Thursday, February 18, 2016

Death by Prop Samurai Sword

As many people know, Japanese Jidaigeki Dramas of the Samurai period have been popular in Japan since the introduction of television. Throughout its history, many famous actors and stunt coordinators have perfected the art of sword play for the stage and screen. But like with any sword play whether it is for acting or for real Budo requires much training and coordination. As we say in America, there is a learning curve. Evidently last week, 33 year old actor Daigo Kashino fell on that curve and was rushed to a hospital for a wound he suffered during rehearsal with a prop sword. The wound is said to have pierced his abdomen during an action scene. This is the second death in recent times where a performance had gone wrong. An Italian actor chocked to death while doing a hanging scene. We don't know if this was a low budget film or just sloppy stunt coordination. Having worked on low budget films in our past we can tell you that some productions will try to cut every corner just to get a shot. We sure hope that was not the case. The sword is believed to be a practice sword and not a real katana. But still, even without a real edge, a 73cm blade of any object is not to be toyed with lightly, hence why in real Budo we bow and pay so much respect even for practice weapons. We at American Mishima hope that tragic scenes like this won't be repeated anytime soon. Speaking from personal experience; "When engaging in swordplay, even for the stage, one must always engage with absolute sincerity. Makoto!"

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Ken Watanabe Battles Stomach Cancer

It's troubling when you hear of one of your favorite actors fighting an illness that few people win. This week's news about acting great Ken Watanabe is no exception. Watanabe who has been recently performing in The King and I is best known here in the West for his role as the fictional Samurai Warlord Katsumoto in The Last Samurai. While he has since appeared in many films here such as Inception, Batman Returns, and Godzilla, we've known about his work going back to Baian the Assassin through to Year One in the North in various Samurai films and dramas. But it is his role in Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven where his true power of his acting leaps of the screen impressing many including Clint Eastwood himself! We would sure hate to lose him. Fortunately, they caught this in an early stage so Katsumoto will not be dying a good death anytime soon. He's been down this road before when he battled Leukemia and won and hopefully this cancer will not return. His publicist says he is recovering from surgery and will return to the King and I in March of 2016. We at American Mishima like to echo Mr. Watanabe's own gratefulness to his wife actress Kaho Minami for having recommending a checkup and a doctor. ども ありがとう ございまして!
Get Well Soon Watanabe-sama!
He also said he was grateful to his wife, actress Kaho Minami, for having recommended a checkup, and to his daughter, also an actress, for recommending a doctor. - See more at:
He also said he was grateful to his wife, actress Kaho Minami, for having recommended a checkup, and to his daughter, also an actress, for recommending a doctor. - See more at:
He also said he was grateful to his wife, actress Kaho Minami, for having recommended a checkup, and to his daughter, also an actress, for recommending a doctor. - See more at:

New ATD-X2 Footage!

In the latest news of Mitsubishi's new Advanced Technology Demonstrator, it's lone prototype tail number 51-0001 has been seen performing taxi trials. This development is a sure sign that the much anticipated flight trials are coming soon. As we have posted before, Japan initially wanted to purchase F-22 Raptors to replace it's aging F-15 Eagle fleet. But due to export restrictions imposed by the U.S. Congress, Japan was forced to develop it's own 5th Generation Stealth Fighter loosely based or inspired by the F-22. We at American Mishima look forward to seeing this new Zero for the Heisei Generation take to flight!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

NK Missile Launch Or Satellite Ruse?

Despite a growing chorus of condemnations from the United States, Japan, Russia, and South Korea, North Korea launched their "Satellite" this last Sunday and luckily nobody had to die. It is widely believed that this so-called launch of a Earth Observation Satellite by the famished Hermit Kingdom was nothing more than a ruse for the testing of a international ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear weapon to which Baby Kim could threaten the world like some maniacal Bond Villain stroking his hairless cat from his fortress in Pyongyang. Naturally state sponsored celebrations for the success of the launch erupted into a frenzy as if they had won the World Cup.  For a country that can't feed it's own people, they sure have unlimited sums of money to put on massive celebrations for the Communist regime worthy of a 1950's Chinese propaganda film. What's not happening in Pyongyang is concern for their "Satellite" that at last news report was reported to be wobbling out of control. But of course you'll never hear Ri Chun Hee admit failure on North Korean TV because this is how this Authoritarian regime rolls.

Now if we in the West were to honestly believe Pyongyang's angry mouth piece who routinely tries to rally North Korean audiences to believe the West is the enemy that they will destroy, you could say yes they successfully launched a satellite in orbit. From what South Korean officials have ascertained by fallen missile debris is that this was what Japan, South Korea, and the United States have claimed all along that this was nothing more than a dangerously provocative missile test. The Satellite is not capable of Earth Orbit as it continues to be tracked wobbling out of control. Either the North Koreans completely suck at configuring gyroscopes and basic software (yeah right considering they could hack into Sony) or the more likely scenario that their satellite was merely a mockup so they could essentially claim their launch was for peaceful purposes instead of admitting the obvious truth given Pyongyang's recent behavior that this was for military purposes. Nice try Baby Kim but we're not buying it! Eat a Snickers!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Kabuki On Film

How fortunate to see a rare Kabuki performance outside of Japan! This last weekend was no exception as we were treated by the Japan Foundation to a free screening of Kagamijishi - The Lion Dance on high definition print at Little Tokyo's Aratani Theater. This was filmed in such high quality in 2009, it was as if seeing it in 3D with surround sound. Normally we would say nothing beats a live performance but this screening of the Lion Dance that was recorded at the Kabuki-Za Theater in Tokyo was absolutely phenomenal as it is rare to witness! This was performed by Japan's National Treasure & Master Kabuki Actor Kanzaburo who plays both Yayoi (the reluctant lady in waiting) and the spirit of the Shishi (Lion) in the most physically demanding role in one of Kabuki's most powerful and challenging plays. Dating back to the early Meiji Period, the Lion Dance is as popular as it was when it first premiered in 1893. Set in the mid 19th Century, a young maiden Yayoi is living within the confines of Edo Castle. Hidden from the temptations of the world outside, she yearns to express her dreams of liberation of the world outside the castle walls. But as fate would have it she is summoned by the Shogun to perform a dance before a rice altar and stone lion heads by which one lion head quickly possesses her. In the madness that consumes her, the spirits of the butterflies appear played by two child actors who deliver a mesmerizing performance before the appearance of the raging Shishi Lion who swings his long mane reaching out to the universe of pure emotion. We do not know if this will be performed live in the United States anytime in the future but if the opportunity to screen this performance comes around, we highly recommend this visual cultural feast of sensations captured in digital media that will leave you breathless and wanting for more.

一日の画像 - Picture of the Day: Setsubun 2015

Seen here is this year's beautiful Nisei Queen Sara Kuniko Hutter poses for our camera at this year's Setsubun Ceremony at the Los Angeles Koyasan Temple in Little Tokyo. Totoro fans might note there is a Soot Sprite on her sash. She did a double take when we had a little fun pointing that out to her.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Japan SDF Ready to Shoot Down North Korean Missile

As North Korea prepares to launch another test of its ballistic missiles, Japan's Self Defense Forces have been placed on high alert with orders to shoot down any missile that violates Japan's Air Space. This comes a month after Pyongyang announced it had developed a hydrogen bomb to threaten the world with bringing an already tense region to an all time high state of instability. With tensions at an all time high, Japan's Defense Ministry is taking no chances.
It's likely that should such action become necessary, Japan's Maritime SDF may fire on such a missile from one of it's AEGIS Class Warships (as seen in the above Raytheon photo) or from a land based SDF Patriot Missile battery. We sure hope it doesn't come to that but with an erratic  leader like Kim, anything is possible. May cooler heads prevail.