Monday, December 29, 2008

Barrier, Brewer and Calendar

This week I include an entry connected to the date of last weeks entry, plus one related to a great beverage (with a link to a nifty store) and a term found in many supernaturally related tales.


kekkai (spiritual barrier) 結界

sakaya (sake brewer and dealer) 酒屋

tōji (winter solstice) 冬至

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Girl, Photo, Catch 'Em

This week I include one for a famous genre and two for amusements that pop up again and again in anime and manga.

mahō shōjo (magical girl) 魔法少女

Purinto kurabu (Print Club) プリント倶楽部

UFO Catcher (crane game) UFOキャッチャー

The last two I could not have done without the information in an excellent little book that is just hitting bookstores in the US:

Ashcraft, Brian and Jean Snow
Arcade Mania: The Turbo-Charged World of Japan's Game Centers
Tokyo: Kodansha International, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

New supplement topics added

I've updated the Topical Index to The Anime Companion Supplement

I have under :

- Created a seperate section for the business types found in the sex trade.
Business - The Sex Trade - Business Types

- divided Literature/Folk Tales into:
- Literature/Folk Tales - Traditional/Pre-1868

- Literature/Folk Tales - Modern/Post-1868

- divided Music into:
- Music - General

- Music - Instrument

- divided Transportation into:
- Transportation - General

- Transportation - Means Of

- subdivided Animal into types, as these divisions are small there are no direct links yet.
- Animal

Religion/Mythology/Belief - added a section for:
- Sects/Movements

- A whole new section subdivided into:

- Fanish

- Queer

- Sexual

- divided Weapon into:
- Weapon - Traditional

- Weapon - Modern

Monday, December 8, 2008

Chants, kinship terms and special effects

This week I've got some Buddhist terminology, a kinship term that also functions as queer slang and a contraction that became a term not only for a cinematic technique but for a genre of entertainment.

So here you are:

darani (dhāranī) 陀羅尼

onêsama (big sister) お姉様 or お姉さま

tokusatsu (special effects) 特撮

That's it for now, I past my lunchtime and an getting hungry.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Aquatic services and queer slang

Ok this week I get a little obscure, but stuff I feel folks may have an interest in. I also want to counter some bad info on these on the web.

So anywat here you are.

funa manjû 船饅頭

neko (queer slang) ネコ or ねこ

tachi (top/butch) タチ or たち

As usual drop a not in the comments box about what you think and if you have suggestions.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Anime Companion Supplement reaches 500 entries

With this weeks entries The Anime Companion Supplement now has 500 entries, enough for another volume.

Not that I'm jumping into editing things for another volume yet, I have plenty of other projects to finish first. However if my books continue to sell that encourages me to work on new books, hint: buy them as holiday gifts.

In any case I hope you enjoy:

amakudari (descent from heaven) 天下り

enchô (extended service) 延長

oyaji-gari (old man hunting) 親父狩り or おやじ狩り

raito noberu (light novel) ライトノベル

That's right four new entries instead of the usual three, I decided I wanted a nice round number for this week.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Police assistants, relationships and minorities

This past week I posted on a couple of professional mailing list a request for suggestions on what to add to the Anime Companion Supplement, much as I have done here in the past.

The first reply asked about minorities and ethnic groups so I created a new category in the topical index for:

The three new entries for this week, including one one the Korean minority of Japan, are:

okappiki 岡引

oyabun - kobun (parent role - child role) 親分 - 子分

zainichi kankokujin to chôsenjin (Koreans in Japan) 在日韓国人と朝鮮人

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Yesterday I received in the mail a copy of Books and Beyond: The Greenwood Encyclopedia of New American Reading. Volume 2 has my essay "Manga and Anime".

The book actually came out a few weeks ago, however I now have physical confirmation that it really exists.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Dancers, fashion; line 'em up now.

This week I have three items I have wanted to add for some time. I already had the game renju (five-in-a-row) 連珠 picked out to write on for this week. Then more information on Juliana's Tokyo ジュリアナ東京 arrived. Having an entry on Juliana's meant I had to have a link to bodikon (body con) ボヂイコン from it which meant I needed to write a bodikon entry.

What will I do next week? Haven't decided yet so feel free to make suggestions.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pollution, purification and the seven.

As rough a week as this last one was I seem to be holding up rather well.

Here they are, the weekly three! Two are religion related and one has a connection to the seasons and food.

kegare (ritual pollution) 穢れ

monoimi 物忌

nanakusa (seven herbs) 七草

Titles cited are:
Spirited Away, Shonen Onmyouji, Otogi Zoshi, Shadow Star, Peacemaker and Yagyu Ninja Scrolls: Revenge of the Hori Clan.

Now on to getting some chores done, but first I think I'll fix lunch.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ah been shoppin'

This week has been a busy one for my pocket book. The damage to my budget to date is as follows.


Enbutsu Sumiko
Tokyo: Exploring the City of the Shogun

Figal, Gerald
Civilization and Monsters: Spirits of Modernity in Meiji Japan

Jacoby, Alexander
A Critical Handbook of Japanese Film Directors


Death Note


Tokyology vol.1 Pop Culture


Ghost Hunt part 1 ep.1-13
Hellsing Ultimate IV
MS Igloo 2
Ouran High School Host Club part 1, ep.1-13
Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl box 1 ep.1-40 (No damage on this one, thanks AnimEigo, you folks are cool.)


Eden v.8-10
Hikaru no Go v.13
Kaze Hikaru v.11
Manga Sutra v.3
Monster v.17
Real v.2
Rose Hip Zero v.4 (Japanese original to look something up)
Switch v.1 - 2

Plus I ordered several books from Japan.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Edo Period Gayness

Today I step away from the series of religion related entries to go a bit more profane.

Specifically I look at male male sexuality in the Edo Period. I would not touch such a subject, literally or figuratively, without a good secondary source. And I found a great one in Cartographies of Desire: Male-Male Sexuality in Japanese Discourse 1600-1950 by Gregory M. Pflugfelder. This is a very interesting scholarly study which I would recommend to anyone interested in the subject.

So the entries this week all have examples from volume 5 of Kaze Hikaru, a great manga about the Shinsengumi (see: The Anime Companion 2 p.86). A manga which I also highly recommend.

So on to the entries:

kagema (a type of male prostitute) 陰間

kagemajaya (kagema tea house) 陰間茶屋

shudō (the way of loving boys) 衆道

Monday, October 13, 2008

Used manga in Berkeley

Occasionally I post on the state of used manga in some shops in Berkeley California.

Moe's Book on Telegraph has added a large amount of titles recently as has Half Price Books on Shattuck. In both stores the shelves are overflowing.

Moe's is about 4 blocks from the University of California Berkeley and Half Price is one block from the Berkeley BART station near The Other Change of Hobbit science fiction book shop, Anime V and Comic Relief.

Also on Telegraph is Shakespeare and Company which has a growing selection.

So check these out for good prices, you may find something you had not checked out as worthy of buying.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Three more on religion

Behind this week's three new entries is part of the way I do these entries. I had planned to do only one religious entries for this week. However that entry led to a second one related to it and at the same time one of the non-religious ones led me to conclude that I would like to write two others related to it. So the non religious one and it's two related entries will be next week and again I have three new religious ones.

Izanagi no Mikoto to Izanami no Mikoto (Izanagi no Mikoto and Izanami no Mikoto) いざなぎの命といざなみの命

mukaebi (welcoming fire) 迎え火

Yomi (Land of Gloom) 黄泉

Monday, October 6, 2008

Building, Concept, Beastie

The three new entries this week include two from Shintō and one supernatural critter you don't want hangin' about.

honden (main shrine) 本殿

miitsu みいつ or 威霊

nue 鵼

Also I revised tegata changing it to sekisho tegata (travel pass) 関所手形 which is what the entry is specifically about. Thank you Ono-san for pointing out the inaccuracies in the entry.

Again I continue focussing on religion with one on the supernatural. I'm going to start going into other areas beginning next week. I shall make an effort to keep adding religious and supernatural entries as I go along as the response to these has been positive.

If you have an area of interest related to Japanese culture that you would like to see more entries for let me know.

You can even suggest specific items you have seen in US released anime and manga, if I have good information on them I'll do a write up. Just don't expect it right away.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bird, stone, mountain

Last week was crazy at work, this week promises different crazy. In any case I apologize for being a day late with this update to the Anime Companion Supplement.

Again three religious entries.

I could not find the kanji for ishi-age so if you know it please let me know.

hôô (phoenix) 鳳凰

ishi-age (Stone or pebble offerings)

Osorezan 恐山

Monday, September 15, 2008

Yokai Attack! gets a web site

One of the coolest books I've seen this year now has a web site.

Check out the site and then check out the book. It was scheduled for an Oct 1 release but apparently is now available.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Three on Shinto

This week I have three Shintō related entries.

ikigami (living human deity) 生き神

Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters) 古事記

Nihon Shoki (Chronicle of Japan) 日本書紀

It is interesting that I could not find the word ikigami actually used in Kamichu! If you find it there please let me know the reading on your DVD player so I can add it to my notes.

Of course it is also interesting that the one case where I have spotted the word is in an action show where the main character is hitting on a novice Catholic nun.

Check back next week for more religion related entries.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The sacred and very profane

This week I add entries for two Shintō related terms and well as one more related to the sex trade.

sakaki 榊

shimei, (name a particular partner) 指名

Yao-yorozu-no-kami (eight million gods) 八百万神

It was requested a few weeks ago that I add more related to religion. For now that will be mainly Shintō, I spend a great deal of time in the last few weeks expanding my notes on Shintō. I will do the same for Buddhism and other beleifs over the next several months.

I hope you are finding these entries interesting.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Ladies, travelers and barriers

This week I bring you:

ojōsan (young lady) お嬢さん

sekisho (barrier station) 関所

tegata (travel pass) 手形

That's it no special commentary as my hay fever is hitting me hard. I'm going to go fix dinner and watch a movie.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The yokai are here!

I just found out that Yokai Attack! The Japanese Monster Survival Guide has been released in the US a month ahead of schedule. If you have any interest in folklore, Japanese culture or supernatural beasites of any kind this is a book for you.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Locale, location, tool

This week I've added the usual three entries to the Anime Companion Supplement.

This time I've gone with two locations, one in Tokyo, and a tool. Nothing spectacular, simple things that may provide background information for someone. Of the three Shōnan will be the one most familiar to many fans of anime, manga and live action shows.

The entries are:

Kabutochō 兜町

Shōnan 湘南

tembimbō (carrying pole) 天秤棒

Monday, August 18, 2008

Thugs, flowers and lesbians

The latest three term posting title brings you:

chinpira (punk, thug) ちんぴら or チンピラ

yuri (lily) 百合

yuri (lesbian [slang]) 百合

If you have an interest in the slang use of yuri you may find Erica Friedman' blog Ozaku interesting.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

New manga

Today is Wednesday and that means Diamond shipments are put out on comics shop shelves.

This week three titles stand out:

GTO The Early Years v.8 - the latest in the original Onizuka manga published years earlier in Japan than GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka.

Peace Maker v.4 a Shinsengumi centered manga about Ichimura Tetsunosuke and his experiences in the 1860s. Amazing how many fan sites for the manga and anime miss the fact that he actually existed.

Disappearance Diary by Hideo Azuma - God I've waited months for this one. this is an autobiographical manga about the experiences of a manga artist including when he ended up homeless and alcoholic.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Game, cash, author

This week I'm hitting a variety of subjects. These include a game, a saying and an author I recommend for mystery fans.

fukuwarai (face game) 福笑い

kane no kireme ga en no kireme (the end of the money is the end of the relationship) 金の切れ目が縁の切れ目

Ôsawa Arimasa 大沢在昌

In the near future I'll be doing several more entries related to Japanese religion as some have expressed an interest in having more such material. Another focus I have been working on for some time is aspects of contemporary life as this is an area of interest to many fans of anime, manga and live action shows.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Real Rock and Roll

Checking the Japan Times this morning I noticed two interesting articles, so I'll pass them on:

The Ventures: still rocking after 50 years

Mad about deke-deke-deke

Monday, August 4, 2008

gender, food and vids

This week I'm adding some terminology anime and manga fans will be familiar with, and a tasty type of place to stop off for a cuppa tea.

As is often the case with the terminology entries the one for OVA does not have example from a specific anime or manga (yet).

This weeks entries are:

futanari (hermaphrodite) 二成 or 二形 or ふたなり

kanmikissa 甘味喫茶


Got comments? Leave them here so folks can join in.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Kin-Yoobi Con 2008

On Saturday August 9th I'll be doing a panel at a local con.

Kin-Yoobi Con 2008.

I really enjoy the energy of small cons and am looking forward to this one.

Oh yeah, what is my panel?

I'm doing the Older Titles for Newer Fans panel I did for the first time at Fanimecon earlier this year. It was a fun panel that ended with everyone going and have a discussion in another room for about an hour. I'll have video clips from several titles that newer, and many older, fans are likely to not know about and I think should check out.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Little houses, a folding weapon and a shogun

This week I have three items with no direct relation to each other.

hokora (small wayside shrines) 祠

karakuri jitte カラクリ實手

Tokugawa Ienari 徳川家斉

I'm also curious what subject areas or types of material you would like to see more of in the Anime Companion Supplement. Write a reply to these posts and let me know.

I have a very large database of possible entries and am interested in what areas you would like more coverage on.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Yen Plus

I was recently given a copy of the first issue of Yen Plus, a new manga, manhwa and comic anthology magazine from Yen Press.

It is about an inch thick and as it has a mixture of original English works as well as translated Korean manhwa and Japanese manga the lay out is interesting. For the English and manhwa works you start from the part that opens right to left as with American magazines. for the manga you flip the volumes over so it opens left to right as the images are not flipped.

The manga titles are interesting ones. The better known ones include Soul Eater, Bamboo Blade, and Higurashi When They Cry.

The English and Korean titles seem pretty good at first glance, it seems to me that the quality of such works is improving and that Yen Press is getting some good ones.

Yen Press is putting out a nice anthology with Yen Plus, keep an eye out for it. If you local shops don't have it you may want them to consider stocking it.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Edo cop stuff

This week I have 3 new entries. Not that I'm about to increase my output, it just happened that these are inter-link so well I put all four up the same week.

dōshin (lower-grade samurai rank) 同心


kaginawa (hook rope) 鈎縄

Friday, July 11, 2008

Otaku USA August 2008

The new issue of Otaku USA is hitting the news stands. If your local magazine source does not have it ask them to stock it. I'm eagerly awaiting my subscription copy in the mail.

Disclaimer: I now write for Otaku USA, which I thought was a truly cool magazine before I started submitting articles to them.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Another three yōkai

Continuing on my yōkai jag I add three more this week. I haven't run out of yōkai to add, just good secondary sources on the interesting critters so don't expect another such batch soon. I will add new yōkai entries as I find more reputable sources.

bura-bura 不落々々

Hitotsume Kozô (one eyed boy) 一つ目小僧

namahage 生剥

Monday, June 30, 2008

yet mo' yokai

With the fires in Northern California we have had very high levels of pollution. This has dramatically slowed me down, fortunately I drafted these entries when I was in Montreal so I was able to complete them this weekend.

Kara-kasa (umbrella yōkai) 唐傘

Konaki Jiji (old man who cries like a baby) 児啼爺

Nopperabō (faceless yōkai) のっぺら坊 or のっぺらぼう

I'll probably pick easy entries for the next batch as the air will probably continue to be bad for a week.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mo' yokai yokai yokai!

My aunt has a a small LAN at her place so I am able to post this while away from home.

This week I have three more yôkai entries thanks to a new book that will be out in North America in October.

Yokai Attack! The Japanese Monster Survival Guide by Yoda Hiroko and Matt Alt, published by Kodansha International.

akai-kami-aoi-kami (red paper blue paper) 赤紙青紙

akamanto (red mantle) 赤マント

futakuchi-onna (two mouthed woman) 二口女

The book is already out in Japan, however it looks like the publisher wants to wait for the Halloween season before releasing it here. I will have a review in a forthcoming issue of Otaku USA magazine. For now I will say that I recommend getting this when it comes out.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Montreal bound

I'll be visiting family for a few days in Montreal and will probably not be able to upload the new Anime Companion Supplement entries this coming weekend.

However I will be able to do so on Wednesday after I get back so check back then or on Thursday.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Torimono sandôgu

This week I add entries for three older police weapons collectively known as the torimono sandôgu.

sasumata (spear fork) 刺股

sodegarami (sleeve entangler) 袖搦

tsukubo (push pole) 突棒

When I did the first volume of the Anime Companion such older weapons were almost never seen in anime and manga as there were less than ten titles which took place before World War Two. With the large number of titles since there there are a considerable number set in that time period, mainly before 1900.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Weapons and monks

The usual three this month.

Hidden and deceptive weapons show up in several titles so I am expanding the entries related to them. Also the monk's staff gets an entry due to it also being common in many titles.

kakushibuki (hidden weapon) 隠し武器

shakujô (monk's staff) 錫杖

shikomibuki (deceptive weapon) 仕込武器

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Fanime 2008, a small report

Fanime Con 2008 was fun. The staff always do a great job. This year things were even better. The program book and events guide were so clearly laid out that it was easy for people to find out what was happening. In fact the attendance in my panels was higher than it had been in years.

I did three panels:

Japanese Culture in Anime and Manga:
I used half of an episode of Maison Ikkoku to illustrate Japanese cultural elements. After watching the segment we viewed it again pausing whenever a new element came up. One observant fellow pointed out that Kyoko's mother exited via the left door of Maison Ikkoku, something I had not noted before.

Anime for Parents:
This is usually a discussion between me and those attending the event. Some good questions, each time I do this it is different. This year it was cooler as Jonathan Osborne sat in one it and had some good comments.

Older Titles for Newer Fans:
This was done by both me and Jonathan Osborne. There were some technical problems so we had to start late and rush things a little. We introduced and showed clips from 8 anime likely to be not known by newer fans. Our criteria was simple, the title had to be currently available and worthy of recommending to any fan. We covered (in this order): Bubblegum Crisis (the original OVA series), Dirty Pair (a clip from one of the OVA), The City Hunter Movie, Otaku no Video, Maison Ikkoku, They Were Eleven, Gundam 0080, and Macross Plus. When our time ran out Jonathan had to go to his next panel and almost all of us moved across the hall to an empty room and had a discussion of the titles.

I actually got to watch some anime this year, just the tail end of a Detective Conan feature and a, unreleased in the US, Lupin III feature which I had not seen before. What I really enjoyed were the first two episodes of Gurren Lagan, I had to leave for a panel so I could not see episode three. My sister and her best friend were with me and greatly enjoyed the show.

I gave Yamaga-san a copy of The Best of Xero autographed by Dick and Pat Lupoff. Xero is a famous fanzine which won a Hugo award in 1963. Takeda Yasuhiro was there and he and Yamaga-san seemed to be enjoying looking through the book.

All in all a busy con, I ate tons of food and rested as I was fighting off a slight cold. Even so I lost 5 pounds, anime convention going as a diet works rather well. I bought a couple of Fujiko figures (you can never have too much Fujiko) and a tasteful figure of the major from Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex.

I'm looking forward to next year.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Words and strings

I spent the weekend at Fanime Con 2008. Lots of fun, had great turnouts for my panels. However being away from home and busy delayed the update a couple of days.

So here you are:

imikotoba (taboo words and expressions) 忌詞

kotodama (spirit in words) 言霊

tonkori (Ainu stringed instrument) トンコリ

Special thanks to Aje RavenStar who sent me an email regarding kotodama which led to that entry and the entry for imikotoba.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Fanime 2008

I'm getting ready to head out to FanimeCon 2008 tomorrow morning.

I'm delighted to again be a guest.

This year I am again doing the popular Anime for Parents panel, a presentation on Japanese Culture in Anime and Manga as well as a new panel Older Titles for Newer Fans with the delightful Jonathan Osborne. I may also crash some other panels or put my input from the rows of the audience.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rory Root 1958-2008

Rory Root the founder of the Comic Relief bookshop in Berkeley has passed away.

Rory was a pioneer in promoting graphic novels to libraries and participant in the GNLIB-L list for librarians interested in graphic novels and anime. His store was the first to win an Eisner Award which it richly deserved.

I first met Rory in the late 1970s when I was an impoverished grad student who would drop by the comic shop on Telegraph Avenue to browse through their Japanese import texts. Rory was a lowly staff member who was always ready to make recommendations and learn from the knowledge of the customers.

For years after that shop closed Rory would talk about opening his own store, it even became a subject to tease him about. When Comic Relief opened up many of us visited the store on that day. I was entering just as the store cat, a small black kitten at the time, was making a dash to the door being followed by Rory who was yelling "Get back here!". I scooped up the kitten. turned it over and while my hand was being playfully mauled and chewed congratulated Rory on the store.

For years I would visit after work and one day while in the store with a friend I was bored as he and Rory were having a long conversation when I spotted issue 3 of Akira in the old colorized comic book release. I bought that issue and the two previous ones which actually was my first comic book purchase since 1970. It was also my first manga purchase and since that date Comic Relief has continued to extract funds in exchange for wonderful books.

I urge anyone who is visiting Berkeley to head downtown and see the store that Rory built.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Okinawa yum yum

This week I have a treat for fans of Samurai Champloo and Blood+.

Foods from Okinawa seen or cited in those titles.

champurû チャンプルー

kōrēgūsu (Korean pepper) 高麗胡椒 or コーレーグース

Okinawa soba 沖縄そば

I also have a favor to ask of folks. I am testing the use of macrons on the site. Please look at the May 17 entry on the Anime Companion Supplement New Entries page and let me know if the characters are not displaying properly.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ku, ku & street

This past week was a rough one. The beginning of the term is always extra busy in the Library but other projects jumped out at us as well.

So on to the entries. This week I go on Tokyo overload and add a famous Harajuku avenue as well as two more ku.

Looking over my notes only two of the ku of Tokyo; Katsushika-ku and Ota-ku, lack entries. These have not shown up in any of the US released anime or manga I have taken notes on. If you know of occurrences of these two ku in titles released in English please let me know.

This week I added:




Sunday, May 4, 2008

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

truck, island & actor

I got these up on Sunday but am just getting around to this announcement.

decotora (decorated truck)

- After getting The Art Trucks of Japan I just had to do an entry on decotora, in fact had been wanting to do one for some time but had no reputable and cite-able sources.


- Since I did an entry last week for the Iriomote yamaneko I figured I better do one on the island itself.

Sugawara Bunta

- And of course you can't really do an entry on decotora without being tempted to do an entry on Sugawara Bunta, who by the way has a character in an anime based on him and even does voice acting.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Yaro Art!

I'm currently reading, well more like looking at the pictures of a new book from DH Publishing.

The Art Trucks of Japan

A fun book. I only wish it had more pictures of older trucks from the 1970s on. But still cool, with great nighttime shots.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Survivors, kitty and Kita

This week I include an entry for Iriomote yamaneko thanks to a suggestion from Captain Nerd in the discussion of this blog in rec.arts.anime and rec.arts.manga.

Thanks Cap'n.

hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors)

Iriomote yamaneko (Iriomote wildcat)


Monday, April 14, 2008

Sara's occupation. mature woman stuff and a wet way

This week I add entries for:

goze (blind female singers) - Sara's occupation in Samurai Shamploo

redikomi (ladies' comics) - this one a general entry for Japanese terminology.

Tamagawa - another Tokyo related geographical entry.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Kurama Tengu

Ack. Just when I am trying to control my budget Digital Meme announces a pre order discount for their forthcoming release of early Kurama Tengu films. Digital Meme discs are region free, have benshi accomaniment and subtitles.

I can't wait to see Kurama Tengu protecting the patriots of Japan against the evil forces of the shogun!

Talking Silents 5: Kurama Tengu and The Frightful Era of Kurama Tengu featuring Kanjuro Arashi

Kurama Tengu
Produced by Arashi Kanjuro Productions, 1928
71 minutes / 24 fps

Directed by: Teppei Yamaguchi
Cast: Kanjuro Arashi, Takesaburo Nakamura,
Reizaburo Yamamoto, Kunie Gomi and Keiichi Arashi

Kurama Tengu Kyofu Jidai (The Frightful Era of Kurama Tengu)
Produced by Arashi Kanjuro Productions, 1928
38 minutes / 16 fps

Directed by: Teppei Yamamoto
Cast: Kanjuro Arashi, Reizaburo Yamamoto, Kunie Gomi and Keiichi Arashi

Monday, March 24, 2008

Been shopping

Took a break today and headed into downtown Berkeley.

The new Cody's Books has opened on Shattuck and while I was there I picked up a copy of:

Cavaye, Ronald; Paul Griffith, and Akihiko Senda
A Guide to the Japanese Stage: From Traditional to Cutting Edge

I figured a survey book would be too general for me. A quick glance proved me wrong this little book is dense with interesting information.

Afterwards I wandered to Anime V where I picked up 5 Centimeters Per Second.

Then a quick jog over to The Other Change of Hobbit to get a book I had on hold, The Best of Xero. It is a gift for an animator I know in Japan and I'll get the authors to inscribe it for him.

Then on to Comic Relief , just cause I was in the neighborhood. From there I caught the bus back home.

It is so nice to have so many cool stores in one neighborhood.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Wakeful Nights

I got Wakeful Nights in the mail yesterday and popped it in the DVD player.

Great stuff, not for the prudish, very earthy.

The box has the following justified warning:

"Contains adult situations and language, disgusting puns, sick jokes, filthy karaoke and a tramatized manta ray."

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Foxy yokai stuff

This week I decided to flood the supplement with three entries dealing with kitsune, the Japanese fox.

kitsune no yomeiri (fox giving the bride, fox wedding procession)

kitsune nyôbô (fox wife)

kitsunebi (fox-fire)

Plenty more yokai stuff to go so expect some here and there over time. I'll try to do one a week for the next few weeks.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Lots of new books

A busy week for book buying. My budget is going to feel this one, yes I have to buy the books and videos I write about. As I rarely do reviews only a couple of companies send me stuff.

In any case here is what I bought.


No Borders no Limits: Nikkatsu Action Cinema - Mark Schilling

- I started it this morning so far a great little book on a major studio that produced some of my favorite Japanese films.

Nakamura Jakuemon IV: The Art of Onnagata Acting - Sasaguchi Rei

- I found this one by accident, it looks really interesting with plenty of pictures and the bits of text I have read are informative.


Naoki Urasawa's Monster v.13 - Urasawa Naoki

- The latest on this masterful work of suspense.

Orion - Shirow Masamune

- OK I have the 1st English edition but I just had to pick up this one, the 4th, which is unflipped.

Vagabond v.27 - Inoue Takehiko

- The end of the battle against the Yoshioka sword school which started in the last volume. If you have not seen this work do check it out, great art and a masterful adaptation of the famous Musashi novel on the swordsman Miyamoto Musashi.

Phoenix v.12 Early Works - Tezuka Osamu

- A Phoenix volume that is a collection of interesting early short stories with the Phoenix from the 1950s. Very different in tone and style than the rest of the series.

Metro Survive v.1 - Fujisawa Yûki

- I've only glanced at this one, picked it up on the recommendation of a staff person at Comic Relief in Berkeley.

Voices of Love - Hazuki Kanae

- A collection of romance manga tales for women that is rated 18+ and not about guys on guys. Actually there is little sex but I figure I should check this our.

Monday, March 17, 2008

From a yokai to a priest to a major sect of Buddhism

This week I started with the entry on kitsune-tsuki, then I realized while I had an entry for Nichiren Buddhism I needed an entry for Shingon, then I realized I needed an entry for Kukai.

What were the other two entries I had originally planned to do?

Well I won't say but they shall appear soon, that is within the next few months.

kitsune-tsuki (fox possession)

Kukai (Kōbō-Daishi)

Shingonshû (Shingon sect of Buddhism.)

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Yôkai, yôkai, yôkai!

This week all three of the entries are yokai.

I decided a little excess was called for.

They are:

azuki arai (azuki bean washer)



As it is difficult to find information published in English on yôkai I will be updating these as I find new information sources. I will try to note such updates here.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

New book out on Japanese pop culture

Just got my copy of Japanese Visual Culture: Explorations in the World of Manga and Anime edited by Mark W. MacWilliams, published by M.E.Sharpe.

It has an essay by me "Contemporary Anime in Japanese Pop Culture" with pretty pictures.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Monday, February 25, 2008

school festivals, a yokai and a pimp

This week I have an entry that will be familiar to anyone who watches anime set in modern Japanese schools. Plus a yokai, gotta have more yokai! Then there is a more obscure entry of a character who turns up in Yagyu Ninja Scrolls.

bunkasai (cultural festival)

nureonna (snake woman)

Shôji Jin'emon

Saturday, February 23, 2008

New Barefoot Gen volumes

Last Gasp has been publishing the new translation of Barefoot Gen. Yesterday I picked up the two latest volumes, 5 ands 6, at their booth at WonderCon in San Francisco.

These two volumes have never before been translated into English. There will be ten volumes in all when the series is over.

It will be a little while before they hit stores so dig out your copies of volumes 1-4 and re-read them, then get the newer ones.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Science Fiction in Anime

I'm doing a presentation at the Livermore (California) Public Library tomorrow Feb 21.

Sorry for the delay in getting this out but that flu I had persisted and finally slowly faded away last week so I'm getting caught up on all sorts of stuff.

Suitable for adults, so kids bring your parents.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Buddhism, masks, spooky kabuki and demons

While not all yokai related this week has several supernatural related entries folks will find interesting. Some of these entries even have multiple related definitions making them multifaceted in significance.


Tôkaidô Yotsuya Kaidan (Ghost Story of Tôkaidô Yotsuya)


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Expect more yokai

OK I have to confess I have a thing for yokai. They are just so cool, too bad it is almost impossible to find out much information on them in English.

I'll just have to get back into studying Japanese so I can read about them and use the great database that is online,

I have heard it has over 13,000 entries.

Anyway several weeks ago I picked up the first volume of Kon Kon Kokon by Koge-Donbo, pub in the US by Broccoli Books. This cute little manga is full of yokai, after all the main character is a high school kid who is a yokai fanatic. Not only is it full of yokai it has a small 'yokai encyclopedia' in the back.

I'll be mining this and other sources for more yokai entries. In fact soon the Anime Companion Supplement will be one of the largest English resources on yokai. Kinda pathetic as it will be so only as there is so little else out there.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Robot, yokai, yokai

More yokai this week, also Japan's first robot which was anthropomorphic and made in the 1920s. The original still exists in a museum somewhere.


kamaitachi (weasel slash)

nurikabe (wall bakemono)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Yokai, yokai, yokai!

Yokai, also known as bakemono, are any of a large range of unusual supernatural critters. Not all are dangerous, some are just strange and all are uncanny. There is almost no information available in English on yokai so my entries are few and often short.

However this week I have three more to add with others coming soon.


Suna-kake-baba (sand throwing old woman)

tsukumogami (spirit of a made object)

If you are interested in yokai I highly recommend the movie The Great Yokai War.

For other entries on yokai see: Culture - Supernatural Beings/Yôkai in the Topical Index

Friday, February 1, 2008

Anime Companion Topical Index Launched

I have now created a topical index for both of the published Anime Companion books as well as the web based Anime Companion Supplement.

You can see it at:

Topical Index

Please spread the word on this. I want more people to know of this improvement.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Yawara sweet, martial arts and news

I've had the flu this week so I have done nothing with uploading new images.

However I did putter on the Anime Companion Supplement entries, it helped that some were already done before I got sick.

The new entries are:


Tenshin Shôden Katori Shintô-ryû

Yomiuri Shimbun

Plus an update to the mononoke entry.

I also found a new source of information on yokai, hence the update on mononoke, This is Michael Dylan Foster's dissertation Morphologies of Mystery: Yôkai and Discources of the Supernatural in Japan 1666-1999. The yokai entries will be short ones as the information is scant, but it is something for an area where little is written about in English.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Pork bun, sweet bun and a national award

Using the preview disc from AnimEigo I recently took notes on the first four episodes of the Yawara! the Fashionable Judo Girl anime series. This show is plenty of fun and I'm really happy it will be released as box sets rather than a DVD each other month as most companies release their anime.

While I rarely focus on one show I have a special fondness for this series and so this week have three entries for items found in it.

anman (sweet filled bun)

Kokumin Eiyo Shô (People's Honor Award)

nikuman (pork filled bun)

The two bun entries are rather short, I had considered putting them up on separate weeks, however the source has both together so I uploaded both today,

Monday, January 14, 2008

A fish, a modern yokai and another ku

This week I have another food entry, The yokai entry is a modern one dating from the late 1970s and referred to in Pom Poko, and another of Tokyo's 23 ku has an entry.

aji (saurel, horse mackerel)

kuchi-sake-onna (slit-mouthed woman)


Images from Thursday Oct 25

Nikko was our only day trip outside of Tokyo the entire two weeks. Just too much to see in that city to spend much time elsewhere.

Nikko is famous for Toshogu shrine where Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first Tokugawa shogun, is enshrined as protector of his family.

This is the Shinkyô, the sacred bridge, it is used for special events and normally closed to traffic. the regular road is nearby and the highway runs alongside the river the bridges cross. The bridge is painted in red lacquered.

We did not enter the shrine grounds on the main path, rather we spotted some steps going off to one side and decided to first see where they went.

One of the first things we saw was this temizuya where we purified ourselves before going further. What we found was a series of minor shrines and temples as well as old stone walls and a temple preschool.

One building had 12 carvings for each animal of the East Asian zodiac. This money is a good example of the work.

Then we walked to the main shrine area where we purchased tickets for the grounds. The tickets were interesting consisting of a large strip of paper perforated into sections for different parts of the grounds.

This massive complex was built over several years and expanded with thousand of artisans participating in the work. Stone and metal lanterns such as these were probably donated by wealthy daimyo as signs of loyalty. There are even huge and highly ornate European lanterns from the Dutch king.

This is an example of the gilded tile roof on the major buildings.

These monkeys, at the stable for the sacred horses, are but a few of the large number of carvings of monkeys on the building. Monkeys and horses get along quite well and it was not unusual in Japan to keep actual monkeys in stables.

Some of the smaller structures on the way to the main shrine. The larger one in the background is a bellfry donw in a Buddhist style. The smaller one to the right houses a hanging lantern donated by the king of Holland..

More wood carvings, when the major expansion of the original temple took place in the early 17th century it used up half the government’s budget for a year.

The wall with stairs leading to the Yomei-mon Gate, the gate of the main shrine.

The Yomei-mon Gate as seen from inside the shrine grounds. There were large crowds of people who had come on group tours. One was lead by a very dignified man whose comments at the stables had the tourists in stitches.

Offerings to the gods of the shrine often take the form of food and alcohol. Here are casks of whisky from the major distillers of Japan.

On the other side of the gateway were traditional sake offerings.

The dragons around the edge of the Yomei-mon Gate were all very different in design. Only one example of the variety of art here.

Looking back at the complex and Yomei-mon as we leave late in the day, by now the tour buses have gather their riders are are leaving. The torii in the left forground is actually the second one you pass under as you approach the shrine.

As it is getting close to the time the complex closes up for the night we only see the occasional person.

At a temple is this straw hoop. you walk through it in a figure 8 pattern as you enter to ensure good health.

Cindy and I look at something alongside the approach to another temple gate. It is actually getting late and we are urged to enter before they close the gates. Once inside we are told to feel free to look around. By now taking pictures is difficult as it is not only getting dark this temple is in a little valley and heavily shaded.

The last picture of Nikko. The moon rising over the trees and town as we cross the bridge and head back to the train station where we enjoyed a simple bento as we waited for the time to catch the train back to Tokyo.

Friday, January 11, 2008

little mentions

I am quoted by. Roland Kelts in the Daily Yomiuri Online

And yes I will be soon putting up more images from the October trip.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Marriage, divorce and a ku of Tokyo

This week I have added entries to the Anime Companion Supplement for:

kônin todoke (Notice of Marriage)

rikon todoke (Notification of a Divorce)


I am trying to add entries for various ku of Tokyo until I have covered all of them, either in the books or in the supplement. So expect a ku each week or two for the next few months.