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Roland Kelts
For Roland Kelts's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Joel Vaudreuil's "When Adam Changes" won the grand prix at this year's Niigata International Animation Film Festival, the largest festival devoted to feature-length animation in Asia.
CULTURE / Film / CULTURE SMASH
Mar 28, 2024
Niigata film festival showcases cutting-edge overseas talent
The six-day event dedicated to feature-length animation presented a lineup of stories that were psychologically rich and emotionally dark.
“Blue Giant,” a feature-length anime movie that centers on young men in Tokyo who aspire to become jazz stars, was so successful in Japan and overseas that director Yuzuru Tachikawa was given an even bigger budget to re-edit the film for a second screening in theaters across Japan.
CULTURE / Film / CULTURE SMASH
Nov 23, 2023
Sleeper hit anime 'Blue Giant' gets an encore
The surprise success of the big-budget feature about jazz warranted a re-edited version and a second life in theaters.
Korean writer-director Kim Sung Hwan's "Iron Mask" took one of the two top awards at this year's Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BiFan) in South Korea.
CULTURE / Film / CULTURE SMASH
Aug 30, 2023
Does South Korea now have the edge over Japan when it comes to film?
While Korean cinema tackles universal topics, Japanese studios are content to navel-gaze.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film / CULTURE SMASH
Apr 20, 2023
New Niigata film festival brings out the big names in anime
Mamoru Oshii, Katsuhiro Otomo and Shinichiro Watanabe all attended last month’s Niigata International Animation Film Festival, which showcased 50 films from 16 countries.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film / 2022 in Review
Dec 22, 2022
Anime continued its dominance in 2022
Anime proved to be bankable content in chaotic times, with 'One Piece' and 'Dragon Ball' scoring big at the box office, while major streaming services expanded their anime offerings.
Japan Times
CULTURE / TV & Streaming / CULTURE SMASH
Oct 28, 2022
Indie studio Tonko House's coming-of-age story portrays a multiethnic Japan
Limited series 'Oni: Thunder God's Tale' combines stunning visuals and folklore with a rare depiction of a diverse society.
Japan Times
CULTURE / TV & Streaming / CULTURE SMASH
Nov 5, 2021
‘Blade Runner: Black Lotus’ reinvents neo-noir nods to Japan
The new anime series expands upon the dystopian world of Ridley Scott's 1982 live-action film, 'Black Runner.'
Japan Times
CULTURE / TV & Streaming
Apr 28, 2021
African samurai earns hero status in new anime ‘Yasuke’
Director LeSean Thomas brings the story of Yasuke, a real-life black samurai, to Netflix as 'a new kind of anime action hero.”
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film / 2020 in review
Dec 31, 2020
Virtual and victorious: Anime came out on top in 2020
In a year marred by industry-wide delays and cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, anime still managed to become more popular than ever thanks in part to streaming platforms.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music / CULTURE SMASH
Dec 10, 2020
Sibling duo Lastlings finds its musical muse in Japan
The half-Japanese, half-Australian siblings, who experienced relentless teasing while growing up in Australia, took refuge in music and created their own blend of electro-pop.
Japan Times
CULTURE / CULTURE SMASH
Sep 17, 2020
From the battlefield to manga to Zoom: A Kyushu samurai clan and its legendary warrior get an online outing
Sengan-en, the estate of a samurai clan, is going virtual in honor of the family's legendary warrior, Shimazu Toyohisa, and the manga modeled on him.
Japan Times
CULTURE
Sep 12, 2020
COVID-19 pandemic, and local politics, threaten the future of anime conventions
The coronavirus outbreak has altered the reality of mass gatherings worldwide, but canceling an event isn't something all organizers are in a position to do.
Japan Times
CULTURE / CULTURE SMASH
Jul 31, 2020
Soundtrack to Ghost of Tsushima stands out for its seamless blend of musical influences
The process of creating the perfect alchemy for Ghost of Tsushima's score took over two years and spanned three cities: Tokyo, Los Angeles and London.
Japan Times
CULTURE / CULTURE SMASH
Apr 4, 2020
Anime cons ‘will never be the same’ after the coronavirus
The spread of COVID-19 has caused many large-scale events to be cancelled, including a lot of anime fan conventions. The question now is, will these events survive to cosplay another day?
Japan Times
CULTURE / CULTURE SMASH
Mar 2, 2020
Anime's evolution in lands down under
For the past quarter century, fans of Japanese pop culture in Australia and New Zealand have been served almost exclusively by a single distributor: Madman.
Japan Times
CULTURE / CULTURE SMASH
Feb 3, 2020
GeeXPlus brings anime YouTubers to Japan
One Japanese major publisher and producer is seeking to capitalize on YouTube influencers with a highly unusual approach: inviting non-Japanese anime YouTubers to live and produce content within Tokyo.
Japan Times
CULTURE / CULTURE SMASH
Jan 6, 2020
When American country meets Japanese anime
The lineup of artists onstage at the Tokyo premiere of 'Sturgill Simpson Presents: Sound & Fury' was as eclectic as the film they'd all made: a 41-minute anime music video set to an entire album by the Grammy-winning Simpson.
Japan Times
CULTURE / CULTURE SMASH
Dec 2, 2019
Gkids brings anime's best to big screens in the U.S.
Though relatively unheralded, Gkids scored the rights to U.S. re-releases of the work of anime giants — including Isao Takahata and Makoto Shinkai — by only showing them in cinemas.
Japan Times
CULTURE / CULTURE SMASH
Nov 3, 2019
U.S. anime market matures in 2019
With collaboration between nations increasing, the U.S. is seeing new opportunities in its anime market
Japan Times
CULTURE / CULTURE SMASH
Aug 11, 2019
'Cannon Busters': Bending anime rules in all the right ways
When LeSean Thomas saw director Katsuhiro Otomo working through the night in a behind-the-scenes documentary of the anime 'Akira,' he thought: 'That's what I want to do.' Now, 20 years later, Thomas' 'Cannon Busters' is debuting on Netflix.

Longform

Yayoi Kusama’s “Pumpkin,” once the victim of high waves that dragged it into the sea, sits at the end of a pier on the south side of Naoshima.
Why is the most exciting art in Japan so hard to get to?