“If you’re trying to increase the percentage of overseas sales for your company, you can’t buy small,” said Ken LeBrun, a partner at Davis Polk Wardwell in Tokyo. “You need to buy large companies, and there are more large companies for sale in the U.S. than anywhere else.”
Hostile takeovers among Japanese firms were considered almost taboo for years, but a flurry of bids in 2019 suggested a long-predicted wave of consolidation could finally have arrived.
Behind this lies a changing mindset around selling to private equity: It’s now viewed as a viable option for corporations looking to divest, and for smaller family-owned businesses without succession plans, said Jeff Acton, a managing director at BDA Partners in Tokyo.
But driven by corporate governance changes that have boosted outside voices on boards, as well as a forthcoming overhaul of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, many are starting to rein in or divest their listed units.
Toshio Saeki, the illustrator, painter, and “Godfather of Japanese Erotica,” has died at the age of 74. His death was confirmed in an Instagram post by his Tokyo-based gallery Nanzuka. The cause of death was not stated.
Saeki was a legendary figure of Japan’s postwar underground scene, having built a fervent cult following through erotic illustrations that blended gore, humor, and Japanese folklore. As Tokyo was subject to social revolution in the 1970s, Saeki’s drawings—which took an overt, even playful approach to sexual taboo—captured the mood. “Leave other people to draw seemingly beautiful flowers that bloom within a nice, pleasant-looking scenery,” he told Dazed in 2013.
Saeki was born in 1945, in Japan’s Miyazaki prefecture. His childhood years were spent in Osaka, and he moved to Tokyo in 1969. He rarely spoke of his early years in interviews; when Saeki did open up, it was more often to describe his love of samurai-period drama or his illustrations, the subjects of which arrived in dreams and visions: Shinto spirits drifting among schoolgirls, lascivious corpses, the living and the supernatural mingling intimately.
In the last years of his life, international audiences had finally taken notice. In December 2016, Jiu Xiang Ju Gallery in Taipei exhibited a selection of his illustrations. His work was presented at Art Basel in Hong Kong in 2017. And he’s one of 17 artists featured in “Tokyo Pop Underground,” a show currently on view at Jeffrey Deitch gallery in Los Angeles that explores the trajectory of Japanese contemporary art.
BARELY TWO weeks ago, the notion that Tokyo’s summer Olympic games should be postponed on account of the coronavirus pandemic was taboo among Japan’s ruling elites and the deferential national broadcaster, NHK .
But in just a few days, the daily number of new infections in Tokyo rose sharply, from 40-odd last week to 66 cases on April 1st.
That has fallen to Tokyo’s governor, Koike Yuriko. Blunt and forceful, she warns that a lockdown of the world’s biggest megalopolis is coming. Her direct style has upstaged the prime minister. Her pleas to break the chain of infection have even shut Tokyo’s red-light districts, surely a first since America’s firebombing of the city in 1945. Yet her powers of persuasion have limits. Her call for Tokyoites to remain at home this past weekend was honoured more in the breach—until snow on the Sunday helped her cause.
Murakami Hiromi, a health policy expert at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo, says a full lockdown for Tokyo and surrounding prefectures may now be needed. At last Mr Abe has put someone in charge of the coronavirus response: the minister for economic and fiscal policy, Nishimura Yasutoshi. Others want Mr Abe to go further and declare a national state of emergency. New legislation gives him the power to do so.
For the latest edition of FRONTPAGE, we caught up with legendary artist Hajime Sorayama at his Tokyo studio to delve inside his inimitable, chrome-plated world.
On the twelfth floor of a Tokyo apartment block, behind an unassuming residential door, lies Japanese artist Hajime Sorayama’s cavernous man cave strewn with sketches, erotic ephemera, and eyebrow-raising visual references.
“It’s like sightseeing in here,” Sorayama jokes, alluding to how many personal artifacts he has crammed into such a small space. Occupying an entire wall is a 6ft x 4ft print of an artwork from his latest exhibition “SEX MATTER,” currently on view in Tokyo at Nanzuka Gallery.
Since the beginning, Sorayama’s works explore all the ingredients for taboo in our society, creating images that combine fetishism, bondage, and genetic manipulation, always presented with the intention to provoke.
Sitting across from Sorayama, irreverently slouched with auburn-tinted prescription glasses, it’s hard to imagine he has led a career spanning almost half a century. After graduating from Tokyo’s Chuo Art School in 1968, he spent a year at an advertising company before leaving to become a freelancer working across the film industry, with involvements in various sci-fi and robotics-related films such as Timecop and Space Tracker , and was even invited to present a lecture at George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic studio by Spawn director Mark A.Z. Dippé.
In an upcoming group exhibition in Tokyo this June, Sorayama will present some of his earliest unseen drawings, such as an illustration of a navy ship that he submitted to a Japanese newspaper at the age of 16. As he recounts these early works, a nostalgic glimmer comes across his eye and he raises a proud smile. He takes us back to his initial dreams of becoming a sword craftsman, then a Japanese shrine carpenter, and then a pilot . It was one of his teachers who had noticed his talent for drawing, which led him to a career in illustration: “I then recognized that it was a calling for me.”
Olympics chief Thomas Bach agreed that 2021 was the “last option” for holding the delayed Tokyo Games on Thursday, stressing that postponement cannot go on forever.
In March, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics were postponed to July 23, 2021 over the coronavirus, which has killed hundreds of thousands around the world and halted international sport and travel.
‘No taboo’ –
According to the latest budget, the Games were due to cost $12.6 billion, shared between the organizing committee, the government of Japan and Tokyo city.
But Bach said there should be “no taboo” in cutting costs for next year’s Games.
“So this concentration on the essentials should be reflected in the organization of these Games… there should be no taboo.
TOKYO — The Tokyo Olympics have hit the one-year-to-go mark — again. But few are in a mood to celebrate.
Tokyo observed the original date a year ago. That was before the COVID-19 pandemic postponed the Olympics and pushed back the opening to July 23, 2021. Fireworks cascaded over Tokyo Bay back then, and local celebrities unveiled the medals in a highly choreographed show.
Organizers and the International Olympic Committee have ruled out another postponement. The Tokyo Games would be canceled this time if they can’t be held.
One year to go until @Tokyo2020! One year until the Olympic flame shines bright again – just like it did for the very first time at Amsterdam 1928 .
Tokyo is staking its hopes on “simplification.” Organizers have come up with roughly “200 items” that may be simplified, downsized, or cut out. The rigor is driven by soaring costs and the risk of the Olympics becoming a petri dish.
Organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto has said the 206 national Olympic committees, dozens of sports federations, sponsors, broadcasters, media and hospitality providers, have been asked to find ways to reduce the size of their delegations arriving in Tokyo.
Muto said organizers are “reexamining service levels and requirements in every possible area.” IOC President Thomas Bach has said “nothing is taboo” as billions in costs pile up.
The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics follow Tokyo by only six months.
For Tokyo, there are more questions than answers.
Will there be fans? If so, will they be fans from aboard, or only Japanese? Will athletes face quarantines, and will there be a vaccine? Should young athletes be a priority for a scarce vaccine, and will all agree to be vaccinated? How will athletes be safe in the crowded Athletes Village? How about staffing levels for officials, coaches and tens of thousands who work behind the scenes? Tokyo had planned to use at least 80,000 unpaid volunteers.
“We need to prepare for all the scenarios that may be necessary,” said IOC vice president John Coates, who oversees preparations for Tokyo. “We don’t know what’s going to be necessary. We don’t know what the state of COVID-19 is going to be next year. But we need to be preparing for it now.”
Tokyo has been largely spared although the city government said Thursday that new cases topped 300 for the first time.
Expect national quarantine of players and others before arriving in Tokyo, and then retesting afterward.”
Police allege Paul Han, 27, broke into a train yard in the Bunkyo ward of Tokyo on February 19 last year and graffitied trains for more than an hour and a half.
Graffiti is rare in Japan, as the street art is considered taboo and culturally unacceptable.
This video of a graffiti attack on trains in Tokyo posted in 2016 drew very critical comments from Japanese people.
TOKYO — Social media influencers recently discussed feminine hygiene product packaging as part of a project Unicharm Corp. launched amid a spreading move to talk more openly about menstruation and increase the number of feminine hygiene item options in Japan.
“This will for sure go viral ,” said one of the participants during a lively discussion held in a shared office space in Tokyo‘s Minato Ward on June 6. One of Japan‘s major hygiene products manufacturers, Unicharm, launched a project this month in response to a growing move to end the idea that women should feel ashamed of having their period or hide it.
Project member and entrepreneur Gomi Hayakawa, 23, began to run specialty feminine care product stores from June, in places including department stores in Tokyo and the western Japan prefecture of Osaka.
Movie director Kiho Park, who is currently making a documentary film on menstruation, is seen in Tokyo‘s Chiyoda Ward, on May 20, 2019.
“Every individual has a compelling story to tell, and a lot of them want to talk about it. I hope that by getting many people to know about individual stories it would change our society’s menstrual taboos,” Park commented.
The text of this article was generated by the Breaking The Silence system that collected 8 news articles posted on the web from January 2019 to September 2020 and clustered for the taboo subjects related to Tokyo