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The Associated Press (AP) is one of the largest news wires in the world, headquartered in New York City. It has 243 bureaus and delivers news to 120 countries, including 1,700 newspapers, and more than 5,000 television and radio broadcasters. Its photo library holds more than 10 million images.

Arts 2013 December

Rihanna launches acting career with “Battleship” aboard

by Robert Michael Poole

The stars of Hollywood movie ‘Battleship’ gathered for the world premiere at Yoyogi Stadium, Tokyo, with a red carpet event and screening in a 15,000 seater venue decked out with moving mock naval ship turrets. The movie, directed by Peter Berg, features a cast including pop star Rihanna alongside Brooklyn Decker, Alexander Skarsgard and Taylor Kitsch, as well as Japanese actor Tadanobu Asano. AP got an exclusive one-on-one with Rihanna before she strode the red carpet.

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Arts 2011 October

Kim Tae Hee stars in Japanese TV drama “99 Days with a Star”

by Robert Michael Poole

Korean actress Kim Tae Hee has been dubbed “Korea’s most beautiful woman,” and with the increasing success of Korean TV dramas in Japan, has become one of the pin-ups of the “hallyu wave” of Korean culture sweeping the nation.

Starting October 23, 2011, she becomes the first Korean to play a lead role in a Japanese TV drama, alongside Hidetoshi Nishijima, in “99 Days with a Star”. In the show, Kim Tae Hee plays Han Yoo-Na, a character seemingly based on herself. The romantic comedy on Fuji TV sees Yoo-Na, a beautiful and success actress from Korea, fall in love with her bodyguard from Japan as her career takes off in the country. Associated Press met with the lead co-stars to discuss how close to true life the possibility of such an affair could be.

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Arts 2011 September

Beady Eye comes to Japan after fund-raising show for tsunami victims in London

by Robert Michael Poole

Liam Gallagher and Beady Eye were self-effacing when describing their efforts to raise funds for the victims of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The group were in Japan during the six month anniversary of the disaster after the band’s original tour was postponed due to safety fears.

The band instigated a star studded benefit concert in London on April 3rd featuring Paul Weller, Primal Scream, Richard Ashcroft and Blur’s Graham Coxon to raise funds for the Japanese Red Cross. The earthquake and tsunami killed over 20,000 people after it struck at 2.46pm JST on March 11th, 2011.

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Arts 2011 September

Leslie Kee launches “Love & Hope” with Ayumi Hamasaki & Erika Sawajiri

by Robert Michael Poole

Following the March 11th earthquake and tsunami in Japan, photographer Leslie Kee, renowned for his celebrity portraits, began to document the aftermath. Six months later, he exhibited the photographs at a gallery in Omotesando Hills, central Tokyo. The exhibition, titled Love & Hope featured prominently a set of images with Japan’s most successful pop star, Ayumi Hamasaki. Joining the exhibition as a guest was actress Erika Sawajiri, Japan’s most talked about celebrity of the year, representing the first ever between meeting the two.

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Arts 2011 August

X Japan perform at Summersonic as part of a world tour as Yoshiki builds their profile in L.A.

by Robert Michael Poole

Heavy metal band X Japan were formed in 1982, and took seven years to make their breakthrough. But after second album “Blue Blood,” they group went on to become one of Japan’s most successful acts of all time, performing regular shows at the 55,000 seater Tokyo Dome. In August 2011 the group, led by Yoshiki, performed at Japan’s largest rock festival, Summersonic. Associated Press spoke with him backstage after his appearance at Summersonic, about his new life in the United States.

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Arts 2011 August

K-Pop group Girls Generation prepare to perform as a closing act to Japan’s biggest rock festival, Summersonic

by Robert Michael Poole

The K-Pop boom in Japan, known as the hallyu wave, seem to peak this summer, with the genre’s most popular group, Girls Generation, being given a headline slot at the largest rock festival in the country.

Summersonic, held over two days in mid-August at Makuhari Messe in Chiba, attracts over 100,000 people each year and is usually headlined by major rock and R&B acts. Nine-piece group Girls Generation prepared to take to the stage as a late addition to the line-up, which ended up as one the most attended shows of the festival. The girls discussed their development and training over many years, and how it has helped them prepare for the big stage across Asia, with upcoming shows in the US ahead.

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Arts 2011 May

Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber met with student victims of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami

by Robert Michael Poole

Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber met with student victims of the March 11th earthquake and tsunami in Tokyo on Wednesday. Bieber wished the nine students from the hardest hit areas of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima a brighter future and invited them to his upcoming shows in Japan. Bieber also met with Jonathan T.Fried, the Ambassador of Canada to Japan and John V.Roos, the Ambassador of the U.S. to Japan who thanked Bieber for visiting Japan during difficult times and sending out a message about how special the local people are. Bieber is the biggest pop star to visit Japan since the March 11th disasters as many other acts have cancelled tours due to radiation fears.

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