Japanese pop culture expert dies in railway fall

Kyodo, Staff Report

Takamasa Sakurai, a leading evangelist of Japanese anime, fashion and music abroad, was fatally hit by a train early Friday after falling from a platform at Nishi-Nippori Station in Tokyo, police said.

Police said the incident occurred on the JR Keihin Tohoku Line at around 12:30 a.m. They suspect Sakurai, 49, was intoxicated when he fell onto the tracks  Several people reportedly witnessed him walking unsteadily.

Sakurai was skilled in promoting Japanese anime and fashion as methods of cultural exchange. He also wrote books about the nation’s pop culture, including “Sekai Kawaii Kakumei” (“World Cuteness Revolution”).

He was also the co-founder of the Foreign Ministry’s “Kawaii Ambassador” project, launched in 2009.