from Wisconsin Public Radio
As a boy in northwest Ohio during the 1930's, Donald Richie spent a lot of time watching movies about exciting new worlds. So it seems only fitting that Donald Richie went on to live in a different world. For the past 50 years he's lived in Japan, and has established a reputation as one the of the leading authorities on Japanese cinema. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge we're off to the Japanese movies with Donald Richie. And we'll explore the dark side of Japan, which goes well beyond the faltering economy.
Alex Kerr has lived in Japan for some 35 years and is the author of "Dogs and Demons: Tales from the Dark Side of Japan." He tells Jim Fleming that the administration of daily life in Japan is completely divorced from politics and that Japan spends some 40 percent of its budget on construction. The country pours as much concrete as the U.S. every year, but in one thirtieth the land area. Also, Christine Yano tells Steve Paulson about Japanese "enka" music songs that are intended to make listeners and performers cry. And we hear samples from Japan's "Queen of Tears." Yano's book is "Tears of Longing: Nostalgia and the Nation in Japanese Popular Song."
Peggy Orenstein is a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine. She tells Anne Strainchamps about "parasite singles" - young Japanese, mostly female, who reject the traditional life of marriage and children. These women continue to live with their parents and spend all their disposable income on things like Louis Vuitton purses. They're controversial, and they're driving Japan's economy. Also, Steven Okazaki is a third generation Japanese-American and an Academy Award winning film-maker. He tells Jim Fleming that Japanese-Americans face racism both at home and in Japan. And we hear a clip from Okazaki's film "American Sons."
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Donald Richie grew up in Ohio during the 1930's where he came to prefer the reality of the cinema. When he moved to Japan, he learned the culture by going to the movies. Now he's the foremost Western expert on Japanese cinema and the author of "A Hundred Years of Japanese Film." Richie talks with Steve Paulson about the great Japanese directors, and we hear clips from their work.
-- Clips from Steven Okazaki's film, "American Sons" (Farallon Films)
-- Peggy Orenstein's website:
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