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Interview with Philosopher Dr. Hiroshi Tasaka

TJ: How do you define Buddhism?

TASAKA: Buddhism is a kind of “cosmology” that can accept various value systems - not only religions but philosophies that exist around the world. Zen Buddhism, especially, is a “philosophy of contradiction” that can accept all the contradictions in our life, because contradiction is an essence of life. An important thing in Buddhism is the ability to keep the contradictions in mind, to keep gazing at them and think about the meaning of the contradictions.

TJ: In Europe, many philosophers think Buddhism is not a religion but more of a way to understand life or a style of life because it is not theist. What do you think?

TASAKA: It depends on the definition of religion. If we define a religion as a value system centering around one god, then Buddhism is not a religion. Buddhism sees numerous gods, Buddhahood, everywhere – in mountains, rivers, grass, trees, land and even in the wind. However, we need to understand that religion itself is in the process of transformation and evolution in today’s age. An important question is, “What religious systems will replace the old religious systems in the 21st century?” Even a traditional religious system should transform itself to adapt to the changes in people’s minds in modern society.

TJ: We are very interested in knowing how Buddhism views life and death. Could you explain what life and death means to you?

TASAKA: For Buddhists, there is no difference between life and death in their true meaning because life and death share the same reality in life. If we hope to talk about death, we need to answer the question, “Whose death is it?” Is it the death of the Small Ego or the death of the Great Self? Once we ask this question, we will find that the Great Self cannot die. If we see the Small Ego in our mind, it will die sooner or later. However, if we see the Great Self as the world itself, then there is no life and death. A famous philosopher left an important message to us: “You are the world. The world is you”. tj

The complete article can be found in Issue #274 of the Tokyo Journal. Click here to order from Amazon.

Japanese National Tea Ceremony

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Japanese Nagtional Tea Ceremony
Treasures Displayed in L.A.

THE 92-year-old Daisosho (Grand Master) Dr. Genshitsu Sen XV visited the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) on May 24, 2015 to showcase the museum’s March 29 – June 7 exhibition Raku: The Cosmos in a Tea Bowl. The exhibition of 100 ceramic tea ceremony objects spanning five centuries was the first of its kind in the U.S. free of the items were Japanese national treasures, two of which were tea bowls made by the earliest Raku potter Chojiro and lent to LACMA by the Daisosho out of the Urasenke Foundation’s collection.


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German Photographer, Yoram Roth, Pays Tribute to Yukio Mishima’s Noh Opera Adaptation

A sullen geisha sitting alone at a station, Hanako waits, For years, she has waited every day in the same place, gripping a treasured fan in her hand.

Such an exquisite beauty, she was noticed by all. The world wondered how she could be so passively obsessive. The conclusion was that she must be mad.

What her spectators didn’t know was that the fan she held was the embodiment of a vow she had made to the man who possessed her heart. Hanako had promised to love Yoshio eternally. When he had to depart, he had given her a fan to represent their love, which would be requited upon his return. And so she had sworn that she would wait.

In Memoriam: Nagisa Oshima

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How a studio trained director quit the system to go independent and become one of the most influential filmmakers in Japanese history.

NAGISA Oshima, one of Japan’s most influential and controversial film directors, died January 15 in a hospital near Tokyo at the age of 80. Several years prior I attended a few screenings of his work at a Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s retrospective, the first showing of his films in North America in over two decades. It was during the “In the Realm of Oshima” retrospective that I discovered the genius of Ôshima, a genius to be honored with his passing.

Nagisa Oshima Interviewed by Nick Bornoff

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Reprint of August 1983 article

You switch on your TV set any day of the week and there’s Oshima Nagisa conversing about things sociological on a mid-day women’s program or on the panel of a “Whodunit” murder-quiz or, a few days ago, introducing the highlights of Star Wars. He even appears clad in shorts and wielding a butterfly net in a current anti-cockroach TV commercial. Ten years ago, Oshima Nagisa was the darling of dissent, the hirsute enfant terrible of the Japanese cinematic New Wave which he had virtually created in 1960. Whatever Oshima was then, it was and still is impossible to hang a label on him. His radical ideas and politically oriented films placed him in the camp of the leftists, but his Night and Fog in Japan denounced the power-hungry in-fighting and monolithic structure of Japan’s leftist factions. In a country in which everyone voluntarily ascribes to one group or other, Oshima stands alone.


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In Japan, tattoos have long been associated with yakuza gang members. Today, tattoos represent a form of self-expression that is here to stay.

Tattoo You

Tattooing through the Ages

For centuries, many cultures around the world have practiced the art of tattooing including tribal groups in Borneo, Cambodia, Europe, Japan, the Mentawai Islands, Micronesia, New Zealand, Nigeria, North America, the Philippines, South America, Taiwan, and Turkey. “Britons” translates as “people of the designs” and the British remain the most tattooed in Europe.

Tattoos no longer taboo?

The cultural status of tattooing has evolved from being considered an anti-social activity in the 1960s to a trendy fashion statement in the 1990s. No longer are tattoos limited to the bikers, gangsters, rock stars and the military. Today, movie stars, professional sports figures, fashion models and other public figures who play a significant role in setting cultural norms and behavioral patterns are sporting tattoos.

Tokyo Journal

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