News and Entertainment

Nihonjinron



Literally "theories/discussions about the Japanese"

Nihonjinron (日本人論) (literally "theories/discussions about the Japanese") is a genre of texts that focus on issues of Japanese national and cultural identity and how Japan and the Japanese should be understood. The literature is vast, ranging over such varied fields as sociology, psychology, anthropology, history, linguistics, philosophy, biology, chemistry and physics. Though published predominantly in Japan by Japanese, noted examples of the genre have also been penned by foreign scholars, journalists, and residents, and works from this genre have appeared in non-Japanese texts without the context of the trend of which it is a part in Japan.

The concept became popular after World War II, initially including books and articles aiming to analyze, explain, or explore peculiarities of Japanese culture and mentality, usually by comparison with those of Europe and the United States (though other Asian countries increasingly figure in recent works). Such texts share a general vision of what constitutes the uniqueness of Japan, and the term nihonjinron can be employed to refer to this outlook. One may also speak of books written by non-Japanese authors as nihonjinron, insofar as they share, contribute to, or reflect the vision, premises, and perspectives characteristic of the Japanese genre.

In addition to the common generic word nihonjinron, a variety of topical sub-genres exist, divided up by specific theme or subject-matter. For example:

shinfūdoron (新風土論): "new theories on climate" (implying the influence of climate on peoples)
nihonbunkaron (日本文化論): "theories on Japanese culture"
nihonshakairon (日本社会論): "theories on Japanese society"
nihonron (日本論): "theories on Japan"
nihonkeizairon (日本経済論) "theories on the Japanese economy"

According to a survey conducted by Nomura Research Institute (野村総合研究所), 698 books on nihonjinron were published in Japan between 1946 and 1978.


Okunoshima aka Rabbit Island



It’s an island covered in rabbits and possibly some buried containers of poison gas

In WWII, Okunoshima had a big ol’ poison gas factory. Now, it’s an island covered in rabbits (and possibly some buried containers of poison gas, but that’s just in case the rabbits grow intelligent, I’m sure). One theory is that after the war they were going to kill all the rabbits to help hide the evidence, but local youngsters let them all free before anyone could do that. Today, with a lack of predators and 50+ years of breeding time, there’s a rabbit infestation. Thankfully, tourists seem to like rabbits. It’s also home to a government-run hotel (very nice, I’ve been there), a museum, and some haikyo (ruins) if the rabbits aren’t doing it for you. If you like to feed rabbits, hang out on islands, and walk/bike around a lot, Okunoshima’s your very own rabbit paradise. Be warned, it’s gotten pretty popular in the years since I’ve been there, so grab a reservation to the hotel a few weeks in advance.


Entire Batman Manga by 8 Man's Jiro Kuwata Gets English Release



First ever complete English release slated for this year

Jiro Kuwata's 1960s Batman manga series will get a complete English release for the first time in both digital and print formats this year. DC Comics will first release a new chapter online each week beginning on Saturday. DC will then publish the complete run by the 8 Man manga artist in three volumes later this year. The manga will appear in its original right-to-left format.

The manga adaptation of DC Comics' popular American superhero ran in Shonengahosha's Weekly Shōnen King and Shōnen Gahō magazines from 1966 to 1967. Like the original comic, the manga recounts the adventures of the "World's Greatest Detective" and his sidekick Robin in Gotham City.

Chip Kidd designed and compiled Pantheon's Bat-Manga!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan, a 2008 book with translated selections of Kuwata's manga.

The series received its first Japanese book release via a three-volume set last year. Shogakukan Creative's new box has all 53 chapters of Kuwata's manga run, including the color pages from the magazine serialization. It also has Kuwata's essay on his Batman memories and commentary by manga critic Kōsei Ono.


Anime Expo Lists Urotsukidoji Creator Toshio Maeda



Schedule lists Maeda as holding two panels at the Los Angeles convention

Anime Expo's schedule reveals that manga creator Toshio Maeda (Urotsukidoji, La Blue Girl) will hold two panels at the July 3-6 event in Los Angeles. Maeda will host a panel on July 4 and July 5.

Maeda, a self-proclaimed "tentacle master," is considered one of the most influential erotic manga artists of the 1980s and 1990s. He writes hentai manga both for men and women. Many of his works, including Urotsukidoji, La Blue Girl, Demon Beast Invasion, and Adventure Kid, have received anime adaptations.

As a self-taught manga artist, Maeda began writing manga for adults to avoid the restrictions placed on manga for children. Maeda attended Anime Expo last year as well.

Anime Expo will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from from July 3-6. The convention will also host manga creator Eiji Ohtsuka, director Fuminori Kizaki, voice actor Masakazu Morita, voice actress Uki Satake, illustrator and manga artist Lunatic Joker, BONES studio president Masahiko Minami, novel and screenplay writer Gen Urobuchi, Japanese band Angela, video game producer Keiji Inafune, director Yutaka Yamamoto, the Sword Art Online II premiere with novelist Reki Kawahara and illustrator and character designer abec, the Kill la Kill dub and K: Missing Kings premiere, singer Eir Aoi, script writers Kazuki Nakashima and Yoshiki Sakurai, character designer SUSHIO, producer Yosuke Toba, voice actresses Ami Koshimizu and Ryoka Yuzuki, and Studio 4°C producer Eiko Tanaka.


Funimation Adds Free! Eternal Summer Anime



License includes streaming and home video rights

FUNimation Entertainment announced on Friday that it has acquired North American streaming and home video rights for Free! Eternal Summer, the second season of Kyoto Animation's Free! - Iwatobi Swim Club anime. The first episode will premiere on Funimation's streaming service on July 2 at 11:30 a.m. EDT and stream on Wednesdays.

The season will feature the new character Sōsuke Yamazaki, one of Rin's best friends from elementary school who understands him well. Yoshimasa Hosoya plays Sōsuke.

Free! Eternal Summer will also premiere in Japan on July 2. The group OLDCODEX returns to perform the opening theme song "Dried Up Youthful Fame" after performing the first season's opening theme. Similarly, the five main leads — Nobunaga Shimazaki as Haruka Nanase, Tatsuhisa Suzuki as Makoto Tachibana, Mamoru Miyano as Rin Matsuoka, Tsubasa Yonaga as Nagisa Hazuki, and Daisuke Hirakawa as Rei Ryugazaki — are singing the ending theme song "Future Fish."

Crunchyroll will also stream the series as it airs in Japan.


Daily Puzzle 1



Daily Puzzle! What anime is this from? Bonus point if you can name the episode.

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Mouth Opener



We’ve seen some pretty genius inventions from Japan, but every once in a while they come up with something so strange

Throughout the years, we’ve seen some pretty genius inventions from Japan, but every once in a while they come up with something so strange, so bizarre, you can’t help but ask yourself “what were they thinking?” The new Face Slimmer anti-aging mouthpiece is one of those things… The so-called face Slimmer was launched in Japan, late last year, by a well-known cosmetic company called Glim. It’s a weird-looking rubbery thing that looks a lot like the mouth of a blow-up doll, and it supposedly solves your sagging face problem while giving you that coveted duck-face look. You know, the one every “cool” teenager poses with in their Facebook photos. Now, unlike most other Japanese inventions, the Face Slimmer isn’t high-tech. In fact it’s as low tech as they come, all you have to do is put it in your mouth and start exercising your face muscles. Think of it as a squeeze punch for your mouth…

When photos of the Face Slimmer first appeared on the Internet, some Japanese media outlets took it as a gag, but when it started being listed on online stores like Japan Trend Shop, everyone stopped laughing. This thing isn’t cheap either, it costs a whopping $83. No thanks, I think I’ll cut off the mouth off my blow-up doll instead. Anyway, if you’re curious about how it’s used, Glim has released some photos with the Face Slimmer in action, along with some instructions, like trying to repeat out loud the Japanese vowel sounds – “a i u e o” 『あ い う え お』 for at least three minutes a day, everyday for the rest of one’s life. It will make the wrinkles around your eyes go away, and improve the look of your face…

Looking at all these ridiculous photos, so many mean and vulgar comments come to mind, but I think I’ll let you guys do the commenting.