Japan didn’t have much at stake this year at the Oscars. But all the same, the eyes of the world were on the reaction of one little fishing town in central Japan. As “The Cove” won the Academy Award for Best Documentary it became that bit more difficult for Japan to ignore the film’s message – stop the unnecessary annual slaughter of thousands of dolphins in the town of Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture, and the sale of dolphin meat containing dangerously high levels of mercury.
Some local media reported on the movie’s win with the minimum of fuss or detail, referring simply to the overseas controversy surrounding Japan’s “irukaryou” or dolphin fishing. Most reports made sure to describe Taiji as “the birthplace of the ancient rites of whaling” and to point out “problems” with the making of the film, such as the filmmakers trespassing on private property to conceal their cameras, filming fishermen and other Taiji residents without permission, or Taiji city assemblyman Ryono Hisato and a Hokkaido university professor who claim they were tricked into participating in the film. A story on the national TBS network website included only comments critical of the film. It included one from Ryono saying he thought it “unbelievable that a secretly filmed movie could win such an authoritative award.”
The documentary is due to be released at 20-30 cinemas across Japan, but with heavy editing and faces obscured after legal threats. A similarly controversial documentary, “Yasukuni,” was withdrawn from many cinemas in 2008 after threats from right-wing extremists, who protested against the depiction of the Tokyo shrine dedicated to Japan’s war dead, including Class A war criminals.
The hype continues to build around Japan-based Korean singer Iconiq (25). It was announced yesterday that, starting from today and barely three month after her Japan debut, she will start appearing in TV commercials for seven different corporations at the same time. This is said to be a record, as is the fact that all seven commercials will air together on TV Asahi March 13. She recently spent 26 hours straight in a studio in Kawasaki filming the commercials. With all this momentum behind her, her Japan debut album “Change Myself,” will no doubt chart well after its release tomorrow.
Back in January, Japan Zone reported on Shiseido’s unusual decision to choose the relatively unknown Iconiq as the new face of their MAQuillAGE line of cosmetics. With her shaved head and baby-face looks, Iconiq stands out from the usual fashion models hocking beauty products in Japan. But the latest commercial gigs aren’t restricted to cosmetic brands, and she will also be pitching for the likes of ANA, Starbucks, and Maserati.
Things are also looking good for Iconiq on the personal front. Today’s issue of weekly women’s magazine “Josei Jishin” reports that she is romantically involved with J-League soccer player Lee Tadanari (24). A fourth generation ethnic Korean, who formally took Japanese citizenship in 2007, he currently plays for Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
An Iconiq J-Pop Star (Jan. 20, 2010)
Aoki Sayaka a Mother
Talento Aoki Sayaka (36) gave birth to her first child at a Tokyo hospital on Monday morning. Aoki became a TV variety show regular largely on the strength of her straight-talking and short-tempered image and often appeared on shows as a “make-inu” type, a woman destined to remain single. But in October 2007 she underwent something of an image change when she married a dancer three years her junior.
Oshio Manabu Refused Bail
In the ongoing trial of former actor Oshio Manabu (31), the Tokyo District Court denied an appeal of its earlier decision to refuse him bail. Oshio is on trial for his involvement of the drug-related death of Ginza hostess Tanaka Kaori last August.
Oshio Refused Bail (Feb. 9, 2010)
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