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Japan 2.0

  When we last spoke to translators for Genron, they were hard at work translating articles for the recent issue of the Shisouchizu Beta journal. Genron is a company founded by one of Japan’s premier critics, Azuma Hiroki, the author of Otaku: Japan’s Database Animals. Genron offers an accessibly fresh “critical discourse” based on “the here and now” in Japanese society. This may sound broad, but it’s merely a reflection of the journal’s range of topics. The journal analyzes everything from the otaku and gyaru subcultures to Japanese political science and literary criticism. There’s something for everyone here. It’s academically intellectual, yet journalistically readable and has information unobtainable through Western media. The new issue, Japan 2.0, confronts Japan’s looming future...

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Technology: Pochuter – Lean in For a Kiss

[youtube]xyFZl7lCz_s[/youtube] Pochuter. Yes, lean in and the girl in interactive digital poster, leans in for a kiss. It’s made of photos for now, but eventually, it’ll be moving video. Otakus who have posters of their favorite idols are in luck. Chu means Kiss and mixed with Poster, you get Pochuter. Yes, those folks at Keio University are up to fun projects. Keidai Ogawa likes the girls and this is how he can get closer to kissing them. The female used in the example looks plenty great too.  

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Interview: Genron

When acclaimed critic Hiroki Azuma isn’t writing or teaching at Waseda University, he’s bridging the gap between academia and the general public through the Contectures publishing company as its President and Editor-in-Chief. With Genron, Contectures English language portal, he and his staff have their eyes set abroad by translating articles for Western readers not adversed in Japanese. We had the opportunity to sit down with Naoki Matsuyama who is in charge of translations and global outreach and Ko Ransom, a translator for the company, to discuss Genron, criticism in Japan, Azuma’s work, the Great East Japan Earthquake, and the country’s future. BF: How did you get involved with this project? NM: I was born and grew up in Italy and...

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Book Review: Database Animals

Say the word “Postmodern” and a tide of ideas flood the imagination. Structuralism, metanarratives, semiotics, and other obscure studies come to mind. At best they sound intelligently incomprehensible. At worst they reek of fashionable nonsense. Hiroki Azuma’s book, Otaku: Japan’s Database Animals, reads like neither. Unlike the milieu of thinkers who dwell in the pages of academic journals, Azuma’s prose is accessibly lucid despite the citation of high-minded thinkers and philosophers like Jean Baudrillard, Jean-Francois Lyotard, and G.W.F. Hegel. He eschews a pedantic writing style in favor of a lucid journalistic one to analyze and explain the phenomena of Japan’s most notorious caste of social pariahs: the Otaku. Japan’s homegrown niche of anime geeks may seem like a pretentiously unrelated...

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AKB48 Japan Pop Group – $200 Million

  There’s that number again, $200 million dollars. That’s how big AKB 48 is. According to the Cnet report, it’s more than what U2 makes. There’s 90 members and growing and their all day live performances which began as a novelty in geekville Akihabara is now a larger enterprise. Number one hits, sponsorships, commercials, and more. They’ve become a serious household name and it shows how a geek idea can be taken to the top. Five years ago, no chance. (Cnet – AKB48)

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