Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, Super Mega Important Debate is back! This weekend, we’re putting Japanese TV under the spotlight and asking you, our good-looking and never-shy-to-venture-an-opinion readers, whether you think the TV shows broadcast in Japan are wonderfully entertaining or a big bag of steaming horse poop.
Even now, most legal documents in Japan don’t ask for your signature, but rather that you stamp your inkan, or personal seal, to show approval or confirmation. Also called a hanko, the stamp, customarily used with red ink, leaves behind just the bearer’s last name, at least in the case of ordinary inkan.
But if that’s just too solemnly boring for you, you can also spice things up with a personal seal made that’s decorated with characters from hit anime series such as Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Clannad, and Fate/stay night that not only lets you display your love for those franchises, but is also legally binding.
At this point it’s probably no exaggeration to say that Toyota Japan is the master of making automotive commercials. Their commercials thus far have been heartwarming, bizarre, even more bizarre, and are more like minute-long movies than advertisements.
And the same thing goes for the most recent Toyota commercial. It’s about a man whose daughter leaves to go to college, and suddenly feels a lot lonelier at home with only his pet dog. What’s the twist ending that has Japanese netizens talking? And how does this all tie back to making us want to buy a Toyota? Read on to find out!
Cats are the celebrities of the Internet world. Grumpy Cat, Lil Bub and others have their own Instagram accounts, websites, T-shirts and merchandise, and some have even appeared on TV and at conventions. But there’s always room for more! Enter Loki, the kitty with the permanent vampire grin!
Once relegated to menial tasks like mousing or appearing in commercials, cats have been recently begun making huge inroads to other labor sectors such as service industries. Pioneer felines like Tama the station master and his successor Nitama along with Kuzya the assistant librarian cat at Novorossiysk Library in Russia.
Granted, those are only three, but those three cats alone amount to a staggering 7,560-percent increase in the employment rate for the species as a whole from the previous decade. And now one workspace in Tokyo is trying to get ahead of this trend by recruiting a cat for a management position. Humans need not apply.
Many of Japan’s classic anime series have managed to engage young viewers from one generation to the next. Perhaps one of the most famous examples is Doraemon, which keeps gaining more viewers the longer it runs. Since its hit television adaptation in 1979, the series has slowly taken the world by storm, finally reaching English-speaking audiences last summer after a partnership with Disney.
That said, in over 30 years few changes have been made to the original series, with its characters never having to grow up like the rest of us. As viewers got older, many of them started wondering what kind of teenagers and adults the original cast would have become. Some of the franchise’s movies, along with a commercial series by Toyota featuring Jean Reno as Doraemon, have set out to answer a few of these questions, but what about fans who didn’t imagine a future quite so bright? It seems the only answer would require illustrating it on your own, which is exactly what one artist did when he decided to reinvent the main cast as characters from video game smash Grand Theft Auto.
Women of Hong Kong are none too happy about a bafflingly best-selling book that purports to teach men tips and tricks for picking up and having promiscuous sex with women in the Chinese autonomous territory. Get Laid in Hong Kong (at least the title is to the point) is a “sex tourism guide” of sorts for visiting western males that the pseudonymous author says is “guaranteed to get you laid.”
The book, perhaps in a sad reflection of the state of humankind, apparently hit No. 1 for Amazon sales in the “Asian Travel” category before it was briefly taken off virtual shelves due to backlash from Hong Kong women and an ongoing change.org petition.
One of the most infamous aspects of Japanese society are chikan, the men who surreptitiously grope women on crowded trains. One Japanese security company, though, has tweeted about what it says is a new breed of chikan: men who encroach on a woman’s personal space to sniff her scent.
Considering it’s the same country that gave us movies like Battle Royale, Tokyo Gore Police and Ichi the Killer, Japan’s method of handling violent video game content can be quite perplexing at times.
Despite being able to attack the undead hordes in survival horror beat-em-up Dead Rising with everything from ‘wet floor’ signs to katanas, decapitations were notably absent from the Japanese version of the game when it released back in 2006. More recently, Japanese Metal Gear Solid and Gears of War fans were shocked to see that numerous scenes and animations were cut from the versions released in their homeland, even though the games were clearly marked as “adults only”.
Japan’s video game censors have struck again this week, this time taking their (presumably family-friendly) hatchets to newly released PlayStation 4 horror game Until Dawn—and the method of censoring the scenes deemed too much for Japan is startlingly bad.
Earlier this year, we took a look at a piece of strap-on cosplay gear that could instantly give its wearer the sizeable bust of an anime character. However, if you’re going after complete accuracy in your fake breasts, you might have been disappointed to notice that they lacked nipples.
But it turns out there’s an alternative, available from online retailer Anime Body Parts, with anatomically correct nipples. Not only that, the equal-opportunity cosplay supplier has a male version too, complete with six-pack abs.
Shinji Nakaba is a Japanese artist who creates wearable works of art using a variety of materials including aluminium wire, animal fangs, and shells. All of his work has a slightly gothic feel to it, and we particularly adore the tiny little skulls he carves from actual pearls.
I’m never really sure what I should call the zombie action series that began as a hit PlayStation game in 1996. Resident Evil, its internationally used name, is a lot more colorful than Biohazard, its Japanese one, but only the first of the many games takes place primarily in a home. What’s more, the source of the trouble is science run amok, not dark magic, so the “evil” part seems a touch melodramatic.
On the other hand, there are now five films in the franchise, with a sixth on the way, all of which are produced in English and usually come to Japan only after already premiering overseas, so score one point for Resident Evil.
But in the case of its upcoming stage adaptation, set to open in two months, I really think Biohazard is the most appropriate name, because it looks like every single member of the cast is Japanese.
We all have our little idiosyncrasies that we fall back on when things aren’t going that well, like when you’re watching your favorite sports team and they are losing. So you have to sit in your lucky chair with your legs crossed, holding that shirt you haven’t washed because it was what you were wearing the last time your team made that huge comeback.
With the recent financial crisis in China affecting markets around the world, everyone is doing what they can to encourage a comeback. For one sculptor, it meant easing the woes of investors with his huge sculpture of a bull and bear, doing what looks like the birds and the bees.
Internet memes are an incredibly strange and malleable beast, and you can never tell what the next meme that pops up will be about. Some memes are so strange that you would never believe there is a thriving community of people who keep them alive like, “draw yourself as a high school boy” or the reverse, “draw yourself as a high school girl”.
There is a meme right now that is so oddly specific, you have to wonder where they came up with the idea. It crosses The Idolmaster Cinderella Girls and Magic: The Gathering, and it might just blow your mind.
Kabuki is a traditional Japanese performing art that has been enjoyed by the masses since the 17th century and is known for its unique make-up as well as its distinct, exaggerated poses and expressions. Kabuki is performed exclusively by male actors, and some of the more famous ones enjoy celebrity status in Japan, appearing in movies, TV dramas and commercials.
So, while it’s not nearly as big an attraction in this day of 4-D movies and theme parks as it used to be in the Edo Period, kabuki is still an established entertainment genre. And the Kabukiza Theater in Tokyo’s Ginza district, which was newly rebuilt in 2013, is still a mecca for kabuki fans. Today, one of the reporters from our Japanese sister site Pouch introduces the Tully’s Coffee shop located in the Kabukiza Theater for a look at a modern cafe that serves a menu item with a kabuki twist!
Usually people equate high fashion with a hefty price tag, but the truth is real style is only limited by your imagination, not by your bank account.
Take this boy in Thailand, for instance, who is breaking both gender and conventional boundaries by incorporating familiar items to achieve that perfect vogue look. With a portfolio of outfits that range from minimal to whimsical, he’s showing the world that sometimes less is more.
Despite that fact that society has finally come to terms with accepting cosplay in a more positive and artistic light, there’s still the lingering sentiment that cosplaying is just a temporary phase some fans go through before they come and join the rest of us adults in the real world.
Fortunately there are people like Shirley Chua, a living example of what it means to embody the mantra “you’re only as old as you feel”. Aunty Shirley, as she’s affectionately known on Facebook and in the Singaporean cosplay community, is an active 68-year-old cosplayer, and she’s not about to stop any time soon. Her dedication to her craft is inspiring, and can teach us all a thing or two about how to get out there and live our lives to the fullest.
As a kid, the end of summer was always the worst time of the year. It meant that your days of sleeping in late, playing video games and riding around outside on your bike were coming to an end, and the new school year was right around the corner.
So who better to remind all the kids in Japan that summer vacation is almost over than the official Japanese PlayStation Twitter account? When they sent out a tweet asking “Have you finished your summer homework?”, they got some pretty hilarious, and rightly deserved, responses.