1282 posts tagged with Japan.
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Painting From History

Tomokazu Matsuyama was born in Japan. He moved to the US when he was around ten years old, not speaking any English, and being overwhelmed by the culture shock of 1980s Los Angeles. His artistic work is a reflection of this upbringing. Matsuyama’s paintings envision traditional Japanese imagery through the lens of American pop art, creating a unique and beautiful hybrid. He strives to portray this global melee through a conscious “appropriation” of all of his influences: cultural, artistic, and personal. Matsuyama’s unconflicted and positively ebullient works do not ask, “What am I?,” but assert, “I am everybody.” (via) [more inside]
posted by netbros on Nov 29, 2009 - 14 comments

Doing the robot

Please enjoy a video of a robot breakdancing. [more inside]
posted by empath on Nov 28, 2009 - 39 comments

Animated Stereoviews of Meiji Japan

Animated Stereoviews of Meiji Japan [more inside]
posted by BuddhaInABucket on Nov 13, 2009 - 37 comments

Hiroshi Watanabe

Hiroshi Watanabe -- Love Point::Suo Sarumawashi::Ideology in Paradise::"I see angels every day"::Kabuki Players::Japanese Studies::Northern Places::Species Among Us
posted by vronsky on Nov 13, 2009 - 6 comments

Pants Pankuro: Toilet training in Japan

Toilet training isn't quite so easy in Japan. There's squat toilets and western style to consider. Then there are the talking toilets, and toilets that act as electronic bidets. It's no wonder then, that Japanese kids need more than a few hints from mum to master lavatorial etiquette. Meet Pants Pankuro and his friends, in their efforts to master the strange world of the Japanese toilet. [more inside]
posted by PeterMcDermott on Nov 5, 2009 - 39 comments

Not a Halloween Post.

The Maskatorium: hundreds of masks collected from around the world over the past 20 years.
posted by gman on Oct 30, 2009 - 6 comments

Anatomy of Japanese folk monsters

Yōkai Daizukai is an illustrated guide to yōkai authored by manga artist Shigeru Mizuki. [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Oct 25, 2009 - 15 comments

Oldest Family Run Business

So how long have you been running your business? The Houshi Onsen in Komatsu, Japan. About a 2.5 hour train ride north from Kyoto is the Houshi Onsen complex was founded in 718. The legend states that the god of Mount Hakusan visited a Buddhist priest and told him to uncover an underground hot spring in a nearby village. He found the hot spring and asked his disciple, a woodcutter’s son named Gengoro Sasakiri, to build and operate a spa on the site. His family has run a hotel in Komatsu ever since. The structure houses 450 people in 100 rooms. For generations, Houshi proprietors have borne the name Zengoro Houshi. The current proprietor is the 46th Zengoro!
posted by somnambulist on Sep 30, 2009 - 27 comments

The Three Human Bombs

The scene was the siege of Shanghai, the year 1932. It was more than half a year since the Mukden Incident had provided a pretext for Japan to invade Manchuria and begin moving down through Northern China. Three Imperial Japanese soldiers from an engineering division died in a bomb blast that took out a section of the Chinese fortifications, allowing Japanese forces to surge through the breach and advance. The fallen soldiers became known as the "Three Human Bombs" (Bakudan Sanyushi / 爆弾三勇士). Memorials were built and murals were painted and the Three Human Bombs were remembered as gallant and selfless heroes who gave their lives for the greater good of Japan, lauded on stage, in film, and in song. A military medal was created to award heroism in honor of the three. Problem is, it was all a lie. The story of the Three Human Bombs was one of the most successful propaganda campaigns of the early twentieth century.
posted by XMLicious on Sep 30, 2009 - 14 comments

Shūji Terayama

Three short films from avant-garde director Shūji Terayama -- The Cage ll Emperor Tomato Ketchup (NSFW) ll Labyrinth Tale + this 6 min. clip from Pastoral: To Die in the Country
posted by vronsky on Sep 26, 2009 - 8 comments

Vintage Japanese Matchbox Labels

Japanese Matchbox Labels is a fine collection (flickr set) of wonderful vintage eye candy from the Japan of the 1920s through the 1940s. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on Sep 26, 2009 - 7 comments

Immigration or Robots?

Japan is facing a demographic crisis that will shrink the population dramatically. The Japanese aren't having babies, and the country won't accept immigrants to help bolster the population. Japan: Robot Nation looks at a uniquely Japanese solution. [more inside]
posted by Extopalopaketle on Sep 21, 2009 - 55 comments


Usagino U (ukulele, lead vocal) and Kumano 900 (ukulele, pianica, theremin, bongos) play American surf rock in Japan -- Isogabamaware ll Diamond Head ll Crazy G
posted by vronsky on Sep 19, 2009 - 11 comments

Lunar Jamming

Moon Music: moonbell generates sounds based on lunar topography. (via) [more inside]
posted by Korou on Sep 3, 2009 - 13 comments

Japan's Media Environment

Japan -- Media Environment Open; State Looms Large (August 2009, PDF) [more inside]
posted by armage on Sep 1, 2009 - 8 comments

Japan's New Day

Japan's opposition party, The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), is projected to win a landslide victory tomorrow, ending the 52-year reign of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Furthermore, according to a survey conducted by the popular Asahi Shimbun newspaper, the DPJ could win a two-thirds majority, enabling them to roll legislation through the Diet unabated. Despite the projections, the two parties are still battling hard. Washington is following these elections very closely, because of the man who could be the next prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama. [more inside]
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing on Aug 29, 2009 - 46 comments

Hand-built bullet trains, made-to-order

Yamashita Kogyosho (jp) is a small manufacturer of about 30 people based in Kudamatsu, a city in Yamaguchi Prefecture, western Japan. Like many small urban factories (so-called "machikoba"), they specialize in precision metalwork under contract to major corporations. But Yamashita Kogyosho is special: they create the noses for bullet trains. By hand. [more inside]
posted by armage on Aug 28, 2009 - 24 comments

We go from the ground to the mountain, baby! Without walking!

The funicular railway is a kind of cable-based railway that gives me great joy because of its peculiar shape and its uselessness for doing anything other than what it does. A funicular carriage is generally stairstepped or terraced, so you can't repurpose these cars for other uses. They generally work in a particular way, too, as pairs: one goes up the mountain, one comes down the mountain! Maybe this kind of glee is why they seem to be especially popular in Japan today, where they can be taken to many popular sightseeing areas--but a fair number of funicular railway riders are probably there for the journey, not the destination. [more inside]
posted by wintersweet on Aug 25, 2009 - 64 comments

Everyone needs a hug.

In which a chimpanzee is shown reacting to sleight-of-hand on a Japanese television show. [SLYT. Overuse of sound effects.]
posted by Liver on Aug 24, 2009 - 104 comments

Greatest Tree House Ever!

Who has the greatest tree house ever? Architect Terunobu Fujimori in Chino, Nagano Prefecture, Japan. Or Jacob, from Nowheresville, USA?
posted by vronsky on Aug 22, 2009 - 33 comments

Reverse Engrish

Ronald McDonald is so-o-o last year. The new McDonalds mascot in Japan is "Mr. James", a nerdy white guy from Ohio who speaks broken Japanese in the new ads for their "Nippon All Stars" sandwiches. Here's his blog (copyright McDonalds), translated by Google. FRANCA (Foreign Residents And Nationalized Citizens Association) want MickeyD's to dump him. Those Wacky Japanese!
posted by wendell on Aug 18, 2009 - 61 comments

Techno Pop Triple Play

Three Japanese Techno-Pop Bands rock it back-to-back-to-back on a kid's show. [SLYT]. The bands, in order, are P-Model, Hikashu, and Plastics. You're welcome.
posted by SansPoint on Aug 11, 2009 - 22 comments

Excuse me, may I have some directions? Certainly sir, step right this way!

The 'problem'? A perceived spate of recent knife crime in Japan: The 'solution'? Revise the 'Firearm and Sword Control Law' to ban possession of daggers and other double-edged knives with blades 5.5 cm or longer.

The 'result'? Pocket knife lands tourist, 74, in lockup, with nine days in a holding cell. Two other American tourists were arrested that same day at the same koban (police box) ...
posted by woodblock100 on Aug 7, 2009 - 82 comments

The state of high-speed rail, August 2009

The Guardian ran a series of articles looking at the state of high-speed rail travel today. France intends to double its length of track over the next decade, and China is planning a massive rail-building programme, including a high-speed line which will halve the travel time between Beijing and Shanghai to 4 hours. In Germany, domestic air travel is rapidly going extinct, and Spain's network has made day trips between Madrid and Barcelona a possibility. The USA, which has long neglected its rail network, is planning up to 10 high-speed lines. Meanwhile, Britain's only high-speed line goes to France, but there is talk of a 250mph line from London to Birmingham and beyond, possibly by the early 2020s. Meanwhile, the CEO of France's rail operator, SNCF, weighs in on what the UK should do.
posted by acb on Aug 7, 2009 - 49 comments

Alright! Let's go on a journey — through time and space! There are 95 Pokemon stamps! Let's get all of them!

"And much like Christmas, originally about the birth of a religious savior-figure named Jesus, is now about buying things for people and hoping that they buy more things for you, much how Easter, originally about the death of a religious savior-figure named Jesus, is now about receiving rabbit- or egg-shaped chocolates, now and forever Obon is about collecting all of the Pokemon." Japan, trains, marketing, pachinko, hordes of stamp-seeking children.
posted by silby on Aug 7, 2009 - 34 comments

Inside a bloody cultural tradition.

TV star. Amusement park attraction. Mine sweeper. Stew meat. Funded by SGI & Netscape founder James Clark, award-winning documentary The Cove goes undercover for an inside look at the brutal slaughter of dolphins in the Japanese town of Taiji. Previously.
posted by kanuck on Aug 6, 2009 - 20 comments

Please Call Me Hararie

Japanese Element Symbols is an introduction for non-Japanese to the Japanese language through Kanji symbols, its alphabet, elements of Japan's culture, and what to expect on the culinary front.
posted by netbros on Aug 6, 2009 - 12 comments

Crazy Japanese advertisements

The makers of Ninja Gaiden 2 have decided on an unorthodox ad campaign. The game is being advertised by two white breasts protruding from a wall facing the street (SLYT). There are predictably funny reactions from passers by. Obviously, this is NSFW.
posted by reenum on Jul 31, 2009 - 44 comments

Happy Science, and the Potential Joining of Church and State in Japan

Kōfuku-no-Kagaku (幸福の科学), also called Happy Science, is a relatively new religious and spiritual movement, founded in Japan in October 1986. The organization is gaining ground world-wide, with the international headquarter office in central Tokyo, 6 local temples located in London, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seoul and Taiwan, and an additional 37 local offices around the world. The group's leader, Master Ryuho Okawa, has is not limiting the scope of the movement to politics, and in May 2009 the Happiness Realization Party was formed, with over 300 HRP candidates running for the coming general election. To provide background on the religion and political movement, here is a little investigation of Happy Science by MeFi's own shii [via mefi projects] [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 28, 2009 - 32 comments

"Let people live in your heart"

Children Full of Life - grade 4 students in Kanazawa, Japan learn deep life lessons from their incredible teacher and from each other. I strongly recommend this as awesome, but one caveat: keep tissues handy. (5 parts, 40 minutes total, English)
posted by madamjujujive on Jul 25, 2009 - 48 comments

This game is made by a man who hates videogames

Takeshi no Chōsenjō: it came before the endurance test that is Desert Bus, and served as an inspiration for Janey Thompson's Marathon. In English it is known as Takeshi's Challenge. Released in December 1986 for the Famicom system, the game mechanisms include use of the Famicom microphone to sing karaoke for an hour. And that's after you drink to the point of blacking out, divorce your wife, quit your job, and learn to hang glide AND learn the Hintoba language, amongst other things. All of this takes place in lands populated with nothing but people that want to beat you to death. Of course, you can skip that all and complete the game in a mere 4 minutes by simply walking off the edge of existence, and magically ending at the final treasure room. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 25, 2009 - 42 comments

Otaku in Love

"Nisan didn’t mean to fall in love with Nemutan. Their first encounter -- at a comic-book convention that Nisan’s gaming friends dragged him to in Tokyo -- was serendipitous. Nisan was wandering aimlessly around the crowded exhibition hall when he suddenly found himself staring into Nemutan’s bright blue eyes... 'I’ve experienced so many amazing things because of her,' Nisan told me, rubbing Nemutan’s leg warmly. 'She has really changed my life.' Nemutan doesn’t really have a leg. She’s a stuffed pillowcase — a 2-D depiction of a character, Nemu, from an X-rated version of a PC video game called Da Capo." The New York Times' Lisa Katayama on "2-D lovers" in Japan, the latest outgrowth of otaku subculture.
posted by digaman on Jul 23, 2009 - 166 comments

Now that's what I call a screensaver

Kuroshio Sea HD Video of the world's second largest aquarium tank at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Japan (via). [more inside]
posted by jontyjago on Jul 22, 2009 - 22 comments

Photographs of the Excitement of Geotechnical Engineering (Failures)

Professors Ross W. Boulanger and Dr. James Duncan have put together a Geotechnical Engineering Photo Album, with details of the successes and disasters. The album includes compaction techniques for a highway off-ramp, deep excavation methods, an offshore tank structure, and earthquake hazards of many sorts (mountain landslides, liquefaction damage to ports in Kobe, Japan, surface rupture in Taiwan, and problems with shallow foundations and subsidence in Turkey). (via oi9)
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 10, 2009 - 12 comments

Wow Yeah Yeah Yeah

When little Akira Tamamoto fronted the Japanese kinderpop combo Finger 5, his miles of fringe and tinted Robert Evans shades drove the little girls mad. Here was one of the most peculiar manifestations of the bubblegum era: a pack of overworked kids from Indiana, filtered through the Motown hit machine, beamed out to the international mass media, reaching Okinawa, where the Tamamoto boys' pop had a bar with a stage. They were huge. [more inside]
posted by Scram on Jul 4, 2009 - 14 comments

Mass webcam choreography

Hibi no Neiro by Sour [more inside]
posted by Dr-Baa on Jul 3, 2009 - 16 comments


Honyanko bushi, Tsurumanzoku, Butamatsuri, and Nevaneva Land are music videos produced by Obakejaa. [NSS (Not Seizure Safe), MLYT]
posted by geos on Jun 24, 2009 - 7 comments

Behind the scenes during a Japanese election

Campaign is a documentary by Kazuhiro Soda. The film follows the 2005 election campaign of political novice Kazuhiko Yamauchi: In the film he's scolded all the time and people chew him out and he is generally humiliated, constantly, but he remains optimistic and he never speaks ill of other people. He's sincere, but maybe too honest. He didn't hide the fact that he was a political novice and a "parachute candidate". I think it's quite rare to see a person who wants to be a politician and who's that honest and sincere. [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Jun 14, 2009 - 7 comments

kids in japan

Freeters, parasite singles, hikikomori, herbivorous males.
posted by needled on Jun 14, 2009 - 54 comments

Nothing to declare except that, um, $135 billion

Two Japanese men have been detained by Italian authorities after they were caught with $134.5 billion in US bonds and securities in a false-bottomed bag on a train heading for the Swiss border. [more inside]
posted by grounded on Jun 12, 2009 - 99 comments

HD videos from Kaguya

The lunar orbital spacecraft Selene, better known by its Japanese name Kaguya, has been sending back some incredible HD video, including some of Earth rising and the Moon's surface. [more inside]
posted by Rinku on Jun 6, 2009 - 25 comments

Our insect is in another casserole

Sure you consider yourself a retro 8-bit gaming geek, but have you played Udon Boy in Ramen Land, or Kung Fu Psycho Rider? Don't feel bad, they're from Japanese culture store Meteor's annual Famicase, an exhibition of imaginary games.
posted by artifarce on Jun 5, 2009 - 7 comments

Make your own little songs about raindrops

Lullatone are a half-Japanese, half-American duo based in Japan who make music that can probably best be described as twee folktronica; a recent EP of theirs is titled "Little Songs About Raindrops". And now, you can make your own with their Raindrop Melody Maker Flash web toy, which looks a bit like a pastel-coloured Tenori-On:
posted by acb on Jun 4, 2009 - 9 comments


The Incredible Hulk, as told by Koike Kazuo, of Lone Wolf and Cub fame, and Yoshihiro Morifuji. More scans here.
posted by Artw on May 27, 2009 - 16 comments

Eta touchy subject.

"When Google Earth added historical maps of Japan to its online collection last year, the search giant didn't expect a backlash..." [more inside]
posted by zardoz on May 5, 2009 - 117 comments

Let me show you a world of bats and bees, ants and trees, morning glories and a few beached whales

The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, casually referred to as Sōkendai (a contraction of Sōgō kenkyū daigakuin daigaku), was founded in 1988 as the 96th national university in Japan. Amongst other things, it is home to the Soken Taxa Web Server which in turn hosts the first online Japanese Ant Color Image Database that currently lists 273 species of ant, the Illustrated Guide of Marine Mammals and the Marine Mammals Stranding DataBase, the Mammalian Crania Photographic Archive that currently includes 704 specimens, the Morning Glories Database that covers the many mutants of Ipomoea nil, closely related species and interspecific hybrids, the Makino Herbarium Database, which is named after the pioneering Japanese botanist, Tomitaro Makino, and the Japanese Bees Image Database.
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 20, 2009 - 5 comments

Snow Monkeys bathe in hot springs

Japanese snow monkeys in Yamanouchi have developed a neat trick - they bathe in the region's hot springs. Here's another gallery. There's even a webcam! [more inside]
posted by Joe in Australia on Apr 17, 2009 - 23 comments

Walden Pond / A Frog Jumps In / Plop!

Given recent economic woes, in conjunction with ecological, national security, and community issues regarding food production, does Japan have an interesting idea? [more inside]
posted by barrett caulk on Apr 15, 2009 - 25 comments

Deflation, Swiss Bank Accounts, etc.

What's the risk of deflation? No one knows for sure, but it cannot be ruled out--as first Japan, and now Switzerland are finding out. While Japan's troubles may sound familiar, Switzerland's situation is somewhat unique: beyond the question of its currency, the issue of tax havens has put its banks in a delicate position.
posted by ornate insect on Apr 5, 2009 - 15 comments

New life for traditional Japanese music?

Jero, or Jerome Wright, Jr. is the first black singer of traditional Japanese enka music. Here he performs a duet - him wearing hip-hop garb, his partner in a kimono. He won the Best New Artist Award in Japan, and appeared today at the Cherry Blossom festival in Washington DC.
posted by desjardins on Mar 28, 2009 - 37 comments

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