Japan for the Uninvited

Japanese culture from a bemused foreign perspective

Ju-on (2000)

While 'Ringu' reintroduced the world to Japanese horror, the underground success of 'Ju-on' has proved that the industry is no one-hit-wonder. While trying to help a catatonic old lady, a volunteer care worker stumbles across the evil secret of the woman's house, and unleashes the malevolent spirit of a dead boy. Like ...

Godzilla

Despite his enduring popularity, Godzilla is a forlorn monster. The first Godzilla movie was made shortly after an American H bomb test in the Pacific gave radiation sickness to a group of Japanese fisherman. This spawned endless remakes, as even more fantastic beasts ("Mothra", "MechaGodzilla", etc) were invented for him to ...

Battle Royale (2000)

Battle Royale is the story of a high-school class who are forced to kill each other on a remote island. Set in a near-future dystopia, where this sadistic game is introduced by a government desperate to maintain control, the story plays on Japan's fear of its increasingly liberated children. With such controversial ...

Akira (1988)

1988's 'Akira' introduced Japanese anime to the Western world. The film was based on the manga of the same name, one of the most influential ever drawn. In a nightmarish future Tokyo, blown apart by a huge WWIII nuclear blast, an aimless motorcycle gang stumble across "Akira" - a terrifying government ...

Takuya Kimura

Actor/singer/TV star Takuya Kimura, popularly known as "Kimutaku", is a member of pop-group SMAP and Japan's biggest male star. He is regularly voted Asia's best-looking man and is a major sex-symbol in Asian gay culture. However, he is an atypical heart-throb. In his frequent acting roles, he performs his own stunts, ...

Rie Miyazawa

Rie Miyazawa, a precocious child actress, earned billions of yen from advertising campaigns before she was old enough to spend it. This success was masterminded by her domineering mother ("Rie-mama"), who set up her own talent agency to protect her control over her daughter. She brought Rie up on her own ...

Doraemon

Doraemon starred in countless manga, TV shows, computer games and movies since his birth in 1970. His mission is to make a success of Nobita, a lazy, bullied boy living in ...

Pokemon

Movie violence is a watered-down version of real violence. Keep diluting it, and you get TV violence, slapstick violence, cartoon violence, and finally: Pokemon violence. Good, honest thuggery, saturated with enough cuteness that kids can convince their parents to take them to see it. Basically, a teenage runaway wanders around ...

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