The past couple of weeks have been filled with all sorts of interesting and important news stories. We’ve put together a list of some of the top articles covering everything from the newest hit anime films to Da Fu to the controversial (and literal) cover-up of the Cultural Revolution Museum in China. Check it all out below:
9/26: Makoto Shinkai’s latest anime film receives critical acclaim
Japanese animator Makoto Shinkai's new sci-fi fantasy film, "Ki No Na Wa" or "Your Name," tells the tale of two lovers tangled up in each other's dreams. Eager fans or curious otaku alike can download and watch it using the link below.
“Kimi No Na Wa, also known as Your Name, is currently receiving positive reviews after being released in Japan. Apart from people raving about its stellar box office performance, those who have seen the film noticed that a character from another Makoto Shinkai movie was actually also featured.”
9/27: The complete works of Da Fu have finally been translated into English
As Shakespeare is to literature in English, so is the poet Du Fu to the Chinese literary tradition. He wrote in the eighth century, during the Tang dynasty, and his work is accessible to modern Chinese readers in a way that English literature of that period—think Beowulf—is not available to readers of modern English. Du Fu, in fact, is still widely quoted in China today, and his influence on Chinese poetry during the past 1,200 years is inescapable. But the poet’s complete works have heretofore been unavailable in English translation.
“Ten years in the making, and comprising six volumes and 3,000 pages, The Poetry of Du Fu is the latest published work of Conant University Professor Stephen Owen. Owen’s earlier, monumentally ambitious work—translating an entire anthology of representative Chinese literature by himself, in the 1990s—was described in “Anthologizing as a Radical Act.” At the time, Owen said that in order to preserve the variety of the anthology’s different poetic voices, and prevent the English versions from sounding like the work of one man, he thought of himself as translating a great play with many characters. Doing it all himself, he explained, allowed him to capture literary allusions across centuries, linking each text back to earlier works. Those references could easily have been lost if multiple translator-scholars had worked together on the single volume.”
9/29: "Computer Says No" -- Jonathan Clements asks of the new PSYCHO-PASS animated feature: is Sibyl faulty?
Questions abound in Naoyoshi Shiotani’s anime film, PSYCHO-PASS, a science fiction crime story about bioterrorism in a dystopian nightmare. Dive down the rabbit hole with Jonathan Clements in his film analysis.
“In the year 2113, Japan is kept safe by the Sibyl system, a super-powerful computer that uses on-the-spot brain scans to determine how likely someone is to even think of committing a crime. Anyone with criminal leanings can be terminated or imprisoned before they do wrong, except for a few “latent” criminals who are employed as enforcers to do the establishment’s dirty work. What could possibly go wrong? Well, as it turns out, everything, from deluded criminals whose psychological profile shows up as normal, to innocent people who inadvertently show signs of criminal tendencies. And that’s assuming that the system itself isn’t faulty or open to corruption. What happens when Amazon stops recommending things you might like, and rings the police instead to grass you up for liking too many films about terrorists?”
9/29: The Japan Times came out with this fascinating article about the symbiotic relationship between architectural structures and the natural environment.
Japanese architect Hiroshi Sambuichi's philosophy is that "architecture should work in harmony with the environment surrounding it so that it becomes a natural part of the Earth."
“What is most remarkable about Hiroshi Sambuichi’s work is the sensation of air and wind movement that the shapes of the architect’s buildings encourage. The experience is testament to Sambuichi’s philosophy that architecture should work in harmony with the environment surrounding it so that it becomes a natural part of the Earth.”
10/4: The Chinese Government Literally Covers Up the Cultural Revolution Museum
The first museum dedicated to the highly contentious Chinese Cultural Revolution has been covered up by the Chinese government just weeks prior to the 50th anniversary of the historic political phenomenon. Founder Peng Qi’an says the museum is only intended "to mourn the dead, to remember the history, to learn lessons from it, and never let the tragedy of the Cultural Revolution happen again." This is just one more instance of the Chinese government attempting to bury its controversial and painful past.
“The idea to build China’s first museum dedicated to the Cultural Revolution — the political campaign begun by Mao Zedong that killed more than a million people — was always risky.
Yet Peng Qi’an, a former local Communist Party official and the museum’s founder, spent two decades scraping together donations from private individuals and local government departments to create the Cultural Revolution Museum, which opened in the rolling hills of the Chenghai Pagoda Scenic Area in 2005.
Workers arrived bearing concrete, propaganda banners and metal scaffolding. They smoothed concrete over the names of victims, wrapped“Socialist Core Values” banners around the main exhibition hall, placed red-and-yellow propaganda posters over stone memorials to the terror, and raised scaffolding around statues of critics of Mao.
The literal cover-up took Mr. Peng by surprise.”