“Ookami kodomo no Ame to Yuki” (in English: Wolf Children) was one of the big-hit anime feature films of 2012. The film depicts the story of a human woman who falls in love with a wolf-man, gives birth to two of his children and then raises them alone over a period of 13 years. The story centers on themes of childhood independence and a mother’s love for her children, and heavily features scenes of Japanese “satoyama.”
I first began my work in cultural diplomacy in December 2007. In saying that though, it wasn’t until my visit to Saudi Arabia in March 2008 that I really started to grasp the significance of cultural diplomacy and feel that it was something worth devoting my life’s work to.
“I just love manga and cosplay. Manga is now sold all over the world and I want to go and see people in other countries cosplaying Japanese manga and anime characters for myself.”Soon after meeting Kanna, this is the email she sent me.
The idol group that has caught my attention as the ones to watch in 2013 would have to be BABYMETAL. Their concept is Japanese idol group meets metal, and it reflects the unique kind of thinking that Japan has come to be renowned for.
This week I’m continuing with my running series on my trip to Qatar and the Doha International Book Fair. Japan was the guest country of honor at the Fair and it was my role to organize the events to be held at the Japan booth. One of said events was a talk with Japanese voice actress, Uesaka Sumire.
As I wrote in my previous article, in the lead up to the close of the 2012 Doha International Book Fair, the “Japan booth” at the event hosted its own “Kawaii Fashion Show” – the first fashion show of its kind to be held in the city of Qatar!
I first met Aoki Misako in February 2009. At the time I was on a panel of advisers to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, searching for candidates for the “Kawaii Ambassador” project and Aoki Misako just happened to be one such candidate who seemed perfect for the role.
Moscow's "J FEST" has become a signature event of the winter season in Moscow and is now in its fourth year – the most recent installment being held in December last year (2012). It’s the largest Japanese pop culture event of its kind in Moscow and the main attraction has remained constant from the very beginning: the fashion show.
“When I stood up on stage, I found out just how much love for Japan there is.”
That’s what singer and voice actress, Makino Yui, said to me backstage after her performance at J FEST in Moscow.
Right before Linlin was to return to China after graduating from Morning Musume I interviewed her for a newspaper article. During the interview I showed her a photo from a ‘doujin’ event held in Shanghai called “ComiCup” and it nearly bowled her over.
It was more than 15 years ago now that I met “Detective Conan” producer, Suwa Michihiko, when we just happened to end up sitting next to each other at the same bar in Shinjuku’s Golden Gai.
In the second edition of our [POWER OF GIRLS from TOKYO] series, we introduce Higashi Kanae, who is the organizer of“Hakuchumu”, a corroborative event between young female creators born in the Heisei era. Hakuchumu crosses boundaries of fashion and art, and Higashi Kanae just loves the power generated by the girls working together, as they bring their brave new world of culture to all corners of the globe - culture created by the powerful potion of girls expressing themselves in a way that up to now has been taboo to speak of.
Following on from my article last week, here is part 2 of my interview with the three teen members of Morning Musume that took part in their World Handshake Tour: Fukumura Mizuki, Iikubo Haruna and Ishida Ayumi.
As I’ve reported in previous articles, Morning Musume are currently in their 15th year, and to celebrate, they commenced their “World Handshake Tour,” performing for fans in Taipei, Bangkok, Paris and Seoul.
Uesaka Sumire is a Japanese voice over actress and lover of all things Russian. She is currently working on a TV anime called “Chunibyo demo Koi ga Shitai!” voicing the role of one of the female characters, Dekomori Sanae.
On the 17th of September 2012, Morning Musume put on a mini concert (2 songs) and handshake session at Bangkok’s “Gateway Ekamai” shopping center.
Of all the places I’ve visited in my line of work Moscow is somewhat special.
One thing that my work in cultural diplomacy has taught me is that some things you just have to go and experience for yourself.