Archive for September, 2009

Zinestars 1

Posted in Japan, Zinestars with tags , , , , , , , on September 18, 2009 by Jagged Visions

I don’t have reviews in my zine, because it is hard to be up to date if your zine only comes out once a years.   Still I would like to write reviews of other zines, so that was actual one of the initial reasons to start this blog. So I start Zinestars on my weblog where I will review zines of all kinds. First I will review Japanese zines that I found on my trip over there. Most zines are written in Japanese,  which I can hardly read. I still enjoyed reading them and tried to give my opinion about them.

Tiny Shoes (****)

A small cute personal zine made by Sakae Fukade with beautiful illustrations. There are 5 parts spread over 36 pages. The illustrations are beautiful drawings. I don’t really know where the long story is about, but if you can read Japanese that must be a nice add to the beautiful illustrations.

Kaotik Hero # 8 (***)

This is the 8th edition of this punk zine of only 8 pages. The lay out of this zine looks really professional with some old skool cut and paste alternated with some cool computer made designs. There are interviews with Unarm, Low Vision, Angel OD and Cosmic Neurose who got asked the same 7 questions. Finally there is an interview Destino Final from Spain who were on tour in Japan in July. From what I understood they talk a lot about Discharge, anarchy and FC Barcelona. Cool zine!

Yocchi in World War II (***)

A small comic zine by Yuutan about a boy named Yocchi. Yuutan wrote this 13th edition of the comic about WWII because these days there are less people who experienced the war themselves. So he uses the character of Yocchi to imagine how the war was.

 Yocchi works at a textile factory where live is tough and almost no food. One day when Yocchi is on his way to work, there is an air raid and he has to hide in a shelter. When he goes back to work he finds his factory destroyed by the bombing and some of the cute girls he was working are killed. In the last drawing you see Yocchi standing in a queue to carry water to the fire. This experience of the war was the reality for a lot of the Japanese people. Most Western people know about the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but also most cities have been totally destroyed through allied bombings and killed a lot of people.  So Yuutan lets Yocchi experience the war through the victim’s postion which is interesting. I know the Germans didn’t really allow themselves to be victims, only recently there have been released books and movies that show the German also as a victim. On the other hand I wouldn’t mind seeing Yocchi in the next comic as a Japanese soldier torturing civilians with chemicals, raping woman and fight himself to death in the name of the emperor.

Japanese Zines

Low Vision fanzine (***) 

14 pages fanzine made by the guys of Low Vision from Tokyo. It contains two short interviews with UG Man and Angel OD. There is a short review section with reviews of records of Nightstick Justice, True Colours, RTTM and Mind Eraser, which kind of tells you what kind of hardcore they play.  The zine also has a bit of that Lockin’ Out vibe with two pages with photos of graffiti from Tokyo, two pages with flyers of the shows they played, live pictures, columns and cool drawings. Cool idea to make a zine to support your band and friends, more bands should make their own fanzine!!

 Adverse # 2 (*****)

On first sight this zine looks rave flyer from the early 90’s, but going through the 80 pages of the zine this definitely seems the most extensive Japanese zine that I have seen. The zine start with the a review of the reunion show the mighty Judgement did earlier this year in Texas.  Main article is an extensive interview with Paintbox which makes me regret that I didn’t pick up their new LP. Of course I don’t understand a fuck of where the interview is about, only the names of bands are written in Roman script, so I read twice the name Poison Idea, their music is describe as hardcore psychedelia and I know that these guys have been in punk bands for more than 20 years. Their new album Trip, Trance & Traveling should just be a killer. Furthermore there are interviews with a biker who runs a record label, a dude with sick tattoos who played in Bastard and Judgement and now plays bass in Range & The Dirty Hospital  and an article about Erieza Royal  who played in the feministic SM noize punk band Anadorei  and now in a new band ecodamned. There are also write ups about European and US bands who were on tour in Japan this summer like Pisschrist, Fyfan, World Burns To Death, Unit 21 and Extreme Noise Terror. There are some short stories, columns, an article on the Swans and the last pages of the zine are about grindcore.  A very nice nice zine which gives you a good view of today’s Japanese extreme underground culture.

If you are interested in one of these zines you should be able to pick them up at the Japanese punk distros. I got them from online zine distro Lilmag and  I picked some up at shows.  A good way to practice your Hiragana or Katakana! There is also a review of Jagged Visions Zine #2 in Japanese at blog of Punk & Destroy shop. Check it out! Meanwhile we also made it to Zine top 10 of the latest edition of Maximum RocknRoll zine.  Hurray!


Go Go 70s

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on September 7, 2009 by Jagged Visions

On my way back from Japan I flew with Japan Airlines.  One of the good things about flying with JAL is that you have the choice to watch Japanese movies. A lot of them even haven’t had their premiere yet in Europe.  So I had the chance to see Takashi Miike’s last movie Crows  Zero II.  Crows 2 is about a gangs of punks of a  fighting kids from a highschool for zen monks. Of course there is like in all Miike’s action movies a lot of over the top violence, but it misses the absurd humor  craziness of his earlier movies.  The movie prior to this, the big blockbuster Yatterman  still had some of this absurd humor. That the main gang in Crows II are “punks ” makes it bit more bearable , because some fine tunes by Japanese punk rock bands like The Street Beats and The Mods are played.  On the other hand the punks in the movie lack any nihilistic or anarchistic ideas that you might expect and most of them look more like pop-stars than like the punk kids that I met in Japan. Some of the music in the background is nice, like the opening tune from Street Beats, but most of the music is just shite like that Fall Out Boy kind of song or that  girl in her Clash shirt that sung a J-pop song in a underground bar. It could have been a really great Japanese punk movie, but it just isn’t. It’s about time that Miike is going to release some decent movies again.

After watching the touching movie “Dear My Love” by Yoshiro Fukugawa about unspoken feelings between husbands and wives in long relations I made a surprisingly good choice.  Since there weren’t any other Japanese movies that appealed to me and I didn’t really want to see the Terminator or Angels & Demons, I chose watch the Korean movie “Go Go 70’s” eventhough there weren’t English subtitles available and I really don’t understand a word of Korean. The story starts just after the Korean war. In shabby clubs near American army bases there is band named “The Devils” that play sixties music inspired by the records the soldiers bring from America. Some of the Koreans even have Afros like black soldiers and the girls learn to dance the new dance moves from US.  So the band is way ahead of any other band at that time in Korea. When they go to Seoul they are challenged by apathy of the crowd, but of course after the initial struggles they get really popular.  All the Korean girls dance the go go and the boys let their hair grow. The band can not handle the success and breaks up.  So far the movie really is a mix of band biopics like “The Commitments” and “24 hours Party People”, they even have the crazy extravagant manager, but then the movie slowly gets political.

The oppressive South Korean regime doesn’t tolerate the openness , freedom of their youth. In black and white documentary shots is shown how young Koreans their hairs get cut by the police. All the members of The Devils get send to prison as well, where they are tortured by the secret police. Here the band decides to reunite again. Their reunion gig is a huge success, but outside the riot police is waiting to go in.  The police throws in teargas grenades and panic breaks out, just when the riot squad wants to get in the singer of The Devils starts singing a Korean national song. The police holds back. Then the band starts to play rock ‘n roll songs, a powerful moment and the band sounds almost like an early punk band.

A lot of countries have their own history of rock ‘n roll and especially in countries with dictatorial regimes there are some really strong artists that remain unknown in the west.  I mean who knows Iwan Fals or Gilberto Gil?  Although I couldn’t find a lot of info on The Devils on the Internet except this link, according to this movie had a similar importance to South Korea. Anyone interested in Asian history or if you just like good music I can recommend to watch this movie.

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