2014

2014 suicide rates in Japan down, suicide in men still twice that of women

Even though Japan may not have the highest suicide rate in the world, unfortunately it’s still quite common. Suicide is the leading cause of death for young people in Japan, and the most popular place to commit suicide in the world, Aokigahara Forest, is located in Japan as well.

The Japanese National Police Agency and Cabinet Office recently released statistics on the suicides that occurred in 2014, and while they’re continuing the downward trend of the past five years, they’re still quite high compared to other countries.

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“Tax” declared the official kanji of 2014

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, but in Japan every year people try to distill an entire year’s worth of words into a single picture…or logograph if you want to get technical about it.

Last year, after tens of thousands of votes were counted, 輪 pronounced rin or wa and meaning “ring” was selected to represent the nations various achievements of 2013 such as winning the bid for the Olympic games and having Mt. Fuji designated as a World Heritage Site.

And today, after the Buddhist monk approached the canvas of Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto, this kanji above is what he painted under a fittingly gloomy and cloud-filled sky.

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The top 20 most eagerly anticipated anime of summer 2014, as chosen by fans!

Summer is almost here! In Japan, that means it’s almost time for fun summer festivals, wearing cute cotton yukata, chowing down on kakigōri until inducing brain freeze, smashing watermelons on the beach, and just generally lazing about the house with fans on full blast and complaining about the insufferable heat.

In the anime world, summer means a whole new season of shows to look forward to (and the obligatory “boobikinis-at-the-beach-swimsuit-episode”). In fact, popular anime informational website Charapedia asked 10,000 fans to pick their most anticipated anime show of summer 2014, and we’ve got the results.

Which series do you think made the No. 1 spot?

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Revisiting Songkran: the best water festival EVER!!!

From the ball drop in America, to the first shrine visit in Japan, each culture rings in the New Year in their own special way. Thailand’s Songkran, or commonly known as the water throwing festival, may be the most carefree and fun tradition though. RocketNews24 has brought you the story from last year’s festival, but we couldn’t resist sending a crew back this year. Click on through to see if they were able to avoid getting wet this year, and the plight of their electronic equipment!

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Mao Asada’s flawed program met with support from fellow skaters, criticized by Japanese official

Silver medalist, Mao Asada, is the ice skating sweetheart of Japan. Loved by millions across the tiny island nation, she was expected to do great things at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. However, an unfortunate fall during her triple axel took Mao out of the running for the podium and the skating beauty finished 16th in the ladies short program. Witnessing a world-class skater make a huge mistake at such a crucial moment on the world stage was nothing short of heartbreaking. But Mao’s fellow skaters, including Michelle Kwan and Kristi Yamaguchi, took to Twitter to show their support of the young skater. Unfortunately, Mao didn’t receive the same outpouring of sympathy from one prominent Japanese official.

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Kanto region gripped in the grip of a couple inches of snow: “I have to change my underwear!”

On 8 February, the skies over Tokyo and much of the Kanto region darkened. Ominous clouds suddenly began to steadily sprinkle the urban center with fluffy flakes of snow. However, in an area not used to such weather conditions, chaos ensued. Residents urged loved ones to stay indoors if possible while others flocked to supermarkets to load up on supplies. Our own Kuzo – who’s no stranger to reporting from dangerous environments such as North Korea and the spa-resort town of Évian-les-Bains, France – took to the streets of Tokyo to see how everyone was coping with the nearly three inches of snow that had strickened them.

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The future of Japanese women’s fashion in two words: Top Gun

At the end of last year, Nikkei Trendy published their list of trends to look for in 2014. Among their entries was one particular fashion that’s been steadily gaining momentum in Japan among young women and drawing the attention of the media. It’s called Top Gun Girl (toppugan joshi) and as the name suggests, it’s a highway to the danger zone of being both a little kawaii and a little militaristic.

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New Studio Ghibli movie revealed for 2014: When Marnie Was There【Newsflash】

Seemingly not content with having two brand new movies out this year in the form of Kaze Tachinu and The Tale of Princess Kaguya, Japan’s Studio Ghibli has just announced that a new animated feature, Omoide no Maanii (When Marnie Was There), based on the novel of the same name by English writer Joan G. Robinson, will be hitting screens in Japan in summer 2014.

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