Two talks in October: MONKEY Launch and A Conversation with Mieko Kawakami

I'll be participating in two public events next month, one of which may have a live audience in addition to Zooming heads. Hope you'll join us, online or off. •    Saturday 10/10, 10am - 12 pm Japan Standard Time (Friday 10/9, 9pm - 11 pm EST, 6pm - 8pm PST): Voices from Japan: Launching the New Literary Journal MONKEY, with Motoyuki Shibata, Tomoka Shibasaki, Hideo Furukawa, Satoshi Kitamura, Ted Goossen, Meg Taylor, Polly Barton and Jordan Smith. Hosted by Hitomi Yoshio at Waseda University.Click hereto register.
Sunday 10/18, 10am - 11:30 am Japan Standard Time (Saturday 10/17, 9pm - 10:30 pm EST, 6pm - 7:30pm PST): Mieko Kawakami (BREASTS AND EGGS) in conversation with Roland Kelts (JAPANAMERICA), with Motoyuki Shibata (introduction) and Hitomi Yoshio (interpretation). Hosted by International House Japan and The Asia Society.
Click here to register.

Manga, anime, a sword show and 450 year-old samurai in a Zoom livestream from Kyushu

From the battlefield to manga to Zoom: A Kyushu samurai clan and its legendary warrior get an online outing Now that almost no one can travel, what do you do with the 400-year-old villa and gardens of a UNESCO World Heritage site in one of the country’s most beautiful seaside cities?If you’re in Japan, you forge a link between today’s soft power standbys — manga and anime — and the enduring draw of samurai culture. And if you’re living through a pandemic, you do it the way nearly everything else is done these days: on Zoom.For the first time in its history, Sengan-en, the estate of the Shimazu family, a samurai clan that ruled the southern Kyushu region from the 12th to 19th century, is going virtual. 
In partnership with Shonen Gahosha, publisher of the manga “Drifters,” whose hero is modeled on the family’s legendary warrior, Toyohisa Shimazu, Sengan-en will present an online English-language event in three parts: a guided tour of the house and its grounds, an exhibition of over 60 or…

On the pandemic, politics, and the future of anime conventions

How the pandemic, and local politics, threaten the future of anime conventions The Japan Times
Morgan Kollin is exhausted. During a video interview from his home near Detroit, Michigan, he nods and blinks against fatigue.
The 40-year-old is the founder and chairman of Youmacon, Michigan’s largest anime convention, with a 15-year history and an annual draw of 23,000. Youmacon is scheduled to take place as an in-person gathering on Halloween weekend, Oct. 29 to Nov. 1 — though many think it shouldn’t.
For the past few months, Kollin has been struggling to keep things together for the sake of his staff and his well-being. When asked if he sleeps much, he shakes his head: “Not remotely.”
The reason for Kollin’s restlessness may seem counterintuitive. After spending a year preparing for his convention, he is now trying to cancel it.
The technicalities of U.S. law have him hoping that local politicians will soon prohibit all large public events in his region, granting him the legal right and, cri…

Asia Society video interview on the roots and legacy of JAPANAMERICA

I was honored to represent Japanese Pop Culture for the Asia Society's series, "Around Asia in 80 Days," a work-from-home pandemic production. This is a look back, and a look forward.Wish we could have done this on a stage in Hong Kong, as planned. Next time.  (click to play)

CNN interview on Japan's proposed manga child porn law

(click to play)
Now that a U.S. politician has called Dragonball Z "anime porn," this interview I gave to CNN is unfortunately apt.
<<"Miller condemned DBZ in a tweet on Wednesday, where he claims that 'They are now introducing a great deal of anime porn into the internet matrix,' and that 'Dragon Ball Z is one of the top issues here.' Without offering any additional context, Miller then continues his accusations of an unspecified 'they,' saying that, 'They are sexualizing cartoon characters to push a depraved agenda on our kids. What’s next? Where will it end?'">>
Oh, that internet matrix. Where will it end, indeed.

JAPANAMERICA chosen for "100 Books for Understanding Contemporary Japan"

Thanks to the Nippon Foundation for the honor of being a chosen book.

JAPANAMERICA at Virtual Crunchyroll Expo 2020, Sept. 4 - 6

Honored to be appearing at this year's Virtual Crunchyroll Expo 2020 with my friend Arthell Isom, anime director, background artist and co-founder/CEO of D'ART Shtajio, Japan's first black-owned anime studio. We'll be talking about Anime and Race — a timely topic, and one that is rarely addressed.