(and pages 2-7) by Tomas Svab
A photo-collage of Kyoto (...where else?) consisting of 150 separate
photographs in 70 layers.
For more of Tomas Svab’s artwork see www.23degrees.net
LIVES: Interviews, Memoirs, Essays
mark its 70th publication, Kyoto Journal has taken the opportunity
to focus in once again on Kyoto — and its ongoing changes in the
early 21st century — in a special issue entitled "Kyoto Lives."
The deliberate ambiguity of this issue's title refers to the lives of
the forty-one Kyoto residents interviewed, and also affirms that Kyoto,
in its latest incarnation, is still very much alive.
on KJ News page)
3 Living History – ken rodgers
"With its 17 World Heritage sites, and 252
of Japan’s officially designated National
Treasures, Kyoto stands for tradition. Yet throughout its existence, this
fabled city has continually renewed itself by taking on fresh identities."
10 Festival of the Ages – john dougill
"To paraphrase an old saying, the death of
Kyoto has been much exaggerated. Rather than killed off, one could say
it has been given a make-over. As a result the city has vitality as well
as history; innovation as well as tradition; diversity as well as harmony.
In Kyoto’s Festival of Ages, the present too is an age worth celebrating."
14 Nishio Haruo – thatcher
Edith Shiffert – poet
from roots in earth, stems in light
Self too roots and lifts
20 Nagane Aki – keeper of tradition
22 Sugihara Iona – kyoto and me
has a wonderful embracing capacity. In a way you feel small and insignificant,
as if looking up into a night full of stars. And yet it feels so personal,
unlike in the elaborate buildings and castles of Europe. There is a more
humble feeling about Kyoto; a sense that she was built by hands, not money."
24 Inui Mitsutaka – shrine priest
"I was also invited to perform a Shinto purification
ceremony for the Staten Island Yankees, a Minor League baseball team in
the New York area. I set up an altar at home plate and invocated the Divine
Spirit for the stadium. Afterwards, Hideki Matsui, of the New York Yankees,
threw out the first pitch. The
team had great success that year and became the league champions."
26 Nakanishi Hirofumi – chocolatier
"Because of Kyoto’s 1,200-year history
as Japan’s imperial capital, there’s a pride we all share
here in doing things well. Most Kyoto artisans still work by hand, and
many both live and work in their homes. It’s a lifestyle. This gives
personality to our products."
28 Ikeda Naoko – performing arts explorer
31 Sakakibara Taro – pontocho
32 Jizo – neighborhood deity
Kajita Shinsho – the path to honen-in
"Kyoto people should have more awareness of
their heritage. They should remember the important things in life, not
just selling things. Religion is about our relationship to the world around
us, caring for others and for the environment, for example."
36 Yoshikawa Sakiko – kokoro researcher
"Kokoro is well understood in Japanese,
but difficult to explain in English. For example if we say “she
has a good kokoro,” it means heart and spirit
and soul and mind all together. Plants and wild animals
are also considered to have kokoro – their own soul or spirit. It
has a kind of animistic feeling."
38 Taro – message writer
40 Nick Yamamoto – nightclub impresario
"We introduced club culture to Kyoto, and Metro
is still unique in Japan. Tokyo or Osaka have many clubs, yet they'll
only play one style, like techno or house. But our motto is "No Boundaries."
If something is interesting and moves people's hearts, we'll show it."
42 Mizuno Katsuhiko and Kayo –
father and daughter photographers
"I favor places where there is harmony between
human-made things — like the place we live now, machiya, of course
temples — and nature. Where they are mixed in harmony — that
is Kyoto. The charm of Kyoto is where nature fuses well with the human-made.
Although Nara is older than Kyoto, it no longer has the continuation of
culture that Kyoto has. That is why I cannot leave Kyoto and why I never
tire of taking photos here."
Nishikawa Senrei – nihonbuyo dancer
48 Ito Masahiro – fashion
50 Goda Yosuke – live painting
52 Hosomi Yoshiyuki – hosomi museum
Sakakibara Taro – ura-teramachi
56 Makino Yuko – natural hairdresser
58 Makoto – modern gion geiko
"Makoto has two careers: geiko and professional
singer. She has put out two albums since her professional debut in 2001
and has a recording contract on the Chima label. An accomplished dancer
in the Kyoto Inoue style, Makoto appears annually in the prestigious Gion
60 Kishimoto Mayu – community building
62 Tanigawa Miyuki – kimono designer
64 Kate Connell – mt. hiei, guardian mountain
65 Nakamura Zen’ichiro – farmer • actor
"I call the field by Rakushisha ‘Kokusai-dori’
(International Street), as there are tourists from so many different countries
who walk around its edges during the season, mostly autumn. The main tourist
route between Arashiyama and Adashino goes past my field"
68 Yamada Setsuko – ryokan proprietress
70 Matsuyama Daiko – deputy chief priest
"What I love about our temple is that it exists
in the daily lives of Kyoto people. You can always see students coming
and going, children playing, people walking their dogs, riding bicycles,
or taking strolls in the early morning on the temple grounds. So this
is a relaxing place for daily lives in Kyoto."
72 Nagasaka Dai – architect
74 Kitano Fumio – antiques
77 Kawamura Junko – noh
78 Setouchi Jakucho– the tale of genji
"I am now 86 years old, a very old woman, though
I am the most active for my age in Japan. I started translating The
Tale of Genji after turning seventy, though I had well prepared to
start for many years by then. "
80 Christian Orton – kamo at night
82 The Kobayashis – homeless
"We have to co-exist with others in society.
I actually feel sorry for the people around us, because we are imposing
by being here illegally. So we try to keep our place clean and neat and
not interfere with the other people on the river.If we sat here with strange
faces and said nothing, no one would want to pass by. So we want to be
regarded as “open” homeless — to be part of society,
and communicate with ordinary citizens."
85 Nakane Shiro – garden designer
"The tea ceremony is in its 14th generation
of tea masters, but for gardeners, there have been 16 generations counting
from Sano Toemon, so we have over a thousand years of history..."
88 Kurahashi Yoshio – shakuhachi
"...many Kyoto government officials still see
Kyoto as Japan’s cultural heart. But I think these beliefs are outdated.
If Kyoto is to be the center of Japanese culture, the city’s culture
awards must be open to anyone in Japan, not only people in Kyoto .The
old capital can once again be a center for culture — traditional
and modern alike — but only if it looks beyond itself."
91 Heidi S. Durning – fusion
"I decided at eighteen that I had the potential
for original expression; since I myself was a fusion, I started to make
94 Yuushi Yasuno – kamishibai storyteller
"The Kyoto International Manga Museum recognizes
kamishibai as one of the origins of anime and manga,
as many Japanese anime and manga artists have drawn much inspiration from
96 Kameda Kazuaki – textiles
98 Tosai (Richard Steiner) – expat artist
"In a complex society like Kyoto, there is
decline and resurgence, and they are both happening simultaneously. This
is not a simple city. It just reflects the process of change that we’re
in, right now."
100 Inoue Yukio – women’s travel consultant
101 Iwasaki Yuko – green e books
"To me, Kyoto is the only place I would like
to be in Japan at this moment, and probably the only place in this country
where I could fully express my taste. Kyoto is more like my “furusato”
or hometown than Kobe, where my parents are — this city has nourished
my spirit and soul since my twenties."
102 Recipe for Revitalization – paul scott
104 Kyoto’s Forgotten Era – hal gold
108 Blogology – kyoto access online
Hail the Hailstone Poets: Seasons of the Gods, ed. Stephen Henry
Gill, Duro Jaiye, Hisahi Miyazaki, Jane Wieman – Robert MacLean
Geisha Tradition: Hannari – Geisha Modern Dir. Sohara Miyuki,
Sakura Productions – Sally McLaren
Love's Binding Force: Simmering Away, Songs from the Kanginshu,
trans. Yasuhiko Moriguchi & David Jenkins, White Pine Press –
Rocking to the Flow: Ueji, the Genius of Water & Stone, Kyoto
Tsuinsha – Yamashita Masahiro (trans. Eric Luong)
Honky-Tonk, the Gokiburi & the Yakuza
by Shane Dickey
had been living for three months in a rooming house in the rural Kyoto
suburb of Iwakura when I met Jo Nishitani. He was the proprietor of a
bona-fide honky-tonk restaurant just outside of town. At twenty-one, Nishitani
had changed his given name to Jo and decided to embrace his love of Hank
Williams instead of becoming a policeman as his father and grandfather
had done. Not surprisingly, his family disowned him and cast him out,
a lone cowboy on an inhospitable Japanese landscape.
by Edith Shiffert
(featured in KJ #70)
In all directions
small mountains hiding the view
while being the view
I bow to
mercy and wisdom
to know them.
But east or west?
Up or down?
no other directions
but outside and inside.
So where might they dwell?
What has no site
can only be abstract;
When At the Edge
White Pine Press)
(in Japan, just 3,200 yen for 4 issues, postage included!)