Some parting words from Yakuza movie icon Takakura Ken on yakuza films, his favourite movies, and acting

昭和残侠伝 破れ傘(プレビュー)






But I think that the reason the general public identified with the roles I played, was that they were struck by my stance as a man who unrelentingly stands up to absurd injustices. It wasn’t just that I was just going off to a sword fight, but that my character was willing to sacrifice himself in order to protect the people important to him. JSRC: Mr. Takakura, you have been called the Clint Eastwood of Japan, what do you think of that?
Ken Takakura: It’s what someone else thinks, so I have no thoughts on the matter. 







Aliens Versus Yakuza: 宇宙人対極道: A Masterpiece Of Bad Genre Films

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I wouldn’t want to spoil the rest of the film for our readers but it does solve the ancient question: in a battle between an alien and a yakuza, who would win?







Ghost in the Shell: The Matrix of Sci-Fi Anime

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With the newest Ghost in the Shell film in theaters, and a live-action version on the horizon, it’s important to take a look back at what made the original so popular.







The 10 Worst Films About Japan*: You Might Only Live Twice But Are These Movies Worth Seeing Once?

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Memoirs of a Geisha starring Zhang Ziyi as a ravishing prewar geisha by the name of Sayuri (‘white lily’), sinks to basement level lows of pigeon-holing and cultural misunderstanding. As a Japanese female I just don’t feel like forgiving this one – the emotional damage is irrevocable. To make things worse, national acting treasure Ken Watanabe makes an appearance and seals his fate as an enabler for Hollywood filmmakers to cater to the white male fantasy regarding all things Japanese – namely, geishas. The one bright spot is Kaori Momoi as a hard-as-nails proprietress of a geisha house. The lone authentic presence in a film hyped up on false pretensions.







The 100 Hour Japanese Work-Week and One Woman Who Escaped






On the other hand, most Japanese – white collar or not, are well aware that clocking in over 100 hours of overtime a month is quite common, and so is not getting paid for that time. Dentsu was raided by Labor ministry investigators earlier this month, and they raked up evidence to show that workers were actually falsifying their overtime records to avoid having to bill the company and cause trouble.







AKB48: A Microcosm Of Dark Corporate Japan. Sexual exploitation of child labor is sooo cute. (Book review)

AKB48 aren't just a band of  teenage girls creepily sexually exploited by a money-grubbing management team that includes an ex-yakuza associate, they're also symbols of how badly workers in Japan get screwed over--in every way.






Shohei Sakakura has linked Black Companies with the nation’s most famous and lucrative girl group AKB 48. “AKB48 and the Black Companies,” and his indictments make Walmart look like a towering monument to worker’s rights. Yasushi Akimoto was a Zegen with a vision – having never been popular in high school himself, he recognized the deep sexual frustration and vast need for sexual fantasies festering in the educated and dateless Japanese male.







How did Japan’s Whalers Of The Past Feel About Their Job & The Whales They Killed?

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Despite the popular opinion that Japan’s dedicated pro-whaling community comes from a background of legendary, barbaric whalers who slaughtered whales without mercy, some reports show that pre-harpoon whalers were actually very considerate for the feelings of these giant creatures. Sociologist Hiroyuki Watanabe’s book titled Japan’s Whaling, takes a broad look at the entirety of the […]




The Sweet Taste Of Thailand….In Kagurazaka? (神楽坂のタイ?)”Roti” rocks

Roti with banana, chocolate, eggs, and coconut ice cream over crispy and chewy bread (Roti) was a hard to find Thai treat in Tokyo. Now you can find it in Kagurazaka






Making Roti is not easy. It takes some real expertise to stretch the dough and make it very thin. Hence, despite the popularity of Thai food in japan, this dessert is not seen anywhere. Fortunately, the first Roti place called Gootora cafe is now opened in Kagurazaka







Manga and Dating Sims: The Real Path to Japanese Mastery

Check out our review of Benjamin Boas' story of how he got interested in Japan through games and manga.






Boas also provides some useful vocabulary for the basic Japanese learner, particularly while exploring manga and anime’s odd visual effects to communicate emotion, such as veins popping to signal anger which often resemble traffic intersections, and teardrops the size of ostrich eggs to symbolize embarrassment. Boas also touches on the fact that characters often respond to getting excited by girls’ underwear by getting intense nosebleeds or 鼻血(hanadji), which I first thought to be chopsticks sprouting from their noses (pictured below).







Critics Up In Arms Over Doglegs

Sambo and Antithesis






Heath Cozen’s controversial documentary ‘Doglegs’ has already scooped up a ‘Best Director’ award at Fantastic Fest 2015, and continues to divide critics since making the rounds of International film festivals.       For the uninitiated, ‘Doglegs’ is an underground, radically-minded wrestling league formed by a group of physically and mentally disabled people and the volunteers […]