Kuhaku

kuhaku_open1_thumbA couple of weeks ago I mentioned the just-released KUHAKU & OTHER ACCOUNTS OF JAPAN, the first release of indie publisher Chin Music Press. I finally got my hands on a copy, and you need to do the same. Yes, it makes for a good read (various essays on Japan, including a very nicely illustrated chapter by Kozyndan), but the thing is also a beautiful object, and you can tell that a lot of care went into its design. Their site has a lot of details on the book (I quite like the art section, that includes a lot of design notes), and they also have a nice blog describing their adventures/misadventures in the world of book publishing.

The book is available at a fews shops in the city (and will be distributed in North America from April of next year), but you should order the book directly from them, as it puts more money in their pockets (which will help finance their next release).

Dawn of the Shibuya-kei Dead

Thoughts on Shibuya, as Momus spends his last day in Tokyo.

Now, my first reference to Shibuya-kei on my website came in September 1998, when I declared Shibuya-kei dead. Well, I may have been a bit premature. I come today to tell you that Shibuya-kei is no longer dead. Perhaps it never was, or perhaps it’s walking undead. It’s back, like a Pucci Lolita, like a snapshot in a cherished copy of FRUiTS magazine. For five years the spirit of Gap and Uniqlo has banished all but beige, grey, cream, black and white from Japanese streets. But pinks, yellows, oranges and reds are back, synthetic fabrics are back, a bold sort of sensuality is evident again. Not only in this Braniff exhibition, but in the second show I saw today, an impressive display, designed by Groovisions, of Guy Peellaert’s Pravda action girl comics (last seen in a book published by Shoichi Kajino, my A&R man at Nippon Columbia at the height of Shibuya-kei and now designer of fashion magazine Ryuko Tsushin — a true dandy of vintage Shibuya-kei).

Read the full post here.

Update: There’s a very interesting discussion going on in the comments section of the Momus post.

Looking for Pravda

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I am so there.

First of all, we’re not talking about a Russian journal here, but Pravda, a French comic heroine in the 1960s. Rumor has it that the character that combines beautiful looks with steadfast action was modeled after Francoise Hardy. Remember “Comment te dire adieu”? Well, however, this time the pop icon appears in Tokyo in the form of an installation by Katayama Masamichi. The Groovisions team is in charge of the graphic design, accompanied by music from Fantastic Plastic Machine’s Tanaka Tomoyuki. Sounds like a pretty snazzy event. Host, by the way, is design brand Celine. Hmmm… (REALTOKYO)

It happens at ONE Omotesando Boutique Gallery Space, until October 24.

PSP is Sexy

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The above picture, from Engadget, shows how Sony is getting consumers excited for their new PSP portable gaming system (and there’s another good pic here). If you’re actually interested in the PSP itself, view the full post for more pictures of the product itself. I’m more interested in the Nintendo DS, which is now being featured in new TV ads with super-idol Utada Hikaru.