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A horror movie in the make

More companion robots! Another in a series (see PARO, previously) of healing toys for Japan's rapidly greying population, Yumel the Healing Partner from Tomy. Like some kind of unholy cross between a Cabbage Patch Kid and Teddy Ruxpin, you can see a promotional clip of the doll here, or read a list of translated stock phrases (thank you Harper's). Also, an interesting article from the Economist about WHY the Japanese love robots so. (Hint: it's Shinto)
posted by ikahime on Apr 3, 2007 - 3 comments

Tha Japanese Tradition

Comedy duo, Ramenz (ラーメンズ), aka Kobayashi Kentaro and Katagiri Jin, also known as the Japanese versions of Mac and PC, have recently done a number of shorts collectively called "The Japanese Tradition." Apparently, these tongue-in-cheek pseudo-instructional vids about famous aspects of Japanese culture (Tea, Chopsticks, Sushi, Origami, Apology, Onigiri, and Relationships) have been fooling a lot of non-natives into thinking they are actual guides. (YouTube, each approx 4-6 min).
posted by ikahime on Mar 29, 2007 - 35 comments

This is so stupid it's actually...

Discovery [youtube] Anyone who's ever been to Tokyo or any other big city on Earth knows how hard it is to navigate crowded, narrow sidewalks, especially when you have to "take a dump."
posted by KokuRyu on Mar 15, 2007 - 61 comments

Robots

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto, domo...domo
Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto, domo...domo
Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto, domo...domo
posted by jason's_planet on Mar 2, 2007 - 22 comments

Protest-song Percussionist

Metafilter's own flapjax at midnite was interviewed by an English language Japanese webzine named gyaku. Check out flapjax's generous contributions to mefi music here. Do yourself a favor and listen.
posted by Ynoxas on Mar 2, 2007 - 12 comments

Illustrated Ise Monogatari

An illustrated edition of the Ise Monogatari (Wikipedia, review of translation). Yeah, yeah, it's in Japanese, but just keep hitting the forward button (the leftmost of the two on the right, red/brown rather than blue/green) and you'll find lots of pretty pictures. I can't improve on the descriptions by Matt of No-sword, where I found it, so I'll just quote him: "Behold our hero maxin' and relaxin' at his writing-desk, looking like he just got hired as a middle manager at his dad's lighter-flint concern! Thrill to the famous scene where he is visited by the Pineapple of Golden Week Past! Laugh as he is mistaken for a member of Aerosmith! Wonder why everyone is just sitting around smiling contentedly when the building is obviously on fire!"
posted by languagehat on Feb 27, 2007 - 23 comments

the strictest prison of the end of the ground

Abashiri prison of the present which became famous completely by the movie "Abashiri extra area" is in the modern building rebuilt in the 59th year of Showa. The old building which has been used since Meiji is preserved as a "museum Abashiri prison" at the foot of the Mt tentozan .
posted by breezeway on Feb 26, 2007 - 5 comments

Why is this man screaming?

Why is this man screaming? Maybe because it's a Mad World.
posted by The Card Cheat on Feb 22, 2007 - 8 comments

Contemporary Art and the End of Japanese Whaling

The Nisshin Maru is on fire. After being rammed by the Greenpeace Ship Sunrise, chased and harassed by anti-whaling activist Captain Paul Watson, and playing set to contemporary artist Matthew Barney's film Drawing Restraint 9 (which co-starred Barney's wife Bjork), the Nisshin Maru, flagship of Japan's whaling fleet has been crippled by an onboard fire fueled by whale oil, spelling a possible end to whaling in Japan.
posted by AtDuskGreg on Feb 20, 2007 - 105 comments

Uproar and Disgust in Japan over "Foreigner Crime File"

Full of slurs and racist depictions of foreigners, the "Foreigner Underground Crime File" has been causing a stir in Japan. Under threat of boycott, many convenience store chains and online retailers have apologized and withdrawn the magazine. However, author Shigeki Sakai has not. Activist and naturalized Japanese citizen Arudou Debito and website Japan Probe respond. Though now out of stock, you can read the publication for yourself.
posted by armage on Feb 16, 2007 - 56 comments

Sex slaves demand apology

Jan Ruff-O'Herne's idyllic childhood in Indonesia came to an abrupt end in 1942 when the Japanese invaded and forced her into sexual slavery. In this transcript she reveals her story; how she hid the secret from her children until she finally broke her silence in 1992 to demand an apology from the Japanese government. This week Ruff-O'Herne joins other former sex slaves in testimony before the US Congress as part of a resolution urging Japan to apologize. Japanese politicians are working to stop the resolution from passing.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese on Feb 15, 2007 - 40 comments

Photos from Hiroshima

Photos from Hiroshima in August of 1945. Long supressed by the occupying U.S. forces, a highly unsettling (and decidedly NSFW) collection of photos from the days immediately after August 6th. Via.
posted by jonson on Feb 6, 2007 - 199 comments

generations

The old and the new Japan in one frame. The delicate relationship of Oyako, parent and child. In 1982 American photographer Bruce Osborn began what has become his lifelong work. For the last 25 years he took pictures of one parent with one child in a white studio setting.
posted by nickyskye on Feb 1, 2007 - 28 comments

Paddies, laddies.

Tanada! Sure, the real shit is in Southeast Asia and China, but Japan's got a few beauties of her own. There's the fields of Yuya, the gentle slopes of Ukiha, and of course The Thousand Paddies of Chiba. It's not just an art--it's science. Want more? Listen to some of the "sounds of Japanese rice paddies, watch a slightly obnoxious slide show, or download some of these gorgeous wallpapers in a bunch of different formats. But best of all: they have calendars!
posted by odasaku on Jan 30, 2007 - 9 comments

North Korean abductions of Japanese

From 1977 to 1983, between 16-70 Japanese citizens were abducted in their home country by agents of the North Korean government. 13-year-old Megumi Yokota was the youngest. This is her story.
posted by JPowers on Jan 22, 2007 - 48 comments

The reason all the tuna are disappearing

Makoto Nagano: (YOUTUBE) 33 year-old fisherman from Japan and a Ninja Warrior.
posted by arruns on Jan 22, 2007 - 34 comments

Battle on the Hypothermic Seas

Yarrrr/Banzai! All you "Talk like a pirate day" keyboard swashbucklers take heed: The Sea Shepherd Society's flagship Farley Mowat is now officialy a pirate vessel after Canada, Britain, and Belize revoked their registration. As the Japanese winter Antarctic whale hunting season begins (previously), the M/V Farley Mowat is setting sail to meet them, armed with a hydraulic "can opener" battering ram, a pie cannon, and moral conviction. With the Japanese whaling fleet now majority owned by the Japanese government, a subject of international diplomatic intrigue, and after last year's confrontations, this could get ugly!
posted by anthill on Jan 14, 2007 - 54 comments

eeeeeeeeee!

Eejanaika the world's tallest, fastest [video] and longest 4th Dimension roller coaster. Google video. Stats.
posted by nickyskye on Jan 13, 2007 - 39 comments

Japan? Nutshell!

Professor Solomon's Japan in a Nutshell By the lost-object-finding author of The Book Of King Solomon, How to Make the Most Of A Flying Saucer Experience, and Coney Island. Share and enjoy!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken on Jan 11, 2007 - 16 comments

Japanese Medical Prints

Japanese Medical Prints. Part of the Clendening History of Medicine Library, at the Kansas University Medical Center, and donated by Dr. Matthew Pickard. The digital collections at the Clendening Library also include Florence Nightingale's letters, old school Chinese public health posters, and images from old medical and natural history texts.
posted by monju_bosatsu on Jan 4, 2007 - 5 comments

Bounce with me!

In America, some rang in 2007 by watching (a propped-up) Dick Clark rockin' the Eve away alongside Ryan Seacrest & his crush (yeah, right), Christina Aguilera. Ho hum. Japanese television on the other hand? Well, my friends... television viewers in Tokyo enjoyed this little extravaganza (It's SFW, they're wearing bodysuits.) Yokatta koto!
posted by miss lynnster on Jan 1, 2007 - 58 comments

PARO

PARO: Seal Type Mental Commit Robot for Psychological Enrichment.
posted by gottabefunky on Dec 28, 2006 - 18 comments

Edo period creepy crawlies

Japan's National Diet Library Gallery has been mentioned here before, but the Pink Tentacle blog came across some fantastic late Edo period illustrations in the NDL Gallery by Kurimoto Tanshu (栗本丹洲, 1756 - 1834). Apparently he was a doctor, but he seems to be better known for his hundreds of biological illustrations. Many are of sea creatures, but there are also quite a few other plants and animals. ranging from realistic renditions to bizarre creatures. A huge and varied collection, but all are equally fascinating.
posted by p3t3 on Dec 20, 2006 - 6 comments

Superflat

Cal Henderson posted this link on superflat artist Chiho Aoshima this morning. With a little research, I found this excellent slideshow. And this, too. Then, I learned about superflat movement founder Takashi Murakami. And then I discovered this superflat commercial anime video.
posted by mongonikol on Dec 13, 2006 - 8 comments

Hisakyu's Railway Guide

Hisakyu's Railway Guide
posted by hama7 on Dec 7, 2006 - 21 comments

Men in (glass) suit?

"Dear Tokyo, why don't you have a building like this yet?" There are a lot of other ideas found on Ironic Sans.
posted by myopicman on Dec 6, 2006 - 21 comments

The Wii is not a clover vase.

If you've seen the Japanese safety manual for the Wii, you might have thought it was a bit excessive. But it really isn't, if you consider how many safety warnings they left out. Via core77.
posted by hydrophonic on Dec 6, 2006 - 27 comments

Japanese Urban Ruins PhotoGalleries

Amazing collection of several galleries full of Japanese "urban ruins" photos, including abandoned amusement parks, refineries, apartment blocks, hospitals, schools, bowling alleys, & much more, including Battleship Island, the (previously posted) abandoned coal mining island off the coast of Nagasaki. Via.
posted by jonson on Dec 5, 2006 - 34 comments

Ocean of Blood

It's the season once again for the annual dolphin drives in Japan, the appallingly cruel (see "Les massacres" video) practice of herding into shallow waters and brutally slaughtering these highly intelligent, self-aware and emotional creatures. There are those trying to stop it, and should you be so inclined, you can sign their petition.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Nov 20, 2006 - 62 comments

Jesus in Japan

"I'm not a Christian, and I have my doubts about being Jesus' descendant,' says garlic farmer Toyoji Sawaguchi. "Somehow I just can't picture Jesus, a great man, as my ancestor.' Bucolic Shingo, formerly Herai, a tiny village in northeast Japan, is believed by some to be the final resting place of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Photos of His grave can be found here.
posted by maryh on Nov 19, 2006 - 37 comments

Secrets of Shuriken

Secrets of Shuriken.
posted by hama7 on Oct 30, 2006 - 27 comments

Top 10 ad-tricks in Tokyo’s train stations

Top 10 ad-tricks in Tokyo’s train stations
posted by Tlogmer on Oct 20, 2006 - 32 comments

Painted cardboard.

Beautifully painted cardboard houses. [Pink Tentacle]
posted by econous on Oct 20, 2006 - 7 comments

Nihongo Bongo!

Nihongo Bongo! - Latin music by Japanese artists from the 40s, 50s and 60s. "Mambo, rumba, cha cha cha, bossa nova, calypso, you name it... it was big in Japan. The exodus of Japanese migrants to Brazil ensured a lasting connection with South American culture as many Japanese artists toured Brazil."
posted by carter on Oct 9, 2006 - 14 comments

exquisite living works of art

Geiko of Kyoto is a stunning photo gallery of Kyotos's Geisha - both the mature Geiko and the apprentice Maiko. Melissa Chasse annotates many photos with fascinating details and offers an account of her tea party with Mamechika, a lovely Maiko. For more, this lovely Geisha site offers a brief history from the era of the floating world, more photos, Ukiyo-e art, and links. Also see y2karls' prior definitive post on ukiyo-e.
posted by madamjujujive on Sep 23, 2006 - 17 comments

Comfort Women

On Wednesday, the US House of Representatives' Committee on International Relations adopted a bipartisan resolution to ask the Japanese government to formally apologize for sexually enslaving up to 200,000 "comfort women" in Imperial brothels during its colonial occupation of Asia from 1932 through the end of World War II. Many were tortured and raped, and only about 30% survived WWII. Japan has stated repeatedly that even though the brothels were established by military policy, the imperial government was not directly involved in operating them. Taking responsibility would be an admission that they committed war crimes -- slavery and trafficking in women and children -- and could give victims a legal basis to sue for reparations.

H Res. 759 does not ask Japan to provide reparations, but it does push them to unambiguously acknowledge what happened and educate future generations, (full text) rather than continue the current practice of denying what really happened. Previously on MeFi.
posted by zarq on Sep 15, 2006 - 56 comments

Takeshi Terauchi and The Bunnys do Beethoven

Japanese Surf Versions of Classical Themes
posted by BuddhaInABucket on Sep 11, 2006 - 14 comments

Japanophilia and Japanophobia

Japan in America: the Turn of the Twentieth Century - an exhibit of ads, cartoons, art and other popculture artifacts from the decades leading up to WWI. (image menu is at the bottom of the page)
posted by madamjujujive on Sep 9, 2006 - 14 comments

Babies!

Babyfilter: Suri exists! And the Japanese can stop worrying they'll have to be ruled by a woman!
posted by thirteenkiller on Sep 6, 2006 - 71 comments

snapshots of Hokkaido, occasionally elsewhere

digit.exp: snapshots of Hokkaido, occasionally elsewhere
posted by hama7 on Sep 2, 2006 - 13 comments

Elvis Is Everywhere

The Afghan Elvis (with YouTube clip), the Soviet Elvis (played by Tom Hanks), the French Elvis (now seeking Belgian citizenship), the Mexican Elvis, the Swedish Elvis, the Filipino Elvis, the Chinese Elvis, the Sikh Elvis, the Japanese Elvis who became a Prime Minister, and other foreign Elvii.
posted by jonp72 on Aug 21, 2006 - 20 comments

Amazing Matchbook Art Collection

The Match World Virtual Museum is dedicated to showcasing the best artwork from the ~25,000 matchbooks in the collection of the Japanese Match Manufacturers Association, including Foreign Matchbooks, Advertising on Matchbooks and various matchbook companies, all with decent, sized images available if you click on the thumbnail versions. Some really attractive stuff in here. Previously on Metafilter
posted by jonson on Aug 21, 2006 - 8 comments

Tobi or not Tobi

Who needs boots when you can have steel-toed tabi? An overview of Japanese worker clothing.
posted by oneirodynia on Aug 15, 2006 - 29 comments

The Hanko system

Matsushita Shuji writes about the latest effort to prop up the Hanko system in Japan.
posted by tellurian on Aug 14, 2006 - 23 comments

Koizumi's last Yasukuni visit.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi defies opposition, makes annual controversial trip to Yasukuni Shrine. Naturally, China and Korea are not amused. Adding to the drama and sparking debate amongst the Japanese is a recently discovered private journal of former Emperor Hirohito that reveals Hirohito stopped visiting the shrine in the 1970's when he learned that 14 class A war criminals had been secretly interred. Those 14 Class A war criminals are the focus of the controversy, and many Japanese are discussing having the remains of those men removed from Yasukuni.
posted by zardoz on Aug 14, 2006 - 45 comments

Size Doesn't Matter... Size Doesn't Matter... Keep repeating...

I've long felt that the U.S. of A. "jumped the shark" as a country when we rejected the Metric System. The price of gasoline would still be under a dollar (per liter). Yet, we'd drive less because a short 20 mile trip would become a long 32 km trip. Then there's the most important measurement of all [maybe NSFW animated graph], providing us with the joy of 12.9(!) while we try to ignore that Japan is .1 ahead of us and France is .1 more than South Africa. (And is that Korean average North or South?)
posted by wendell on Aug 14, 2006 - 65 comments

Rangaku - Dutch Learning

Rangaku (literally "Dutch Learning") refers to the body of knowledge developed in Japan during the Sakoku period (1641-1853) during which the country was closed to foreigners. As the Dutch trading post at Dejima was effectively an enclave of the Netherlands, for 212 years it was just about Japan's only way to keep tabs on European scientific progress (pdf). Rangaku has influenced Japanese medicine, anatomy, engineering, meteorology, and chemistry, among other fields.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Aug 3, 2006 - 18 comments

brand new wave upper ground

Awesome J-Pop Videos. For a genre few in the U.S. are familiar with, it certainly garners some very heated opinions (likely because of Morning Musume and the like.) Still, there are some who go above and beyond the fold. (largely youtube filter.)
posted by Navelgazer on Aug 1, 2006 - 30 comments

bit Generations

bit Generations is a line of Japanese budget-priced Game Boy Advance games Nintendo released these past two weeks. Most of the titles feature minimalist graphics combined with simple but engaging gameplay, echoing the company's recent philosophy. Perhaps the most intriguing of the games is Soundvoyager, in which the player relies almost entirely on audio positioning to progress- a bit reminicent of this. No word on a US release yet, but if Electroplankton made it out here, maybe there's a chance.
posted by Dr-Baa on Jul 30, 2006 - 10 comments

Moses would be impressed!

You can drift, you can dream, even walk write on water
Researchers at Akishima Laboratories have developed a device that uses waves to draw text and pictures on the surface of water. Here is a PDF file about the project (I think it is in Japanese, but it has pretty pictures!)
posted by lenny70 on Jul 28, 2006 - 16 comments

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