Write Hard To Live Free: Happy Year Of The (Watch)Dog! 番犬報道の年ですよ!謹賀新年

 Today marks the start of The Year Of The Dog. I like dogs and I like them because I think journalists should be the guard dogs of a free society. We bark, we bite, we protect democracy and the public right to know. That’s our duty. ワンワン. If you’re a lapdog for the powers that be, like executives at Fox News or News Corporation, journalism may be a rewarding and easy job. Being a free-lance foreign correspondent and investigative... Read More

Hey, Baby? You’re fired, don’t come back. Maternity Harassment (MATAHARA) and The Working Woman in Japan

Fighting Against Maternity Harassment is a grass roots effort   Working at one of Japan’s megabanks, a workplace notorious for old-fashioned male attitudes, it wasn’t uncommon for Mrs X to be told, “Don’t you dare get pregnant!” or “If you get pregnant, we won’t give you any work!” from her colleagues.* It was then that she became pregnant from her long-term partner. Unmarried unsure of how her workplace would react, she consulted... Read More

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

The current Japanese government put out a comic book encouraging their platform for revising Japan’s “Peace Constitution” but beneath the cuteness is a return to Japanese pre-war fascist ideology. This is a parody version of one scene from the actual manga. 😉 Rich Nation, Strong Army: Japanese Militarism Redux War clouds threaten northeast Asia. One state within the region continues to raise its military spending to record... Read More

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

The Face and Lip Mask Haul 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... Read More

Celebrate Japanese Cinema Day: 映画の日! Ninja! Yakuza! Cyborgs! Reviews!

Since 1956, Japan’s film industry has set aside a day to celebrate the birth of cinema in this country. December 1st, 2016, marks the 60th anniversary. The holiday is also known a 映画の日 (eiga no hi). The first showing of a film is generally considered to have happened in 1896 in Kobe, 19 years before Japan’s largest yakuza group, the Yamaguchi-gumi (still going strong) was founded in the same area. Here are some links to articles... Read More

Let’s Convenience Store! The Musical: コンビニへ行こう!

In honour of Japan’s Celebration of Cinema Day, December 1st, we’ve reposted some reviews and articles on classic films. Some good, some bad, some epic. Here is small film classic written up By Amy Seaman, JSRC Senior Cross-over Pop-Culture Editor, Hair Coloring Expert  What’s not to like about a Japanese love song that is dedicated to konbini and the people who staff them, that consists of a handful of exchange students kanpai’ing... Read More

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

In honour of Japan’s Celebration of Cinema Day, December 1st, we’ve reposted some reviews and articles on classic films. Some good, some bad, some epic. AVN: Aliens Versus Ninja (エイリアンvs 忍者)released in 2010 is a camp classic for both lovers of Alien films and Ninja films. I was delighted to find that the super-deluxe release of AVN included on the second disc a 15 minute short-film エイリアン Vs 極道 (Alien Versus... Read More

The Hardest Men In Town: Chronicles of Sin, Sex, Violence and 1975 classic gangster film THE YAKUZA

In honour of Japan’s Celebration of Cinema Day, December 1st, we’ve reposted some reviews and articles on classic films. Some good, some bad, some epic.This was originally posted on March 10th 2011. (Wow, who would have guessed what would happen a day later.) It has been reposted to commemorate the passing of yakuza movie icon, Ken Takakura, on November 10th 2014.  Today, March 9th, began the first day of the Globus Film Series, Hardest... Read More

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

In honour of Japan’s Celebration of Cinema Day, December 1st, we’ve reposted some reviews and articles on classic films. Some good, some bad, some epic. Coming soon, our article about the Hollywood remake.    In my mind, anime can be categorized into two varieties: action-based/artistic ones, and teenage school kid soap operas. The former is what western critics typically consider to be “good”, anime like The Cat... Read More

Yakuza University: It’s a hard knock education

The underworld has its own language, and its own idioms. Higher education for many yakuza begins in jail. Yakuza are not the exception to the rule. For example, instead of saying “going to jail” (刑務所に行く: keimusho ni iku), they say “going to university” (大学に行く : daigaku ni iku). This phrase has a special meaning and is not used randomly. First, yakuza consider that jail is informative, a required kind of rite of passage... Read More

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