Roland Kelts

For Roland Kelts's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Anime discovers a rural outpost

| Jul 16, 2016

Anime discovers a rural outpost

For the past few years, the beginning of July has found me on a flight from Tokyo to Los Angeles to attend Anime Expo (AX), the largest annual North American convention devoted to Japanese popular culture, and its related industry-only event, Project Anime (PA). ...

Drawing on the past of Osamu Tezuka

| Jun 18, 2016

Drawing on the past of Osamu Tezuka

In 1977, American author and translator Frederik L. Schodt and three friends formed a manga-translation group in Tokyo, with the then-quixotic dream of introducing Japanese comics to a global readership. Schodt had arrived in Japan in 1965, courtesy of a father in the United ...

Viz's 30 years pack a punch in the U.S.

| May 14, 2016

Viz's 30 years pack a punch in the U.S.

This summer, Viz Media, LLC, North America’s first-ever distributor of Japanese popular culture, turns 30. Founded in 1986 by the intrepid Seiji Horibuchi, who has since moved on to other projects, the company is now housed in the so-called Twitter building in downtown San ...

Anime biz sings the praises of shows

| Apr 16, 2016

Anime biz sings the praises of shows

The first time I attended AnimeJapan, the industry’s annual spring showcase in Odaiba, Tokyo, it was called the Tokyo International Anime Fair. Members of the public couldn’t enter during the first two days, amateur cosplay (costume play) was prohibited, and while there were some ...

From Cool Britannia to True Britannia

| Mar 19, 2016

From Cool Britannia to True Britannia

In Japan, Western culture usually means American products: hot dogs, hamburgers, Starbucks and Krispy Kreme donuts, and recent boutique outlets like Blue Bottle Coffee and the Dominique Ansel bakery — not to mention the nearly 50,000 United States military personnel still stationed across the ...

CG gains a 'real' foothold in anime

| Feb 20, 2016

CG gains a 'real' foothold in anime

Japanese audiences have long responded tepidly to the use of extensive computer graphics (CG) in anime. Even as CG has become the global standard for animation studios, anime fans prefer their homegrown artists to stick to labor-intensive 2-D illustration techniques and cel animation — ...

Online streaming keeps anime afloat

| Jan 16, 2016

Online streaming keeps anime afloat

Last week in California, I caught up with some of the chief purveyors of Japanese popular culture in the United States and elsewhere in the world. It became rapidly clear that 2016 won’t be at all like 2015 — or any other year before ...

Hatsune Miku: the 'nonexistent' pop star

| Dec 19, 2015

Hatsune Miku: the 'nonexistent' pop star

My 2015 kicked off with a January concert by Hatsune Miku, Japan’s digital pop star, in Las Vegas. It is winding down with a visit to Miku’s creator, Hiroyuki Itoh, at his company’s head office in Sapporo, Hokkaido. I’ve long learned to temper my ...

Get the goods on manga and anime

| Nov 14, 2015

Get the goods on manga and anime

Back in the Stone Age of streaming media, the most notorious and popular of pirate anime websites suddenly went legit. In January 2009, after securing distribution agreements with Japanese studios, and a licensing deal with TV Tokyo that included episodes of the global hit ...

Localization: Has Japan lost the plot?

| Oct 17, 2015

Localization: Has Japan lost the plot?

Japan once ruled and defined the global gaming industry. In the arcade age, Japanese developers gave us “Pac-Man,” “Space Invaders” and “Donkey Kong.” In the era of physical consoles: “Metal Gear Solid,” “Snatcher,” “Final Fantasy” and “Silent Hill.” Japan’s creative use of technology, physical ...