Over the past week I’ve been working through Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle, the alternate history drama by Phillip K. Dick that shows a world in which America lost World War II to the Nazis and the Japanese. I’ve been a card-carrying fan of alternate history ever since discovering Guns of the South by Harry Turtledove, so I was happy to find a series as well-done as this. Whenever I watch a Western production with Japanese characters I get a little nervous. Will they cast Koreans to play Japanese, as happened with one character in Heroes, the implication being that Japanese actors don’t have the required English language skills? Or will they go with Japanese actors who are truly bad at English, so bad the audience can’t understand them, which happened in disastrous 47 Ronin? I’m happy to report that the producers got everything right, with the possible exception of making the Japanese characters a little more too ready to commit seppuku at the drop of a hat than is believable.
In the same way pop culture travels from Japan into our lives, Western media is always flowing into Japan, and it’s fun to analyze which shows or films catch on here. One of my first impressions of Japan was that every female seemed to think the 1953 Audrey Hepburn film Roman Holiday was the best film in the world, which. While Dr. Who never caught on with Japanese fans appreciably, the sci-fi shows of Gerry Anderson (especially Thunderbirds) all developed huge followings that continue to this day. Bewitched (shown as Okusama wa Majo or The Lady of the House is a Witch) was a huge hit in Japan, and is directly credited with inspiring the modern magical girl genre in 1967. Horror films seem like a genre that crosses cultural borders easily, and virtually every Japanese is familiar with classic characters like Jason or Freddy Krueger. Other icons the Japanese have embraced include The Graduate (the banging-on-the-glass wedding finale was a staple gag from 80s anime), the painting lessons of Bob Ross (thanks to an Osaka TV station that ran his videos late at night), and Groundhog Day, which gets referenced heavily in Steins;Gate.
J-List has been on a tear adding great new cosplay and apparel items to the site, from sexy socks to authentic shimapan plus the most requested item on the planet, the legendary Cat Keyhole Bra and Panty sets. Browse all the new items!