The <em>aidoru</em> industry seeks big bucks in numbers

| Jul 7, 2013

The aidoru industry seeks big bucks in numbers

by Kaori Shoji

They say that Japan is suffering from a major shōshika (少子化, plummeting birth rate) syndrome, but a cursory glance at the entertainment industry reveals a singular fact: The young people of this country are well and thriving, and huddled together in mass aidoru gurūpu ...

Voting for idols is bigger than politics

| Jul 1, 2013

Voting for idols is bigger than politics

by Minoru Matsutani

Elsewhere in the world, the kind of sōsenkyo (総選挙, general election) that fires up public interest and garners media attention is one where political parties compete for national office. In Japan, however, the sōsenkyo of aidoru gurūpu (アイドルグループ, idol group) AKB48 tends to grab ...

Thoughts of rice and Japanese men

| Jun 17, 2013

Thoughts of rice and Japanese men

by Kaori Shoji

If you’re like me or the men in my life, you probably broke down and wept for joy on June 4, when Japanese midfielder Keisuke Honda scored the goal that bagged Japan’s slot in the FIFA World Cup next year. At such sports events, ...

It ain't easy being a bilingual girl

| May 13, 2013

It ain't easy being a bilingual girl

by Kaori Shoji

This bilingual thing … they say that it’s a both curse and a blessing. Watakushigotode kyōshukudesuga (私事で恐縮ですが, A thousand pardons for having the gall to talk about myself), but I think of it more like a stigma. It’s not the same for millenials — ...

| Apr 22, 2013

Ways to 'spell' Japanese out loud

by Mark Schreiber

I dial a number and ask to speak to my literary agent, Mr. Suzuki. “Moshi-moshi. Suzuki Masatoshi-sama oraremasuka?” “Sumimasen ga, okyakusama wa?” Literally “Excuse me, as for the guest?” That is the speaker’s polite way of asking “Who should I say is calling?” “Shuraibā ...