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#209797 - 11/30/05 10:57 AM Japan Arena
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
An interesting subject was brought up by Grayston-San when he was referencing a headline in my Nth degree page. (which I'm honored for him doing so, of course)


From your site Ed:


"London,U.K. - The proposal for a Martial Arts museum was declined early last month due to technicalities. The proposal described an exhibit depicting Martial Arts of all major and lesser-known styles complete with uniforms, weapons, forms and training practices. The proposal had to be abandoned due to the designers failing to account for the ventilation systems necessary to sustain the Martial Artists within the hermetically sealed display cases."

I heard a rumour that here are plans to install a museum section for Japanese things (including martial arts) in this venture:

very interesting. scaary how close what is intended as humor is to reality sometimes. now we need a name for this type of 'living museum' ... 'museumtainment'? no. how about 'exhibitation' or 'museum of living history'?

I think it's a good idea. The pitfall of course is if they display a western version of Japanese culture instead of the reality. Much like how hollywood distorts cultures and sometimes spread false impressions. This happens when the entertainment aspect overwhelms the historical aspect in an attempt to meet bottom line income flow goals. and THAT is driven by people choosing to be entertained vs informed. Lets face it, some things in history are just not sexy enough for public consumption. It takes a great deal of creativity to show history accurately while at the same time captivating audiences. The best things are the most difficult to's worth it.

worst case: The UK will have a new Japanese-like theme park. selling everything from samurai icon keychains to cold sake in a plastic bottle. dressing up non-Japanese immigrant workers in tourist kimonos and psudo kabuki make-up doing performances that vagely resemble traditional theatre, etc. I think you can picture some nightmare scenarios. maybe some of it is necessary to keep the doors open, but there reaches a limit when the historical accuracy is comprimised, and it becomes a cartoon.

best case scenario: They will hire consultants from Japan (or scholars who have lived and studied in Japan) in the respective fields for the concept design. For the Budo Arts: The styles and content of what will be demonstrated should be determined based upon old and new styles which were/are most commonly practiced in no Western flash style XMA, etc.
Also, very important - separate culture sections for Okinawa and Ainu should be represented with equal authenticity. In short, it would be nice to see a more historically accurate depiction vs. one dimensional market-driven entertainment.

The reason for the thread: post your free ideas and suggestions as the best way to present this living museum.

Perhaps some of the suggestions in this thread could be made on our behalf by Mr. Caile and/or Mr. Grayston to the 'Japan Arena' suggestion box.

If the museum goes beyond concept, I think it is a good opportunity for people studying the Arts in the U.K. community to pitch in and give their 2 pence and see it true. You know us cousins over the pond are always willing to speak our minds.

#209798 - 11/30/05 01:00 PM Re: Japan Arena [Re: Ed_Morris]
hedkikr Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 02/28/05
Posts: 2827
Loc: Southern California, USA
Back in the late '60's, a Japanese-themed attraction opened in So. California near Knott's Berry Farm (a local theme park), Movieland Wax Museum & a few miles from Disneyland. I was called "Japanese Village & Deer Park". The place was as authentic as one could expect w/ cultural exhibits, traditional dance performances, pearl divers, souveniers, Japanese-style food, tame deer & MA demo's. (Fumio Demura headlined w/ 2 shows daily)

They went broke. (no rollercoasters)

#209799 - 11/30/05 02:10 PM Re: Japan Arena [Re: hedkikr]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772 you are saying they need to design in a miniature ridable shikensen that goes under puttputt-golf'ish torii gates, around little pagoda replicas and over temple bridges?
How about an option to view the exhibits via rickshaw?

seriously, I think it is possible to have a decent place that you mentioned... but people are so eager to buy and sell anything - money and appearances just talks louder than knowledge and culture. Thats nothing new. what WOULD be new is making accurate information entertaining and/or interactive. Science museums have touched on this concept...but I don't think they are taken as far as they could go (probably funding/staff issues). I don't know...wish people would give their ideas so we could brainstorm this.

Mods: feel free to move the thread to a more appropriate 'arena' ...'Asian Culture' ?

#209800 - 11/30/05 02:15 PM Re: Japan Arena [Re: Ed_Morris]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
( insist on making me work! )

#209801 - 11/30/05 02:53 PM Re: Japan Arena [Re: harlan]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
It's the only way I can get your attention darlin ...err I mean, harlan.

by the way...these suggestions don't necessarily have to be about a Japanese culture museum... {any} culture museum could be talked about. Even if forum members don't know much about Asian culture, you would still at least know what you would like to see in a living culture museum...wouldn't you? c'mon don't be afraid to use the imaginations....

#209802 - 11/30/05 03:05 PM Re: Japan Arena [Re: Ed_Morris]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
Living Cultures? My forte is dead ones (Archaeology).

Museums have a bad rap from 100 years of static exhibits, and 'Theme parks' because of the lack of depth. "Lifeways", or Living Exhibits, ones that incorporate visitors are cool...but not what kids think of as 'fun'.

American versions (Sturbridge Village and Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts, for example)...are struggling to survive. You need a Disney bankrolll and Walmart marketing to make it happen. I mean, I could design a whopping place...but you have to get people to come (on a repeat basis).

Hate to say it, but with the success of The Last Samurai, I think a theme park might work. Japanese compound, everything from the movie, participants get to eat, participate in tea, try out swords, plant rice, etc. The key being 'role playing'. (What was that movie...West World? ) Then, lively, interactive and educational exhibits. Calligraphy, weaving, etc....and the usual gift shop on the way out.

Museums these days are also soliticiting memberships, that give reduced rates as well as perks like posh parties for members. Also, instead of the day fee to take in the whole place, they also offer cultural workshops for low fees that are put on by the staff.

Edited by harlan (11/30/05 03:33 PM)

#209803 - 11/30/05 03:52 PM Re: Japan Arena [Re: harlan]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
Science museums (like in Boston) do pretty well. special exhibits every month, family memberships, learning play areas, gift shop with educational toys/games. imax and laser shows and $5.50 for a bottle of water. lol
but the point is, the overall theme at a science museum is education from a 'discovery' perspective. I see how kids go thru the museum...they don't 'tour'...they explore.
Thats a creative solution to the boring museum syndrome.

actually, one of the special exhibits years ago was an entire 1st floor of a typical house in Japan. As you walked thru (take your shoes off please), a guide explained different areas and items etc. I remember thinking something was missing...if they had people there to interact instead of a tour guide, it may have been more interesting...the problem is, how do you conveyor belt people along a path so that you don't get grid locked. I don't know.

on the opposite end of the spectrum, there is Art museums. kids fall asleep (which isn't such a bad idea actually). It is stifelingly boring for people who learn by interaction. ie: kids.

I see a culture museum as being between the two has to be interesting to enthusiasts, yet interactive enough for kids. The Art in a well-designed museum is being able to trick people into learning... because if left up to themselves, most won't bother and move directly to the 'good stuff'. You can study what adults are subconsciencely thinking by watching what kids are doing.

#209804 - 11/30/05 04:46 PM Re: Japan Arena [Re: Ed_Morris]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6772
I can see this thread is falling off the 'Martial Arts' related material radar. pull the plug if you want. maybe it's a dumb idea of wanting to try and understand each other's culture. Actually, in that regard it would be a lot more productive if the U.K. and U.S. made a Middle-Eastern cultures museum...since thats where the biggest rifts in culture currently are.

The tie to Martial Arts you ask?
Cultural awareness: The Art of not fighting each other based on differences.

Ignore me for trying. I still think it's a good idea.

#209805 - 11/30/05 04:49 PM Re: Japan Arena [Re: Ed_Morris]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6665
Loc: Amherst, MA
Goodness...when did this thread get moved? Kiss of be moved to the Culture forum.

Your mistake was not putting a buzz word in the

#209806 - 11/30/05 04:57 PM Re: Japan Arena [Re: harlan]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
Whoops! My bad, I thought you were asking, Ed.

Harlan, feel free to move it back to the talk forum if you want.
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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