Category Archives: SOCIETY

Golden Week 2019: Make the Most of This Year’s Super-Sized Break

Source: Gaijin Pot

The term “once in a lifetime” gets overused, to the point where the meaning can be lost. However, at the end of next month, an event that truly is a once in a generation event is scheduled to take place.

After three decades of hard work promoting Japan to the wider world, Emperor Akihito is going to retire. His son, Crown Prince Naruhito, will replace him and become the new Emperor of Japan. This is the first time in centuries that such an occurrence has taken place. The last time this happened was in 1817, when Emperor Kokaku abdicated.

Typically, as was the case with Emperor Akihito’s father, Emperor Hirohito, the monarch’s term does not end until he dies. However, whatever your views on monarchies or hereditary privilege, almost everyone agrees that after 30 years of rule, the current Emperor and his wife have earned a peaceful retirement.

There is still some confusion as to the effect this will have on the Japanese calendar since eras (and therefore dates) are named after the sitting monarch. Currently, Akihito’s reign is known as the Heisei era and yearly dates according to the Japanese calendar would be numbered accordingly — for example, the current year (2019) is Heisei 31. The word heisei comes from ancient texts referencing the Chinese Emperor Shun and is said to mean “universal peace.”

Crown Prince Naruhito’s coronation will see the beginning of a brand new era and a reset of the traditional Japanese calendar. No announcement has yet been made as to what this new era will be called — much to the chagrin of bureaucrats and calendar publishers across Japan. For us mere peasants, though, that means a long holiday — a truly unprecedented one.

The ceremony to welcome in our new emperor has lead to this year’s Golden Week being rebranded …continue reading


Naked Japanese

Guest post by Akita Ben Well, wish I could say I’ve been too busy enjoying life in Japan to write any updates, but that depends on whether you consider spending the better part of February binge-watching The Sopranos as being busy. Or Japan. Nothing like watching an American drama about Italians to make one really …

“Naked Japanese”

The post Naked Japanese appeared first on Japanese Rule of 7.

…continue reading


5 of the Best Japanese Manga for 2019

Source: Gaijin Pot

While in North America there is a nerd culture largely dominated by Marvel and DC comics, Japan’s own otaku (nerd or geek) culture revolves around the enormous manga industry. Put simply: manga are Japanese comics or graphic novels, made in a unique style very different from Western ones. While comics are seen as geeky or childish in the West, manga is read by people of all ages and all backgrounds in Japan.

Like the television industry in the West, the manga industry in Japan is oversaturated with tens of thousands of titles to choose from. Some titles like One Piece and Naruto can become insanely popular and span hundreds of chapters, while others crash and burn. Due to the solid writing and some incredibly original ideas, the titles on this list have received great reception. Some of the titles on this list are new and emerging, while others have been available for a few years but are still churning out new chapters in 2019. To my mind — all are must-reads.

All titles on this list are available in both English and Japanese.

Helpful tip: when looking for any English manga, anime or other media on Amazon Japan or at retail stores, check for this kanji: 英語 (eigo) or “English language.”

1. Dr. Stone

Dr. Stone by Riichiro Inagaki ©VIZ Media LLC

Manga is known for its peculiar ability to bring obscure hobbies or topics into the mainstream. Yowamushi Pedal made the sport of cycling look cooler than David Beckham doing a bicycle kick. Hikaru No Go, made the ancient and confusing strategy board game of Go appealing to younger audiences. The incredibly popular Bakuman shined a spotlight on the painstaking and arduous life of a manga artist. Now, from Riichiro Inakagi, the writer of the incredibly popular American …continue reading


Fox on getting interrogated at Sumitomo Prestia Bank in Kobe. Thanks to new FSA regulations that encourage even more racial profiling.


My old friend Fox in Japan writes in with a tale of being, as he puts it, “interrogated” at the bank for trying to send $500 overseas while foreign. And if you think the claim “while foreign” is a bit of an exaggeration, has copious records of racial profiling by Japanese banks for sending or receiving funds (or exchanging money) of even minuscule amounts (such as 500 yen). New regulations, however, require a “risk-based approach” (which is, according to the Nikkei, recommended but not required), meaning the scale of “risk” depends on how much money the sender/receiver has in that bank. Or as the Nikkei puts it, “Consider a customer with a direct payroll deposit of 300,000 yen ($2,660) a month who receives 200 million yen from an overseas bank. The government would require that the bank not only follow up confirming the identity of the person withdrawing the funds, but also check the deposit history and what the cash will be used for.”

Meaning that this is no longer a matter of transfer amount — i.e., a large transfer of 5,000,000 yen (later 2,000,000 yen) used to raise flags while smaller transfers didn’t. (Japan’s FSA Guidelines of 2018 mention no money amount whatsoever.) The problem now becomes, without an objective minimum transfer amount to be flagged, that any “foreigner” can be arbitrarily deemed “risky” at any time simply by dint. It encourages racial profiling even further, in addition to what you already have at Japan’s hotels and other public accommodation, police instant ID checkpoints, and tax agencies. More Embedded Racism. …continue reading