Controversial comfort women photo exhibit is currently on show in Shinjuku

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Since the 1990s, photographer Ahn Sehong has spent a lot of his time and attention shooting images of comfort women &mdash Korean women forced into sexual slavery in Japan during World War II who now live in China. He was slated to display his work in Shinjuku at the Nikon Salon from two days ago through July 9, but a few days before opening, Nikon said they were going to cancel the exhibition because it was too controversial.

Havoc ensued, and a court ruled that Nikon would have to allow the exhibit to go on. Nikon’s still trying to appeal to the court to shut down the show, and their web site claims that the show is *not* on display, but according to the LA Times the show is still alive and well. If you’re in Tokyo, please go see it and show your support for this photographer’s work!

Japan 2.0, a cool photography project on Kickstarter

A new Kickstarter project called Japan 2.0 will allow San Francisco photographer Stirling Elmendorf to go back to Japan and take awesome photos for a book and exhibit. By helping fund the project, you can win prints or signed copies of the book, with shoutouts throughout.

My photographic inspiration began 10 years ago when I moved to rural Japan, on Shikoku- the smallest of Japan’s four main islands. Somehow, Japan changed me and my view of the world forever. I felt a need to distill my feelings and share them in an efficient and translatable format. It’s time to honor that inspiration with a vision unlike anything you’ve seen before…

I’m returning in February to photograph people and places that were so inspiring to me. I’ll create a powerful series of fine art photos that will fuse Japan’s natural beauty, it’s rich and colorful society and it’s textured, man-made structures- both traditional and modern- beautiful and decaying… These photos will be part of the ジャパン2.0 – (JAPAN 2.0) photo book and website. The images will also be part of a photo exhibition in my Japantown neighborhood, here in San Francisco.

Man selling New Years postcards at Omotesando

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Happy New Year everybody!

As you all know, it is a tradition to send nengajyo, or New Years postcards, in Japan. It’s the busiest time of year for the national post office, and also an opportunity for them to make a few extra bucks to compensate for the lack of business that things like email and text messaging has bestowed upon them. At Omotesando station the other day, I encountered this dutiful post office employee selling blank new years postcards in front of the cool bathroom sign. I love the contrast between old Japan and new Japan, the busy modern Tokyoites stopping at this neon-lit bathroom wall to buy these archaic 500 yen-a-pack postcard sets with coins from this balding, determined government worker. This photo was taken by the talented photographer Mr. Tetsuya Miura.

Cookie cutters in Kappabashi

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My friend Garth went to Tokyo recently and took this photo at a baking supply store in Kappabashi. I have never seen so many cookie cutters!

My neighbor is a pastry chef and she fell in love with some pastry forms she saw in a Japanese book on the topic. I spent a lot of time trying to find something for her while I was there. I ended up meeting a woman at a store who, through half Japanese half English communication, helped me find a goldmine of baking supplies.

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