Tag Archives: japan

Uniqlo Commercial Pulled In South Korea Due To Subtitle Translation

In a recent Uniqlo commercial, 98-year-old fashion model Iris Apfel talks with 13-year-old fashion designer Kheris Rogers. The commercial is in English, and the Korean-language subtitles have caused the Japanese clothing company to pull the ad. Viewers are accusing the subtitled commercial of forgetting the horrors of Japan’s forced occupation.

Apfel speaks English in the ad and is asked how she used to dress when she was the 13-year-old’s age. She replies, “Oh my god, I can’t remember that far back.”

In the Japanese version of the ad, the line is translated into Japanese as “As for things in the past, I forgot em.”

Advertisement

However, in the Korean version, the line is translated as her saying, “How can I remember when it was over 80 years ago?” Obviously, the original English differs.

This translation has caused controversy because in South Korea there are claims this is a reference to Japan’s imperial rule of South Korea and all that happened during that period (more here), such as forced labor and sexual slavery. The subtitle controversy has made its way to mainstream Korean news.

The implication is that old people cannot really remember what happened, which would be a pointed condemnation of the surviving comfort women, who are now in their 90s.

Advertisement

In 2015, the Japanese and South Korean government reached an agreement on the comfort women, establishing a $9 million fund to assist them. But former comfort women, like Kim Bok-dong who died earlier this year, want a formal apology from the Japanese government.

Against this backdrop, tensions between Japan and South Korea are currently running high with the South Korean Supreme Court ruling that Japanese companies need to pay for forced wartime factory and mining labor, Japan no longer considering South Korea a trusted trading partner, and Seoul abandoning intelligence sharing with Tokyo. Korean tourism is down in Japan, and in South Korea, there are boycotts on Japanese goods, hurting companies like Uniqlo. The two neighboring countries are not getting along.

Advertisement

At the center of contention is the 1965 Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea. The Japanese point of view is that the treaty states issues of compensation were settled “completely and finally” through Japan’s massive injection of economic aid, which included settlement money, into South Korea. As Lawfare points out, the South Korean government did not pay that money out as compensation to its citizens and instead used it to build up its infrastructure.

Advertisement

However, the Korean view is that the Japanese occupation was unlawful and thus, the South Korean Supreme Court’s ruling is correct. Moreover, the ruling argued that Japan never agreed that colonialism was unjust and therefore the money could never have been intended for victims. You can read more on Lawfare about the ongoing legal wrangling between the two countries.

Tadashi Yanai, Uniqlo’s founder and CEO, has been critical of how the Japanese government has been recently acting toward South Korea, saying it has been “odd” and “hysterical” and that he understands why South Koreans have started boycotting Japanese products.

Advertisement

Uniqlo Korea has pulled the ad but believes this is a misunderstanding. “We can’t really comprehend why it’s controversial, but there might be a misunderstanding,” said Uniqlo Korea, according to SCMP. “We think [the Korean people] have overly interpreted it in that way.”

“The ad was not designed for a specific country. It’s a global advertisement,” Uniqlo Korea added. “The models are real designers 98-year-old Iris Apfel and 13-year-old Kheris Rogers. The subtitles are to highlight their age difference. There are no national or historic connotations.”

Source: Kotaku.com

If You Visit Kyoto In October, Check Out This Spooky Parade

Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

While Halloween in Shibuya might get lots of attention because of the massive crowds (and chaos), Kyoto has an annual yokai parade that sure looks like spooky fun.

The parade, which was held this year on October 19, is called Ichijo Hyakki Yakou (Ichijo’s Night Parade of the Hundred Yokai). The street Ichijodori, one of the biggest in Kyoto, was said to separate the real world from the spirit one.

Advertisement

Tales of yokai night parades date back over a thousand years. During the Heian Era (794-1185), samurai carried charms to avoid crossing paths with the yokai.

Advertisement

Advertisement

There are various legends about Hyakki Yakou and there are other yokai parades held in Japan. However, in Kyoto, the story goes that unwanted household items were dumped in the vicinity. These household items got angry, and a deity turned them into yokai to seek their vengeance. The yokai then marched down the street, and the event is recreated in this annual parade in the Ichijodori’s Taishogun shopping section, which is now known as Yokai Street.

While the story of Hyakki Yakou dates back to at least the 9th century, the current parade has been revitalized since 2005.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Throughout the year, the street is decorated with yokai.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

This certainly seems more enjoyable than the Halloween chaos in Shibuya!

Source: Kotaku.com

Final Fantasy Mobile Game Getting Live-Action Musical In Japan

Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

Free-to-play role-playing-game Final Fantasy Brave Exvius will be turned into a musical for the stage next March.

Final Fantasy Brave Exvius debuted on mobile in Japan on October 22, 2015, and went worldwide in June 2016.

Advertisement

According to IT Media, the musical version will be written by Fumiya Matsuzaki, who previously penned the Super Danganronpa 2 musical. On Twitter, he called this an honor and a big responsibility.

The Final Fantasy Brave Exvius musical will run from March 6 to 15 in Tokyo and from March 20 to 29 in Kobe. I wonder who will play Ariana Grande’s character?

Source: Kotaku.com

Legendary Japanese Arcade Anata no Warehouse Is Closing

Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

Located in Kawasaki, the arcade Anata no Warehouse (“Your Warehouse”) was designed to look like Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City. The multistory arcade is one of the most unusual in Japan. Make that, was.

The following notice was posted outside the arcade. It reads that Anata no Warehouse is closing down on November 17.

Advertisement

According to the notice, it will shutter due to “various circumstances.” Anata no Warehouse thanks its customers for their continued patronage and offers its sincere gratitude.

The arcade, which opened in December 2005, was one-of-a-kind in Japan. Website Tofugu previously profiled the arcade, writing that the building used to be a home electronics store before it was turned into a unique game center.

Advertisement

The dingy Kowloon theme continued even in the restrooms! (For more photos, check out Tofugu.)

Advertisement

On Twitter, arcade fans have been expressing sadness as well as surprise. They’ve also been saying thanks and that they want to go back one last time before it closes.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

That sounds like a good idea.

Source: Kotaku.com

After Distasteful Comment, Bushiroad Exec Apologizes

Screenshot: Bushiroad

Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

Out of nowhere, it was revealed that the character Lisa in the Bang Dream media franchise has a younger brother. Fans who have been playing the app since 2017 are now learning this in the most recent event. Some are not happy. Bushiroad exec Takaaki Kidani addressed the controversy but made things worse.

In the above screenshot from the event, Lisa mentions that she is sewing a sweater for her little brother. The reason some fans were upset was that the addition seemed sudden after the app has been out so long. It seemed like shoddy storytelling and went against the way fans viewed Lisa.

Advertisement

Since the app was released, they had not been told the character had a little brother, so this was quite a surprise. People were so surprised by the revelation that Lisa’s name actually began trending in Japan on Twitter.

During a live stream for another anime, Kidani tried to address the little brother controversy. When discussing the in-game character, he told the women voice actors on the panel to cover their ears and instead of divulging the new sibling’s backstory, he said, “As long as it’s a father and a little brother whose penis can’t get hard that’s okay.” In short, he said that male characters can be added as long as they are fathers or pre-pubescent boys. It was an odd thing to say!

This comment didn’t go over well, and Kidani ended up apologizing on Twitter, saying that he thought the stream wasn’t live and that his inappropriate comment would be bleeped out.

Advertisement

That apology didn’t go over well, either. On Twitter, it was repeatedly pointed out to him that the lack of bleeping wasn’t the issue.

Advertisement

Rather, it was the distasteful and flippant way he addressed the issue, which showed little regard to players, live-stream viewers, and panel participants. Making a comment about male genitalia in front of these voice actors (in a stream for another anime for that matter) was seen as embarrassing and disrespectful.

Source: Kotaku.com

In Japan, Man Arrested For Modding And Reselling PS3

Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

Forty-four-year-old Tadaaki Abe has been arrested in Kagawa, Japan, for modding a PlayStation 3 and then selling it.

According to NHK, Abe is accused of jailbreaking PS3s so game discs could be copied and then played without re-inserting them. He was arrested for selling a modded PS3 for 15,555 yen ($145) to a Tokyo man in his 40s.

Advertisement

Not only does this violate Japanese trademark law, but it also violates the country’s Unfair Competition Prevention Law, which protects the rights of companies to sell their products.

The modded PS3 was sold last year through an online auction site. Abe, a part-time worker, was arrested yesterday. In an affidavit, he said he did this for income.

Authorities found 40 PlayStation 3 consoles in his apartment and are currently investigating whether or not they have been modded.

Source: Kotaku.com

Hideo Kojima Talks About The Challenges He Experienced After Leaving Konami

Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

Back in December 2015, Hideo Kojima announced that he was setting up his own studio, Kojima Productions. He had struck a deal with Sony. It all seemed so easy, but was it? No. But it didn’t hurt that he was Hideo Kojima.

Toward the end of a Famitsu interview, Kojima talked about the difficulties he experienced setting up his own studio.

Advertisement

“It was three years and nine months ago that I struck out on my own,” Kojima told Famitsu. “At that time, I was 53 years old. That’s an age in which you’d retire, right? My family members were also against the idea [of me setting up a new studio]. I was a 53-year-old middle-aged guy, I didn’t have any money or much of anything else, and it was just me saying I was going to make this open-world game.” Granted, Kojima might have had money, but probably not enough to finance the type of projects he was used to making.

According to Kojima, there were doubters that anyone thought the game would be good. “The reason for that is that there hasn’t been a single world-famous game designer who has had success after striking out on their own.”

There have been examples of developers setting up their own studios and being successful; however, there are many examples of devs setting up new studios and going bust.

Advertisement

This also sounds like he’s rewriting history a little bit. When Kojima left Konami, I remember the general consensus seemed to be that people where happy he could go make a new style of game and, considering how he was reportedly treated, there was a desire to see him succeed.

That doesn’t mean setting up his own studio was a cakewalk, especially in Japan, which can often make seemingly easy things complicated.

Advertisement

“Even when I went to the bank, I couldn’t borrow money,” he continued. “They said, ‘We know you’re renowned, but you don’t have any actual results.’ This is the kind of country Japan is.”

It can be quite difficult to get a loan in Japan, especially if you are not working for a large company. Kojima was on his own at this point, so financing his studio so he could get an office lease and hire staff might have been harder than you would think. Plus, making Metal Gear games was expensive and took lots of time. Those games always seem to have done better outside of Japan. All of this might explain the reluctance on the part of this financial institution.

Advertisement

“But then, there was a banker at the biggest bank [in Japan] who was a huge fan of mine, and I got the financing.”

Even though it was hard for him to get loan, he’s still Hideo Kojima, which helps!

Advertisement

To give confidence to the families of the staff he was hiring, Kojima wanted to set up the studio in a nice building. That way, he said, it would look like the company was going to be successful, and husbands and wives of his employees would be less inclined to worry. But usually, whenever he’d find a good building, he’d eventually be asked, “What is Kojima Productions?”

Advertisement

In Japan, Kojima isn’t as famous as someone like Hayao Miyazaki, so it seems like many landlords were unfamiliar with the studio’s previous iteration and his work. But out of those desirable locations, he once again lucked out in finding a fan and was able to move into the studio’s current location.

Corporate Japan insulates employees. So challenges like getting a loan or a lease, which most people in Japan experience when trying to set up their own company, certainly were not what Kojima was accustomed to. But when faced with these challenges, he didn’t give up. He recognized he had opportunities because of his Konami career.

Advertisement

“The reason why I’m who I am now is because of the 30 years I had at Konami,” Kojima told Famitsu. “I am grateful to Konami, and I cannot deny that connection.”

This isn’t the first time Kojima has thanked Konami. It appears that he not only has come to terms with his former employer but also feels that the experience made him who he is.

Source: Kotaku.com

How The Japanese Government Might Kill Arcades

Internationally famous Japanese arcades like Mikado (pictured) hopefully will be okay. Lesser known ones might not.
Photo: Brian Ashcraft (Kotaku)

On October 1, 2019, consumption tax in Japan increased from 8 percent to 10. According to Jiji, the tax will not apply to food and drinks served in restaurants. It will be applied to arcade games.

For decades, arcades have been built around a single coin experience, either the 50 yen ($.44) coin or the 100 yen ($.88) one.

Advertisement

Because the one-coin experience is so entrenched into Japanese arcade gaming, owners have a difficult time asking players to shell out 110 yen (one 100 yen coin and one ten yen coin) per play. Instead, they end up taking the consumption out of the 100 yen they receive, lowering their bottom line.

“This industry might vanish,” a 47-year-old arcade owner in Yokohama told Sankei Business. “We cannot raise the price of a 100 yen game to 110 yen. The only choice is for the arcade to absorb the tax increase.”

That cuts into an already shrinking bottom line.

Japan’s arcade industry has been facing challenges in the past decade. In 2006, there were 24,000 arcades in Japan. By 2016, however, that number had decreased by nearly half to 14,000.

Advertisement

As LiveDoor News reports, the number of game center bankruptcies as of this September is nearly double last year’s number and there are still several months more in 2019.

However, the number of arcades that accept digital money has increased, which could help ease the tax burden. Small independent arcades might not have the capital to invest in digital money readers.

Advertisement

Another unnamed man who ran an arcade in Kawasaki that was closed this summer told the Sankei, “It’s good not envisioning how things will turn out. Seeing one’s fate is a heart-breaking thing.”

This article was originally published on October 3, 2018. It has since been updated.

Source: Kotaku.com

Universal Studios Japan’s Super Nintendo World Sticks Out

Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.  

Super Nintendo World won’t open at Universal Studios Japan until next spring. But recent snapshots show how construction is coming along. It looks like this area of the theme park will be impressive and noticeable.

Twitter user L.C.A. Studios has been documenting progress. It’s possible to see the Super Mario flagpole from different parts of the park, including Waterworld.

Advertisement

It’s kind of distracting for that stage show! Peach’s Castle seems like it could also be visible from the stands.

The new Mario-themed park will be located behind the Jaws attraction and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in what used to be a parking area.

Advertisement

See how it looms over Jaws?

It also looks like Super Nintendo World might be visible from Hogwarts, which might ruin the ambiance.

Advertisement

There appears to be an olive green barrier, but I’m not sure that it will be enough to separate the two worlds visually.

Advertisement

Advertisement

I also wonder how the Super Nintendo World will be blocked from Waterworld. Will a big wall be built behind the stunt show?

It’s cool that the Mario Land is a proper, full-on theme area. But as amusement parks go, it highlights one of Universal Japan’s great weaknesses.

Advertisement

Many years ago, I hung out with Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow at Walt Disney World. He made an excellent point about Disney theme parks: In each area, you cannot see other parts of the park. This increases the feeling of immersion for parkgoers.

Advertisement

I had never thought about this—which is probably the point. But after he said that, I noticed how Universal Studios Japan struggles with immersion. Throughout USJ, different areas are often clearly visible as are buildings outside the park.

Advertisement

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has been the most immersive area at USJ until now, at least. That is, unless the park doesn’t somehow create a visible barrier between Hogwarts and Mario’s flagpole.

Source: Kotaku.com

Do Not Underestimate The Power Of The PlayStation Lunch Box

In Japan, there is an official PlayStation 1 lunch box. It’s a crane game prize and comes in packaging that looks like the cardboard box for the first PlayStation. How cool is it?

Very cool!

Advertisement

While you might think here’s a difference in nuance between “lunch box” and “bento box,” the packaging reads ランチボックス (ranchi bokkusu or lunch box). It’s being widely referred to as a bentoubako (弁当箱) or bento box.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

While Dengeki Hobby reports that this is a game center prize, some online sites in Japan are also carrying the lunch box, selling it for 1,780 yen ($16.60).

Source: Kotaku.com