Apr 18, 2019
Last week, Japanese talent agency Yoshimoto Kogyo and South Korea's CJ E&M announced a new talent competition TV show for Japan, set to debut later this year. And it's not just another program to fill up the back end of 2019, but will be a test case to see if the traditional power structures of male idol music in Japan can be shaken.
Mar 7, 2019
Going to Bangalore, a city of more than 10 million people in India's south, to spend five days watching movies is not the sort of thing I usually do. Which is exactly why I agreed to serve on a jury for the Network for Promotion of Asia Pacific Cinema (NETPAC) at the 11th Bengaluru International Film Festival (Feb. 21-28). Focusing on Japanese films as a reviewer, reporter and programmer has its advantages, but cinematic diversity isn't one of them. Bangalore was a chance to step out of my bubble.
Feb 21, 2019
Feb 14, 2019
Jan 31, 2019
The Queen biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody" is still doing big business in Japan, long after its November release. The movie recently crossed the ¥10 billion mark here, and its impact stretches well beyond box-office stats. Songs from the British band have taken up residence on streaming charts, while affection for the film has been prominent on TV variety and chat shows.
Jan 24, 2019
Over the past few years, there has been more mainstream recognition of the idea that discourse is better served when it is expanded outside the sole realm of heterosexual, white, cisgender men. That's true of major forums, and no less true when it comes to niche media, including the world of anime fandom.
Jan 17, 2019
Marie Kondo is the type of person you wouldn't initially expect lots of people to go crazy over. In the cleaning consultant and best-selling author's new Netflix show, "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo," she simply lays out the basics of her "KonMari" method of organizing homes — guided by the idea of finding items that "spark joy" in the owner — while also teaching the best way to fold socks and neckties.
Jan 10, 2019
When looking forward to the coming year in anime, it may be helpful to jump in the time machine and hop back to 2016. That's the year Japan was hit with a flood of smash original anime films, including the sleeper hit "In This Corner of the World" and Makoto Shinkai's "Your Name." By the time 2016 was over, the latter had become the highest-grossing Japanese film of all time worldwide.
Dec 13, 2018
Nov 8, 2018
Oct 18, 2018
An Aug. 16 episode of Tokyo MX's variety show "Hirukyun!" found comedian Ken Horiuchi (better known as Horiken) joining the hosts in the studio. Over the course of his stay, he launched the other TV talent and stage hands into a wall of cardboard boxes, before throwing some at people too (including staff who presumably had nothing to do with the bit). Later, Horiuchi picked up Minami Tanaka and Ahn Mika to perform "cleaning," which involved swinging them by the legs so that their hair worked like a broom or a mop.
Oct 3, 2018
In the 1960s Koji Wakamatsu was Japanese cinema's enfant terrible: A real-life outlaw — he once joined a yakuza gang and served time in prison — he made pioneering "pink" (softcore porn) films such as "The Embryo Hunts in Secret" (1966) and "Go, Go, Second Time Virgin" (1969), whose extreme sex and violence, filmed with raw energy and wild invention, gave censors and industry guardians conniption fits.
Sep 27, 2018
Sep 20, 2018
Jul 14, 2018
A few months ago, I proposed to the editors at The Japan Times that we do a piece paying tribute to the classic cyberpunk anime film "Akira," which turns 30 years old on July 16. They were enthusiastic and the pitch ballooned (not unlike Tetsuo in the film's final scene) from a single article to an "Akira"-themed weekend to an entire Akira Week (or rather, #AkiraWeek).
Jul 5, 2018
Television has long been my connection to home. White Walkers ushering in an apocalyptic winter, Cold War sleeper agents going rogue, robots running amok in an Old West theme park — all of these have but a passing resemblance to my former life in New York. However, beyond mere entertainment, the act of watching in the moment puts me back in sync with millions of fellow viewers back home.