THE BEST OF: Okō – Hoozuki no Reitetsu

Hoozuki no Reitetsu’s Okō, my new favourite female character. I love her class and power on top of her awesome look and the fact she’s a demon. Traditional geisha meets modern lolita, class and innocence meets the devil, she’s the ultimate ying/yang character. Although being fairly new she’s picking up a following already…

Rato (Cosplay, South Korea)
Lozi (Cosplay, Hong Kong)
Yoki (Cosplay, Japan)
yuuko708 (Cosplay, Taiwan)
MIRA (Cosplay, Japan)

The artwork of Natsumi Eguchi (Hōzuki no Reitetsu)

Can we just take a moment to observe the beauty of mangaka Natsumi Eguchi’s illustrations for Hōzuki no Reitetsu. I mean seriously!!

Combining traditional Japanese art and manga in a modern way, Natsumi Eguchi’s drawings combined with the dark comedy storyline makes this Manga/Anime so original. I want the books purely for the covers, and immerse myself in this stunning world he has created. His work gives me ideas for a cosplay shoot… watch this space!

Escapism by Yi-Fu Tuan – Preface

Escapism by Yi-Fu Tuan
The Johns Hopkins University Press
Baltimore & London
1998

Black = My thoughts
Pink = Quotes
Blue = An external reference

Preface

Before I start I must make one point, when reading a book that attempts to analyse culture you must take into account the personality of the writer, every day we meet different characters we don’t agree with, the same goes for writers; just because they have been given the permission and support to publish a book does not make them right. In this case within the first 2 pages I have already made assumptions about Yi-Fu Tuan:

– He talks about how he was surprised he enjoyed Disneyland as “well educated people, among whom I count myself, are taught to dismiss the theme park as an unreal, fantasy world supported by hidden – and therefore somewhat sinister – forces.” – This gives me a sense of snobbery, someone who doesn’t let themselves enjoy an activity that is below his intelligence – for me this gives me a bad impression of the book as at the moment I see escapism through media and entertainment as a way of disengaging the brain and being submissive to pure childlike entertainment. – My opinion on this might change however.
As Tuan discusses the differences between humans and animals he talks about how he aspires to be immortal – I think you have to be quite narcissistic to actually want immortality, again just like each writer puts their own opinions throughout their book, I the reader will read it in a different way than you might.

I can always resort to imagination, which is the most readily available means of transporting the self.” — “But imagination can lead us astray – into fantasy, the unreal, the unreal, and the grotesque; and it can tempt us into first picturing, the (too often) acting out evil.” – I’ve never considered imagination as escapism, only ever digital objects – this is an overlook perhaps of my generation. Now it seems obvious the original escapism is to daydream or imagine. It’s interesting to consider the difference between imagination and fantasy and think about their negative aspects not only positive ones.

LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS – “And if the project is not food but a monument, a city, an empire, the amount of prior destruction, the exploitation of labor both animal and human, the sweat, pain, and death, add up to a picture closer to hell than heaven.” – The end point is the method of escaping (i.e. a house used to escape nature) but what has lead to it’s creation could take away from the “sanctuary” image we hold. – The escapism is lessened.

I haven’t even started yet and I’m raring to go, I don’t agree with everything Tuan has written, but that makes this all the more exciting. Stay tuned for chapter updates with quotes, thoughts and references.

Bye Bye Kitty: Between heaven and hell in contemporary Japanese art

It seems there is an influx of photographers who are aiming to break the kawaii nature on Japanese culture. On researching the Superflat movement one thing I have noticed is the lack of photographers involved. The only examples I can find are advertising campaigns, thinking about it that fits in the with superflat ideals of consumerism.

“Bye Bye Kitty Between heaven and hell in contemporary Japanese art” is an exhibition of new breed artists who’s work openly contradicts that of Takashi Murakami and the ideals associated with superflat movement as well as Kawaii and otaku culture.

Art in America’s blog writes this about the exhibition:

Featuring work by 17 artists”Bye Bye Kitty” reflects a decisive shift away from the cult of the cute, or kawaii, that appears in the art of Murakami. But the exact identity of this new style is difficult to pin down over all.

Gaia Gallery Art Blog writes:

“Bye Bye Kitty!!!” is a radical departure from recent Japanese exhibitions. Moving far beyond the stereotypes of kawaii and otaku culture, Japan Society’s show features sixteen emerging and mid-career artists whose paintings, objects, photographs, videos, and installations meld traditional styles with challenging visions of Japan’s troubled present and uncertain future. Each of the three sections, Critical Memory, Threatened Nature, and Unquiet Dream, not only offers a feast for the senses but also demolishes our preconceptions about contemporary Japan and its art.

Time entertainment, offers a more contextual look at the event:

In a lecture delivered on February 17, a month before the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, curator David Elliott said that “One of the things that is interesting [about the show] is its apocalyptic nature,” and argued that the mood of foreboding in the works on display was “based on the artists’ experience” but also “based on their living in an earthquake zone — that something bad could easily happen.”

Sixteen artists are featured, split evenly between men and women, and the show is divided into three sections. “Critical Memory” examines the role played in the Japanese psyche by classical art, including the traditional painting forms of ukiyo-e and nihon-ga. “Threatened Nature” looks at environmental crisis. Finally, “Unquiet Dream” reveals the artists’ inner anxieties with works of haunting beauty and gallows humor.

– http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,2069261,00.html#ixzz2BMS825iw

Yoshitomo Nara, untitled, 2008. C-print, 10 1/2 × 7 7/8 in. (26.6 × 20 cm). Courtesy Tomio Koyama Gallery. Copyright © Yoshitomo Nara.
Kohei Nawa, PixCell Deer #24, 2011. Taxidermized deer, crystal glass balls. © Kohei Nawa.
Miwa Yanagi, My Grandmothers/HYONEE, 2007. C print, plexiglass, text panel, 51 1/4 × 39 3/8 in. (130 × 100 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Yoshiko Isshiki Office. Private collection, New York. Copyright © Miwa Yanagi.
Tomoko Yoneda, Kimusa (National Military Defense Security Command), 2009, no. 09. C-type print, 25 1/2 × 32 3/8 in. (65 × 83 cm). Courtesy ShugoArts. Collection of the artist. Copyright © Tomoko Yoneda.