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The dark powers

In the last few weeks, extensive evidence has emerged that Japanese show business is saturated with the yakuza’s influence. Police records and sources, along with testimony from current and former yakuza members, have revealed that many powerful Japanese talent agencies and production companies are not simply fronts for the yakuza—they are the yakuza.

Yakuza Goes Hollywood – Jake Adelstein reports on recent attempts to remove the yakuza from the entertainment industry
posted by timshel on Dec 14, 2013 - 18 comments

メインヒロインのおばあちゃんだよ! (It's Grandma main heroine!)

Cookie Clicker + video sharing site NicoNico Douga (Wikipedia article) (English user guides for the pre-English site) + Vocaloid = Grandma's GIFT 3D Model of cursor appears courtesy of Bowlroll.net. Music taken from the video GIFT, recorded using GUMI. Vocaloids previously.
posted by Going To Maine on Dec 13, 2013 - 18 comments

So smart it's stupid

Unbrella is everything bad about umbrellas, improved. Once you see its innovations (dry side out when closed, water repelled away from you as you close it, stands on its own) you'll wonder like I did why no one thought of this decades ago. [more inside]
posted by mathowie on Dec 5, 2013 - 53 comments

“Storm from a clear sky”

Researchers have located a sunken World War II Imperial Japanese submarine on the ocean floor off the coast of Hawaii. [more inside]
posted by bryon on Dec 3, 2013 - 33 comments

It's all about the pre-blowjob trash talk.

Orgasm Wars is a Japanese game show in which a gay man tries to force a straight man to orgasm. (Link is to Huffpo Article, and relatively sfw. Video within the link, not so much.) [more inside]
posted by emperor.seamus on Nov 22, 2013 - 85 comments

Spoiler: It's largely cultural

Why Japanese Web Design Is So… Different... If you've ever visited a Japanese website, it's a little like time traveling back to 1998. Randomwire explains some of the reasons why.
posted by SansPoint on Nov 12, 2013 - 80 comments

Apparently there are a lot of video games based on this novel

On Megami Tensei:
Based on the Japanese horror novel series by Aya Nishitani, this one’s about a student computer genius, who’s also the reincarnation of an ancient Japanese deity, who uses his giant clunky 80s mainframe to summon up some horrifying devils. This involves some not-bad animation of a well-endowed teacher’s frilly brassiere heaving up and down as she becomes the conduit for horrifying monsters from another dimension to invade our world. Then giant piles of red goop start crushing students and a big blue hairy devil named Loki fights our student computer genius hero, who fights back with his reincarnated girlfriend and his magic sword and his pet devil animal throughout several alternate universes.
let's anime presents: The Top Ten Least essential OVA (anime) of the 80s. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 3, 2013 - 35 comments

No sex please, we're Japanese

Young people in Japan are increasingly abstaining from romantic relationships and sex. The media refers to this phenomenon as sekkusu shinai shokogun, or "celibacy syndrome". [more inside]
posted by acb on Oct 20, 2013 - 109 comments

Back Streets of the Internet

Back Streets of the Internet [YT] - A short film from W+K Tokyo
posted by Mchelly on Oct 8, 2013 - 9 comments

Now that's a fast dog.

Momoko: Is it good?
Paulo: Oh, yes! Please try it.
(and other insane Japanese textbook doodles from Twitter user 茶んた). [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Oct 4, 2013 - 15 comments

Hey, let's go see that movie soon as we get off the plane!

Swinging Sixties Film Posters from Japan - Bootleg Film Posters from Ghana - Retro Film Posters from Thailand
posted by flapjax at midnite on Oct 2, 2013 - 8 comments

Suddenly, every Japanese child wanted their own pet raccoon

How a Kids’ Cartoon Created an Real-Life Invasive Army. At the peak of their popularity following the animated series Araiguma Rasukaru, Japan imported more than 1,500 North American raccoons annually... Raccoons compete both for food and for territory with the native raccoon dog (tanuki) and the red fox, and push native owls out of nesting spots in hollow trees. Ever since raccoons attacked a reproductive colony of grey herons in Nopporo Forest Park in 1997, the grand birds have not returned to their historic breeding grounds. [more inside]
posted by spamandkimchi on Sep 24, 2013 - 54 comments

Wladimir Balentien breaks Japan's single-season home run record

Japanese baseball's single-season home run record has been broken. Set by the legendary Sadaharu Oh (still holder of the world career home run record) in 1964, it stood for 49 years. In recent years, several players had come close to breaking it... only to be walked for the rest of the season, by teams managed by Oh himself. The record was broken by Wladimir Balentien, who's from Curaçao -- an island familiar to baseball fans partly for its oddball names which combine Dutch, Papiamentu, and other influences. In affectionate tribute, Notgraphs published this guide to figuring out your Curaçaoan name.
posted by LobsterMitten on Sep 18, 2013 - 32 comments

"...Japan does not have a vigorous tradition of satire."

France has made Japan angry again, this time with insensitive political cartoons about Fukushima. With radiation levels still spiking, and the government only reticently admitting to constant leaks, some are questioning the legitimacy of PM Abe's insistence that Tokyo is safe. With decisions not to prosecute anyone involved in the disaster, it seems that amakudari is, in Japan as in most other countries, still alive and well.
posted by GoingToShopping on Sep 13, 2013 - 43 comments

Lincoln Logs: Interesting playthings typify the spirit of America

John Lloyd Wright might not have the renown for the architectural creativity of his father, but John found inspiration in his father's work and designed toys that are still being made today. I'm talking about Lincoln Logs. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 11, 2013 - 13 comments

Japan energy: the sun also rises

Abe's Nuclear Energy Policy and Japan's Future: "Japan has nearly doubled spending on solar power projects to $20 bn and ramped up renewable energy capacity equivalent to six nuclear reactors, pointing the way to a sustainable and cheaper alternative to nuclear energy." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 11, 2013 - 32 comments

Jii! Jii! USB!

Lighters never looked so cute.
posted by mippy on Sep 5, 2013 - 17 comments

The Chasing Out Room

With mass layoffs still taboo in Japan, senior workers who refuse to resign are sent to "chasing-out rooms" instead of being allowed to work. (SL NYTimes)
posted by reenum on Sep 4, 2013 - 48 comments

Beasts of the Past

“One day, we looked around and realized that almost no one is making tokusatsu anymore,” said Shinji Higuchi, one of a handful of Japanese directors who still have experience in the genre, having directed three movies in the 1990s featuring the giant fire-breathing turtle Gamera. “We don’t want this technique to just quietly disappear without at least recognizing how indebted we are to it.” - The last days of the rubber-suit monsters.
posted by Artw on Sep 2, 2013 - 41 comments

Cast the first Yellowstone

Massive earthquakes in Chile and Japan have been found to cause the dramatic increase in violent quakes around fracking's largely unregulated wastewater injection wells observed in the Midwest in the past two years, where injected water acts as a lubricant for geological faults that were previously thought to be "dead" or stable for millions of years.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Sep 1, 2013 - 12 comments

Hitotsu no Namida

yu-ra (Google translation) are (were?) a Japanese duo who've produced an eclectic mix of beautiful, layered, often ethereal music. [more inside]
posted by jiawen on Sep 1, 2013 - 2 comments

First you see The Ring, and then this shit happens...

Sadako throws out the first pitch at a baseball game - undoubtedly you'll want a Sadako Hair Dog and Sadako Well Water after watching that, just be careful when you order it.
posted by Artw on Aug 27, 2013 - 19 comments

Life finds a way

This is the greatest practical joke of all time...(via io9.com)
posted by Renoroc on Aug 27, 2013 - 87 comments

On Saturday Mornings in 1967

In 1967, Fran Allison, along with her friends Kukla and Ollie, began hosting The CBS Children’s Film Festival. It offered many American children their first look at foreign films, and their contemporaries from other cultures. [more inside]
posted by timsteil on Aug 26, 2013 - 15 comments

Man in Power Ranger costume becomes hero of Tokyo subway station

Man in Power Ranger costume becomes hero of Tokyo subway station Compared to how Kanemasu started, he claims that people have been more positive in their response. “When I first began, people basically said, ‘Get away from me, you weirdo’,” he recalled.
posted by KokuRyu on Aug 22, 2013 - 44 comments

Extreme Kendama

In this video, you'll see people doing tricks on skateboards, rollerblades, and kendamas, for which the crowd goes wild. Yes, kendamas, the traditional Japanese wooden toy consisting of a handle, three cups and a spike (the "ken"), and a wooden ball (the "dama") on a string, with a hole opposite of the string. This toy has a long history, and is similar to a number of games found elsewhere in the world. But it wasn't until 1975 that it was formally organized as a competitive sport in Japan by the Japan Kendama Association, which has patented the design of the kendama and designated the tricks required to reach specific rankings. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 21, 2013 - 8 comments

Dorito Powder

"The Notorious MSG’s Unlikely Formula For Success: The umami craze has turned a much-maligned and misunderstood food additive into an object of obsession for the world’s most innovative chefs. But secret ingredient monosodium glutamate’s biggest secret may be that there was never anything wrong with it at all."
posted by arcolz on Aug 19, 2013 - 276 comments

I wanna be where you are

On a hazy February day in 2011, a special rainbow-colored train sped down the tracks to celebrate the newly-completed bullet train line spanning the island of Kyushu, Japan, and everybody came out to greet it.
posted by Sokka shot first on Aug 19, 2013 - 19 comments

"All I wanted to do was make something beautiful."

An English-subtitled trailer is now available for Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli's latest film, The Wind Rises (Kaze Tachinu), which will premiere to English-speaking audiences at this year's Toronto International Film Festival. [more inside]
posted by Sokka shot first on Aug 15, 2013 - 67 comments

The lengthy voyage of Yamamoto Otokichi

In the autumn of 1832, 14-year old Yamamoto Otokichi was aboard the cargo ship Hojunmaru when a storm hit. 22 years and a trip around the globe later, he finally got back to Japan.
posted by Chrysostom on Aug 13, 2013 - 6 comments

The sea unleashed

Recently surfaced video of the 2011 tsunami in Japan. An incredible 25 minutes of breathtaking power and destruction.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Aug 12, 2013 - 81 comments

What kind of a person do I want to be when I die?

In anticipation of the Wii U Virtual Console release of EarthBound (Mother 2), Nintendo asked series creator Shiegato Itoi (official homepage) to say a few words about the game. What he wrote is nostalgic, heartfelt and perhaps even a little bit wise. [more inside]
posted by byanyothername on Aug 8, 2013 - 49 comments

Mostly Musical in Nature

Sound Opinions, the ever-excellent radio show / podcast based out of Chicago, have embarked on a 'world tour'. With the aid of a local musician or journalist, each episode covers the history of modern music in a certain country. They look at what's new and exciting in both the mainstream and underground as well as what foreign music is cracking the market. So far the tour has touched down in Mexico, Japan and Sweden, and Greg & Jim are encouraging feedback on where they should go next. [more inside]
posted by mannequito on Aug 7, 2013 - 3 comments

Japanese Eyeball Licking (Oculolinctus) Can Be a Dangerous Hoax

Japan Times journalist Mark Schreiber, exposes the Japanese eyeball licking story as the hoax that it was for the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan. Sadly, none of the news sites that reported the story pulled their posts and only one site added an addendum after the fact.
posted by gen on Aug 7, 2013 - 20 comments

Japanese recipes for the Anglophone

Cookpad is Japan's largest recipe site and cooking community. Yesterday, an English version was launched. [more inside]
posted by Tanizaki on Aug 6, 2013 - 52 comments

Fukushima tired of being out of the news, makes new play for spotlight

A Water Storage Nightmare: Fukushima Daiichi is back in the news. "Highly radioactive water seeping into the ocean from Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is creating an 'emergency' that the operator is struggling to contain."
posted by saulgoodman on Aug 5, 2013 - 68 comments

Emoji Tracker.

Real-time tracking of emoji use across twitter. Click on each emoji to see who is using it.
posted by Rumple on Aug 2, 2013 - 25 comments

I found a cup of tea in a window of the Prince Hotel

You might want to check out this video primer first, just to get the idea, or you might just want to dive in and zoom, zoom, zoom into the Tokyo Tower Gigapixel Panorama
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jul 31, 2013 - 45 comments

放浪息子 Hourou Musuko, Wandering Son

放浪息子 Hourou Musuko (often translated as Wandering Son) is one of the better depictions of transgender life in manga and anime (and maybe in any medium). It's a slice of life drama about two young people who are trans and starting middle school in Japan. The manga is being published in English by Fantagraphics, and the anime is officially licensed in English subs on Crunchyroll. [more inside]
posted by jiawen on Jul 23, 2013 - 16 comments

"This one is SUPER lucky!"

At the dawn of the millennium, Japanese society has suffered a severe economic collapse, leading to widespread youth apathy and 800,000 students boycotting school. Adult society sought to reassert their authority by passing the Millennium Education Reform Act, otherwise known as the BR Act. - a look at Kinji Fukasaku's Battle Royale.
posted by Artw on Jul 23, 2013 - 64 comments

When 772 pitches isn't enough

Tomohiro Anraki might be the next big Japanese pitcher, if he manages to survive high school baseball in Japan. [more inside]
posted by Ghidorah on Jul 22, 2013 - 20 comments

What kind of pants does Super Mario wear? Denim Denim Denim

Nintendo's Famicom (the Japanese counterpart to the NES) launched in Japan three decades ago this week. Ars Technica and NintendoLife have posted tributes and history lessons of this console.
posted by porn in the woods on Jul 16, 2013 - 15 comments

Moving in stereo

Stereophoto maker lets you make anaglyphs and stereo animated gifs, like these. (You can control the point of focus with your mouse in the flash versions.) Instructions for making it work on a Mac.
posted by klangklangston on Jul 11, 2013 - 8 comments

Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v. Japan: New Zealand intervening)

A case currently before the International Court of Justice has Australia (supported by New Zealand) seeking to either stop the flagrant abuse of a loophole in the International Whaling Commission's rules by Japan, or a nasty cultural imperialist "moral crusade" attempt to suppress a sustainable, ancient tradition of killing whales with factory ships around Antarctica. You can watch Court arguments here.
posted by wilful on Jul 8, 2013 - 39 comments

Let's have a teeny-tiny dinner

Come over my house and we'll cook up a tiny Re-Ment dinner...do you prefer Japanese cuisine? Maybe something European or Chinese? Perhaps fresh from the farm? Save room for Decoration Cake and Gummy Crepes for desert. RRcherrypie's YouTube channel has served up mesmerizing meals to millions. [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Jul 2, 2013 - 34 comments

Your own dog is optional

"Hi, I am Francis, the host of this show - Cooking With Dog." We will be cooking Choux Creme (Cream Puffs) / Tako-meshi (Mixed Rice with Octopus) / Cheese in Hamburg / Chicken Curry / Okonomiyaki / Agedashi Tofu / Yaki Gyoza / Bento Lunch Box / Green Tea Ice Cream. "Good luck in the kitchen!" (Previously)
posted by Katemonkey on Jun 28, 2013 - 26 comments

A Revolution in Fiction Unfolds

Nill Kamui is an independent island caught in a power struggle between the forces of Donatia, the land of Knights and the Church, and Koran, an empire of secrets and the immortal empress Ghost Mother. When the Red Dragon, the ancient protector of the island, goes berserk and starts killing for no reason, a desperate plan is hatched: a team of representatives from each of the three powers is given a mission to find why the Red Dragon went mad and stop him by any means necessary. Red Dragon is a tabletop RPG campaign with its own trailer, and that's not all. [more inside]
posted by 23 on Jun 22, 2013 - 20 comments

Spoke Stack

Mechanised Japanese Underground Bicycle Parking Pictures and video of space-saving bicycle parking in Japan.
posted by hawthorne on Jun 14, 2013 - 26 comments

Mascots.

Everyone needs professionally-trained Mascots. Especially Princesses. (Wait for the 2 min. mark) [more inside]
posted by lemuring on Jun 13, 2013 - 6 comments

Photographs of the Great Kanto Earthquake

On Saturday, September 1, 1923, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck the Kantō region of Japan. The resulting fires destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes in Tokyō and Yokohama, resulting in 142,800 deaths. A new resource site hosted by the University of Hawai'i, The Great Kantō Earthquake Japan of 1923, provides images of 199 scanned photographs documenting the destruction and aftermath of what, at the time, was the most powerful earthquake to strike the region. [more inside]
posted by sudasana on Jun 7, 2013 - 5 comments

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