Category: ストラインと日本語

Brace Yourself, Sydney…Here Comes Kyary Pyamu Pyamu

Kyary Pamyu PamyuColorful Japanese entertainer Kyary Pyamu Pyamu will play one show in Australia later this month as part of her Nanda Collection World Tour 2014.
Demand to see the performer probably best known for her flamboyant 2011 viral video “Pon Pon Pon” has been enormous and her only Australian show on March 23 was shifted from Sydney’s Metro Theater to the considerably larger UNSW Roundhouse.
The often infantile 21-year-old whose full stage name is Caroline Charonplop Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (her real name is Kiriko Takemura) is currently among the best-selling contemporary performers and is easily Japan’s best-known singer among 20-somethings outside of her homeland.
Although Kyary Pyamu Pyamu has a reputation outside of Japan as being something of a non-conformist, most of her innovation comes from a marketing team playing on the image she cultivates cleverly. Nonetheless, there’ll be no shortage of color or noise at her show.
kyary-pamyu-pamyu_2m3m1qjnv7cKyary Pyamu Pyamu’s Nanda Collection World Tour 2014 comprises shows in 15 cities in 10 countries over a five-month span from February to June this year.

Pon Pon Pon

Mottainai Land

Fashion Monster

Tickets for Kyary Pyamu Pyamu’s sole Australian show are available through Ticketek

A Breakout Performance Focusing on Australia’s Cowra

A scene from "Kaura no Hancho Kaigi" with Japanese POWs wearing the crimson uniforms they wore at the Cowra Prison Camp.

A scene from “Kaura no Hancho Kaigi” with Japanese POWs wearing the crimson uniforms they wore at the Cowra Prison Camp.

Kaura no Hancho Kaigi (Honchos’ Meeting in Cowra) superbly dramatizes events surrounding a definitive incident in Australia-Japan relations.
The play being performed by the Rinkogun theater group daily until March 24 (with two shows on March 19 and 21) centers on the Cowra Breakout, an attempted escape by about 550 Japanese prisoners of war being held in an Australian POW camp in August 1944.
Interwoven with the action surrounding the decision to rebel and attempt to escape or die trying by a group of men whose own homeland had effectively killed them by bureaucracy and cultural manipulation is a tale of a group of women making a film about the incident, but also containing a sub-plot of documenting the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Overall, the result is a must-see for anyone with an interest in Australia-Japan relations, though it may not be exclusively pleasing and could raise discomforting issues that can sometimes be shoved under the carpet, prime of which is the fact that Australia and Japan were once at war and bitter, racially opposed enemies: a matter not commonly known in Japan.
HonchoLargeThe play is also an unabashedly left-wing account of events, but this is also Kaura no Hancho Kaigi’s greatest strength as it humanizes the characters, notably the Imperial Japanese Army soldiers whose wartime culture depended on their dehumanization.
Playwright Yoji Sakate‘s script admirably addresses many serious issues, but perhaps too many, and sacrifices clarity at times in an apparent effort to ensure all sides have their views presented, but this foible is only a minor one.
Made for a Japanese audience, Kaura no Hancho Kaigi is essentially a Japanese-language play, but has large swathes of English (sometimes for mysterious reasons), much of which is delivered with deplorable Australian accents by American actors John Oglevee and Benjamin Beadsley, who redeemed themselves by breaking the fourth wall to apologize for their Strine deficiency.)
Nontheless, the somewhat surreal play had a bit of everything from action, humor, tragedy and drama, and is certainly worth seeing.

カウラの班長会議Kaura no Hancho Kaigi (Honchos’ Meeting in Cowra)
All seats reserved (prices range from 1,500 to 4,000 yen)
Showing until Sunday, March 24 at Shomokitazawa Za Suzunari
For inquiries or ticket sales, contact Rinkogun
(All inquiries should be made by a Japanese speaker)

A Little-Known, Bizarre Australia-Japan Christmas Story

A memorial to Japanese military members on Christmas Island.

A memorial to Japanese military members on Christmas Island.

Dec. 25, the original date of this post, is Christmas Day, but Christmas also gives its name to an island with a little-known — and bizarre — role in Australia-Japan relations.
An Australian territory, Christmas Island was with Nauru and parts of New Guinea parts of Australian-governed lands the Japanese occupied during World War II.
A Japanese nameplate dating to the World War II occupation found on Christmas Island.

A Japanese nameplate dating to the World War II occupation found on Christmas Island.

There’s an interesting tale behind Japan’s wartime occupation of Christmas Island, though.
It was long thought the island would be targeted because of its rich phosphate deposits.
Indeed, the Imperial Japanese Navy headed to the island in March 1942. The Allied troops defending Christmas Island realized they were outnumbered by an overpowering force, dismantled the island’s defenses and raised a white flag of surrender. The Japanese, however, sailed away. Once again, the Allies raised the Union Jack.
Days later, though, members of the British Indian force mutinied, overpowered and killed their British officers and interred the remaining Europeans on Christmas Island. The Indian mutineers then invited the Imperial Japanese forces to take over the island, which they did under the command of Rear-Admiral Shoji Nishimura.
Imperial Japanese Navy Rear-Admiral Shoji Nishimura

Imperial Japanese Navy Rear-Admiral Shoji Nishimura

Sabotage by workers ensured Japan gained little phosphate and it soon withdrew all but a token force from Christmas Island, which was handed to Australia to govern following Japan’s defeat in World War II. Australia continues governing Christmas Island through to today.
More About Christmas Island

Christmas Island 2/7
Christmas Island 3/7
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Christmas Island 5/7
Christmas Island 6/7
Christmas Island 7/7
The Mystery of Christmas Island, March 1942