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Japan Subculture Research Center was founded in 2007 to expose the hidden side of Japan – its underground economy, its transient and strange trends, its robust sex trade, wacky politics, corruption, many subcultures, yakuza, host clubs and hosts, Japanese cinema and all the other intriguing and seedy aspects that keep the country running. Help us keep the website running.

HOW TO BE ICONIC: Onitsuka Tiger’s World Domination Strategy

限界に挑む会社として継続的な経済成長を達成し、グローバルリーチを支えるための構造を整備するオニツカタイガー。世界征服する日は近い。This past year Onitsuka Tiger celebrated the 50th anniversary of the original Mexico 66, arguably the flagship and best-selling shoe from the storied Japanese brand — The company touts it as a fine footwear “discovered on the track, and later on, worn on the streets”

Nazis, Goebels, His Secretary and Nippon. A German Documentary Reminds Us Of Japan’s Failure To Reconcile History

Astonishingly, before taking up her duties for the Third Reich, Pomsel had worked in a Jewish insurance company in Berlin while having a side gig in the afternoons working for an official in the Nazi Party. Her lover and fiance was half Jewish. (In the film, she has a silver band around her ring finger.) He was killed in Amsterdam in 1942. Her best friend was a young Jewish woman named Ava, who died in one of the camps. All around her, Jewish people were being taken away, ostensibly to a place of “re-education,” and she didn’t think to question what this may really mean. Her take on Joseph Goebbels is that he was “so dapper, so dashing!

Snake Venom, Bee Toxin, Horse Oil, Snail Slime: Saving Face in Japan is Icky Fun

Japan is a country where saving face is paramount—even if that means covering it with snake venom, bee toxin, horse oil, or snail slime. One company in Japan has been tremendously successful by catering to the Japanese love for looking good, thus saving face, and exotic ingredients. Their array of face masks, which are applied to the skin as shown in the photos, are almost all reasonably priced at 100 yen and are always exciting to find in the local pharmacy. Who wouldn’t want to enjoy the tingly sensation and fresh skin feeling you get from spreading cobra venom on your face?

Update! Larceny Is Part of Family Love in Cannes Winner “Shoplifters”–Showing With English subtitles on June 21 (木)

The titular family in “Shoplifters” give a new slant to the term “living in squalor.” Their house looks more like a bizarre crime scene than an actual dwelling for normal people but – and this is a crucial point in “Shoplifters” – the family is HAPPY

“Yo girls, get out of the ring!”–Sumo, Sexism And Why In Japan Upholding Tradition Can Mean Protecting Discrimination

In terms of celebrity status, sumo wrestlers are on par with kabuki actors, also entrenched in anti-woman tradition. In spite of this (or maybe because of it) there’s never a shortage of women who want to marry into those worlds, though both may be riddled with scandal and rife with discrimination. Adversity acting as an aphrodisiac, maybe.

UPDATE: Oh Lucy! A darkly funny movie that asks: Can learning English in Japan change a woman’s life? The answer…..

“I think being able to speak English will change a Japanese person in the most unexpected ways,” she said. “The Japanese language is just not conducive to self-expression, whereas English is all about expressing yourself, your needs, your emotions. Setsuko discovers after landing in LA that in the US, life isn’t about getting by and being right, it’s all about survival. You have to speak up, you have to make your needs known and you have to convince people of your worth. Otherwise, it’s over. It’s as simple as that.”

Let’s have a war! The reincarnation of a war criminal, The LDP, and militarising Japan

“Rich nation, strong army” (fukoku-kyohei) was the nineteenth-century slogan the ruling elite used to rapidly industrialize in the advent of the Meiji period to protect national interests against Western colonial powers. It was also the slogan that led Japan to bolster its military and eventually steer the nation toward colonial expansion into Korea, China, and other neighboring nations. Fomented by both the international and domestic media, we are too often conditioned to pay attention to the most fashionable international threat of the week and yet are blind to actions occurring right before our eyes. Recent developments led by Abe’s administration eerily echo the prewar slogan, and we as members of the international community should view these events with extreme caution, as for all we know history may repeat itself.

Japan’s Peace Constitution, Article 9, And Why Abe Wants To Dismantle It: A short primer

RENUNCIATION OF WAR

Article 9. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.
In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

State Shinto Nightmares in Abe’s Japan

Like many foreigners observing the Moritomo Gakuken scandal play out, I am fascinated by the interplay between Shinto, nationalism, and government. There are questions that come with the scandal: Why is it a problem? Why shouldn’t the school use the Imperial Education Rescript? Why is the world watching so carefully? (Originally published in Spring of […]