A survey conducted by a Japanese LGBT rights organization has been extremely revealing about the main political parties’ attitudes towards sexual minorities, and is something to think about for voters heading to the polls this weekend.
Nov 9, 2014
Last week’s US midterm elections drew the attention of the whole world, including Japan. NHK covered the whole spectacle in detail, but the usually serious broadcaster went with a bizarrely cartoonish, over-dramatic banner that showed America’s most senior politicians looking like characters in a beat-‘em-up game a la Street Fighter.
Oct 31, 2014
Oh, North Korea. Whether you’re hanging out with American “diplomats” or testing your rockets by firing them over your neighbors’ airspace, you never cease to amaze us with your incredible antics.
While Korea’s grumpy northern half can do very little when the rest of the world criticizes its behavior, “justice” will be swift for those who support dissenting opinions within the country. But in order to mask the removal of high-ranking North Korean officers as something other than Kim Jong Un flexing his supreme leader powers, the North Korean media has recently released “reasons” that could only be acceptable there.
Oct 19, 2014
Local elections are coming up soon in Taiwan, and one of the positions being contested is Magistrate of Hsinchu County. With more than 500,000 constituents, the title comes with a pretty hefty amount of clout, and challenger Cheng Yung-chin, who occupied the office during the early 2000s, is hoping to reclaim the seat.
So to help boost his campaign, the politician has released a video to show voters the kinds of things he values: tranquility, nature, and shapely, bouncing breasts.
Scott R Dixon
Sep 22, 2014
How many times a month does a police officer need to get their hair cut? That is the debate going on in the southern Chinese city of Shenzen after authorities found out that local cops there had budgeted nearly two million RMB (US$32,000) over a two-year period to have each of its more than 2,000 police officers have three haircuts a month.
While city authorities are questioning the necessity of the cops’ excessive visits to the barber, local citizens are outraged and are demanding a more “reasonable” haircut budget from their police force.
In it, Miyazaki delves deep into his life, talking about his childhood thoughts on war, his feelings on Japan and its warpolicies,his father, current politics, and the Abe administration.
Aug 29, 2014
You know how in English you can take pretty much any noun and make it a verb—derivation for the cunning linguists out there—by adding to to the front? For example, how the search engine Google has become to google, as in, “Why the hell are you asking me? Go google it, you twit!”
Well, you can do the same thing in Japanese by adding -ru or a handful of other suffixes to the end of a word, and some Japanese net users recently had some fun with this by turning country names into some very non-PC verbs.
Have a look at our geopolitical dictionary and see how your country fared.
Michelle Lynn Dinh
Jul 5, 2014
Even we can’t believe how much news and Twittersphere coverage Ryutaro Nonomura has been receiving. The disgraced politician who attempted to claim over 3 million yen (around US$30,000) in travel expenses without providing any supporting evidence has been seen around the world sobbing violently at a press conference thanks to numerous YouTube videos. Even a local station in California showed a short clip of the unprecedented meltdown during the evening news just yesterday.
Just like any other video of an unexpected reaction, this one has sparked a virtual onslaught of meme after meme showing the Hyogo Prefectural Assemblyman with the likes of Hulk Hogan and popular girl group Perfume. But one parody in particular caught our attention for how difficult it was to pull off. Prepare to cringe and be impressed while watching the following video of a perfectly timed, perfectly pitched recreation of Nonomura’s teary defense performed on an electric guitar.
Jul 4, 2014
We generally paint politicians as a strange mix of arrogance and charm that seems to allow them to navigate through a variety of scandals. Through double talk and an almost sociopathic ability to ignore facts, an elected official caught red-handed lying or worse can somehow convince the public that maybe we’re the ones who made a mistake.
And then there’s Ryutaro Nonomura who seems to have turned the politician’s playbook on its head with his move of crying and shouting non-sequiturs in the face of accusations regarding use of public money. It seems to be working though as Twitter users are far less concerned about misappropriation than they are about how to best turn him into a lolcat.
The following is a selection of tweets featuring the people’s take on the assemblyman that became an internet sensation through photo altering, music, and latte art.
Jul 2, 2014
A Japanese politician who claimed over 3 million yen (around US$30,000) in travel expenses without providing any supporting evidence has defended his actions in a dramatic and emotional display. Speaking to reporters at the Hyogo Prefectural Assembly on Tuesday, Ryutaro Nonomura cried loudly as he insisted that he had genuinely made all the trips claimed for, and that the travel was for work purposes.
Nonomura faced criticism last week when it was revealed that he had claimed for 195 long-distance return tickets by rail during the financial year 2013-14. He did not provide any receipts for the journeys, or any evidence that he had been carrying out official activity. The transportation expenses claims included 106 visits to Kinosaki Onsen, a hot spring town 139km from his hometown.
Jun 27, 2014
Sexism and discrimination have been rather hot topics here in Japan following an unpleasant incident at a Tokyo political assembly on June 18, during which female politician Ayaka Shiomura was taunted and mocked by assembleymen while giving a speech about pregnant women and working mothers.
In response, world-famous Japanese artist Takashi Murakami has taken the unusual step of creating and hanging a series of portraits of the politician in his Tokyo cafe.
We knew Attack on Titan was crazy popular with an incredible 36 million volumes in circulation and a huge fanbase that stretches from Japan to the English-speaking world and beyond, it’s also been translated for audiences in Korea and China (Taiwan). Next year things will reach new heights with a full length live-action film starring Haruma Miura in the leading role.
When we saw these photos apparently showing a Titan from the series taking part in a demo in Hong Kong, we just had to find out more. “The Red Giant” is a piece of protest art made by Hong Kong based artist Kacey Wong, and pictures from the demo have been doing the rounds on Japanese online message boards this week. At once among the crowd and separate from it, the looming bright red figure is a powerful symbol of what Wong sees as the threat posed to Hong Kong by mainland China’s rapid growth as an economic superpower.
May 20, 2014
Few can forget the massive snow storm that swept over most of Japan’s main island of Honshu this February. Obscene amounts of snow accumulated everywhere, throwing cities into panic, shutting down Disneyland for the first time in years, and even completely destroying U.S. warplanes like some kind of snow-based Godzilla villain.
But now the U.S. is wading into some touchy political territory, announcing that it’s currently investigating whether or not to demand compensation from Japan to pay for the planes because, come on, obviously that’s Japanese snow.
Apr 30, 2014
There are almost 100,000 mainland Chinese students studying at Australian universities, where they are no doubt exposed to ideas that might be censored at home. This fact has not gone unnoticed by Chinese intelligence professionals, some of whom have admitted to a reporter for the respected Sydney Morning Herald that they recruit networks of students to monitor the Chinese community.
The 2014 Nobel Peace Prize has an unprecedented nomination: the Ninth Article of the Japanese constitution. The Ninth Article renounces the right to engage in war or to maintain a military. The group advocating the nomination, the “Constitution’s Ninth Article for the Nobel Peace Prize,” is based in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture.
Housewife Naomi Takusu (37) came up with the idea. She started an online petition last May and garnered 1,500 signatures in just five days. She contacted the Nobel Committee, from whose response she learned that candidates can only be nominated through certain channels and must be individuals or groups. She changed her strategy and tried again for 2014.
Apr 7, 2014
Barely a week after branding her a “blabbering peasant woman,” North Korea has labelled South Korean leader Park Geun-hye a “repulsive wench” via its state-run media. Not only that, but the same quoted source also alluded to the fact that the president has no children of her own, and said that she “makes a mockery of sacred motherhood.”
Apr 6, 2014
Saint Hoax is a Middle Eastern artist who recently set up a website which combines the kitsch of pop art with cynical political commentary. In their post, Saint Hoax muses on the similarities between drag queens and world figureheads. Thinking that they share unique fashions and stand-out personalities, the only real difference between a drag queen and a king boils down to flashier colors and a whole lot of money.
So Saint Hoax took nine political and religious figures and applied some sequins and foundation – a lot of foundation – to make them queen for a day. They certainly work – sashay, shantay – but if you happen to have strong political or religious leanings in one direction or another, you’ll probably find yourself offended by these images.
Apr 2, 2014
This week, Japan became the 91st signatory to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, which provides protection for children under 16 from being taken from their country of residence by one parent against the wishes of the other. However, the convention does not work retroactively, so parents whose children have already been taken are urging the Japanese government to stand by provisions of the treaty in their cases as well.
A group of left-behind parents organized a march in Washington, D.C., on Monday to hand-deliver 28 applications for assistance reuniting with their children to the U.S. Department of State and to submit a petition for the return of abducted children to the Japanese embassy.
- 4 Things women are banned from doing in Japan 【Women in Japan Series】1
- Truck driver hailed as “hero” for cutting off car on wet highway2
- 20 crazy facts about North Korea3
- Don’t believe in the magic of the 100 yen store? This product will seal the deal!4
- Ready to tie the anime knot? Company offers marriage certificate for you and your 2D waifu5
- Latest evolution of Pokémon cafe to open in Shibuya this January6
- Former kimono painter turned ukiyo-e artist dazzles with exquisite modern-day paintings7
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker8
- One Piece becoming a kabuki play with the Straw Hat Pirates taking the stage in Tokyo9
- Flipping the kanji for “husband” upside-down reveals slightly worrying double meaning10
- Korean illustrator gives Western fairy tales a whimsical Eastern makeover【Pics】1
- Ready to tie the anime knot? Company offers marriage certificate for you and your 2D waifu2
- Self-taught Singaporean artist creates unbelievably realistic art on plywood3
- Artist magically transforms Sailor Moon characters into black women4
- Character images of new Digimon Adventure series released, expected to air in spring 20155
- Too busy to wrap Christmas presents? Not if you’ve got 12 seconds, Japanese store shows【Video】6
- Life imitates (Sword) Art (Online) as Japanese gamers find they can’t log out of online RPG7
- How humanity ends: Virtual reality headset hooked up to Tenga love cup for men 【Video】8
- Evacuation orders issued as town in northern Japan is flooded by rising tidewaters9
- New Evangelion short film now streaming on animation studio’s website10
- Self-taught Singaporean artist creates unbelievably realistic art on plywood1
- Buyers’ remorse in China: After a record-breaking day of online shopping, the angry selfies begin2
- Tiny town in northern Japan creates gorgeous, gigantic artwork out of rice paddies 【Video】3
- How to say “I love you” in Japanese – 47 different ways 【Videos】4
- Japanese man proposes to girlfriend with Guinness World Record-winning GPS drawing5
- Historic Kyoto temple first in Japan to offer gay weddings6
- A Ghibli mystery solved — the identity of exotic looking food in Spirited Away revealed!7
- Korean illustrator gives Western fairy tales a whimsical Eastern makeover【Pics】8
- Hayao Miyazaki comments on Chihiro’s final test scene in Spirited Away9
- Fashion gone wrong? Boob shirts take Twitter by storm10
- “No one sleeps in her class!” Internet goes gaga for gorgeous Chinese science teacher1
- Hayao Miyazaki working on new project, says “I’m going to continue making anime until I die”2
- Mickey and friends in human form are more charming than we had imagined! 【Pics】3
- A sad turn of events at a butterfly exhibition in China4
- Self-taught Singaporean artist creates unbelievably realistic art on plywood5
- Buyers’ remorse in China: After a record-breaking day of online shopping, the angry selfies begin6
- Chinese cat with unfortunate dark patch of fur tired of people asking why it’s shocked7
- 1,200 Japanese workers convert above-ground train to subway line in a matter of hours8
- Tiny town in northern Japan creates gorgeous, gigantic artwork out of rice paddies 【Video】9
- Japanese high school holds annual contest to decide the prettiest “girl” in school10
- Latest evolution of Pokémon cafe to open in Shibuya this January
- Former kimono painter turned ukiyo-e artist dazzles with exquisite modern-day paintings
- How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker
- One Piece becoming a kabuki play with the Straw Hat Pirates taking the stage in Tokyo
- Flipping the kanji for “husband” upside-down reveals slightly worrying double meaning
- Pokémon fans’ heads exploding over guy’s classic Game Boy makeover video
- New Evangelion short film now streaming on animation studio’s website
- Japan’s premier beatboxer sets YouTube ablaze, annoys fans with lack of beatboxing
- Self-healing glasses on sale next year
- 10 slightly strange Christmas trees from Japan
- Sharp’s awesome new display tech licensed to Nintendo… who may not even use it for games
- Too busy to wrap Christmas presents? Not if you’ve got 12 seconds, Japanese store shows【Video】
- Toilet slides and turd hats: welcome to Tokyo’s crappiest exhibition