Last month, SoftBank‘s series of commercials depicting several classic anime characters all grown up premiered. The ads star Kyoko Koizumi (Tokyo Sonata, Hanging Garden) as Usagi Tsukino (Sailor Moon), the proprietess at Moon Ribar an atmospheric rooftop bar. She’s assisted by Maruko-chan (Chibi Maruko-chan, played by Suzu Hirose) and welcomes guests like Fist of the North Star‘s Kenshiro (famous Kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebizō XI), Obocchama-kun (played by Shinnosuke Mitsushima), Duke “Golgo 13” Tōgō (played by Fumiyo Kohinata), Joe Yabuki (Ashita no Joe, played by comedian Naoki Matayoshi) and Astro Boy himself, played by Masato Sakai (Honey and Clover).
Two members of the Japanese rock band Asian Kung-Fu Generation (Bleach, Fullmetal Alchemist, Naruto) recorded a practice session recently with an unusual musical guest: Pepper, a robot who can detect and interpret human emotions. It can also provide beats, and did so for Gotch (who plays guitar and prefers a rock tempo) and Tamaki Roy (who raps and prefers a hip-hop beat).
SoftBank’s emotional robot Pepper could be considered a hit in Japan ,with the first wave of 1,000 bots selling out in a minute and another 1,000 ready to move at the end of this month. But is Pepper’s popularity peculiar to purely people in one part of the Pacific? Perhaps.
We may soon find out according to a report in MIT Technology Review. One of their writers visited Aldebaran Robotics, the company which made Pepper along with SoftBank, and learned that an American Pepper is already well into development and has been given a significant attitude adjustment of the smart-ass kind to better fit in there.
With 1,000 units set to go on sale later this month, Japanese telecom giant SoftBank has high hopes for its domestic robot, Pepper. If the company wants to achieve its dream of a Pepper in every home, however, numerous ethical issues must be considered and overcome, one of which being the thorny matter of owners who attempt to treat their little robot like an altogether different kind of helping hand.
It seems that SoftBank is already trying to keep ahead of the curve, however, by clearly stating in its documentation for Pepper that sexual acts with the cheery robot are strictly prohibited.
They don’t come much more badass than Isao Machii. Dubbed the “Heisei Samurai” or “Modern Samurai” he’s a five-time Guiness World Record holder for feats such as slicing a BB pellet in half mid-flight with a sword. He is also the creator of the Shushin-ryu style of Iaijutsu which is a martial art centered on sudden sword strikes.
Needless to say, this guy has the skills to pay the bills. And pay bills he does by occasionally appearing in commercials. Last year, we saw him promote Toaster Strudel by playing a live version of Fruit Ninja. Now, he’s back to take on more food with his mighty sword, this time at speeds of up to 150 kilometers per hour (93 mph).
Japanese telecom giant SoftBank has announced a new promotional campaign for its users starting soon called America Hodai (America Unlimited) where users traveling to the United States can enjoy the same rates on voice calls and internet usage as they do in Japan for no additional charge.
On 5 June, Japanese telecom giant SoftBank announced that it will be selling a robot capable reading emotions and being a friendly companion to humans. The robot’s name is Pepper, and in addition to a chest-mounted tablet computer it comes loaded with an array of mics, cameras, and other sensors for sophisticated movement and interaction with people.
Frequently abandoned by his fellow humans, our beloved reporter Mr. Sato decided to go down to the SoftBank shop in Omotesando, Tokyo where a Pepper unit was on display. Although excited about his first chat with a robot, Mr. Sato would soon find that Pepper was actually kind of a jerk who totally dominated the conversation.
About a half a year ago, the charming face of a local idol from Fukuoka was plastered all over the internet. Kanna Hashimoto’s genuine charm and cuteness had won over the country literally overnight. Shortly afterwards, we were able to meet the up and coming star and buy a pair of glasses. There we found Hashimoto’s charm wasn’t just a fluke of the original photo that shot her into the spotlight.
Now we’re happy to see that her rise to fame hasn’t slowed down one bit with a recent appearance in the hugely popular SoftBank commercial series featuring the Shirato family. Not only that, she has also thrown the ceremonial first pitch at Opening Day of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks 2014 season.
Sprint’s new commercial featuring a “framily” that includes a father who is a talking hamster and daughter who only speaks French is definitely weird. If you live in the US, you may have caught the 30 second clip during prime time Monday evening and were left with an upturned eyebrow and slight frown. But this strange commercial isn’t quite an original creation. The Sprint framily was actually inspired by a long-running marketing campaign over in, you guessed it, Japan.
Japan’s SoftBank Corporation recently put together a typically bizarre commercial to advertise their new student discount service, and held a press conference to announce it. In attendance was the famous SoftBank dog, and a couple of large pears, who all got a little over-excited. When dealing with huge talents like these, things don’t always go to plan…
Do you have an active Facebook account with more than 10 friends, a filled-in profile with both profile and cover photos? If so, have we got an opportunity for you!
In a story currently making the rounds among Japanese Twitter users, it seems that SoftBank (the cellphone carrier that recently made a bid to buy Sprint in the U.S.) was seeking “Likes” on Facebook, and didn’t mind paying for them.
You know your company has a bad reputation when the general public interprets an official announcement as something so improbable that it could only be an April Fools’ gag.
Japanese mobile provider SoftBank — perhaps most famous for its commercials featuring a talking shiba inu and his human family — announced via its website earlier today that it now officially has the best network coverage in Japan, enabling its users to connect with greater ease than any other mobile phone provider. Alas, the statement was immediately laughed off as a joke by many Japanese Internet users, with cries of “Oh, SoftBank, you guys have a great sense of humour!”
Japanese telecommunications company SoftBank is seemingly never out of the news recently. In the past seven days, we’ve seen CEO Masayoshi Son put down a heckler on Twitter, offer his employees up to a month’s pay for mastering English, and now the company comes out with a genuinely wonderful free app for iOS in celebration of being Japan’s most popular telecommunications provider for five years running.
Officially titled 「ラップお父さん」 “Rappu Otousan” (lit. rap dad), the application is essentially a sound board filled with memorable lines uttered by members of SoftBank’s fictional White Family, as seen in commercials. As well as allowing users to annoy friends with one-liners like “Shut it!”, “What’s so funny!?” and even the company CEO’s famous “Let’s do it!” line, users can play and mix a variety of prerecorded rhythm tracks, making this app by far the most wonderful time-waster we’ve discovered so far this year.
“Why do I have to study English? I’m never going to use it… there’s no point,” whines at least one Japanese student in any given English class on a daily basis.
Now, thanks to one company’s clever new initiative, instead of the usual spiel about the benefits of English being an “international language,” teachers can tell their students that knuckling down and mastering the language could bag them 1 million yen.
Korean-Japanese Telecom Tycoon Masayoshi Son earned his place as the CEO of Japan’s largest mobile phone company and the second richest person in Japan through aggressive expansion of his interests.
That personality often comes through in his Twitter account too. Son recently had to defend himself via Twitter after a half-million-dollar donation to Hurricane Sandy relief irked some people.
That’s the great thing about Twitter, isn’t it? You can now directly give Forbes’ 53rd Most Powerful Person in the world a piece of your mind. But don’t expect him to take it lying down.
That’s what @kingfisher0423 learned when he tweeted to the Softbank CEO: “With the degree that your hairline has receded, you are bald.”
Who doesn’t love a Twitter war? This wonderful modern age we live in lets celebrities make snide comments to and about each other as we all read along. And with the unprecedented interactivity social networks you too could be arguing with Ashton Kutcher about something!
Last week mobile phone mogul Masayoshi Son, who has a history of large donations, offered US$500,000 through Softbank to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy in North America and then tweeted about it. This act of philanthropy irked a twitter user by the name of o44o. Feeling that this was an act of blatant advertising through the use of a good deed he decided to voice his opinion to Mr. Son.
This week, Softbank Mobile presented the newest iteration of its popular Pantone phones, and these are some pretty smart smartphones. So smart, in fact, that they can double as a Geiger counter. Read More
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