Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pokemon, Masakazu Kubo, Monster, Naoki Urasawa, Japanamerica, anime and manga

Last night I was blessed to appear in downtown Tokyo with Pokemon Executive Producer, Shogakukan editor and creative designer, Tokyo Anime Center founder and director, committee member for the Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF) and the Tokyo Anime Fair (TAF)--Mr. Masakazu Kubo. Together we addressed members and guest of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators at the behest of director Holly Johnson.

Kubo-san is now involved in the development of a feature film of Naoki Urasawa's MONSTER manga series. Responding to certain questions, he urged audience members to "read Roland's book," Japanamerica. He believes I got it right--which is a considerable relief to me, as he is one of the book's key voices.

Meanwhile, it appears that Chinese and/or Chinese-Americans are helming several Hollywood versions of manga and anime titles. James Wong will direct the upcoming Dragonball Z live action film, starring Justin Chatwin and James Marsters. Joseph Chou is co-producing several Hollywood projects, and John Woo produced Shinji Aramaki's Appleseed: Ex Machina.

Question is: Are the Japanese losing out again? Will the Chinese scoop the spotlight, not to mention the big bucks, off Japanese originals?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Japanamerica with Pokemon Creator Masakazu Kubo

If you're in Tokyo tomorrow night, please join us:


The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators presents

Made in Japan: What Makes Manga Japanese—And Why Western Kids Love It


Roland Kelts, author of Japanamerica


Masakazu Kubo, Executive Producer, Shogakukan

Time: Saturday, November 17, 2007, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Place: Tokyo Women’s Plaza, Conference Room 2

5-53-67 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo (by the Children’s Castle and United Nations University)

For a map see

Fee: 1,000 yen SCBWI members; 1,500 yen nonmembers

This event will be in English.

This talk followed by Q&A will cover the nuts and bolts of the craft of manga and discuss the nature of its appeal beyond Japan.

Roland Kelts is author of Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U.S. ( He is a lecturer at the University of Tokyo and writes about manga and anime for the Daily Yomiuri. He is co-editor of the New York-based literary journal A Public Space, and his first novel, Access, will be published next year. He currently splits his time between New York and Tokyo. 

Masakazu Kubo is executive producer of the Pokémon movies and TV series. After joining Shogakukan in 1983 he served as editor of the comic magazines CoroCoro Comic and Comic Gotta. Currently director of Shogakukan’s Character Business Center, he serves on the executive committee of the Tokyo International Film Festival and Tokyo International Anime Fair. He is executive producer at the Tokyo Anime Center, and he co-wrote the Japanese books Pokémon Story and The Future of Vibrant Content Business.

Contact or see for more information.

Sunday, November 11, 2007