Japan's cult brands get into character

Feb 27, 2016

Japan's cult brands get into character

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When the topic turns to “Cool Japan” and the various related efforts to capitalize on Japan’s indubitable cultural capital internationally, commendation — or more frequently the lack thereof — is easy to come by. The question of how Japan markets its own culture domestically, ...

Japanese pop culture expert dies in railway fall

Dec 4, 2015

Japanese pop culture expert dies in railway fall

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 ...

AKB48 turns to an American studio

| Aug 15, 2015

AKB48 turns to an American studio

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AKB48’s  commercial success in Japan is often derided as a sign of the culture’s patriarchal infantilization of women, and the girl group’s inability to appeal to Western audiences a sign of Japan’s increasingly isolated ideas about femininity, sexuality and pop music. Put simply: outside ...

Project Anime asks the right questions

| Jul 18, 2015

Project Anime asks the right questions

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More than 90,000 attended the 24th annual Anime Expo (AX), North America’s largest Japanese pop culture convention, held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from July 2 to 5. The four-day event featured a concert by idol group Momoiro Clover Z, who were joined ...

Can #socialmedia boost music sales in Japan?

| Jun 20, 2015

Can #socialmedia boost music sales in Japan?

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Last week, Line Corp.’s, the operators of Japan’s most popular messaging app, launched an in-app music streaming service called Line Music. Japan is the second-largest music market in the world after the United States, but its consumers have so far been global outliers, clinging ...

'Kawaii: Cute Girls in Ukiyo-e'

Feb 19, 2015

'Kawaii: Cute Girls in Ukiyo-e'

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March 1-26 Girl’s fashion in Tokyo’s Harajuku district has become a notable symbol of contemporary Japanese kawaii (cute) culture. However, it may come as a surprise to find out that the roots of kawaii trends are far older. On show at Ukiyo-e Ota Memorial ...

Retailer gets 'cute' with Singapore

Feb 18, 2014

Retailer gets 'cute' with Singapore

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Japanese fashion brand and retailer Satisfaction Guaranteed has launched the sale of “kawaii,” or cute, merchandise usually associated with Japan, through high-tech digital vending machines in Singapore. “Singapore will . . . be the first country outside of Japan to have this intelligent digital ...