Namie Amuro

Hip Hop and RNB is not a popular musical genre for women in Japan. There are a lot of popular Japanese male artists that perform music through this genre, but there are very few women. The popularity of Hip Hop began in the early 1980s. Even if it is an on-going trend today, Japanese hip hop still tends to be influenced by the old school dance culture. However, the line between hip hop and pop music is frequently blurred because it is one of the most commercially workable mainstream music genres in Japan.

One of the most popular Japanese RNB artists would be Namie Amuro who gained her popularity with her sleek, artistic style and dancing abilities. Though we can’t really call her a diva because of this, she still is a multi-talented artist with her capabilities to perform both RNB and Pop. Because of her many talents and impressive wit it lead her to gaining the title of the Teen Queen or the Queen of Japanese Pop Music. She debuted at the young age of 14 as an idol in the girl group called Super Monkeys. It was only in 1997, when she was performing as a solo artist that she became commercially successful where she was able to produce several million-selling records. Other than that she also became a fashion icon starting a number of trends. However, in the midst of her fame and fortune she put her career on hold due to her marriage and pregnancy.

Namie Amuro

After a year away from the limelight, she returned to the music scene in December 1998 by releasing a single called I have never seen, immediately it reached number 1 on the charts. Again, there were personal events that forced her to once again take a rest from her fame. However, unlike the first one that involved the happiness with starting a new family, this time it was because of a loss. On the day of her second single’s release, her mother was brutally murdered by no one else but her step uncle.

Some time after recovering from this tragic fate, she returned to the limelight once again but this time with a more renewed orientation towards R&B. Seeing that there is not too much promise with this solo R&B career, she decided to join Suite Chic which is a collaborative R&B project. Still she is most recognized from many of her popular songs. Since then, Amuro experienced more ups and downs in her life but she is still more beautiful and as happy as ever.

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Celebrities and Double Eye-lid Surgery

Asian girls and women have similar standards when it comes to beauty. This continent is actually divided into different races with different facial features. Some Asians have upper eyelid crease while others seem to have cute, tiny slits for their eyes. Many Asian women, not only the Japanese, believe that bigger eyes are more expressive and thus are more beautiful. For many years, double eyelid surgery has been very popular for years, that the first published account of this kind of surgery was impressively recorded in Japan in the late 1800s!

A huge percentage of actresses, and even actors, have undergone a certain kind of eyelid surgery which is also known as the Blepharoplasty procedure. Some of these celebrities are not too open about talking about their cosmetic surgery experiences and claiming that all the features of their faces and bodies are natural. However, there are still a number of people who are open on talks about these. There is a list of the 25 most popular Asian celebrities that have undergone double eye lid procedures and the results are quite remarkable.

The hype of Cosmetic surgery in Japan and other Asian countries have their impending societal effects to the Japanese people. There are even some protests that cosmetic surgery has no other positive effects other than when a person truly suffers life threatening scenarios that require corrective surgery. However, using it for commercial and personal uses may be controversial.  Some health experts explain that continuously being under the knife and needle may be dangerous to an individual’s health. Seeing their idols, openly publicizing about procedures done to make them smoothly beautiful, a large percentage of the Asian youth of today are also openly accepting and are strongly influenced by these popular personalities. Some girls and boys as young as Junior High school start saving for cosmetic surgeries in the future. Others even have the actual procedures at this age.

Before and After Double Eylid Surgery

Many people would suffer great amounts of pain and suffering for eternal beauty and youth. The Blepharoplasty is actually very expensive and painful where excess tissues of the eyes such as skin in fat are removed and repositioned around the eyes. Just imagine how painful that would be considering that the skin around our eyes is among the most sensitive in our bodies! There are other procedures that are very popular in Asia that alter the features not only of the face but the body as well for an individual to have a more holistic and natural looking beauty.

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The Face of Japan: Keiko Kitagawa

Keiko Kitagawa is one of the most beloved actresses in Japan. She is known to be one of Japan’s prettiest and freshest faces. She has a very serene face that could easily leave a mark in anyone’s memory. In fact, she landed the number 2 spot in Japan’s Most Beautiful Faces. Not only is she beautiful, she is also a woman of impressive talents and wit. She has starred in roles for a great number of films and TV shows. She is also one of the many Japanese women who has gained popularity outside of the Japanese shores, especially when she landed a small role as Reiko in the Hollywood Blockbuster film The Fast And the Furious: Tokyo Drift in 2006.

Before she embarked on her acting career, Keiko was an exclusive model for the Japanese Seventeen Magazine. After three years in this contract, she wanted to follow a new path in her career as a celebrity and left her modelling career to pursue acting. It was in 2003 to 2004 that she received her big break when she acted for the role of Sailor Mars in the Sailor Moon Live action show called Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon. She has gained leading roles in famous Television Dramas such as Mop Girl in 2007, Homeroom on the Beachside in 2008, Buzzer Beat in 2009, Lady Saigo no Hanzai Profile in 2011 and Akumu Chan in 2012.

She was born in Hyogo Prefecture in Japan in 1986 and grew up in Kobe. She was scouted by a talent agency, with the admiration of her innocent beauty and she decided to try the entertainment world when she was in High school. Because she started so early in this kind of career, her parents gave her two conditions; one, that she would quit if she makes no progress within a year and two, she would always put her education first. With her remarkable talents, she was only able to keep the latter half of her promise when she graduated in Meiji University in 2009. Her one year time limit was not in any way a problem because only after a week of joining an agency, she has been selected both as a model and an actress and was even given the title of Miss Seventeen 2003. She is not only a model and an actress, she is also a writer. She started a blog in 2006 and even wrote for a column called Keytan Hakusho for the weekly television magazine, Weekly The Television.

Keiko Kitagawa

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First Prime Minister of Japan: Ito Hirobumi

All the affairs of the divine empire of Japan cannot be handled solely by the Emperor. He would need advisers and military officers that would help him in the different issues and affairs involved in running a country and ruling over their countrymen. The Prime Minister of Japan is one of the plays the most important role in leading the country next to the legendary rulers, or the Emperors. He is the head of the Japanese government and is appointed by the Emperor of Japan after being designated by the Diet. The Diet on the other hand is composed of the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors which are responsible for passing laws and selecting the Prime Minister. He then becomes the head of the Cabinet and appoints or dismisses the Ministers of the State.

The first time that the role of the Prime Minister was established was in 1885, under the Meiji Period. With the changes that they experienced due to the shift in Japanese government from Shogunate and back to Imperial rule, the change in the attitudes of the people had to be adapted with. Prince Ito Hirobumi was a samurai of Choshu domain and was the first ever Japanese Prime Minister to assume position in 1885.

Prince Ito Hirobumi

 

 

He was originally appointed as the governor of Hyogo Prefecture after the Meiji Restoration. During this time he was sent to the United States to study Western Currency Systems. A year later, he went back to his country to establish the Taxation system of Japan. It was in 1882 that he started working on a constitution for Japan and wrote the Imperial Household Law.

Throughout his life time, he was able to sit in the office of the Prime Minister a total of four times. During his first term as a Prime Minister, he resigned only after three years in position. Then on his second term, he supported the First Sino-Japanese War and even negotiated the Treaty of Shimonoseki. He was also able to remove some of the unacceptable treaty clauses with the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of Commerce and Navigation of 1894, which has made the Japanese suffer in foreign relations since the beginning of the Meiji period. During his third term, he was forced to resign because of some issues with party politics leading to the dissolution of the Diet. Then many people started to campaign against him that in his fourth time as Prime Minister, he was so weary of certain political concerns that he resigned in 1901.

During this time, he was also the acting Resident-General of Korea. In 1909, when he was in Manchuria for a meeting with a Russian representative, a Korean Nationalist and independence activist shot him three times in the chest that caused the end of his powerful legacy.

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The Legend of Emperor Jimmu

Both legend and history states that the first Emperor of Japan was a legendary man-god named Emperor Jimmu. For the Japanese, they believe that there is a special bond among the land, the people and the Emperor. Many myths have stated that Japan is a divine land, gifted upon us by the sun goddess and which is also the reason why the sun goddess sent her own grandson on an important mission towards military explorations. It was believed that the Sun Goddess send here descendants to Earth so they can rule eternally.

The reason why he became a legendary emperor is because of the fact that, according to legend, he is the great grandson of a powerful goddess.  His impressive and powerful family of origin are the sun goddess Amaterasu and the storm god Susanoo. It was believed, according to legend, that Jimmu launched a military exploration from Hyuga. From here he captured Yamato and established it as his center of power. His name, Emperor Jimmu is actually his posthumous name based on the compilation of legends about the origins of the First Japanese Dynasty, Yamato. The name Jimmu means “divine might”, describing Jimmu as a super human being, impressive powers and came from a great family.

Based also on a person’s knowledge of myth, Jimmu has an honoured place in the Japanese tradition. There are shrines solely intended to making sure that the people would pay their respects and make sure that their emperor would be perfectly content with the gods in heaven. There are also ceremonies where the people would be able to realize the importance and influence of the first Japanese emperor to their daily lives and observations of tradition.

Incarnation of Emperor Jinmu

Because of this, he is believed to be the mythical founder of Japan. Those that claim the throne are direct descendants of this legendary Emperor. Among the most interesting facts about Emperor JImmu, his descendants and the order of succession of the Imperial Japanese throne, many modern experts are quite sceptical about the true existence of the first nine emperors, claiming that Emperor Suji (descendant of Jimmu) might be one of the early emperors who might have actually existed. It was only Emperor Kimmei where historiography can prove his true rule and existence, through the use of verifiable records and evidence. Be it as it may, the role of the legendary Emperor Jimmu has a remarkable importance in the lives and roots of all the Japanese people.

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Sailor Moon

Any young girl that grew up in the 80s and 90s must surely be familiar of one of the most popular cartoons called Sailor Moon. Memorizing the dance steps, the songs, and even doing these completely with Sailor Moon costumes of the different pretty main characters (known as Sailor Soldiers) namely: Sailor Moon, Sailor Jupiter, Sailor Mars and Sailor Mercury. For this media franchise, there had been different kinds of adaptations.

 

 

This animation series has gained a wide popularity not only in Japan but other parts of Asia and the West as well. Basically the Sailor Moon Saga lasts for about three generations of characters, the first one involving Sailor Moon, the second involving the daughter of Sailor Moon and the last includes the stories of other Sailor Soldiers. The first generation of Sailor Moon is perhaps gained the most popularity because it is the most interesting story added to the romance of Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask.

The story involves a young middle school student named Usagi Tsukino who befriends a talking cat named Luna. Luna gave her a magical brooch that enables her to transform from an ordinary middle school girl to a Sailor Soldier who is destined to save the world from the hand of evil doers. To do this successfully, they needed to assemble a team of young Sailor Soldiers. These include Ami Mizuno who awakens as Sailor Mercury, Rei Hino who awakens as Sailor Mars and Mamoru Chiba who’s secret identity is Sailor Jupiter. A young lad named Mamoru Chiba works secretly as Tuxedo Mask helps them in their journey to save the world. Later on, another young woman named Minako Aino joins their team as Sailor Venus.

As the story goes, it is apparent that the meeting of Usagi and Luna is not a coincidence but fate. Being the past self of the missing princess that she needs to save, Usagi is given powers that she never knew she had. In the second generation of the series, the mission was continued by the daughter of Tuxedo Mask and Sailor Moon named Chibiusa. It was her task to find the Silver Crystal. This was a time when they did not know that she was their daughter and in fact Chibiusa travelled from the future to get the Silver Crystal. Sailor moon and her powers had become one of the most popular characters that every little girl wanted to be.

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The Gazette

The Gazette is a Japanese idol group with an interesting flare. Unlike other idol groups which are mostly pop artists, The Gazette has something else to offer. They are actually a visual kei rock band which was formed in 2002. Visual Kei is not a familiar genre in the west but in Japan it is very trendy and very popular. It is a movement where musicians are characterized by the use of extreme make up, elaborate hair styles and impressive costumes. Some bands and visual kei artists even have androgynous aesthetics. Perhaps an American band which we can consider as “visual kei” is the band Kiss. Just like their costumes, their spikey boots, the leather costumes and big, big hair, Japanese visual kei artists run along the ground of looks. Visual Kei artists can actually be classified into glam rock, punk rock and heavy metal. For them, it is more than just a music genre, it is a sense of fashion and style. It is even a lifestyle. For many Japanese musicians, the Visual Kei is a subculture.

This band was formed from Kanagawa and now they are currently signed to Sony Music Japan’s VVV records. The band originally has three members – Ruki in Vocals, Reita in Bass and Uruha in the lead guitar. They also included Aoi in rhythm guitar and Yune in drums. Their first year was actually very hectic and busy. They were originally formed January 2002. A few months after they were formed they immediately released their first singe AND their first music video for the song entitled Wakaremichi. This was all but a teaser for they were only able to release their next few songs by June and September of the same year. By October they sang their first live performance and by Christmas they were able to release newer songs.

Time flew by so fast that they were already able to celebrate their 10 year anniversary in 2012. This was again another unforgettable year. By 2011, they started a tour called Venomous Cell. At the last performance for this tour, they announced that they would be holding their 10th year anniversary concert called Standing Live 2012 10th Anniversary – The Decade. At the same time, they also released a new album called Division. They were so thankful to their fans that they even embarked on a fan club-only tour, titled Standing Live tour 12 – Heresy Presents – Heterodoxy. Today, they have on-going tours and they continuously promote their latest releases and albums.

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Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko

Despite the lack of any political power, their Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko might be among the most influential Japanese couple in the world. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko are among the most impressive power couples in the world.

Since the Second World War, the Japanese constitution has stated the new roles and responsibilities of the Emperor. Even if many of the obligations of the Emperor and purely for the uplifting of the spirit and nationalism of the Japanese people, the Emperor still can appoint the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of the Supreme court. Other than that, the Emperor also has the power to attest the appointment of Ministers of State and other high officials; he also has the powers to award honours. However, all these actions require the advice and approval of the Cabinet.

Their Majesties, Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko

 

The Imperial couple have a very strong sense of duty and their primary focus is to give unfailing attention to the needs of their people. The Imperial family is one of the only families in Japanese history that has a very close relationship with people from all walks of life and nationality. They also host a great deal of events to meet people from government officials of high position, artists, scholars, social welfare workers, farmers and fishermen. They stay true to their role as the Nation’s symbol of unity. Following his father’s tradition, Emperor Akihito plants and harvests rice at the paddy-field in the Palace grounds. They go out of their way to make sure that they will be able to console and give support to the victims of major natural disasters and even give recognition and celebration for the passionate rescue workers. They try to see their people in the rough, and offer them sympathy and comfort. For instance, the Emperor requests rice delivery from Fukushima in late November 2013 because he wanted the imperial family to partake in it in the knowledge that these farmers must have struggled to harvest this rice.

Other than that, they have also written and published a great number of books. The Emperor has written a great number of studies and books including one entitled Some Morphological Characters Considered to be Important in Gobiid Phylogeny for the Second International Conference on Indo-Pacific Fishes in 1986. Empress Michiko also has written a significant number of books, one of them an illustrated book for children called Hajimete no Yamanobori in 1991. They even write books together, an example would be Tomochibi: Light which is a collection of Waka poetry in 1991.

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Chiaki Mukai – The First Japanese Woman in Space

Just about the same time America reached the moon; Japan also started to develop its own space exploration. During this time there were three important organizations that were responsible for journeys and investigations in space. These three were the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), the National Aerospace Laboratory of Japan (NAL) and the National Space Development Agency (NASDA). The ISAS started to develop in the late 1950s where astrophysicists began conceptualizing rockets, astronomical satellites and interplanetary probes. The NAL on the other hand was established in 1955 and their responsibility was to research on aircraft, rockets and other aeronautical transportation systems. NASDA was responsible for developing, launching and tracking satellites and space laboratories into space.  It was only in 2003 that these two organizations merged into a single independent association of astronauts and astrophysicist, called JAXA or Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

Japan started to launch shuttles into space for explorative and investigatory purposes. These astronaut carrying shuttles brought well trained specialists into their space laboratory that manages different satellites found in space. However, it was only in 1985 when the first Japanese woman was able to join an aerospace expedition and she is none other than Chiaki Mukai.

Dr. Chiaki Mukai is no ordinary woman. She received her doctorate in medicine in Keio University School of Medicine in 1977. She also received a doctorate degree in physiology some time after. It was in 1989 when she became a registered cardiovascular surgeon. She is a member of the American Aerospace Medical Association, Japanese society of Microgravity Applications, Japan Society of Aerospace and Environmental Medicine and many more. Because of these notable achievements she was selected as one of the three Japanese Payload specialist candidates which flew aboard STS-47. Payload specialists are special non-aeronautic specialists that join specific exploration projects into space. After years of rigorous training, she flew aboard STS-65 and STS-95, gaining the title of the first Japanese woman in space and also the first Japanese citizen to fly twice.

Flying into space was not the only impressive thing that she did; in fact she became the deputy mission scientist of STS-107 where she coordinated science operations for the mission. She became a visiting scientist at the Space Biomedical Research Institute of the NASA Johnson Space Center. And she became a research instructor in the Department of Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Perhaps, because of all of these impressive achievements and recognition she can be among the most amazing Japanese women in the world.

Chiaki Mukai

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