Roland Kelts

For Roland Kelts's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Anime tourism invites overseas fans to join festivities

| Oct 22, 2017

Anime tourism invites overseas fans to join festivities

Yuwaku Onsen is a 1,300-year-old hot-springs resort tucked between mountains along the Asano River south of Kanazawa. Ten mid-size traditional inns line its slim main street, leading to a small hillside shrine and a man-made pond. Earlier this month, I shuffled behind a procession of ...

IOEA: The grass-roots gospel of otaku culture

| Sep 24, 2017

IOEA: The grass-roots gospel of otaku culture

The International Otaku Expo Association (IOEA) could be the title of one of those self-referential, po-mo anime shows that is as much about fandom as it is made for fans (think "Genshiken," an entire series about a college otaku fan club). But it's the ...

Crunchyroll takes anime to a live level

| Jul 23, 2017

Crunchyroll takes anime to a live level

Summer is high season for live celebrations of Japan's pop culture exports. The two largest events in the West, Japan Expo in Paris and Anime Expo in LA, drew hundreds of thousands earlier this month. August will see the U.S. East Coast's biggest anime ...

Director Sunao Katabuchi shares his corner of this world

| Jun 25, 2017

Director Sunao Katabuchi shares his corner of this world

Last summer saw the release of what would become the highest grossing Japanese animation film to date, Makoto Shinkai's "Your Name.," which was also the country's top box-office draw of 2016. The surprise hit's main characters are a pair of body-swapping teenagers. A survey ...

Anime gives Japanese bands a new route to potential fans

| Apr 23, 2017

Anime gives Japanese bands a new route to potential fans

"Retro" was the theme at this year's Anime Boston, the largest anime convention in the Northeastern United States, and that idea extended to the event's featured musical acts: veteran pop duo Puffy AmiYumi and 1960s-styled rock quartet Okamoto's. "The only other time we played in ...

Breaking the comic book glass ceiling

| Mar 18, 2017

Breaking the comic book glass ceiling

Four years ago, Chinese-American writer Marjorie Liu had a simple but persistent idea: create an epic fantasy comic book series about a classic Japanese kaijū (strange beast) movie monster that has a connection to a girl. She knew it should take place entirely in Asia, ...

Japanese folklore meets anime in Kyoto

| Jan 21, 2017

Japanese folklore meets anime in Kyoto

The colors were jarring. Beneath the vermillion torii gates of Kyoto's Shimogamo Shrine and surrounded by the olive broadleaves of Tadasu Forest was a pool of furry, bright yellow ponchos, decorated with the brown facial features, rounded ears and bulbous oblong tails of the ...

Anime discovers a rural outpost

| Jul 16, 2016

Anime discovers a rural outpost

For the past few years, the beginning of July has found me on a flight from Tokyo to Los Angeles to attend Anime Expo (AX), the largest annual North American convention devoted to Japanese popular culture, and its related industry-only event, Project Anime (PA). ...

Drawing on the past of Osamu Tezuka

| Jun 18, 2016

Drawing on the past of Osamu Tezuka

In 1977, American author and translator Frederik L. Schodt and three friends formed a manga-translation group in Tokyo, with the then-quixotic dream of introducing Japanese comics to a global readership. Schodt had arrived in Japan in 1965, courtesy of a father in the United ...

Viz's 30 years pack a punch in the U.S.

| May 14, 2016

Viz's 30 years pack a punch in the U.S.

This summer, Viz Media, LLC, North America's first-ever distributor of Japanese popular culture, turns 30. Founded in 1986 by the intrepid Seiji Horibuchi, who has since moved on to other projects, the company is now housed in the so-called Twitter building in downtown San ...