Japan Italy: Tenoha Milano

Tenoha Milano - the Japanese concept store

In the heart of Milan there is a small corner of Japan. Inaugurated on April 4th, Tenoha, the new Japanese concept store, opens its doors in via Vigevano 18! For all fans of the Japanese minimal design, this is the new absolute mecca.

Photo credit: japanitalybridge.com

A few days prior the inauguration of the Salone del Mobile in Milan, Tenoha fascinates us with its concept of multi-purpose space in the true sense of the word. A space that provides everything from shopping to food, from work to relaxation.
In the amazing opening night event it was possible to fully admire this beautiful and brand new concept that combines work with leisure, business and pleasure.
Developing on a vast area, Tenoha contains a shop selling all Japanese items, food, entertainment and also a wonderful area of ​​coworking.

The Japanese shop & aesthetics

Tenoha brings classic Japanese design to Italy: simple, rich in details and with first choice materials. Minimal, functional and beautiful, the taste of the rising sun has already conquered us and now with Tenoha it can only put even more roots in our hearts and in our daily life. From flatware to decorations, from notebooks to pens, there is a wide choice of products with a very high quality and at a price all in all in the average (if not less) for a city like Milan. In short, we will no longer be able to live without it.

Photo credit: japanitalybridge.com

The restaurant - between street food and tradition

Milan you know, has now become almost like a rib of Tokyo when talking about Japanese food. However, Tenoha has managed to enter the market with a tense leg through a brilliant and unusual reinterpretation of street food mixed with traditional Japanese cuisine. Everything is rigorously made using fresh, seasonal ingredients and under the meticulous supervision of a Japanese kitchen artist, Tenoha offers around 130 seats including a restaurant, a café and an outdoor area. A combination of flavors and elements typical of the rising sun but with an Italian experience and atmosphere.

Photo credit: japanitalybridge.com

Coworking in style

Working in an environment where everything is possible and with a design that helps not only concentration but also creativity is everything for any company. Tenoha offers coworking spaces where every team can work while having fun and confronting other realities.

Photo credit: japanitalybridge.com

A functional space with a thousands uses

In addition to shopping, food and work, Tenoha also has the opportunity to reinvent itself and transform itself for any occasion. A stage where you can attract a large number of people, organize special activities, events and much more! A new focal point for all those who need locations during "hot" periods of the Milanese life, such as during Milan Fashion Week or the Salone del Mobile.

Photo credit: japanitalybridge.com

A multi-purpose space with a Japanese style but an Italian flavor, the perfect mix for those who want to approach Tokyo while remaining in the Lombard capital. In short, a small Tokyo, all at your fingertips.


Japan Travel: Nikkō

Nikkō - The timeless town

Not far from Tokyo, there is a town that could be described as magical. This is Nikkō, literally "The town of sunlight”. Located in the mountainous region of Tochigi Prefecture, it is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Japan. Rich in historical monuments, it has been listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its most famous monuments are the Nikkō Tōshō-gū shrine dedicated to the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, and the Futarasan shrine dating back to 767.

The city is also surrounded by nature with mountains, hot springs and the Nikkō National Park where several beautiful waterfalls can be found.

Between sacred and modern

On March 20, 2006, the old town of Nikkō merged with the city of Imaichi and the municipalities of Ashio, Fujihara and Kuriyama, resulting in the new city of Nikkō . Sacred and profane, a division that is even more evident thanks to the great "sacred bridge" Shinkyo, completely lacquered in red and that was originally reserved to the emperor and the shogun. Today, this same bridge is crossed by hundreds of visitors each year arriving at the Rinno-ji, the great temple best known for the "Three Buddha Hall".

Monuments

Behind this temple there is the Tōshō-gu shrine where the great Tokugawa family established their Shinto shrine making it the most richly decorated temple in the country. More than 15000 artisans of the country participated in its construction and with its gildings, its bright colors, its sinuous lines, this place of worship is considered as one of the most beautiful examples of Momoyama architecture (1573-1603). Even more famous is the pediment of the sacred stables, genuinely minimalist and especially known by all the Japanese for the three little monkeys carved in the wood: Mizaru ("the blind"), Kikazaru ("the deaf") and Iwazaru ("the mute"). In fact, they symbolize the precepts of the Tendai Buddhist sect, inspired by Confucius: do not look at evil, do not pronounce it, do not listen to it.

If you have a whole day to explore the city, you can not miss the opportunity to visit the statue of the sleeping cat that marks the entrance to the tomb of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Subsequently, along the Daiyagawa river, you can find the Kanmanga Fuchi path, a sumptuous walk through the woods and the strange volcanic formations of Mount Nantai. At the end of this walk, dozens of statues of Jizō, protector of the children, await you where time seems to have stopped.

At a distance of 30 km from there, you can then find the magical Chūzenji lake, where you can take a boat trip to the spectacular Kegon no Taki waterfall and the Yumoto Onsen hot springs.

A city between history and modernity, between mountains and enchanted lakes, a small pearl of history not far from the metropolis of Tokyo. Here you can still perceive the classic feeling of Japanese tradition in its fullness. A destination not to be missed for all those who love this nation and its culture.

How to get here

The train is the quickest and most convenient way to reach Nikko from central Tokyo.

Tobu Line - Asakusa

From Asakusa Station, easily reachable by metro from all the main districts of Tokyo, you can take the Tobu line which offers rides to Nikko every hour. The cost per round trip is about 2800 ¥, the ride takes about 2 hours and is by far the cheapest option. The JR Pass is not valid on this route.

info: Tobu Line website

Limited express - Shinjuku

The JR limited express connects Shinjuku station directly with Nikko, the cost of a round trip ticket is 8000 yen. Unfortunately, the JR pass does not completely cover the route so, it will be necessary to pay an additional charge. To book your seat just consult the JR East website.

Info: JR East website 

JR Shinkansen - Tokyo

This is the fastest and most convenient way to get to Nikko, especially if you have a JR Pass. It is possible to take the JR Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo station, but you will have to change at Utsunomiya and continue on the JR Nikko Line. The cost of the round trip is 10000 ¥, not recommended for those who do not have the JR Pass..

Info: Hyperdia website


Japan Italy: Hokusai "In the footsteps of the master"

Hokusai: In the footsteps of the master

Photo credits: arapacis.it

Katsushika Hokusai (葛 飾 北 斎?, Edo, October or November 1760 - Edo, May 10, 1849) was a Japanese painter and engraver, mainly known for his ukiyo-e works. This is an art genre typical of Japan and it consists of a print on paper with a wooden mold, thriving in the Edo period.

With a career over sixty years long where he explored various forms of art, he is known by the public mainly thanks to his famous 'Hundred views of Mount Fuji'. In particular the "Kanagawa Great Wave", which has become the symbol of this collection, is now part of the mass culture. His works not only spread all over the world, but have also been a source of inspiration for many European impressionist artists such as Claude Monet, and many post-Impressionists such as Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin.

Photo credits: arapacis.it

For some years now, Italy has been hosting several exhibitions dedicated to this great artist. First in Milan at the Museo del '900 and now in Rome. In fact, from October 12, 2017 to January 14, 2018, at the Ara Pacis Museum, Hokusai's works will be available to the public in an exhibition called "In The Footsteps of the Master". A great display that illustrates and compares about 200 works from Master Hokusai’s production with those of the artists that followed in his footsteps.

Photo credits: arapacis.it

The exhibition held at the Royal Palace in Milan preceded the one held at the British Museum in London, and now in the Italian capital it is possible to admire works gathered from different museums and collections. Among others, the Chiba City Museum of Art, and important Japanese collectors like Uragami Mitsuru Collection and Kawasaki Isago no Sato Museum, as well as the Museo d’arte Orientale Edoardo Chiossone in Genoa.

As we mentioned before, this exhibition illustrates and compares Master Hokusai’s production with that of some of the artists who followed in his footsteps, creating new lines, new shapes, new colors, and a new ukiyo-e school.

Photo credits: arapacis.it

From nature to kabuki actors, from female beauties to warriors, arriving to the imagery of ghosts, spirits and semi-legendary beings, these will be the themes that visitors will find on display. The techniques and formats Hokusai used for his works varies greatly. From ink and color painting realised on vertical or horizontal scrolls, to polychromatic xylographies of all sizes, to the finest surimi. The latter were used as greeting cards, invitations for tea ceremonies and more.

Photo credits: arapacis.it

From the press release of the exhibition, we can read that the showcase consists of five sections that will cover the most fashionable and most sought themes from the market of the time:

1- MEISHŌ: places not to be missed

It features the most famous series of Hokusai: the Thirty-six views of Mount Fuji, the Eight views of Ōmi, the three volumes on the Hundred views of Fuji and a scroll painting of Mount Fuji, presented for the first time in Italy and in absolute preview.

This section illustrates travel destinations and famous places that a Japanese of the Edo period shouldn’t absolutely miss or at least had to know: waterfalls, bridges and natural places of the faraway provinces, views of Mount Fuji from renowned spots, inns and restaurants, and postal towns along the Tōkaido road that connected Edo (Tokyo) to Kyoto.

There is also Hokusai’s "Great Wave", which can be appreciated in two different versions that will be alternated halfway through the exposition for conservative reasons: one from the Museo d’arte Orientale Edoardo Chiossone of Genoa, the other from the Kawasaki Isago no Sato Museum collection, as well as many other important xyloghaphies of the Thirty-eight views of Mount Fuji comparable in their double version..

2- Fashionable beauty

A series of remarkable scroll paintings and polygraphic xylographies dedicated to the portraits of female beauties and courtesans from the famous tea houses in Yoshiwara's renowned entertainment district compares the style of master Hokusai with that of some of his most famous students including Gessai Utamasa, Ryūryūkyō Shinsai, Hokumei, Teisai Hokuba.

In particular, it underlines the novelty of Keisai Eisen’s composition, great personality in the field of female portrait, that draws a true fashion reportage, wrapping up his women and putting them in a position able to highlight their kimonos and imposing obi, refined fabrics with elegant motifs, very colorful and always designed down to the smallest detail.

In this context, it has also been included a small but sophisticated collection of images linked to seduction and the world of pleasure and eroticism, that compares Hokusai with Eisen through "dangerous"  (abunae) xyloghraphies, in which  some love-exchange situations can be perceived without revealing its sexual aspect, sublimated through the beauty of fabrics and clothes that cover the bodies and make the audience dream, as well as the famous pages of Hokusai’s erotic volume "Kinoe no Komatsu".

3- Fortune and good deed

In a xylography format, belonging to Eisen in this case, and through a series of eleven scroll paintings by Hokusai representing people’s divinities of fortune, the audience can see some of the most popular subjects of the time like charms, protections, wish for special occasions. All works exhibited for the first time in Italy.

4- Capture the essence of nature

A comparison between Hokusai and his students through a series of scroll paintings from Japan on the theme of nature and animals to emphasize the classic motifs of painting with "flowers and birds", and the symbolic value of some animals such as dragon, tiger, carp, rooster reproposed in the style of each artist.

5- Manga and manuals to learn

The complete series of 15 volumes of Hokusai's Mangas are displayed in this section and it refer to the traits and the strength that the master is able to give to every creature he decides to represent, but also to his will to teach the rules of painting to artists and enthusiasts. Beside Hokusai’s volumes, an album of his student Shotei retraces subjects and forms of his master offering similar pages full of drawings and sketches.

Photo credits: arapacis.it

Where

Museo dell'Ara Pacis

Time

From October 12, 2017 to January 14, 2018
Every day  9.30-19.30
On December 24 and 31 9.30-14.00

The ticket office closes an hour before
Closed on December 25 and January 1

Admission ticket

Exhibition only:

€ 11,00 whole-price ticket; € 9,00€ reduced-price ticket

Info

Tel. 060608 every day 9.00-19.00

The 100 views of Mount Fuji in Arcore

Photo credits: arapacis.it

At the same time, after the great success of the exhibition in Milan, Hokusai returns to Lombardy and this time comes to Arcore.  The free entrance exhibition entitled "HOKUSAI. 100 views of Fuji. One hundred ways to talk about God without ever naming him” inaugurated on Saturday, October 7. The exhibition organised by Bruno Gallotta and Alberto Moioli is hosted by the Scuderie of Villa Borromeo and will allow the public to see 102 images created by the hand of the great Japanese artist.

Photo credits: wikipedia.org 

This exhibition illustrates the spiritual interpretation that the Japanese artist has unconsciously (or deliberately) inserted into his works.

“It has been proven that Hokusai was a faithful Buddhist and is equally certain that he was an educated person: so he knew well that "FU NI", as well as being one of the possible ways to write the name of the famous volcano, is a particularly significant expression of the Mahayana Buddhism from which derived all the Buddhist traditions that spread in China and Japan”, the organisers say.
“This exhibition aims to demonstrate that the Mount Fuji used by Hokusai as a spiritual symbol and called "FU NI" contemplates both meanings. For this purpose, for interested visitors, some copies of the exegetical text have been prepared and are available for free consultation”.

Photo credits: wikipedia.org 

Thanks to the sponsorship of the European Office of Zen Buddhism (Soto), the showcase finally comes to Arcore after having touched Lodi in 2015 and Piacenza in 2016 as part of the celebrations for 150 years of relationship between Italy and Japan.

The exhibition is open only on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 7pm.

Photo credits: wikipedia.org 

Schedule and related events

Where

Scuderie of Villa Borromeo

When

October 7 – 22, 2017
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 7pm

Related events

Sunday, October 8 at 17pm, meeting with Giuseppe Jiso Forzani "Art, Nature, Religion in Japanese Sensibility"

Tuesday, October 10, at the Nuovo Teatro Cinema of Arcore, the film dedicated to the Japanese master and created by the British Museum of London will be screened in Italian.

Saturday, October 14 at 17pm, meeting with Bruno Gallotta "Hokusai: An Unprecedented Reading" An interpretative key still unexplored ".

Saturday, October 21 at 17 pm meeting with Ornella Civardi "Jisei" - Reading of Japanese poems with the musical accompaniment of Alexander Zyumbrovskiy’s cello.


Japan Italy: Ōki Izumi's "Ponti di luce" (Bridges of Light)

 Ōki Izumi's "Ponti di luce" (Bridges of Light) on display in Genoa

Photo credits: artslife.com

Ōki Izumi, a sculptor born in Tokyo, Japan, studied literature, painting and sculpture with Aiko Miyawaki, Taku Iwasaki and Yoshishige Saito. In 1997 she won a scholarship from the Italian government and in 1981 she graduated at the Brera Academy under the guidance of Giancarlo Marchese.

She has participated in several installations between Italy, Japan and other nations. The most recent one is "Ponti di Luce" on display in Genoa from 19 April 2017 to 1 October 2017 at the The Edoardo Chiossone Museum of Oriental Art. This particular exhibition is a dialogue between the permanent works of the museum and the contemporary sculptures of this Japanese sculptor.

A bridge between Japan and Italy, between ancient and modern. Here, the sculptures with the typical blue-green color of the industrial glass, the only material used by the artist, recall natural elements. Air and water undertake a dialogue with the precious Japanese and Oriental art heritage, gathered in Japan during the Meiji period (1868-1912) by Edoardo Chiossone.

Sinuous curves and beveled corner

Photo credits: artslife.com

The museum houses Japanese works of various ages, paintings, weapons and armors, pottery, masks and a rich collection of big sculptures from Japan, China and Siam.

As we have just said, the exhibition "Ponti di Luce" focuses on the processing of industrial glass, which transforms in the hands of the artist. Between sinuous curves and beveled corners, her works becomes a transparent skyline representing "Past-Present-Future", the waves of Japanese seas, surrealistic shells and bright prisms. Their reflections glimmer on the ancient artworks in the same hall.

Izumi's works are made of stratifications. Plates assembled while the transparency of the matter becomes an integral part of the place, and constantly changes thanks to the light and the reflections that are created.

Photo credits: artslife.com

Everything starts with a detailed and precise design, made of numerical calculations that from a rough sketch become sculpture. Regardless of their size, whether they are small jewelry or large installations, in these artworks you can find all the typical Oriental accuracy and attention.

The purpose of the works

The purpose, as the artist confirms, is to emphasize the harmony of shapes and make the spectator reflect by baring it through the transformation of a hard and hardly malleable material into something soft and pliable. Oki Izumi once again wanted to emphasize the contrast between antiquity and modernity, highlighting the contact points between the two spheres of time. An evolving art that over the years frees herself from all excesses becoming more and more conceptual and poetic.

Photo credits: artslife.com

The exhibition is sponsored by the Japanese Cultural Institute and is included in the official celebrations of the 150th Anniversary of the Relationships between Japan and Italy.

WHERE: The Edoardo Chiossone Museum of Oriental Art, piazzale Giuseppe Mazzini 4, Genoa
WHEN: from 19 April, Wednesday, to 1 October 2017,Sunday.  Tue-Fri 09:00 – 19:00; Sat-Sun 10:00 – 19:30

Info: museochiossone@comune.genova.it
Tel. 010542285

www.chiossone.museidigenova.it


Japan Italy: Etegami "Discovering Italy through the eyes of Japanese children"

Etegami: discovering Italy through the eyes of Japanese children

Italy is recognized as one of the most beautiful and appreciated countries of the world not only thanks to its beautiful landscapes, but mainly for the profound cultural riches that our country offers. From June 16, 2017, in Pisa, is taking place an exhibition called “Etegami. How Japanese children see Italy”. This exhibition has been organized by the Japan Italy Foundation and by The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, together with the Japanese Embassy and the Japan Cultural Institute. On display, there are the works of several Japanese children that were asked to describe Italy as they see it through their eyes. The results are not only impressive but also touching.

Photo Credits : http://www.italiagiappone.it/attivita_etegami.html

But what is an Etegami exactly? An Etegami is one of the most popular and loved methods used by Japanese people. It consists in a simple drawing accompanied by a short and heartfelt message using black ink to define lines and writing, and watercolors to realize the insides. Even if not all the postcards sent by children were realized following this precise style, each and every one of them were based on the 7 fundamental principle of the Etegami, established by Kunio Koike in the 60s.

Photo Credits : http://www.italiagiappone.it/attivita_etegami.html

The 7 fundamental principle of Etegami

From the Japan Italy Foundation official site:

1. Being good is fine, but not being good is better

The motto of Etegami is “Being good is fine, but not being good is better”. If the drawing was done with commitment and passion it is not necessary to have high drawing skills. In an Etegami written in a personal style and with commitment, the personality of an individual is easily perceived. The most important thing is the way we look at the postcard: it has to be unique and original; even if you are not skilled it will still remain a unique piece of art.

2. Do not make a draft

In an Etegami, it doesn't exists the concept of “I made a mistake..!”. So, every time is the real thing. When we make a draft there’s the idea that we need to do everything in the best way and realize a perfect work worrying about making a good impression. Appearance ends up having priority over something that identifies us. A postcard is successful when it is able to show the natural face of the person who made it. An impromptu Etegami without a draft has to convey the mood of the moment in which it was realized and what it was meant to express is that moment.

3. Draw after an attentive observation and draw ‘big’

An Etegami does not have an imposed model. On the contrary, it has “the principle of strenuously gaze without averting the eyes”, or else, it is drawn after an attentive observation of the original subject. If we attentively look at fruit, vegetables, flowers and all the other things that surround us, we will notice details we didn't notice before.

On “Etegami” postcards we advice to ‘draw big’. By increasing the size even two or three times the original, and by a strenuous and attentive observation, almost without noticing it, our observation spirit will gradually sharpen. Even if the card cannot contain the whole drawing it’s ok. The person watching it will imagine the cut out part in his/her own way.

4. Represent only one thing

To those who start to draw an Etegami for the first time we suggest they choose only one object. It is necessary to stare at it without averting the eyes from it.

Photo Credits : http://www.italiagiappone.it/attivita_etegami.html

5.Draw each line carefully and slowly

When we draw contour lines quickly we end up forgetting to observe with attention. If we draw slowly we can really focus on what we are doing. Moreover, the more you proceed slowly, the easier it will be for the feeling to penetrate. The aim of drawing a line slowly is "drawing concentrating all our energies in thinking about the person to whom it is dedicated". In fact an expressive line is something that only appears when we trace it with all our energies. So, the important thing is to draw focusing on expressing our own feelings.

6.Always send what you have done

Let’s always send the Etegami we have realized! The meaning of this postcard is not: I’ll send it when I’ve become skilled; since it did not come out as I wanted it to, I won’t send it! The idea of making a mistake does not belong to Etegami. Even if one thinks he made a wrong Etegami, since it has been made according to his own personality, it still is what he did in that moment. There is a particular charm in this.

Etegami distribute happiness. Both people who draw them and people who receive them have fun and become cheerful. Let's always send them out.

7.Write words with all your heart

It is important that the words that accompany the drawing are few and that they are written naturally, as you have felt them in your mind. Do not worry if these words do not always relate to the things that are depicted. The good thing of Etegami is that it does not chain you to the rigid epistolary style. There is no need for the initial greeting formula usually found in letters. Let’s write with a clear handwriting thinking only of whom will read it.

Photo Credits : http://www.italiagiappone.it/attivita_etegami.html

Children are the future of our world, we all know this, and the The Italian Institute of Culture in Tokyo has asked several Japanese children to draw Italy according to their imagination. Primary and middle school children across Japan have met this request and have drawn over 25,000 Etegami that are now exhibited in Pisa, at the Museum of Graphics.

Photo Credits : http://www.italiagiappone.it/attivita_etegami.html

It is exciting to see how these drawings show us curious and suggestive images of how children of the rising sun country see our beautiful nation. A vision of Italy in in manga/anime style, filled with hopes, imagination and dreams of little Japanese children.

The initiative was born as part of ‘Italy in Japan’, the first and most important promotional initiative of the Sistema Italia (Italian System) abroad. Initiative that has seen our country protagonist in over 800 events throughout Japan.

Photo Credits : http://www.italiagiappone.it/attivita_etegami.html

Published by Polistampa, the catalog of the exhibition contains a selection of 300 Etegami divided into sections dedicated to cities and historical monuments, or characteristic aspects of Italian life and culture such as music and cooking. And there is also a special section entirely devoted to Pinocchio's character.

A jury of representatives of the organizing authorities together with Professor Shigetoshi Osano, professor of Art History at University of Tokyo, selected the most beautiful works to be published. Three winners were also nominated and were allowed to come to Italy as guests of Alitalia - Italia Tours.

Photo Credits : http://www.museodellagrafica.unipi.it

It is possible to see the exhibition from June 16, 2017 to September 30, 2017 at the Museum of Graphics at Palazzo Lanfranchi in Pisa.

Info & Contacts:

museodellagrafica@adm.unipi.it

http://www.museodellagrafica.unipi.it


Japanese Culture: Lolita fashion

Lolita fashion - (ロリータ・ファッション Rorīta fasshon)

photo credit: mangakas-onfire.blogspot.it

Probably, those who have a romantic vein suspended in an undefined past, would like to be like a beautiful porcelain doll. Maybe they would like to have lovely dresses that would rival those of Marie Antoinette ad go to a dreamy Tea Party.

All this things are possible thanks to the Lolita phenomenon, one of the most famous and sophisticated Japanese trends. As a mix between Baroque and Victorian style, it is really appreciated in its home-country but is also known all around the world.

The name refers to, although it doesn’t celebrate, Vladimir Vladimirovič Nabokov’s novel, but this trend is not a tribute to a young and provocative sensuality. In fact, it represents beauty that hides innocence, the elegance in hiding more than showing. Moreover, the name ‘Lolita’ is a Wasei-eigo, a word that includes all those anglophone words that in their original language have a completely different meaning or don’t even exist, but that are part of the Japanese vocabulary.

photo credit: honoluluacademy.org

It’s not certain when this type of clothing was created. Some think in late 70’s, although it is true that it become popular by the end of the 90’s. This trend was greatly influenced by the musical genre of Visual Kei. It is no coincidence that this type of music is really theatrical not only in its sound but also in band members’ dresses too.

Exemplary are MALICE MIZERE partly thanks to their co-founder and leader of the band Mana (also called Mana-sama by his fans). In particular Mana influenced the “Gothic Lolita” also signing his own brand Moi-même-Moitié.

photo credit: pinterest

Gothic Lolita and Sweet Lolita

photo credit: my-lolita-dress.com

The Lolita Style is divided into two distinctive trends (also divided into many sub-styles) : The Gothic Lolita, maybe the most famous one, and the Sweet Lolita.

The GothLoli (ゴスロリ gosu rori): The Gothic Lolita as we said is probably the most famous type but its name is erroneously attributed to the whole genre. Black is the dominant color celebrated in all its possible shades. But it doesn’t disdain other dark colors like burgundy, dark blue, violet, and emerald green. These colors are often used in both cloth and make-up with heavy and dramatic smokey eyes and lipstick that stand out on the white powder. In fact, this is the only exception to the Lolita style in which this type of powder is used because in all the other styles a more natural look is preferred. The dense embroideries of the clothes are inspired by grim stories with their skulls; or religious themes with crosses (gothic crosses) used in jewelry too. Coffins are used as small purses and small black lacy umbrellas refine the outfit.

photo credit: pinterest

The Aristocrat Style is one of the many sub-genres of the Gothloli but is more mature and somber, as its name suggests, purposely more “aristocrat” and very elegant.

Since the Gothic Lolita style is based on the Victorian Style, that as we remember is emblematic of the Gothic and the refined, we have to take notice of the similarity with the western steam-punk.

Ama-loli (甘ロリ ama rori) : the Sweet Lolita on the other hand prefers pastel colors and especially pink. The same goes with make-up here less dramatic, almost more natural. Nevertheless, it still remains an elaborate style, especially emphatic on the eyes with light shades of pink and fake eyelashes for doll-like eyes, as well as light nuances for the lips. This style too is inspired by the Victorian Age but even more it is influenced by French Rococo. This is a more ‘child-like’ lolita style, were ribbons and bows are dominant. The embroidery are inspired by the world of fairy tales, unicorns and small miniature french sweets like Macaron. They are jewels to show off together with small rucksacks with the shape of small bears or rabbits and the inspiring heroine is “Alice in wonderland”.

photo credit: pinterest

Sub-genres and the Prince

The world of lolitas is various and elaborated, there are genres to suit every taste. The Wa Lolita is a mix between lolita clothes and traditional kimonos, with a Obi around the waist and the classic Geta as shoes; The Qi Lolita, that comes back to the Chinese style where instead of kimonos it modifies Chinese qípáo; The Sailor Lolita is based on the classic sailor uniform with its more elaborated variation; or the Pirate Lolita.

And if you think that the Lolita style is all “Sugar and cinnamon” we also have the Guro Lolita. Here lolitas are inspired by the horror genre with fake blood standing out on pure-white dresses to give the idea of broken porcelain dolls.

photo credit: pinterest

But there are really a great number of examples we could speak about.
A particular note must be given to the Ōji (王子 prince) Style for all those that think that the lolita style is only a girl’s trend. The Prince style is based on models of clothes used by young Victorian Dandies, so here we have short trousers and knee socks. But this doesn’t mean it is a men-only style. If a girl would like to get close to the lolita world and wanted to have a more androgynous style this is the right choice for her.

Must-have, various Brands, animes and influence outside Japan.

There are some cult objects that every Lolita with this name must have in her wardrobe: the Cutsew, blouse with big blows and puff sleeves or the Petticoat, the undergarment used to give a larger shape to skirts and dresses.
For those who would like to know how can lolitas have such beautiful and thick hair… well you must know that it is a wig.
Lolitas embellish them with big ribbons and Bonnets too, the typical small hats used in the past, and this goes together with iconic shoes in a Mary Jane like style. Even if these shoes for kids come from the past century they are the shoes that every Lolita wears.

photo credit: pinterest

Aside from that of Mana-sama, other popular brands are Angelic Pretty, e Baby, The Stars Shine Bright, this last one with boutiques not only in Tokyo but in Paris and San Francisco too.
We must say that the lolita fashion is very expensive, but there are Indie brands
as beautiful as the most famous one that are certainly less expensive. And in Japan there’s the possibility to buy lolita clothes in department stores too, or there are dedicated web sites that sell second or third hand clothes. In other words it is a style open to everyone.

The Lolita phenomenon found its way to many successful animes too.
Some examples are Paradise Kiss by Ai Yazawa better known as the ‘mother’ of Nana; Princess Princess, where the lolita fashion is seen through the eyes of three boys; Le Portrait de Petit Cossette, female and Noir version of the Portrait of Dorian Gray; and Rozen Maiden too, where the protagonists are precisely beautiful dolls.

As we said, Lolitas are famous not only in Japan but we can meet a great number of small communities from America to Europe.
Lolitas gather together in refined Tea Houses to celebrate the 5 o’clock tea with the class and the style that distinguishes them from any other trend.


Japan Tradition: Seijin Shiki

Seijin Shiki

Seijin Shiki also known as Seijin no Hi (成人の日) is the Coming of Age day. This is a Japanese holiday held every year on the second Monday of January. The goal of this day is to congratulate and encourage all those who have become 20 years old, the age of maturity (二十歳 hatachi), in the past year.
In this day, many young Japanese celebrate with a Coming of Age ceremony, the Seijin-Shiki (成人式). The celebrations for this day are often held in local and prefectural offices. However, many people have after parties with family and friends right after. Also, it’s common to see many of these young peole walk in the street wearing traditional clothes.

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Shinjin Shiki, the Coming of Age ceremony, dates back to 714 in Japan. In this year, a young prince donned new robes and hairstyles to mark the passage into adulthood. However, the holiday was first established in 1948 and it was set to be celebrated every January 15th. Later in 2000, the date for Seijin Shiki changed and set to be celebrate in the second Monday of January.
Only those who celebrated their 20th birthday before the last Coming of age day or on the present one can join the celebrations.

Seijin Shiki celebrations

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Sijin Shiki mark the age of maturity, which includes the expanded rights but also the increase of expected responsibilities. Usually, government officials give speeches and friends and family hand out small presents to the newly adults.
Women usually celebrate this day wearing furisode and zōri sandals that they can buy, borrow from a relative or rent for the occasion. Also men wear a traditional dress, like a dark kimono with hakama, but nowadays it’s not uncommon to see men wear a suit and tie.
After the formal ceremony, they often go out in groups to parties or drinking with friends.

Photo credit: Google images


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Japan History: Zojoji Temple

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Zojoji Temple

The Zojoji temple was founded in 1393. Relocated to the present site in 1598 after Ieyasu Tokugawa, founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, entered present-day Tokyo in 1590. After the start of the Edo Period, Zojoji became the family temple of the Tokugawa family, one of the most powerful houses in all Japan. The cathedral, temples and the mausoleum burned down during the air raids during World War II. However, most of the structures got rebuilt. Today Zojoji continues to serve as the main temple of the city. Due to its position of favour, this is not just one of the main religious spot but also one of the main landmarks for tourists. The view of the Tokyo Tower on its background is just breathtaking.

Zojoji's Peculiarities

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THE GATE

The main wooden gate is peculiar for its vermilion color. Measuring 21 meters in height, 28.7 meters in width and 17.6 meters in depth, it was built in 1622. Today the gate is one of the most important remains of the Edo Period architecture. Its name is Sangedatsumon and it means a gate (mon) for getting delivered (gedatsu) from three (san) earthly states of mind: greed, anger and stupidity.

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THE BELL

With a diameter of 1.76 meters, a height of 3.33 meters and a weight of 15 tons, this bell is one of the Big Three Bells of the Edo Period. Tolled twice a day for 6 times each, in the early morning and in the evening. Its name is the Daibonsho (Big Bell). It serves to purify 108 earthly passions (bonno), which lead people astray. Furthermore, legend says ti gives profound equanimity through an exhortation, repeated six times a day.

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THE STATUES

When you walk around in the Zojoji Temple, one of the first thing you might notice are these statues representing babies. They are the Ojizo-san, or Ojizo-sama. These little statues are characterized by bright red clothing and handmade crochet caps. They might just seem cute ornaments, but tradition says they protect the spirit of unborn children and little ones that passed away.

Photo Credit: Japan Italy Bridge
Zojoji Official website: Click here