How Pokémon Reinvented Yokai For A New Generation

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”

The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories Review: Classic And Modern Japan Come Together

When I think of Japanese authors, the first name that comes to mind is Haruki Murakami. His surreal fiction is a big hit with western audiences and reading his stories opened a gateway for me to other Japanese writers. So, it’s appropriate that Murakami introduces The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories. The collection covers traditional Japanese themes like bushido and bizarre situations like UFOS, sugar-filled vaginas and nightmarish paintings. But what unites all the stories is a genuine love of writing from each author. Continue reading “The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories Review: Classic And Modern Japan Come Together”

Pop Culture Pub Crawl: Wolverine

The Pop Culture Pub Crawl is a series that focuses on the drinking habits of a superhero and describes their ideal version of a night out. When it comes to putting away a large amount of alcohol, Wolverine has one of the most impressive track records in the Marvel Universe. His healing factor makes it difficult for him to get drunk, so it makes sense for Wolverine to be able to handle his booze. It’s why his night out would include a range of potent beverages that reflect his cultural tastes. Continue reading “Pop Culture Pub Crawl: Wolverine”

What Makes Doctor Light An Empowering Female Superhero?

When thinking of real-life superheroes, it could be argued that you’d find them in the scientific and medical fields. Scientists have invented revolutionary products like the telephone and cured diseases such as smallpox. The ingenuity of science has been reflected in comics through the creation of characters who are experts in their fields of study. One of the most underrated science-based superheroes is Doctor Light. An astronomer and expert in light technology, Kimiyo Hoshi is a character who deserves more recognition. Continue reading “What Makes Doctor Light An Empowering Female Superhero?”

4 Reasons Why Mariko Yashida Deserves Her Own Solo Series

Having a tragic love life is one of the most common themes of being a superhero, especially if you’re Wolverine. Logan has loved many women over the years, such as Jean Grey and Silver Fox, though each relationship has ended in heartbreak or death. Mariko Yashida is someone who has paid the price for being with Wolverine. Mariko died when she asked Logan to mercy kill her after she was poisoned with puffer fish venom.

Recently, Mariko was resurrected as the Scarlet Samurai in the pages of Old Man Logan. With her revival comes the opportunity for Marvel to explore the character in a way that’s never been done before and this can be achieved by featuring Mariko in her own series. Here are four reasons why she deserves to have her story told. Continue reading “4 Reasons Why Mariko Yashida Deserves Her Own Solo Series”

Bushido: The Way Of The Samurai Review: Learning How To Be A Warrior In Japan

I’ve been fascinated with Japanese history for a while now, particularly with the samurai and their code of Bushido. They dedicated themselves to ‘the way of the warrior’ and lived by its principles in the pursuit of a perfect death. After reading Bushido: The Way Of The Samurai I feel like I’ve got a broader view of what Bushido stands for. Here are my review of a book that charts the history of one of Japan’s most enduring belief systems.
Continue reading “Bushido: The Way Of The Samurai Review: Learning How To Be A Warrior In Japan”

The Definitive Guide To Japanese Manchester

Travelling is one of the best ways to expand your knowledge of the world. But it’s not the only way to embrace a new culture. Exploring local communities and experiences are eye-opening in their own right. I’m fascinated by Japan and there are plenty of Japanese related activities in my home city of Manchester. There’s restaurants, bars, societies and exhibits dedicated to celebrating the Land of the Rising Sun. It’s why I’ve put together a guide for anyone who wants to explore Manchester through the lens of Japanese culture. Continue reading “The Definitive Guide To Japanese Manchester”

Delving Into The World Of Jizai Okimono And Japanese Art

Japan is known for having some of the most unique art in the world. Building on centuries of feudal culture, Japanese art has its own style. A famous example of Japanese art is jizai okimono, which translates to ‘move freely decorative object.’ Jizai okimono involves the crafting of articulated sculptures. Beginning in 17th century Japan, the art form is highly specialised and fascinating. But what are the origins of jizai okimono and how has it evolved in modern times? Continue reading “Delving Into The World Of Jizai Okimono And Japanese Art”

Growing Up In A Family Of Samurai: An Interview With Michiko Hashiba

Japan attracts visitors from all over the world, with many being drawn to the country because of the samurai. Japanese history is entwined with warriors who followed a strict code of honour, devoting their lives to duty. There were many proud samurai and one of the most famous was Toyotomi Hideyoshi. A capable general and politician, Hideyoshi was considered the second ‘great unifer’ of Japan. He rose to prominence during the 1500s and founded the Hashiba samurai line.

I’m fascinated by samurai history, so I couldn’t help but be excited to interview a descendent of Hideyoshi.  I’m pleased to present a conversation with Michiko Hashiba about what it means to come from a family of samurai. Continue reading “Growing Up In A Family Of Samurai: An Interview With Michiko Hashiba”

The Essential Reading List: Wolverine

When reading about a certain character, it’s helpful to know about the best stories. In this edition of The Essential Reading List, I’m highlighting important Wolverine stories. The character has appeared in a number of classic X-Men stories and in his own series. With his attitude, healing factor and tragic backstory, Wolverine is one of Marvel’s most iconic superheroes. Here are the must-read stories of the man known as James ‘Logan’ Howlett. Continue reading “The Essential Reading List: Wolverine”