Japanese mythology is filled with all kinds of supernatural creatures and monsters, ranging from mischievous kitsune, which take the appearance of foxes, to demonic oni, that live in the mountains and look like trolls. In anime, it’s common for characters to be inspired by fantastical Japanese creatures, and a franchise that does it so well is Pokémon. A lot of Pokémon are based on mythical monsters and some of my favourites have been influenced by yokai, Japanese ghosts and phantoms.
Yokai are among the most common entities in Japanese folklore, capable of doing good and bad. Through Pokémon, yokai have been reinvented for a new generation. In this article, I’ll be examining what yokai are, their relevance to modern day culture and the types of spirits that have been featured in Pokémon. Continue reading “How Pokémon Reinvented Yokai For A New Generation”
Japanese folklore is filled with all types of creatures, with one of the most enduring being the oni. Considered to be a type of yokai, oni took the form of giant, supernatural trolls. Their demonic appearance gave them an evil reputation. Oni have been identified as bringers of chaos, delighting in the punishment of mortals. The connection to the darkness has translated into pop culture, as oni have appeared in art and literature. However, their role has changed over time to reflect modern interpretations. Continue reading “How The Oni Transformed From A Japanese Demon Into A Pop Culture Icon”
If there’s one thing I enjoy about pop culture, it’s the idea that it can connect people from different walks of life. Comics, gaming, anime and cosplaying are all part of the same phenomenon. Anime has experienced a huge increase in popularity and it’s writers like Helen McCarthy who’ve championed it as a legitimate field of study. Helen has written 13 books, which have been translated into seven languages, on anime, manga, art and Japanese pop culture. They include 500 Essential Anime Movies, Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation and Anime! A Beginner’s Guide To Japanese Animation.
I’m pleased to present an interview with Helen about her writing experiences and her connection to pop culture. Read on to find out about what it was like meeting Jonathan Ross in a comic book store and how she braved a snow storm to see her favourite Japanese shrine. Continue reading “Helen McCarthy Talks About What It Means To Be An Anime Writer”
In the pop culture world, there are a variety of festivals that cater to different niches. Pop culture has a habit of infiltrating every culture and one of my favourite events of the year is the Doki Doki Festival in Manchester. A celebration of Japanese culture, Doki Doki brings together people from all walks of life. Anime, manga, comics and history are housed under one roof. The 2018 event featured a diverse set of talks and stalls, ranging from Japanese woodcut prints to cosplaying.
Continue reading “Pop Culture, Cosplay And Japanese History Unite At A Successful Doki Doki 2018”
“Gurume” manga is a derivation of the word “gourmet”. Quite obviously, it refers to food. Gurume anime/manga has plots and storylines which makes food and its creators the real superheroes of the tale. Unsurprisingly, food is vital to Japanese culture and the genre centres around food found in different parts of Japan. However, (much like other anime/manga subcultures) gurume manga has a massive global cult following. The widespread availability of Japanese cuisine— such as sushi, sashimi, tamagoyaki, and gyoza—definitely helps. More importantly, it attracts fans because of the finesse of detail and design of the animated meals. Many people call gurume manga “food pornography”, because there is a voyeuristic pleasure to merely watching this animated food being made and presented.
Continue reading “Guest Blog: 5 Kinds Of Superfood For Heroes And Villains”
Symbols are an important part of any culture and there are many significant images in Japanese folklore. Spirits play a vital role and one of the most important is the kitsune, or fox spirit. Kitsunes are depicted as intelligent shapeshifters whose magical ability increases with age. They have the ability to be benevolent or malicious depending on the situation. Some stories portray them as guardians, while others depict them as tricksters. The ambiguity of the fox makes it an interesting symbol in Japanese folklore, one that’s transitioned into modern pop culture.
Continue reading “Tracing The History of Kitsune In Japanese Folklore And Anime”
Japanese culture has been popular in the west for years, with anime being woven into the fabric of pop culture. Westerners also visit Japan to learn about the country’s history and the samurai are an important part of it. The traditional view of samurai are noble, honourable warriors who dedicated their lives to a singular cause. It’s no surprise that samurai have been featured in comics. But how are they portrayed? Do mainstream comics like Marvel and DC remain faithful to what samurai stood for? The Comic Vault is looking into the history of samurai in comics and the kind of characters that are associated with the image.
Continue reading “The Role Of The Samurai In Contemporary Comics”