Keep updated with Manga Therapy via RSS & e-mail! "Like", "Follow", or "+1" me for more lovely conversations about manga & Japanese pop culture!
Text with 77 notes
With the rise of anime/manga culture on the Internet over the past decade, who here thinks Japanophiles are all over the place? One person on Quora posed the question that seems to boggle people’s minds: “Why are so many people Japanophiles?”. I once responded to it and later found out answers were still trickling in by other Quora users. Regarding Japanophiles in general, can we really blame them for being a bit too obsessed with Japan?
Text with 7 notes
Hey, hope you guys didn’t miss me too much! Here are some photos of Japantown and J-Pop Summit Festival 2012 that I took while I was at the Bay Area. I can definitely say Japantown is truly an awesome area to be around and J-Pop Summit was a lot of fun. Cosplayers, Vocaloids, Japanese fashion, lolitas, musicians, food trucks, EVA ahoy!
JAPANTOWN, SAN FRANCISCO, CA
J-POP SUMMIT FESTIVAL 2012 (DAY 1)
J-POP SUMMIT FESTIVAL 2012 (DAY 2)
It pains me to say that New York has nothing like Japantown (I don’t know if St. Mark’s Place counts) and I can see why the Japanese prefer being on the West Coast than on the East Coast. Makes me want to move over to California if I didn’t get a sunburn like I did on the 2nd day of J-Pop Summit. Kylee, the main headliner for J-Pop Summit, was amazing on the 2nd day though.
Maybe I should be like Jim Morrison and break on through to the other side.
Hope everyone enjoys the photos! Wouldn’t it be nice to have more Japanese towns/festivals like this around our areas?
Text with 15 notes
Who here believes in the power of superstitions? Here’s something that will get your mystical juices flowing. An interesting article about superstitions popped up in the New York Times. The article, entitled “In Defense of Superstition”, discussed how having superstitions can be beneficial to gain some sense of meaning in one’s life. They also give someone a big sense of self-confidence in doing certain tasks. One superstition came to my mind and one that is very relevant in anime and manga: sneezing.
In Asian culture, it is widely believed that someone who sneezes out of the blue is being talked about by other people not near them. If you sneeze once, someone is definitely saying something about you. If you sneeze twice, bad things are said about you. This superstition about sneezing has become a huge joke in anime and manga, where several characters talk about one character in one panel and then the next panel features the person being talked about sneezing (with some witty remarks and/or confusion). Sneezing blew its way through notable series such as Dragon Ball, Maison Ikkoku, InuYasha, Rurouni Kenshin, and Ranma 1/2.
Perhaps this superstition is helpful for others in terms of giving confidence that things are going to be just fine for them or an incentive to be more careful. Let’s say someone sneezes and he/she really believes that someone must be gossiping about them all of a sudden. That person can say to themselves, “Hmmm, maybe I should change my tune a bit.” or “Yes, someone’s talking about me! I feel important to someone!” That could give some meaning and motivation to alter their behaviors more positively. Of course, this can all backfire in a hurry, depending on the personality of the person sneezing. It is heavily argued that those who believe in superstitions tend to have a lack of control in their lives.
A great example of a “sneezing superstition” moment in anime/manga that stood out was in Rurouni Kenshin Volume 7, when the Kenshin-gumi spoke harshly about Saito Hajime. While at a soba stand, Saito sneezed repeatedly and even made a remark about how sudden sneezing is a result of ill will. He even goes on to say that it’s great that the Shinsengumi (his old troop) are still hated in the Meiji Era. You have to wonder if Saito’s comments were just a reassuring way of giving him more confidence to go and cause more mayhem since he doesn’t care what people think of him. The Wolf of Mibu’s mind is always a mysterious one, isn’t it?
So, what other Japanese superstitions do you think give people a sense of confidence? Feel free to share some crazy thoughts and let us have the wonderful moment of freaking out together.
Hope you didn’t just sneeze while reading this entry. :]
Text with 9 notes
I present to you: Cafe Bar NAGOMI! Yes, this is an actual “imouto” cafe in Japan.
Ever had or wished you had a little sister that made you go D’AWWWW every time she tried to make you smile? Do you get giddy (or wish to gleefully experience the moments) when your little sister acts pretty mean towards you and later apologizes for her behavior with a sad, puppy face? If so, you might be having a case of “imouto love”.
A subject that continues to fascinate me is the otaku’s love for “imoutos” (Japanese for “little sisters”). Imouto characters are prevalent in Japanese pop culture and it makes you wonder why male otaku are quite drawn to them in droves. Do most of them wish they had a little sister that relied on them?
If you’re curious about how much “imouto love” there is out there, here are some examples. Besides the most prominent series that features an imouto lead, Ore no Imouto Konna ni Kawaii Wake Ga Nai (“My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute”, also known as Oreimo), other titles include Imouto wa Shishunki (“Younger Sister Is In Puberty”), Koi Kaze, and Boku wa Imouto ni Koiwosuru (“I Love My Little Sister”). Imouto love is also implied in certain anime/manga series. There is currently a wide variety of adult-oriented material (a majority in the form of PC games) focusing on little sisters loving their precious oni-chan (“big brother” in Japanese) and/or vice versa. Japan sure has quite the sister complex, doesn’t it?
An article on Senile_Seinen talked about “imouto love” in a review for Oreimo and the author stated that the subject is becoming popular because of Japan’s low birth rate. He goes on to say that few Japanese people below the age of 30 have a sibling. They don’t know what it’s like to have one, so seeing media featuring siblings in wacky moments together fascinates them.
I’m curious about the mindset of creators behind imouto material: is there anything super-special about having a little sister rather than a little brother and/or older sibling? Well, besides the fact that the little sister has tendencies to look up to the older brother and can be extremely adorable as hell. There have been studies floating around about how having a sister can be beneficial in one’s life. Having a sister (younger or older) can make you a kinder person. Sibling conflict provides great education as well. Fights between siblings usually teach them how to control their emotions in heated moments. Siblings will also stick by you even after when parents pass away. Some important factors to note are that girls like to listen and they are often more talkative than boys. This gives female siblings an edge, compared to male siblings, as you can confide in them emotionally. Older sisters can be bossy and start ranting about life though, which seems like something the otaku don’t like.
Regardless, if you have a female sibling, you’re in luck and have a good chance to turn out to be a emotionally healthy individual. I do believe that Japanese otaku (who may not have had experienced the joys of having a younger sibling) honestly want a real young, cute girl who looks up to them in all aspects of life and/or is willing to listen to them (like an imouto would). It seems that otaku want a sense of control over someone to give themselves a shot of confidence. Does anyone really give otaku a sense of hope at all? Perhaps the structure of Japanese society should be blamed for how their parents turned out, since their behavior does have huge effects on the children they raise.
A couple of final questions I would like to pose to everyone: how would you believe the otaku will react if they actually had a real little sister that matched their expectations? Will they believe that reality (in their eyes) isn’t as deceiving as they think it is? Let’s just hope that otaku don’t want too many little sisters. Then again, Japanese men haven’t had the greatest reputation as of late.
Now, if you excuse me, I must rescue my precious Nanako-chan from the evil Shadows.
Text with 7 notes
Here are some goodies to read and share with friends.
Made Better in Japan - The Wall Street Journal takes a look at the rise of high-detail Japanese fashion, food, clothing, and service. Basically, Japan is incorporating many international styles and blending them into products that are just as good as the original source. It’s amazing to see how the country can make Brooklyn coffee better than (or just as good as) actual Brooklyn coffee. The part of the article where they go into jeans is very enlightening. Now whether that detail can succeed in the global world is a whole different story.
ANNCast #106: S-E-X-X-I-S-M - A controversial subject makes headwaves in the most recent ANNCast. A very lively discussion and the guests make a good point about how the anime community isn’t that bad in terms of sexism, when compared to the video game community. Funny how they also mentioned Bakuman. I definitely agree with how bad sexism is in video game fandom, as the fighting game community is VERY guilty of this.
A More Peaceful World If Women Were in Charge? - Networking is important. That’s the MO. Also, you need to be both aggressive and sympathetic at the same time. Man, we need Olivier Milla Armstrong to be the ruler of the world.
Sentai Filmworks Confirms English Dub of Gintama Movie - If you ask me, this movie is perfect for a dub. Why? The Benizakura arc doesn’t have too many crazy jokes. Plus, the movie introduces a majority of the main cast.
Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Street Fighter X Tekken - Send these cards to your special someone. Seriously. Just do it. Bear hugs are awesome.
Now, if you excuse me, I must go and be FOREVER ALONE.
Text with 227 notes
“Out of the otaku population, female otaku have the most spending power, which is one of the reasons why you see an increase of boy love publications and anime featuring good looking guys.” - Danny Choo on CNN GeekOut
Over the past couple of years, I have noticed that things were changing in the anime/manga world. There were more and more titles that seem to have attractive male characters. Even though “moe” series targeted towards males are still running rampant, the anime/manga world has been filled with titles (such as Blue Exorcist, Naruto, BLEACH, Gintama, Black Butler, Katekyo Hitman Reborn, Bakuman, Axis Powers Hetalia, and Tiger & Bunny) that have a variety of male characters for female fans to swoon over. Especially females who are into yaoi and boys’ love. This has led to the rise of the fujoshi, a community of fangirls that has the power to shift the gender balance for the better. Some male otaku have felt threatened and intimidated by the fujoshi, but this is just another example of how strong the purchasing power of women is despite the state of the global economy.
Text with 238 notes
This is a story that I feel should be shared to everyone who’s been through or going through depression. I recently read an article on the Japan Times about a manga artist who published a series of comics in Japan about a married couple combating depression. Her name is Tenten Hosokawa and her series, “Tsure ga Utsu ni Narimashite” (My Partner Has Depression) or simply known as “Tsure Utsu”, has become a smash hit in a country that has mostly looked down at those with mental illnesses. As someone who’s been through clinical depression, I find it inspirational that a manga artist has put this subject into the spotlight as we all need to take mental health seriously more than ever.
Text with 4 notes
(A better role model than Tiger Woods.)
For those who remembered late last year, many donations were made to various Japanese children-focused charities by someone under the guise of the professional wrestler anime/manga hero, Naoto Date, aka Tiger Mask. The donations would later spawn a huge movement of donations (some anonymous) from other people to Japanese charities as well. Just this past November, Tiger Mask struck again as an anonymous donor, using the Tiger Mask name, donated school bags and stationery sets to a city at the Gunma Prefecture in Japan. He also helped quake victims as well. The return of Tiger Mask poses some interesting thoughts about the nature of tigers, people, and anonymity.
Tigers are known to be solitary, yet social creatures. All they want to do is hunt and eat. They will not fight unless threatened. In Japan and other parts of Asia, tigers are represented as beings of great power, passion, beauty, and wrath. There is also a belief that when a tiger appears in your dreams, a great power and/or passion is about to awaken inside you.
An article in the Hiragana Times suggests that the Tiger Mask movement was moved by modesty. Once people saw that someone was donating anonymously, they had a lot of incentive to do the same. Japanese people are taught not to show off good deeds in front of the public. In some ways, tigers represent hidden strength waiting to be unlocked. Perhaps the movement motivated others to unleash their inner tigers.
Which goes back to the one who started it all. What motivated him to go under the name Tiger Mask specifically? Why last year? Was it because of the story of Tiger Mask? Did he want to bring some change for once? It is possible that this person believes the world is still just, despite what others might think. Maybe a tiger appeared in his dreams and convinced him to be philanthropic.
A final issue is to look at anonymity and its pros. While most people look at anonymity with a certain level of disdain, there are some benefits to being anonymous. One is that you won’t be bothered by companies that constantly try to promote products/services to you. You will also be protected from any unjust backlash from others. Most importantly, you get privacy which is something that everyone needs from time-to-time. I do believe that our Tiger Mask donor wants to highlight the power and potential that anonymous people can have on society.
Tigers are truly great creatures that many of us love. I think it’s perhaps that we are like them: fierce on the outside, loving on the inside. In this rough world we’re living in, some of us just got to put on that tiger face and keep on going (which I believe that Tiger Mask is trying to convince children to do).
Let the eye of the tiger show you the way!
Text with 2 notes
If there’s one thing Japan seems to love, it’s Shinigami (death gods). Tohru Fujisawa, the mangaka of Great Teacher Onizuka (GTO), looks to bring his crazy, wild storytelling into the world of Shinigami with Soul Reviver, which is going to be serialized in Shogakukan’s Monthly Hero magazine this January. This is also on the eve of another title that Fujisawa is launching in January, Shibuya Hachiko-Mae ~another side~, which will be published in ASCII Media Works’ Degenki Comic Japan.
Soul Reviver will be about a half-human, half-Shinigami woman who brings souls to the world of the dead. Shibuya Hachiko-Mae will be about a scout named Aoyama and his adventures in picking up girls to work at a hostess club in Shibuya. Great, another thing Japan loves.
There are some concerns about Soul Reviver. Mostly due to the fact that the plot sounds very similar to BLEACH. About Shibuya Hachiko-Mae, I think that it will be a very unique title that explores the psychology of cabaret clubs and the women who join them. Knowing Fujisawa, I expect both titles to be full of hard-hit EMOTION.
Titles that are about love & death seem to be quite popular in Japan in this day and age, huh?
Page 1 of 3