Minna-san, yokoso! (Welcome, everyone!)
Shizuko desu! (It’s Shizuko!) ☆ﾐ(o*･ω･)ﾉ
Today, I will be telling you about what a typical man and woman in their late teens to early twenties of the middle class from Japan look like! The info about the women and men are mostly from my personal experience and preferences from asking other people my age. However, the statistical information is about 17 year olds at the most because it’s the latest age that they had stats on. There’s not much difference in terms of height to their twenties, so I will be using them.
The typical 17 year old Japanese male is around 170.9 cm – 171.3 cm tall and weighs around 62.3 kg – 63.5 kg. The typical 17 year old Japanese female is around 157.1 cm – 159 cm tall and weighs around 52.2 kg – 53 kg. (e-Stat, 2011)
Please take a look at the average height of Japanese people by looking at the graph below.
Here is an average Japanese male compared to average males from other countries such as a France, Netherlands, and USA in height, BMI (Body Mass Index), and waist size. You’ll notice that out of the four, he has the lowest height, BMI, and waist count.
The Japanese man is the shortest of the four, but as a Japanese woman I don’t mind. Since, if he were around 180 cm – 190 cm, I’d have a height complex because I’d look very short standing next to him when we went out walking.
As well, compared to the rest of the world we are quite slim. If you’ll look again at the image above, the average Japanese man’s waist size is slimmer than the average American man’s waist size by 16.1 cm. Japan is ranked number 6 in the Top 10 Countries with the Lowest Obesity Rates.
The numbers represent the percentage of the adult population that is obese.
|7. Korea, South||3.20|
Meal and Eating Habits
The habit of three meals a day and one or two defined snacks has not yet given way to 24/7 grazing as it has in the United States.
Japanese meals look bigger than they are, with many small items distributed among several small plates and bowls, taking up every square inch of the table. This serves to make less food seem more satisfying.
Most Japanese fill up on white rice during a meal. You can certainly get fat eating a lot of rice, but it seems that rice may contribute to eating less of more fattening items, like fried foods.
Beverages are not consumed in large volumes with meals. This includes non-caloric beverages, which are used to “wash down” more food by Americans. And unsweetened tea is the most commonly drunk beverage.
Desserts are not always eaten. Sweets are eaten less often. Many Japanese are genuinely grossed out by foods that are too sweet, and Japanese confections like melon pan seem dry, bland, and unsweet to many Americans. Fruit in Japan is not grown for shippability or long-term storage and is better tasting than in the United States, so it’s more credible as a dessert or sweet treat than it would be in the United States.
Environmental Factors: Work, Transportation, Housing
Japan’s population is very concentrated in cities, and Japanese commute to work by train and subways in many cases, which means they walk or bicycle to the station and back.
Japanese are self-conscious about and avoid eating while walking or on public transportation, although eating on buses, trains, and subways is not prohibited.
Work hours are long, and company culture is not such that you can chow down during the work day at the office.
Environment and Movement in Daily Life
As Maki said, there is more opportunity to move. This is partly because Japan has more stairs that you can’t avoid. Escalators are increasing in number, but they are still less common than in the United States. Elevators are often hidden away and slow. To put it bluntly, Japan is less “accessible” as the United States.
At first glance this seems like a problem to visiting Americans when they see an 80-year-old woman struggling up the stairs to get over the train tracks to the other side of the station to do her shopping. But what those Americans might not be considering is that the same 80-year-old woman in the United States would likely be institutionalized and incapable of walking, because she wasn’t forced to walk each and every day throughout her life.
Clothing Size &
Japanese have a really hard time buying clothes if they gain too much weight. For instance, T-Shirt sizes at Uniqlo don’t go above an “LL,” which is similar to a tight Large in the United States, and many outlets will only stock up to “L.”
Bench seats for public transportation like buses, trains and subways are often molded in 1-person widths or have grab posts aligned to divide them in 2- or 3-person widths, so if you take up more than your allotted space, everyone around you knows it, and they know you are preventing someone else from sitting down.
Especially among the older generation, dark skin is considered ugly and lower class, and pale white skin is considered beautiful and an expression of sensitivity and cultivation. Many women walk around with “sun umbrellas” in the summer so they don’t get tan. Umbrellas treated with chemicals sell for up to $350, and special attachments can be purchased so women can an attach their umbrellas to their bicycles. Hats, gloves and arm coverings that protect women from the sun are widely available in Japan.
Cosmetic stores sell a variety of cleansers, moisturizers and foundations aimed at generating bihaku (“beautiful white”) skin. Some clinics offer special skin-peeling procedures that whiten the skin through laser treatments and application of ultra-cold liquid nitrogen or acid.
When It Started:
Many Japanese young men and women began dying their hair reddish blond in the mid 1960s to achieve an effect that Japanese surfers get from a summer of hanging out in the sun. (Facts And Details, 2013)
The image below is from 2000, because I couldn’t find an image from the 1960s. But the hairstyle and color is pretty much the same.
Around 60 percent of the women in Japan dye their hair. Some dye their hair black to cover gray but most dye their hair burgundy, auburn, chestnut, blond and various shades of brown at least partly so they have something other than the jet black hair like all Asian females are born with. In 2000, more 30 million kilograms of hair dye was sold in Japan. That works out more than half a kilogram for every Japanese woman over the age of 15.
(Facts And Details, 2013)
School Hair Restrictions
(Pictured below is the required school hair color for students.)
The issue of whether students and employees should be allowed to color their hair has become an issue at many schools (mostly excluding colleges) and companies. On a visit to Japan in the early 2000s, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohammed sharply criticized young Japanese for looking different. “Japanese youths want to be blonds, work less and play more. The traditional Japanese and Eastern culture is being discarded and replaced with Western culture with disregard for filial piety and discipline.”
For example, at one middle school in Kitakyushu filmed by the Japanese television station News Zero a principal greeted students at the gate and directed those with tinted hair to a designated area where a teacher spray painted their hair black. Video showed students covering their face and eyes while they were being spray painted.
(Facts and Details, 2013)
Double Eyelids (“futae mabuta”)
Rhiannon Thomas further states: ‘Although double eyelids are coveted throughout East Asia, the trend of ‘correcting’ different eyes via a surgery called blepharoplasty began in Japan. Since the procedure was invented in the 1970s, it has rapidly gained popularity. Although it is not as popular in Japan as it is in South Korea, where the surgery is almost treated as a rite of passage for high school girls, it is now the most common cosmetic procedure performed in Japan. It is most popular with female high school and college students.’
(Anime Picks, 2012)
To explain in layman’s terms what a ‘double eyelid’ is, basically you create a visible crease between a person’s eye and their eyebrow. This is a natural feature on most non-Asian eyelids. However, you would never guess this from watching Japanese television or flicking through magazines, as almost every female star appears to possess these wide eyes and they even draw characters with these manmade eyes in their mangas.
(Anime Picks, 2012)
(Pictured below is instructions on how to make a double eyelid from a Japanese fashion magazine.)
This image is originally from the website ‘Face Research’ (faceresearch.org), but I don’t have the url of the image, so I put the source as randomwire since the image was used in a post, and I did originally find it there. The author just put the source as the website name.
Comparing the Faces of Various Countries
The image shows the composite ‘average’ face of women around the world from faceresearch.org.
Differentiating Between Chinese, Korean, and Japanese People – The Minorities Found in Japan
Japanese 98.5%, Koreans 0.5%, Chinese 0.4%, other 0.6%
It is extremely difficult to differentiate the eyes of closely related Asian countries such as Japan and China. This is mainly because they stem from the same geographic location and hence have faced similar anthropological differences. Due to this, they have developed and evolved similar characteristics, which have helped them over the years. An example of this would include the eyes.
All Asians, including Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, etc., are considered to have smaller eyes than the Western population. However, this is not the case. Asians eyes are the same sizes as the rest of the human population, but they appear to be smaller due to their slanted shapes. There is a reason as to how and why Asians have developed slanted eyes.
(Difference Between, 2013)
Why are Asian eyes that shape and size? The Science Behind It:
In Asia, the weather can reach extreme conditions due to the wind and cold. The slanted eyes and the single eyelids are an evolutionary response to this kind of weather. Single eyelids are when the eyes do not have an epicanthic fold; hence they do not have the characteristic fold in the eyelids.
When one is out on a really windy day, we tend to squint, or half close our eyes instinctively in order to protect our eyes from the wind and the flying debris. We do the same to protect ourselves from bright sunlight reflecting on the snow. That is what the slanted eyes and the single eyelids do for the Asians, just biologically, instead of instinctively. The lack of the epicanthic fold allows the eyelid to cover the innermost part of the eye, in order to give maximum protection. However, unlike some racial slurs indicate, this does not affect their eyesight in the least.
The problem with differentiating between Japanese and Chinese eyes is that both nationalities have these features. Also, while we may differentiate them according to country borders, nature does not. They have evolved similarly and hence differences among the eyes cannot be generalized to the entire Chinese and Japanese denominations.
(Difference Between, 2013)
Still, one may argue that since Japan is an island and the population was limited to the island for millennia, they may have some differences as compared to the Chinese. While this statement is correct, another problem arises: China is a very big country with numerous languages and sub-races. Due to this, Chinese appearance has become much diversified and hence cannot be generalized in order to be compared. Furthermore, China has vastly influenced Japan. Many Chinese have immigrated to Japan, introducing Buddhism as well as interbreeding with the Japanese. This has further adding confusion to their generic appearances.
However, if one must differentiate, one can probably claim that the Japanese face is generally longer and/or more oval and wider than the Chinese face. Hence, Japanese eyes tend to appear wider. Most Japanese women have single eyelids. Also, Japanese eyes tend to be angled upwards a little.
Chinese tend to have round-shaped faces, while, typical Chinese eyes tend to have angled somewhat downwards. However, a number of Chinese eyes tend to be angled upwards, as well. This is why it is extremely hard to differentiate or generalize an ethnic look.
(Difference Between, 2013)
Average Physical Features
(In the picture below from left to right: Chinese, Korean, Japanese.)
Japanese face is generally longer and/or more oval and wider than the Chinese face. Hence, Japanese eyes tend to appear wider. Most Japanese women have single eyelids. Also, Japanese eyes tend to be angled upwards a little. (Difference Between, 2013) Unlike the Koreans and Chinese, the Japanese tend to have a much more ovoid and longer facial features and characterized with larger and wider eyes and more pronounced noses. Aside from that, the Japanese women have their distinctive fashion styles that are emulated by other people. (Istoryadista, 2011)
The Koreans have a much flatter face than their East Asian counterparts with squarer cheek bones and smaller eyes with single eyelids. Aside from that, some Koreans have undergonecosmetic surgeries to gain a much more “Caucasian” features. (Istoryadista, 2011)
Chinese tend to have round-shaped faces, while, typical Chinese eyes tend to have angled somewhat downwards. However, a number of Chinese eyes tend to be angled upwards, as well. (Difference Between, 2013) When you talk about Chinese, you may be referring to the Han Chinese. They are the major Chinese ethnic group with a population of more than one billion. When compared to the Koreans and Japanese, the Chinese generally have rounder faces. Being a large country, China is multi-ethnic as it is also composed by other groups of people that includes the Tibetans and Mongolians. (Istoryadista, 2011)
Androgynous or Macho Preference
A study in the June 1999 issue of Nature found that Japanese women prefer men with masculine features when the are ovulating and men with softer features when they are less fertile. (Facts and Details, 2013)
Sumo wrestlers have traditionally been considered sexy in Japan. They often have beautiful wives, legions of screaming schoolgirl fans, and generally fit the Japan stereotype of the strong and silent type. (Facts and Details, 2013)
(Pictured below is Takayasu Akira, a half Japanese half Filipino sumo wrestler star with his Filipina mother Bebelita Reblingca Bernadas, but I am using this picture mainly for illustrative purpose. Besides, his mother is proud of him for “making them and bringing honor to Filipinos around the world”. So she is a female fan. As well, just counting in the city of Tsuchiura, his fan club has 3,000 members.
Well, just in case you’re gonna say to use another image… Here’s an image of top Bulgarian sumo wrestler Kotooshu (Japanese name) with his wife Asako Ando.
The ideal male for many Japanese females is often not a stoic, stubble-cheeked masculine man like those favored in the West but rather is smooth-skinned, slender androgynous boy with an elaborate dyed hair. One student told Reuters, “Girls’s like guys to bekawaii”—cute. For example, the androgynous-looking singer-actor Takuya Kimura, or Kimitaku, of the J-Pop group Smap, routinely tops popularity polls among women and was named the most popular male talent eight years in a row. (Facts and Details, 2013)
In the July issue of Japanese men’s fashion magazine Men’s Non-No, there’s an article on the new wave of guys that are becoming popular among Japanese women. It’s been a while since condiments are used as references to describe the facial features of men in Japan, and the article now says that”Salt-face guys” are on the rise.
The term “Sauce-face men” was made popular in the late 1980s, referring to men with strong and more defined facial features that are less Japanese who were considered handsome at that time. “Sauce” in this context is Tonkatsu sauce, which is a mixture of many ingredients with a strong flavor.
Abe Hiroshi is considered a perfect example of “Sauce-faced” man. In manga and anime, anything Jojo can be counted as “Sauce-faced” characters. In fact, most actors who made it in the live-action movie of Thermae Romae are considered “Sauce-faced men” and they are always picked for roles when fans talk about possible live-action Jojo casting.
Then comes the “Soy sauce-faced men”. Mukai Osamu (Paradise Kiss live-action movie) is a good example of such faces that have milder facial features compared to “Sauce-faced men”. Soy sauce is considered to go with any food by helping the natural flavor of the food come out through the sauce. In anime, Gintoki from Gintama is a good candidate for “Soy sauce-face”.
And now, Japanese women are craving “Salt-faced men”, according to Japanese magazines. This image from Junon last year first introduced the definition of “Salt-faced men” that not only talks about the facial features, but the lifestyle of such men.
Salt-faced men are:
– Stylish with un-styled hair
– Single fold or double fold eyelids that are folded at the back
– Their pants are not too tight but not too loose on their thin frame
– Defined adam’s apple and collar bones
– Look good in u-neck or v-neck solid color t-shirt
– Wear cardigans and tend to be pale
– Look better with glasses with thick black frames
– When they smile, their eyes turn into to just lines on their faces
With that in consideration, here is a Salt-faced anime character.
Ichimaru Gin from Bleach
Reasons Men Want to Look Good
A spokesman for Shisedo said young men today have few fixed concepts about manliness. According to one survey, 30 percent of 177 young men interviewed in the Tokyo said it was “all right” for men to wear make up. Only 30 percent said they were “somewhat opposed” to men wearing make up.
Yoko Shimada, a sociologist at Hosei University, told the Yomiuri Shimbun, “The era when men were expected just to earn money and not care about their appearance is over…Today’s women expect men to be sensitive, clean and sexy rather than wealthy. Men are expected to look after their own health and nutrition as well. I think beautiful men are symbol’s of these women’s preferences.”
A survey by the Shiseido cosmetics company concluded that Japanese men born between 1971 and 1974 “have a strong tendency towards narcissism.” About 58 percent of the men surveyed said they wanted to look good for personal satisfaction and only 16 percent said they did it to attract women.
“Men’s cosmetics are also popular. In February, Rohto Pharmaceutical Co. released the Oxy White Series skin lotion and serum. The products contain an ingredient that increases the skin’s ability to absorb vitamin C.. “Many men say they want to have smooth skin just like popular actors,” a Rohto spokesperson said. [Ibid]
(Pictured above is an advertisement from Aoyama for men’s job hunting suits.)
“Hotel Niwa Tokyo in Chiyoda Ward introduced an aesthetic plan for men in 2010. Customers can receive face and body massages in a hotel room, with prices starting at 22,000 yen. The hotel said it regularly receives reservations from new customers, mainly salespeople, every month. Mitsubishi Research Institute, Inc.’s head researcher Toshihiko Kataoka said, “The idea of ‘manly’ has changed over years, and more people today consider smooth, un-tanned skin as cool and smart. “They may believe that having smooth skin is an advantage in love, job-hunting and business activities,” Kataoka added. [Ibid]
In June 2012, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported: “The belief that beautiful skin can help a person lead a wonderful life is no longer exclusive to women. Parasols, cosmetics and skin-lightening products are now popular with Japanese men as they aim to stand out at work and in love by obtaining beautiful skin. Takashimaya department store in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, created a section that exclusively sells parasols for men at the end of April–three months ahead of the usual parasol season. Men’s parasols are rarely sold this early in the year, but are selling well, according to the store. [Source: Yomiuri Shimbun, June 8, 2012]
(Pictured above is the ad for Masa Processing Insulation Thermal UV Cut Men’s Umbrella that is 15,000 yen.)
“The parasol is resistant to ultraviolet radiation and prices start at about 4,000 yen. Solids, checks and striped patterns are popular. Men’s parasols have enjoyed good sales over the years, with last year’s sales jumping to five times that of 2008, when they were first introduced at department stores. “They are bought by young businessmen in their 20s and 30s who spend a lot of time working outside the office, as they worry about sunburns,” a Takashimaya employee in charge of the section said. At Tobu department store in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, sales of men’s parasols jumped 30 percent last year compared with those of 2008, and store staff believe sales will increase this year too. [Ibid]
(Facts and Details, 2013)
In the old days, samurai wore top knots like sumo wrestlers and many high-ranking men shaved their hair so they looked as if they were balding.
The Shiseido survey mentioned above reported that 65 percent of the men it surveyed had died their hair, 43 percent had long hair, 24 percent had a pierced ear, 11.5 percent got a tan to look “wild,” and 17 percent were obsessed with trimming “excessive hair.”
Men pluck their eyes brows and shave the hair on their arms legs and chests. About 60 percent of the Japanese who buy a popular palm-size leg shaver are men. One man of Beauty Tour of Tokyo told Reuters, “I used to play basketball, and my former girlfriend use to tell me I was unclean. Since then, I’ve started shaving my arms and legs.”
One of the hottest items is an “eyebrow designing kit” for men with a tiny comb, scissors, tweezers and eyebrow pencil.
(Pictured above is an item image of an eyebrow shaving kit for men called Gatsby GB Men’s Eyebrow shaving kit.)
A 21-year-old owner of an eyebrow kit at Kobe University told Reuters, “I shave the tops and bottoms of my eyebrows to make them look cleaner.” He said of his classmates shave off their eyebrows and pencil in new ones Some young men treat their complexion every morning with a face scrub, toner and face cream and then go to a local salon to get their hair done. The daily routine costs a $100 a day but is necessary, suers say, to maintain their style.
Places like the Dandy House in Tokyo offer body hair removal, eyebrow sculpturing, pore-cleaning treatments, manicures, body piercing, skin treatments, and make-up classes. Among the salon’s most popular procedures are mud-pack facials, leg hair removal, eyebrow trims and potbelly treatments. (Facts and Details, 2013) Men go to salons to get facials, manicures and pedicures. A manicurist at barber shop told the Daily Yomiuri, “there seems to be three reasons who men get manicures—to look clean, to make themselves look younger and because its fashionable. Manicures for men became popular in the early 2000s. They were particularly popular among salesmen who worried about the appearance of their hands before their customers.
(Pictured above is a beautician giving a facial treatment to a Japanese man, Hiroshi Kado, at the Dandy House Akasaka salon for men in Tokyo March 24, 2006. REUTERS/Issei Kato)
More and more men are getting inward-curling eyelash permanent, A beautician ay one Espirits for Men in Tokyo told the Daily Yomiuri, “Some costumers say that getting their eyelashes permed has given them very attractive eyes and a more toned-looking face.”
(Facts and Details, 2013)
The market for men’s cosmetics in Japan increased 70 percent between the mid 1980s and 1990s and reached the $2 billion a year mark in the early 2000s. Cosmetics for men include skin lotions, whitening agents and anti-aging beauty creams made especially for them.
In the late 2000s, department stores began noticing that men were increasingly buying women’s skin care products. One male 32-year-old company employee told the Yomiuri Shimbun, “There are only a few kinds of skin care products for men. I’m glad there are products for women that suit my skin.”
(Facts and Details, 2013)
A survey by Shisedo found that 85 percent of the men used face cleansing cream, 54 used deodorant spray, 32 percent used mud masks. About 30 percent of high school and university age males shape their eyebrows. Some use foundation to cover their acne.
Shiseido and other Japanese cosmetic companies have released a number of skin car products such as face wash and lotions and high-priced item like moisturizers and anti-aging cream for men. Some men are also beginning it walk around with parasols in mid summer to protect their skin from the sun’s rays.
(Facts and Details, 2013)
Now here’s a little personal questions time! What’s fascinating about a nation is often expressed through people, artistic styles, works of literature/art and cultural events. Here I will be talking about my favorite things about Japan!
FASCINATION: Every nation is fascinating. What makes a nation fascinating is often expressed through the arts, architecture, literature and cultural events of a nation’s people. Describe four fascinating people, artistic styles, works of literature/art and cultural events that you find fascinating in your role as a travel blogger.
1. Artistic Style: Fashion/Music – Visual Kei
(Pictured above is the GazettE, a well-known visual kei band. They’ve had many songs that have made the Top 20 Oricon Chart!)
Visual kei is a movement among Japanese musicians that is characterized by the use of varying levels of make-up, elaborate hairstyles and flamboyant costumes, often, but not always coupled with androgynous aesthetics. It refers to bands whose primary point of interest for their fans is their costume and appearance. It can be said that Visual Kei is a sub-genre or sub-culture of Japanese Rock.
The image presented by Visual Kei artists normally elaborate and extreme with striking make up, bizarre hairstyle and flamboyant clothing leading to an androgynous look. Most Visual Kei bands are all male members, some with one or two female members.) When Visual Kei genre was first introduced, it was not accepted by society, in Japan because the music was of a ‘heavier taste’. Therefore instead of using music, Visual Kei artists used image to draw people’s attention and to arouse their curiosity. Their image often changing from album to album to create something new and interesting. Each band has a specific look that separates them from other VK bands. But within this, each member has their own style that still more is different to other members but does not compromise the bands overall trademark look and feel.
Visual kei fashion is in Western terms ‘gothic’, although it is incorrect to call it that. Since, the visual kei movement was around before goth in Japan was. When I say ‘gothic’, I mean, think chains and dark clothing/makeup. Pardon the inadequate description, it was the easiest way I could think of to make it understood.
Here’s a video of the visual kei Megamasso band with a very prompt and to the point answer about what visual kei is.
My favorite visual kei band is the GazettE. I like Ruki’s raspy yet powerful voice, Reita’s strong bass, Aoi’s cheery spirit, Uruha’s hardcore guitar composition, and Kai’s maturity. My favorite songs are ‘Cassis’, ‘Filth in the Beauty’, ‘Guren’, and ‘Regret’. As well, I love the GazettE’s fashion. Visual kei seemed natural. It was what came after manga and anime. Since, many manga/anime fans also liked J-Pop and visual kei at the time.
the GazettE bio – http://www.jpopasia.com/group/thegazette/
2. Artistic Style – Manga
Please watch this video by a fellow manga fan who did an instructional unit video about what manga is. She explains everything quite well! d(>-<)b
When I was a kid, my mom took me to the mall. While she was browsing for furniture, she let me hang out in the bookstore. I was combing the aisles for picture books or movies, when I saw a book. The cover art was pretty! The art was spectacular and every picture book paled in comparison. The story was also more advanced than those picture books. But since, it was the seventh volume, I was missing a whole chunk of the story. That was the first manga that I read. It was the seventh volume of ‘Fruits Basket’.
I like psychological, humor, romance, sci-fi, fantasy, action, and horror type manga. My favorite manga series’ at the moment are Ansatsu Kyoushitsu (Assassination Classroom), Franken Fran, Kuroshitsuji, Skip Beat!, Horimiya, and One Piece.
If you’re curious about the manga, here are the summaries and readable scans online. Search the manga at the manga reading website below.
3. Artistic Style – Anime
Despite the mispronunciation of the anime names, this is a very informative video. I showed this to my non-anime savvy friends, and they loved it! XD
For anime movies considered works of art, you should check out anything by Ghibli Studios, Hayao Miyazaki, and the movie ‘Akira’ by Katsuhiro Otomo.
I tend to like manga more than anime. It’s kind of like watching a movie based on a book, you come out of the theater and say “They missed all the stuff that was in the book!” or “The book’s better.”. Basically, the same sentiments as that. The plot’s either completely different or it’s summarized by not having certain chapters. Also, there are some that are disappointingly short. Like ‘Deadman Wonderland’, it was an anime that ranked in the Top 20, but didn’t get a second season! Basically the life span of most anime is around 20 episodes? Unless they’ve been one of the top earners for a while such as Bleach or One Piece, then they will continue as the manga continues. One Piece has spanned more than
Please go here, if you’re curious and would like to watch ‘Deadman Wonderland’ or any other anime.
The tattoo pictured above is of a Hannya mask. The hannya mask is the vengeful and jealous woman turned demon. Pointed horns, Scary eyes and teeth, and the expression all exhibit the full wrath, anger and resentment of her nature.
Edo period stylized tattoos:
Until the Edo period in Japan (1600–1868) tattoos, world wide, were done with marks and symbolism rather than imagery. It was Japan in the Edo period, however, that “decorative” tattoo began to develop into the advanced art form it is known as today.
Woodblock artists began tattooing, using many of the same tools for tattooing as they did to create their woodblock prints, including chisels, gouges and, most importantly, unique ink known as Nara ink, or Nara black, the ink that famously turns blue-green under the skin, which is the true look of the tattoo.
The Traditional Japanese Tattoo “Irezumi” is the decoration of the body with mythical beasts, flowers, leafs, oni, namakubi and other images from story, myth and tale. The impetus for the development of the art was the development of the woodblock prints and notably “hero’s heavily decorated with irezumi”. Wearing Irezumi is an “Aspiration” to life goals.
Irezumi became associated with and proudly worn by the firemen, dashing figures of bravery and roguish sex-appeal who wore them as a form of spiritual aid and protection, thus the revered “Suit of Nine Dragons” to give power over wind and water. (Clark North Tattoo, 2013)
For meanings of different animal tattoos, go to this website! It does a beautiful job of explaining it!
I love Japanese style tattooing. The elaborate and carefully inked designs! I like looking at other people’s tattoos. I really like tattoos that take up a lot of space on the body. I haven’t got anything meaningful or a cool design that I want as my own tattoo. When I was in my senior year of high school, I went to Sanja Matsuri in Asakusa with my friends. I saw Yakuza with their tattoos on display. That’s where my interest started. These days, I see more and more young people with tattoos. Although, there are still places where you can’t go in if you have a tattoo because of yakuza connotations.
Sanja Matsuri explanation – http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/spot/festival/asakusasanja.html
Yakuza explanation – http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/gangsters_outlaws/gang/yakuza/1.html
1. Music – KAT-TUN
KAT-TUN is a Japanese boy band formed under Johnny & Associates (JE) in 2001 who releases records under their own label, J-One Records. The group’s name is an acronym formed by the members’ surname initials. Currently one of the most popular boy bands in Japan, all 10 singles, 3 studio albums and 7 DVDs released by the group since their debut in 2006 have debuted at number one on the Oricon music and DVD charts.
Their debut was marked by a tripartite release, consisting of a single, an album and a DVD: Real Face, Best of KAT-TUN and Real Face Film. All three shattered records in sales.
Kamenashi Kazuya (亀梨和也)
Akanishi Jin (赤西仁)
Taguchi Junnosuke (田口淳之介)
Tanaka Koki (田中聖)
Ueda Tatsuya (上田竜也)
Nakamaru Yuichi (中丸雄一)
Akanishi Jin (赤西仁)
When I was in middle school, they were very popular among the girls in my class. I remember many a time in karaoke singing their songs: ‘Yorokobi no Uta’, ‘Real Face’, and ‘Keep the Faith’. We’d watch their variety show, Cartoon KAT-TUN. We would giggle over the handsome members. My favorite member was Ueda. He composes most of the group’s songs. I liked his mysterious and easy-going nature. He has a good sense of humor. He always had something interesting to say. Like before they were going on for their first concert, he said that he could see fairies. It was dark and the lights looked like fairies, and the other members were spooked. I thought that was hilarious.
2. Music: Miyavi (Takamasa Ishihara)
He is my favorite artist as in singer/composer/instrument player. His father was a second-generation Zainichi Korean and his mother was Japanese. He was born on September 14, 1981 in Osaka the same place where I’m currently attending college. He can play the guitar, piano, and shamisen. I liked him when he was a visual kei artist. Sad to say that, I don’t know as much as I’d like about his current activities because I’ve been busy with school. He is married to Miyuki Melody, a Japanese-American former TV hostess. They have two lovely daughters, Lovelie and Jewelie Ishihara. He started out as the guitarist in the visual kei indie band Due le Quartz where he was previously known as “miyabi”, which means “elegance” in Japanese. In 2002, the band disbanded and he went solo. He toned down his on-stage attire for his solo career which started in 2004 and has since toured worldwide several times. In 2007, he became a member of the supergroup S.K.I.N.. Skin (stylized as S.K.I.N.) is a music project founded by several Japanese rock musicians in 2007. They are Yoshiki, Gackt, Sugizo and Miyavi, all being important to the visual kei movement or closely related to it, but each being from a different generation. He worked under the Japanese label company, PS Company for 10 years. He’s played at the Nippon Budokan.
In 2009, his contract ended and he started his own company, J Glam Inc. He has also worked with Universal Music Group, and EMI Music Japan. He has also branched into professional acting. He was chosen to star in Angelina Jolie’s upcoming directorial debut, ‘Unbroken’ as the villain, ‘The Bird’ Mutsuhiro Watanabe.
My favorite songs of his are “Onpu no Tegami”,”Kekkonshiki no Uta”, Girls, Be Ambitious” (Samurai Sessions version), “Itoshii Hito”, and the song that he arranged with Hyde from the band L’Arc-en-Ciel, “Yappari Megumi ga Suki”.
*Zainichi Korean – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koreans_in_Japan
I remember when I was a middle school youth, I spent a lot of time on the internet. So, one day I was scrolling through anime fanfiction when there was a song that was in the story called ‘Girls, Be Ambitious’. I didn’t know the song, and of course I had to listen to the song to get an idea of how the lyrics and tone went with the story. So, I watched the video and out of curiosity, clicked on the videos by the same artist. At first, I thought “Wow, this artist is beautiful!”. I’ll admit that when I first got into him, it was mainly for his physical looks. Visual kei doing its job. As well, his music videos were unique. I happened upon a lyrics website for his songs. I realized that the lyrics composition was very complex and the lyrics were full of hidden meanings in the way that they were written. I came to admire him. I liked his raspy and deep voice. At first, I didn’t like it because I was still into conventional melodious voices like the ones in J-Pop.
*Fanfiction – Fanfiction is when someone takes either the story or characters (or both) of a certain piece of work, whether it be a novel, tv show, movie, etc, and create their own story based on it. (Urban Dictionary, 2013)
3. Music – KanzentaiCell
Vocaloid – http://www.vocaloid.com/en/about/
Utaite – http://utaite.wikia.com/wiki/Utaite
Seiyuu – Voice actor
Ikemen – http://www.sljfaq.org/afaq/ikemen.html
His name comes from the perfect form of Cell from Dragon Ball Z. He sometimes imitates Norio Wakamoto’s voice (the seiyuu of Cell from Dragon Ball Z, GT, and Kai). In illustrations of him, he is often found cosplaying as Cell from DBZ.
He is most famous for his cover of the song, PonPonPon. He has a deep voice. He has a deep and cool voice, often categorized as an ikemen. However, he is also able to sing long and high notes without difficulty. If you’re going to listen to covers by him, I’d recommend of course ‘PonPonPon’, ‘Wave’, ‘Glide’, and ‘Karakuri Pierrot’. His voice is really suited for techno type music.
4. Music – 96neko
Ryoseirui – http://utaite.wikia.com/wiki/Nico_Nico_Dictionary#Ryouseirui
Kagamine duo – http://vocaloid.wikia.com/wiki/Kagamine_Rin_%5C_Len
96Neko (96猫) is an utaite who is well-known for her husky lower range vocals, and for being a “ryouseirui“. However, she is also able to sing in a very cute female voice, most clearly seen in her cover of “Soratobazu“. She also often does duets with the Kagamine duo. She also sings many parody songs, which are mostly duets with Len or vipTenchou. Some people have noted that her voice is similar to Romi Park, a Korean actress and voice actress who lives in Japan.
If you’re going to listen to covers by 96neko, I’d recommend practically anything. Her vocal range makes her able to make any song sound good! From personal opinion, I’d recommend ‘Senbonzakura’ – ft. Pokota, ‘Matroyshka’ – ft. vipTenchou, ‘Ah, It’s a Wonderful Cat’s Life’, and ‘Happy Synthesizer’ -ft. Len.
Works of Literature/Art
1. Work of Literature – One Piece (manga)
In February 2011, NHK conducted a survey on who read the One Piece manga. Eighty-eight percent of adults in Japan reads One Piece and wants it to continue. One Piece is ranked 1st in top selling manga – 7.,944,680 copies.
Deep Story Behind The Humor
The story of One Piece is often very humorous. But, it does have some very emotional & sometimes dark moments. Need some good examples? Read the Water 7 (Volumes 34-39) & Impel Down (Volumes 54-56, the most recent storyline to be translated by VIZ) arcs.
The Straw Hat Pirates are a wacky cast of characters and all diverse. But most importantly, they are a FAMILY. The antagonists of the series are seriously great as well because their behavior doesn’t always reflect their personalities & vice-versa. Mr. Crocodile (a well-known antagonist in One Piece), Buggy the Clown (the first major antagonist), & Aokiji come to mind.
(Manga Therapy, 2011)
To read one piece, try eatmanga.com. Since it is licensed, many manga reading sites cannot show it in agreement with the publishing company.
2. Work of Literature – Skip Beat! (manga)
To read it, try mangahere.com. To watch it, try animehere.com.
Skip Beat! is one of the most popular shojo manga. It’s popularity has spanned outside the country reaching Taiwan and Korea. It has been made into a drama in Japan, Taiwan and Korea.
a genre of Japanese comics and animated films aimed primarily at a young female audience, typically characterized by a focus on personal and romantic relationships.“the world of shojo manga is the natural habitat for love stories of all possibilities and combinations”
Skip Beat isn’t your classic Shoujo, The cover is deceiving, on the outside it looks cute and fluffy, you open it up expecting a pleasing little love story with the usual clichés of a cute protagonist and her knight in shining armour.
But Skip Beats protagonist is not a mere Mary sue… Not at all, she’s dark, vengeful lacking in essential emotions such as love and her knight in shining armour Shoutaro, is an egotistical user.
Character: This is easily Skip Beat!’s biggest asset. And unbelievable amount of depth resides in every character. Kyouko is innocent, pure, dense, clumsy, funny, friendly, eager, elegant/polite, perceptive, hardworking, professional, intelligent, scary, vengeful, confused, loving, hateful, etc. ALL AT ONCE. The mangaka purposefully made the protagonist the kind of girl who makes voodoo dolls to the point of obsessing over perfection, rather than the good-hearted flat shojou girls too prevalent in mainstream manga. Readers can quickly sympathize with the many overlapping parts of Kyouko’s personality. Her roles also make up important aspects of herself, because they require a process of discovery and essentially possess her once attained. She is described as the eternal butterfly, the actress nobody recognizes because she disguises herself in personas that are completely unlike her normal self.
3. Work of Art – Shingeki no Kyojin (anime/manga)
Almost everyone knows about Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan) these days. Shingeki no Kyojin starts as a manga series from 2009, by Isayama Hajime, and up until now the manga has been sold for more than 23 million copies, and alongside its success as a manga, it has already got its anime adaptation running, a game adaptation coming soon, opening song parodies uploaded in Youtube, and many more.
As well, the first opening song of the anime has become an internet sensation. It has been parodied for other anime, games, etc. It is one of the most epic opening songs ever.
It has become an internet meme. Please go here to be informed about it and to see some of the parodies. http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/attack-on-titan-opening-credits-parodies
The manga is further ahead than the anime so if you can’t stand not knowing what happens after the 24th episode, then read the manga!
Go to mangahere to read it.
At the first glance, the series looked simple, like a battle between humans versus superior beings known as Titans, but its popularity is spreading like wildfire, so what exactly made them so popular?
Ooshita Yoshiyuki (太下義之), Head Chief of Cultural and Arts Division from Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Counseling, gave his comments regarding this.
“First”, he said, ” This work is like a high quality detective novel, where the mystery has not been solved yet, but added with a new mystery instead, like mystery calls on another mystery or the outcome cannot be predicted, such is one of their charms.” He said that this is quite similar to a western series “Lost”, where even if some of the problems are solved, there are still some mystery which call for another mystery.
Then, from Meta Fictional construction point, “The Information that can be revealed at this point” became the focus of this title. Meaning, the audiences are to acknowledge the existence of the author, by revealing out information little by little, curiosity is inflated and people can’t help but to predict what will happen next, and what the author has up in his sleeve, thus making it more interesting.
Next, he also said that even though this work is deveoloped as a world where battles becoming their everyday life, and limited to it, but instead, it gave the people an opportunity to make some original work or doujins of this series, like the “what if” or some sort.
Lastly, he also said, “There have been numerous titles in the past, where human race are forced to fight against a huge monster which threatens humanity, just like Godzilla. However, in Godzilla and such, the problem is solved by defeating the monster, while it’s not that simple in this series. Even if you managed to beat the enemies in front of you, the root of the problem has not been found yet.”
(Otaku Kokka, 2013)
4. Work of Literature – Kuroshitsuji (manga/anime)
Kuroshitsuji manga – mangahere.com/manga/kuroshitsuji
The visuals are beautiful. If you’re a fan of visual kei, then you’ll like the graphics. Even if you’re not, you will. There are interesting creatures such as shinigami, demons, gods, angels (anime), and zombies (manga). If you like Britain during Queen Victoria’s rule, then there’s also that. The anime especially incorporates myths during that time. It gives a unique take on the creation of zombies by a shinigami and a cult. The genre is fantasy, mystery, historical fiction, action, drama, and comedy. It has themes of betrayal, revenge, and mystery. Did you know that curry bread was first invented in Britain? Jack the Ripper’s in it too.
- Tanabata Festival
Tanabata is also known as ‘The Night of Sevens’ and ‘The Festival of Stars’ — it is based on the legend of the two lovers Orihime and Kengyuu (also sometimes called Hikoboshi), symbolized by the stars Vega and Altair. Throughout the year they are separated by the river of the Milky Way, but on one single night every year, the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the traditional Japanese calendar (roughly August 7th), a bridge of birds appears between them, and they are allowed to be together.
It is said that if it rains on Tanabata, the banks of the river will flood and they will have to wait until the following year’s Tanabata to be reunited.. People write their wishes on narrow strips of colored paper and hang them, along with other paper ornaments, on bamboo branches placed in the backyards or entrances of their homes. They then pray hard that their wishes will come true.
The Tanabata festival is thought to have started in China. It was transmitted to Japan during the feudal period and combined with traditional local customs to become an official event at the Imperial court. Commoners soon began observing this festival, with different localities developed their own distinctive ways of celebrating.
Sendai (Miyagi Prefecture) and Hiratsuka (Kanagawa Prefecture) are particularly famous for their elaborate Tanabata displays. Shopping arcades in these two cities feature huge decorations that are sponsored by local shops, which try to outdo one another in the size of their displays.
Some areas of Japan, including Sendai City, celebrate Tanabata a month later, on August 7, since this is closer to the seventh day of the seventh month on the traditional lunar calendar. Such communities frequently perform the services for Bon, a period in mid-August when deceased relatives are thought to return, together with the ceremonies for Tanabata.
The Japanese generally celebrate this day by writing wishes on tanzaku (small pieces of paper), and hanging them on bamboo, sometimes with other decorations. The bamboo and decorations are often set afloat on a river or burned after the festival, around midnight.
(Web Japan, 2013)
2. Setsubun Mantoro
At Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara, each of the more than 3,000 lanterns in the precincts are lit up three days a year, namely on February 3rd and August 14th-15th, between 18:30 and 21:00. This is an event which has continued for 800 years and most of the lanterns have been donated by ordinary citizens with the exception of a handful which had been dedicated by samurai warriors in the Warring States Period. Such scenery lit only by candlelight takes you back into bygone days of no electricity and is full of mysticism. The reflections of the light on the river surface and the vermilion buildings of the shrine strike a beautiful harmony.
There are stone lanterns in the gardens and hanging lanterns in the corridors. The garden lanterns are decorated with strips of Japanese paper inscribed with people’s wishes, and are lit by the participants. The hanging lanterns in the corridors come in a variety of designs. It appears that the number of lanterns corresponds to the number of wishes. Formerly, these numerous lanterns were lit up every night, which is quite amazing.
February 3rd marks the transition from winter to spring known as Setsubun, when beans, good luck charms and a votive picture of a horse, which are items for securing a long life, are sold from early morning. It is also worthwhile to take a stroll in the shrine precincts in the daytime. In summer, you can enjoy watching the performance of dancers dressed in ancient kimono.
(Japan Natural Tourism Organization, 2013)
(2011, Tokyo ezine)
The Sanno Matsuri is famous as a festival permitted by the Shogun to enter the grounds of Edo Castle during the Edo Period (1603-1867), along with the Kanda Matsuri. It was also one of the three largest festivals of Japan. The main procession called jinkosai takes place in the middle of June in every other year according to the Western calendar.
About 300 people dressed in ancient costumes parade through the heart of Tokyo including Tokyo Station, Ginza, and in front of the Diet Building. Consisting of mikoshi (portable shrines) adorned with a phoenix on the roof, dashi floats, people carrying drums, people on horseback, the procession extends over a length of 600 meters. You will also see people dressed as the legendary goblin called Tengu, characterized by a red face and a long nose, and believed to possess supernatural powers. The procession which departs from Hie-jinja Shrine at 8 o’clock in the morning does not return to the shrine until early in the evening.
During the festival week, you can also experience various traditions of Japan. For example, there are displays of flowers arranged in Japanese style known as Ikebana, and special tables and seats are set up in the shrine garden so that you can savor Japanese tea. You might also see people going through a large ring made of thatch, which is believed to purify the sins you have unconsciously committed in the past 6 months. The doll you hold as you stroke your body and pass through the ring is said to take on your various sins for you. Perhaps you will want to try walking through the thatched ring in the hope of spending the remaining 6 months of the year in peace and happiness.
(Japan National Tourism, 2013)
4. Takayama Matsuri Autumn Festival
(Deens Japan, 2011)
The Takayama Festival, which is cited as one of the three most beautiful festivals of Japan, consists of two festivals: the Spring Takayama Festival or Sanno Matsuri at Hie Shrine, and the Autumn Takayama Festival or Hachiman Matsuri at Sakurayama Hachiman Shrine.
The Autumn Hachiman Matsuri, which is held annually on October 9th and 10th prompts the local inhabitants to start their winter preparations. The greatest attractions are the eleven yatai floats which are designated as significant intangible folk cultural assets. *Their splendid motifs produced by the skills of the master artisans called Hida no Takumi are so gorgeous that they are often described as ‘mobile Yomeimon’ in association with the renowned Yomeimon Gate of Nikko Tosho Shrine.
The crowds of spectators coming from distant places are fascinated by the festival procession, which is almost like a narrative picture scroll. The dexterous movements of the wind-up marionettes, which move with a thread or a spring, performing on top of the yatai floats are especially interesting.
The yatai floats are lined up before dusk, and once the town becomes veiled in the evening darkness, as many as 100 chochin lanterns are lit on each of the floats. The unique ornaments of the yatai floats look even more resplendent in the darkness of the night.
*A significant intangible folk cultural asset refers to manners and customs related to food, clothing and shelter, vocation, faith, annual events, and folkloric performing arts, etc., which have been established by the people in daily life and passed down through generations, deemed especially valuable by the State.
(Japan National Tourism, 2013)
- Kamachi, Noriko. Culture and customs of Japan. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1999. Print.