NEW TO NIKKEI LIFE: POP! JAPAN
Nowhere in the world is pop culture more prevalent, eclectic & unique than in Japan
Entertainment. Anime. Manga. Cosplay. Fashion.. and much more!
From the fashion trends of Harajuku and Shibuya, to the kawaii (cute) culture of “deco den”, to the exciting stories of manga and anime, we can’t seem to get enough of Japanese aesthetics and trends here in North America, and we can’t wait to share lots of exciting articles about them with you in POP! Japan!!
Let’s start off with an introduction shall we?
Japanese pop culture has captured global attention and has made its way into the cultural consciousness of countries throughout the world. Whether we’ve been fully aware of it or not, Japan’s cultural exports have slowly woven their way into our own cultural landscape here in North America. Kid’s and adults alike go nuts over things like Hello Kitty, Tamagotchi, Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, and Pokemon (to but a few!) — and that’s just the start. It is not hard to find people that recognize the famous Japanese director/animator Hayao Miyazaki or his many Studio Ghibli films such as Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro. Thanks to companies like Sanrio, Panasonic, Nintendo, and Sony, characters and stories from anime (a distinctive Japanese-style of animation) and manga (Japanese-style comics) have become widely popularized, bringing them to life in everything from toys, games, books, and movies to fashion and even household appliances — who doesn’t want a Hello Kitty toaster?
Many fans show their love for their favourite anime, manga, or game characters by cosplaying
(“cosplay” is short for “costume play”) – that is to say, they emulate these characters by dressing up as them, and even sometimes act like them too! It is also popular to see people cosplay in styles that are unique only to Japanese fashion trends — such as dressing up in the “Lolita” style. It’s worthy to note that there are a huge amount of fashion trends in Japan (that will be covered in a future post!), which often have their own sub-styles. For instance, the “Lolita” style is inspired by the Victorian era, which usually means loads of lace and frill, skirts with petticoats and parasols. However, there are “Gothic Lolitas”, which usually involves a lot of black (think punk-rock) or “Sweet Lolitas”, which is a more girly/innocent type of look that usually involves pinks and other pastel colours. Whatever cosplayers decide to wear, it is clear that is becoming more and more popular, evident by the thousands that attend and cosplay at anime conventions like Anime Revolution (Vancouver) and the LA Anime Expo.
Here are some incredible cosplay examples of Sailor Moon, Link & Zelda:
Let’s not forget — Kawaii (cute) culture is pretty much everywhere in Japan too!
We see this in crafting phenomenons like Decoden (short for “Decoration Denwa” — “Denwa” meaning “Mobile Phone”), which involves decorating phone cases (and pretty much anything else nowadays!) in fits of glitter, pearls, jewels, and cute charms, and Amigurumi, the knitting or crocheting of small stuffed animals or other cute creatures.
Even anime and manga characters come in cuter chibi-style versions!
That’s all for now! More POP! Japan posts coming soon!
We want to hear from you! — What are some of your favourite aspects of Japanese Pop Culture you would like us to feature? Facebook or Email us!