Ryotaro Aoki

For Ryotaro Aoki's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Review: Sugizo and Inoran at Zepp DiverCity

Jun 15, 2016

Review: Sugizo and Inoran at Zepp DiverCity

From superheroes to presidential elections, 2016 seems to be a year of infighting and rivalries. It has even trickled down into Japanese rock, as Sugizo and Inoran, the two guitarists from renowned rock act Luna Sea, went toe to toe with their respective solo ...

Hollywood takes its wisecracking hero seriously

May 25, 2016

Hollywood takes its wisecracking hero seriously

The opening credits of “Deadpool” begin with the words “Some Douchebag’s Film.” Maybe it was because of this self-deprecation that overseas audiences found the film refreshing. Especially since in another recent superhero blockbuster, a billionaire vigilante pontificates on morality using the “one percent doctrine” ...

Resistance is futile to Babymetal's ascent

| Apr 13, 2016

Resistance is futile to Babymetal's ascent

Babymetal — “Metal Resistance” (Toy’s Factory) Ever since Western metalheads got word of the existence of metal-idol trio Babymetal, questions regarding the group’s authenticity have come up. To anyone familiar with Japanese pop music, this isn’t an issue; like all idols, the trio is ...

Shonen Knife heads out on a new 'Adventure'

Mar 20, 2016

Shonen Knife heads out on a new 'Adventure'

Upon being reminded that this year marks rock band Shonen Knife’s 35th anniversary, singer and guitarist Naoko Yamano just smiles and shrugs. “It has been so many years now, I can’t keep count,” she says with a laugh. “Fixating on anniversaries isn’t very rock ...

Ningen Isu explores death, lust on new album

Jan 31, 2016

Ningen Isu explores death, lust on new album

When the members of hard rock band Ningen Isu left the stage at Ozzfest Japan in 2013, they thought that was it for their Ozzfest experience. Little did the “Japanese Black Sabbath” know, Ozzy Osbourne himself would soon be calling them back for an ...

Cairo breaks with its past for dreamy debut, 'Same as Before'

Jan 24, 2016

Cairo breaks with its past for dreamy debut, 'Same as Before'

While talking to the members of indie rock band Cairo, I can’t help but feel their sense of excitement. After all, this is their first interview ever. Explaining the ideas behind their debut album, “Same as Before,” the four guys, who are all in ...

Getting the year's first prayer in

Dec 24, 2015

Getting the year's first prayer in

Whether we are Buddhists, followers of Shintoism or atheists, the first thing many Japanese do on ganjitsu (New Year’s Day) is go to their local shrine or temple for hatsumōde, a symbolic first visit of the year. If it’s not done on Jan. 1, ...

Japanese 'Star Wars' fans get ready for a new adventure

Dec 17, 2015

Japanese 'Star Wars' fans get ready for a new adventure

It’s become a bit of trivia among “Star Wars” fans that creator George Lucas allegedly took inspiration from both the term jidai geki (historical drama) when creating the word “jedi” and Akira Kurosawa’s film “The Hidden Fortress.” Those aren’t the only Japanese references in ...