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Japan Subculture Research Center

A guide to the Japanese underworld, Japanese pop-culture, yakuza and everything dark under the sun.

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  • O-bon: Festival of The Dead or “Please Feed The Hungry Ghosts”

O-bon: Festival of The Dead or “Please Feed The Hungry Ghosts”

The "bon" in O-bon (盆) itself refers to the vessels (plates, bowls, tupperware etc) in which offerings are placed for the spirits of the deceased. The physical bowl has come…

“Tibet is one of the biggest prisons in the world” Filmmaker Exiled by China Speaks Out in Tokyo

By Henry Rogers Between 2007 and 2008, Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen traveled around Tibet, interviewing Tibetans about their plight against neighboring China. The resulting film, Leaving Fear Behind, was pivotal…

Review: Teach me Enma-sama

In the children’s picture book Teach me Enma-sama, written and illustrated by Hiromi Tanaka, Enma who is the King of Hell in Buddhist mythology teaches children how to behave in…

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

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…