobashi Library

    Text: SAZAKI Ryo











    文:砂崎 良

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  • 国家権力に挑む新幹線爆破計画

    [From February Issue 2010]

    Super-Express 109 A.K.A. The Bullet Train (Directed by SATO Junya)

    A suspense movie released in 1975. The cast consists of stars of the Japanese movie industry of the era. Especially notable is TAKAKURA Ken, who plays the main character. He was a leading actor for his Japanese gangster movies and is also an internationally acclaimed actor, co-starring in the American movie “The Yakuza” with Robert MITCHUM in 1974. In 1989, he co-starred in “Black Rain” directed by Ridley SCOTT, with Michael DOUGLAS and Andy GARCIA.

    The story begins with a phone call made to the Kokutetsu – the Japanese National Railways (JNR) – saying, “We’ve set a bomb set on the Hikari 109.” With 1,500 passengers on board this shinkansen (bullet train) has already departed Tokyo bound for Hakata in Fukuoka Prefecture. The bomb will arm automatically when the speed of the train exceeds 80 km/h, and will detonate when the train slows back down to 80 km/h.

    To prove that this is no prank, the perpetrators say they have set the same kind of bomb on a freight train running the Yubari line in Hokkaido. When the locomotive engineers jump off the train, the freight train loses speed and bursts into a ball of flames. The perpetrators ask for a 5 million dollar ransom. In those days, that was equivalent to 1.5 billion yen. The bombers are hard-hitting. They say the ransom is cheaper than the 1.6 billion yen train plus the lives of the passengers.

    The perpetrators are a three-man team: OKITA (Takakura Ken) is the leader and the caller whose small factory went bankrupt, leading to his divorce. KOGA is the man who set the bomb on the freight train. He was involved in radical political activity when he was a university student. The youngest and the one responsible for placing the bomb on the train is OHSHIRO – he came to Tokyo from Okinawa, hopped from job to job, and was saved by Okita when he was near death selling his own blood.

    The police identify the perpetrators and track them down, but fail to arrest them. KURAMOCHI, the head of the bullet train control room, relays orders to the train drivers to prevent a crash. Meanwhile in the bullet train, the train crew desperately try to reason with the passengers who start to panic. In the midst of all this, Okita finally calls the police and tells them how the ransom delivery will go down.

    Koga and Ohshiro die while on the run, but Okita obtains the money as planned. Okita had agreed to inform the whereabouts of the planted bomb and the directions on how to deactivate it in exchange for the cash. However, the drawing is destroyed in a fire. But JNR somehow finds the bomb, disables it, and the train comes safely to a stop. A few hours later, the police on a stake out at Haneda Airport locate Okita as he attempts to flee Japan.

    Okita bolts. The police advance on him. And as the police shoot Okita to death, the airplane that Okita was to board takes off overhead, into the night sky. The Japanese version is 152 minutes. The international version omitted the scenes where they reveal why the perpetrators become what they are and puts more emphasis on the suspense. Overseas versions are shortened.










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  • 夢いっぱいの人気アニメ











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  • すべての人に開放する新宿二丁目のバー


    毎月第一日曜日に開催される「Living Together Lounge」では、「HIVを持っている人もそうじゃない人も、一緒に生きている」というメッセージを伝えるためのライブ演奏や朗読が行われています。
    ArcH: http://www.clubarch.net/

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