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Madonna Album Controversy

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Madonna shrugs off controversy on new album By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. pop star Madonna on Wednesday shrugged off criticism of a song on her smash hit new album, "Confessions on a Dance Floor," saying that all she did was ask questions and challenge authority.

The new album, which hit the top of the U.S. and British album charts following its release last month, includes a song which prompted rabbis in Israel to accuse her of sacrilege.

Madonna, 47, who has frequently courted censure with her racy lyrics and on-stage antics, said it didn't take much to be considered controversial.

"I think as soon as you have an opinion that is outside... what is considered to be the conventional way of thinking -- as soon as you think outside of that you're considered controversial," she told a news conference in Tokyo, where she is promoting the new album.

"I think that I like to ask questions, I like to challenge authority, and a lot of people perceive that as controversial."

In October, the rabbis who guard the legacy of Rabbi Isaac Luria -- founder of the Kabbalah school of mysticism which counts Madonna as one of its devotees -- accused Madonna of breaking a taboo by using his name for profit in the song "Isaac."

Dressed in a body-hugging maroon top with red sequins on the sleeves and matching pants, Madonna said she was glad to be back in Japan, a place that has had a significant influence on her life and her work, particularly in this current album.

"Sorry," one of the songs on the new album, includes the words "gomen nasai" -- Japanese for "I'm sorry" -- which Madonna said she learned from her Japanese cook, who travels with her.

"I've always been very interested in Japanese culture," she said.

"Some of my videos, some of my performances on stage have been inspired by Japanese cinema, martial arts, Japanese music, Japanese fashion, Japanese food," she added.

Asked how she kept in shape -- a form showed off to good advantage in the video for the hit single "Hung Up," which features strenuous dancing -- Madonna indicated that Japanese food played a large part in her healthy lifestyle.

"I love Japanese food. I have a Japanese cook in London that travels everywhere with me," she said, laughing. "I probably eat more Japanese food than you do."

Madonna repeated that she would like to try her hand at directing films, adding that she wanted to make "a love story -- a story that will really inspire people."

Asked if it would have a soundtrack, she replied: "Absolutely!"

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