Posts

JAPANAMERICA reader Fintan, 17, on his generation's wild love of anime and manga

Image
Hello everyone, I’m Fintan. I’m a high schooler in NYC and Roland was nice enough to let me make a contribution to the blog! This is a big topic and will take more than one posting, so I look forward to sharing more of my thoughts in future posts. Anime and Manga have become increasingly popular in recent years, predominantly outside of Japan. From the perspective of an American teenager, I want to write about what I think it is that makes the medium so widely consumed.  To me, the vast majority of American media feels generic and lacks depth. The movies we see in theaters follow the same plot, as our standards for cinema hardly change. These movies seem to always lack the confidence to go outside of the invisible box they’re all made in.  It’s been a while since a movie came out that I genuinely considered a 10/10, and the most recent one I can think of is Parasite, which originates from Korea, from filmmaker Bong Joon Ho. It addressed the social pyramid in an entirely new way, with e

A (very) personal interview for The Guy Perryman Show (GPS) on InterFM and via podcast

Image
Er, this one gets personal. Apologies in advance if I said something I shouldn't have said. Guy's very good at what he does: The Guy Perryman Show Roland Kelts and Guy Perryman in Tokyo, 2022

Latest JAPANAMERICA podcast interview for NO FUTURE NYC

Image
Here's my latest JAPANAMERICA podcast interview with NYC-based comedian and writer, David White, who is blessed with a very soothing voice: No Future NYC Episode 6C  (or click on pic). David got me talking about the economics of anime—how much has changed (budgets), and how much hasn't changed enough (wages). We also talked about the Pokemon scam of the late 90s/early aughts, the strategy behind the success of Kimetsu no Yaiba /Demon Slayer: Mugen Train, released mid-pandemic and now Japan's highest grossing film ever, and why The Who's Pete Townshend blurbed JAPANAMERICA . A little bit of MONKEY and my new art book in here, too. This was a lot of fun. (Or, kinda fun, at least.)

New Monkey(s)!

Image
 

My first in a series of interviews about "the god of manga and anime," Osamu Tezuka. This one is for KODANSHA US.

Image
 JAPANAMERICA & TEZUKA, 2022

My IDEAS column on Japan's deficient digital domains

Image
[I broke my shoulder a couple of months ago and that slowed output considerably. Am on the mend now.] Japan once led global tech innovation. How did it fall so behind? When I first moved to Japan in the late 1990s, Japan’s technological achievements were envied. In 2001, at a book launch in New York, I recorded a video of fellow revelers on my Japanese cell phone. The model had just been released: a squared-off clamshell of sparkly maroon plastic, with an impressive color screen and emoji-like graphics. I emailed the video instantly to publishing friends in Tokyo, which was then home to the world’s second-fastest internet speeds. They responded just a few minutes later, flashing victory signs. My friends in New York cooed as if we’d just watched a new moon landing. But almost exactly twenty years later, vast regions of Japan’s digital universe are stuck in the early aughts. Online banking, airline booking, major newspapers, you name it: Services that have been streamlined by the digita

Latest "Letter from Tokyo" for The Japan Society of Boston: Throw Those Beans!

Image
Letters from Tokyo, February 2022: Throw Those Beans! T.S. Eliot famously called April the cruelest month, but for me and many I know, the cruelest month is the shortest, February, especially if you live in chillier parts of the northern hemisphere. In Tokyo, New Year’s greetings and shinnenkai drinking parties start to go stale while the dark, cold, snow-dusty winter keeps hanging around like a guest who won't leave. Fortunately, February in Tokyo has some strategically placed distractions to help us forget that it’s February. On the third, we had our Setsubun rituals, heralding the arrival of spring and giving winter the memo to move on. We tossed roasted soybeans out our front door to cast away demons and welcome good fortune, shouting Oni wa soto ! and Fuku wa uchi ! Then we tossed some beans around the house, where they crackled softly underfoot until they were vacuumed.  You're supposed to eat one soybean for each year of your life, but that's become several beans to