Meeting Modernity in PDX

Meeting Modernity PDX
Néojaponisme’s exhibition Meeting Modernity will be in Portland from January 8 through February 1st in the new year at downtown small press emporium Reading Frenzy. The opening will be on January 8 from 6–9PM. I’ll be in attendance (as will Ma and Pa Lynam!), so come on down.

Recently discovered outside of the city of Sano in Tochigi-ken, the Meeting Modernity collection of found photos documents Japan as it engaged with modernization and commercial photography in the Meiji and Taishō Periods. The series is comprised of portrait photography in particular.

Ian LYNAM
December 29, 2008

Merry Xmas, me.

Just got interviewed over at Graphic Hug.

Ian LYNAM
December 24, 2008

New Yorker Nails Keitai Novels

New Yorker: I ♥ NOVELS

Japan-based bloggers, magazine writers, and newspaper correspondents: give up your day jobs (present writer included). We all just got schooled by New Yorker staff writer Dana Goodyear, who has written the best English article so far on the keitai shosetsu “cell phone novel” phenomenon. Two months in Japan was apparently all it took to hit all the important angles and catch 1,000 struggling Japan hands with their pants down.

A few points:

1) The keitai novel phenomena clearly links to the “yankii-zation” of Japanese pop culture. Not a new idea, but maybe the most important basic concept to explain what is going on right now in almost all cultural fields, especially fashion and music. ヤンキー=短絡的思想. Japanese pop culture is, and has always been, all about socioeconomic class, who has power, who sets tastes. The upper middle class have been totally defeated in the realm of mass culture. Or they’ve retreated to some new space.

2) Goodyear does a pretty good job of making the ubiquitous author anonymity seem legitimate: authors are embarrassed about their work, even if successful.

3) Democratization of culture means more and more creators with “non-artistic” goals who create for personal satisfaction/catharsis but whose work, through the process of the market structure, becomes equalized in format to the old style of creator who had the traditional “artistic” reason to create. Yoshimoto Banana saying that keitai novels aren’t novels is not snobbery, it’s proper classification of motive and content.

W. David MARX
December 23, 2008

Two Years for Fansubbing

Japan Probe: Man found guilty of sharing copies of foreign movies before their Japan release date

Two years in prison for fansubbing! I always wondered why Japanese bilinguals never added subtitles to movies that come out on DVD before they are even released in theatres in Japan, and here’s the answer: the government throws you in jail for two years. I guess that’s one way to stop piracy.

W. David MARX
December 17, 2008

Everything You Ever Needed to Know About Hitler

Hitler on Japanese TV (Hello Project Meets Hitler)

Young female idols from Hello! Project (Morning Musume, etc.) teach the Japanese television audience everything they need to know about 20th century German dictator Adolf Hitler. Did you know that he had a complex about his height??? Giggle, giggle, giggle.

W. David MARX
December 10, 2008