Japanese Courtyard

Bluestone Crazy Paving wiht Greenery

Being fans of all things Japanese, we decided to incorporate many Japanese ideas into our backyard to create a small Japanese courtyard. We weren’t trying to recreate a complete authentic garden, just trying to take inspiration from some of things we’ve seen in Japanese gardens.

Espalier Plum Tree
Espalier Plum Tree
Tree and Wooden Shed
Bamboo Edging

Midnight Diner Theme Song Omoide by Tsunekichi Suzuki Translated and Explained

Today I present a translation into English of the opening theme song from Midnight Diner Tokyo Stories (Shinya Shokudo) soundtrack, Omoide, by Tsunekichi Suzuki. I give a background on the songwriter, translate the lyrics, present the song in Japanese and English, and give a commentary on the translation.

But first thing’s first…

Who sings the theme song on Netflix Midnight Diner Tokyo Stories?

The opening song for Midnight Diner Tokyo Stories (深夜食堂 Shinya Shokudo) is the song Omoide 思ひで by Tsunekichi Suzuki. It was first released on his 2006 album ぜいご Zeigo.

Zeigo Tsunekichi Suzuki Album

Japanese Reading Difficulty

9/12 Could be read by 10th grade level student in Japan

Themes

Impernance

Text Type

Folk Song

Background To Midnight Diner Song Omoide and Tsunekichi Suzuki

In 2015, Japanese singer-songwriter Tsunekichi Suzuki wrote on his blog about how he left his home country at the age of 61 to go on an adventure to China. The trip was one of a handful of international music tours he made in his life, a life which would end just five years later in 2020. 

Tsunekichi’s blog describes how, after a soundcheck for one of his Chinese tour dates he went to have a cigarette on the street and a youth waiting outside asked him “is this where Tsunekichi Suzuki is playing tonight?”

Tsunekichi told him it was. The young person asked “is Tsunekichi Suzuki famous in Japan, like he is in China?”

Tsunekichi just mumbled ineffectually. He didn’t really know what to say.

Later, on his blog, Tsunekichi said “I should have just told the young man straight out, no Tsunekichi Suzuki is not famous in Japan…None of the people waiting outside the gig knew it was me they had come to see. I thought it had been suspicious when people told me I was popular in China”.

Tsunekichi Suzuki and Midnight Diner

But the truth is, he had become kind of big in China, and in Korea, and in several other countries to boot. He had achieved this level of international notoriety because of a TV show called Shinya Shokudo in Japan but you may know the show by it’s Netflix international release name “Midnight Diner”. 

Midnight Diner uses several of his songs in its soundtrack . If you don’t know the show, it’s set in a wood-paneled Tokyo bar, that caters to a midnight to morning clientele of colourful fringe dwellers. 

Midnight Diner Soundtrack

The show opens with a long sequence of the bright downtown lights of Tokyo, sans street noise. The footage is strikingly off-set to Tsunekichi’s gentle acoustic Irish Folk influenced song “Omoide” or Remembrance. 

This was the proverbial 2nd wind for the singer. A significant time had passed since Tsunekichi had first experienced a fairly short, but intense, few weeks in the national spotlight in 1989. His band, Cement Mixers, had appeared on the TV show “Ikasu Bando Tengoku”. They sounded like this:

Tsunekichi Suzuki & Cement Mixers on Ikaten (いかすバンド天国)

The TV show’s title Ikasu Bando Tengoku いかすバンド天国 translates as “Cool Band Heaven”, and it was kind of like bandstand meets battle of the bands meets eurovision, but read right to left, Japanese style. 

This show was a phenomenon in Japan and coincided with what came to be known as the バンドブーム “Band Boom”, where young groups playing guitars wrested prominence for a time from the studio manufactured “idols” that dominated the charts of the second biggest music market in the world. 

The Ikasu Bando Tengoku show even got it’s own shortened nickname いかてん“Ikaten”, which had particular out of left field resonance with the word “Ikaten” also meaning “Deep fried Tempura Squid”. Many of the bands grew out of the 歩行者天国Hokosha Tengoku “pedestrian paradice” scene of Tokyo’s trendy Harajuku district where 100s of bands would perform on the street on the weekends. This scene had its own nickname too, the “Hoten”. The two “tens” Ikaten and Hoten became inexorably entwined. Now all the record indie execs had to do to scout their next big thing was to take a trip down to the swinging parklands of Tokyo and literally pick a band off the street.

The whole thing didn’t last though, because the good residents of Harajuku didn’t take so well to their neighbourhood becoming a default outdoor live band arena where the music and wacky fashion raged 24/7. The Ikaten program was taken off the air at the end of 1990 and the bands were largely turfed out of the streets of Harajuku. In 1991, the bubble of the Japanese economic post war miracle came to an end and ushered in what is now known as the 失われた10年 “Ushinawareta 10 nen”, or the lost decade.

You can watch a 2007 television program looking back at the Ikaten program here:

Post-Ikaten Tsunekichi 

It seems Tsunekichi’s hopes of superstardom were also lost somewhere along with those ten years, after his band released one album on a major label, to some critical acclaim, and promptly broke up. He formed another band つれれこ社中Tsurereko Shachu, which managed to release one album later that decade, in 1997. Tsunekichi wasn’t to reappear greatly in the public consciousness again until his 2006 solo album ぜいご Zeigo, which was lauded by one of the songwriters I’ve translated here in the past 高田渡 Wataru Takada. The album was ultimately picked up to form the raw materials of the soundtrack to the Midnight Diner tv show many have now watched on Netflix around the world.

Omoide’s 18th Century Irish Folk Origins

One of the strange circularities of this story is that the song Omoide, featured in the opening scenes, is itself based on an 18th century folk song from another island people half way across the world. It is essentially a re-working of the catchily, and perhaps pastorally racily, titled  Irish folk song “A pretty girl milking her cow”. Judy Garland made the song world famous by singing it in the 1940 movie “Little Nellie”.

A Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow Lyrics

The English version is attributed to Thomas Moore (1779–1852)

It was on a fine summer’s morning

The birds sweetly tune on each bough

And as I walked out for my pleasure

I saw a maid milking a cow

Her voice was so enchanting, melodious

Left me quite unable to go

My heart, it was loaded with sorrow

For the pretty maid milking her cow

Then to her I made my advances

“Good morrow most beautiful maid

Your beauty my heart so entrances”

“Pray sir do not banter,” she said

“I’m not such a rare precious jewel

That I should enamour you so

I am but a poor little milk girl,”

Says the pretty maid milking her cow

The Indies afford no such jewel

So bright, so transparently clear

I do not add things to my funeral

Consent but to know me my dear

Oh, had I the Lamp of Aladdin

Or the wealth that gold mines can bestow

I’d rather be poor in a cottage

With the pretty girl milking her cow.

An interesting aside about this song for Australians is that this song was apparently sung by Jack Jones,  teenage son of Anne Jones the publican of the Glenrowan Inn (Victoria, Australia) while it was under siege by the famous Ned Kelly Gang bushrangers.

Tsunekichi’s reworking of the Irish tune

Tsunekichi gives the song about girls milking cows a much more ethereal feel, and an ephemeral theme. Here it becomes a Japanese musing on the impermanent nature of things, as the song’s protagonist muses on such questions as what becomes of a breath once it is exhaled, and if you pierce through the sky and the clouds, do you find another sky and clouds waiting there beyond?

I’ll let you ponder those questions as you listen to these Japanese and English versions of the song Omoide, or “Remembrance”.

Omoide Lyrics and Translation

君が吐いた白い息が
kimiga ha i ta shiroi i kiga
今ゆっくり風に乗って
ima yuku ri kazo notte
空に浮かぶ雲の中に
sorani ukabu kumo no nakani
少しずつ消えてゆく
sugo shi zuttsu kiete yuku

遠く高い空の中で
tōku takai sorono naka de
手を伸ばす白い雲
tewo no ba su shiroi kumo
君が吐いた息を吸って
kimiga ha i ta ikio sute
ぽっかりと浮かんでる
pok karito ukan deru
ずっと昔のことのようだね

zutto mukashino kotono yō da ne
川面の上を雲が流れる
kawa mono u e o kumo ga naga re ru
照り返す日差しを避けて
teri kae su hizashi o sa ke te
軒下に眠る犬
noki shita ni memoru i nu
思い出もあの 空の中に
omo i de mo a no sora no nakani
少しづつ消えてゆく

sugo shi zuttsu kiete yuku
この空の向こう側には
ko no sorano mukō-gawa ni wa
もうひとつの青い空
mō hitotsu no aoi sora
誰もいない空の中に
daremo i na i sorano nakate
ぽっかりと浮かぶ雲
pok karito ukanbu kumo
ずっと昔のことのようだね
zutto mukashino kotono yō da ne
川面の上を雲が流れる
kawa mono u e o kumo ga naga re ru

君が吐いた白い息が

 

kimiga ha i ta shiroi i kiga
今ゆっくり風に乗って
ima yuku ri kazo notte
空に浮かぶ雲の中に
sorani u ka bu kumo no nakani
少しずつ消えてゆく
sugo shi zuttsu kiete yuku
少しずつ消えてゆく
sugo shi zuttsu kiete yuku

See your pale breath floating over there

As it slowly drifts off in the air

See it billow into the clouds in the sky

And vanish before your eyes

See the white clouds reaching out there hands

In the sky so far above the land

Breathing in the air you breathed out

Rolling on, Rolling On, Rolling On

And do you remember

The clouds streaming by ‘bove the river?

And didn’t they look just like this?

Or maybe my mind plays tricks

And do you remember the glaring sun

And the dog sleeping there ‘neath the eaves

And all of these memories

Fade into the sky as they leave

On the other side of the sky

There’s another sky there so blue

There’s not a single soul or a sound

But there’s a rolling, rolling cloud

And do you remember

The clouds streaming by ‘bove the river?

And didn’t they look just like this?

Or maybe my mind plays tricks

See your pale breath floating over there

As it slowly drifts off in the air

See it billow into the clouds in the sky

And vanish before your eyes

And vanish before your eyes

What is Midnight Diner Shinya Shokudo?

Shinya Shokudo is originally a Manga. It has appeared in the Big Comic Original in serialized form since 2006. It was later turned into serialised and movie screen adaptations.

Where Can I Read Shinya Shokudo in English?

Many editions of the comic have been translated here on the Internet Archive.

Where can you buy shinya Shokudo Comics?

Shinya Shokudo are available in the original Japanese from Amazon Japan here.

Where Can You Watch Midnight Diner Shinya Shokudo?

You can watch Midnight Diner Tokyo Stories on Netflix, or you can buy it out right on Bluray here:

Are there Midnight Diner Cook Books?

There’s not an official Midnight Diner Cook Book available at the moment, but there are several books that feature similar recipes:

Or if you can read Japanese you could try these:

Language Learning Program Reviews

Japanoscope is a registered affiliate with several online shops and may receive a commission when you click on some of the links within content.

Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts and on working holiday. I have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1).

ピータージョセフヘッドです。3年間京都市立芸大の大学院として、一年間ワーキングホリデーとして日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。

Kotatsu Heater Guide

Kotatu Heaters

こたつヒーター

Kotatsu Heater Guide

So maybe you love Kotatsu but you don’t want to fork out for a whole ready made set up. Maybe you like DIY projects. Or perhaps you already have a Kotatsu but the heater has stopped working. Rather than buy the whole thing all over again, you may be thinking it’s better just to change over the heater.

If you are looking at what you might want to combine your table with in the room, we have a post on the Japanoscope Japanese Home Decor page.

If you’re interested in complete Kotatsu sets, check our page here.

How To Make Your Own Kotatsu

Well, you can always just grab a Kotatsu heater and attach it to the frame of a table and put a piece of wood on top.

Another easy way to make your own Kotatsu is to use any kind of table that has a shelf built into it underneath. You can take off the shelf part and swap to using it as a table top, with a blanket or futon sandwiched beneath it and the original table top. The most popular choice for this is the Ikea Lack, because it has short legs, a shelf that can easily be put on top of the table top, and is readily available from a range of locations.

You can see instructions on this here.

IKEA Lack

This is probably the most popular used for doing an easy Kotatsu conversion.

How To Change Over A Kotatsu Heater

Find the size of the frame that holds your current Kotatsu’s heater

Since the year 2000, Kotatsu heater sizes have largely been standardised at 29 x 29cm. Some Kotatsu frames are 33x33cm, but most heaters will come with a space filler so that you can still fit your 29x29cm heater. 

From there it’s really just a matter of unscrewing a couple of screws on each side of the heater and slotting in the new one. For most Kotatsu, the whole procedure shouldn’t take you longer than around 10 minutes.

This site has more information in Japanese that you can hit translate on if you want.

How To Choose A Kotatsu Heater

Size

In addition to making sure your Kotatsu heater is the right size to fit your table frame, you also need to make sure that the heat the heater emits matches the general size of your Kotatsu set. Generally speaking, kotatsu sizes don’t vary so significantly that you need to worry about it too much. 

The other thing to look out for is how thick the unit is. Obviously, the thicker it is, the more it sticks out under the table and the more annoying it will be. So thinner is better. Sizes range from 4cm (1.5 inches) on the slim side to about 7-8cm (around 3 inches) for thicker kotatsu heaters.

 

Wattage

Wattage is related to sizes. Wattages are most commonly around the 600w mark, which is generally sufficient for most Kotatsu.

 

Be aware there are some smaller Kotatsu Heater units that are made specifically for single person Kotatsu applications that are as low as 100w. These are not going to be warm enough for a family size Kotatsu.

 

One advantage of lower wattage Kotatsu heaters is that you can leave them running for a long time, perhaps coming and going from the kotatsu, and not have to worry too much about power costs. Some people also say they have greater peace of mind by using a lower wattage kotatsu heater because they worry less about the worry of fires.

Of course the best way to get the best of both worlds is to have a Kotatsu with an adjustable heat dial, which most modern units have.

 

Quartz Vs. Halogen Kotatsu Heaters

Both Quartz and Halogen are good options for Kotatsu heaters. Generally speaking, halogen heaters are more energy efficient and longer lasting than Quartz. If you want to read about the details of the difference between quartz and halogen check out this article.

Do kotatsu heater casings get hot enough to burn?

Kotatsu heaters are specifically designed to not get so hot that they will burn. Make sure you get a heater that is specifically made for a Kotatsu. 

That being said, it is possible to sustain a low level temperature burn if you leave your body on a heated surface for extended periods of time.

Is a kotatsu a fire hazard?

 

Kotatsu do not represent a significant fire hazard if used correctly. Modern Kotatsu generally have automatic temperature adjustment functionality. In 2017, there were four reports from the Tokyo Fire Department of fires linked to the use of Kotatsu. 

There have been cases where incorrect use of Kotatus has led to fires. These are often associated with different items being pushed inside the Kotatus cavity, such as laundry or flammable items that can ignite if in contact with the heating apparatus too long.

The top things to be aware of when using a Kotatsu from a safety perspective are:

 

(1) Keep cushions and clothes out of the kotatsu

(2) Don’t put furniture on the power cord

(3) Arrange a cord in a way that it is not constantly getting stepped on and damaged

(4) Prevent dust from accumulating on the heater of the electric kotatsu, which can build up and become flammable over time

(5) Turn off the power when not using the kotatsu

 

As with any kind of heating, using a kotatsu demands a level of awareness.

Can you burn yourself on a kotatsu?

It is possible to sustain low temperature burns from long contact with a kotatsu heating apparatus.

Low temperature burns are those caused by heat sources below 60 ° C. For every 1 degree increase in temperature, the time it takes to get a low temperature burn is roughly halved. If you were to touch something at 44 ° C for 6 hours, you run the risk of getting a low temperature burn.

Low-temperature burns tend to cause burns that run deeply into the skin. Legs, ankles, and heels are particularly susceptible to low-temperature burns as these areas of the body do not perceive pain as acutely as others and often have poor blood circulation. 

This means people should take care in spending too long in a Kotatsu, such as sleeping for long periods of time.

Do you need a Power Converter for a Kotatsu heater?

It is possible to use a 100v Japanese Kotatsu in the U.S. which has 120v power, but it is not recommended. This is because the device will tend to overheat if you turn it up higher than its lowest operating levels. Some people do it, but you need to balance up the  slight inconvenience of using a power converter with the risk you are taking of using a device with a power source it was not designed for.

What converter would you use for a kotatsu heater

Voltage in Japan is 100v, so if you buy a Japanese made Kotatsu you would need a power converter or transformer to convert to 120v for North America, 230v for Central Europe or 240v for Australia.

Metro 600w Kotatsu Heater

A reliable, standard slim size Kotatsu Heater. Hard to go wrong with this one.
Pros
Standard Size fits most modern kotatsu 29cm x 29cm
Easy install with screwdriver
Slim depth at 4.1 cm (1.6 inches)
U-shaped quartz tube heater heats the square space completely
Heat level controller
3m cord
Efficient power usage. High = about 180 Wh, Low = about 70 Wh

Cons
Needs 600w power converter
No remote control

YAMAZEN kotatsu Heater Unit 510w

Pros

Simple, functional heater.

  • Standard Size fits most modern kotatsu 29cm x 29cm
  • Includes fan for distributing heatEasy install with screwdriver
  • Moderately slim depth at 5.8cm (2.28 inches)
  • U-shaped quartz tube heater heats the square space completely
  • Temperature regulation: temperature control knob stepless variable (body)
  • 3m cord
  • Efficient power usage. High = about 180 Wh, Low = about 70 Wh

Cons

  • Temperature controller design very basic
  • Needs power converter
    No remote control

Morita Kotatsu Heater 600W

Japanese brand Kotatsu heater designed for Chinese market

Pros

  • Standard Size fits most modern kotatsu 29cm x 29cm
  • No-tool installation
  • Medium slim depth at 5 cm (2 inches)
  • Heat level controller

Cons

  • Heat level controller on device body is difficult to access
  • Needs power converter
  • No remote control

METRO one person kotatsu MPQ-100 (N)

A uniquely designed single person Kotatsu heater that you can slip under and blanket for an instant, simple Kotatsu experience.

Pros

  • No set up required
  • Use with just about any blanket
  • Beautiful wooden design

Cons

  • Very low wattage 100w
  • Only works for very small spaces such as under a one person blanket

So if you need to change over you Kotatsu Heater, or want to make your own. Don’t fret, it’s not so hard. Grab any of the heaters above and give it a burl.

If you are looking at what you might want to combine your table with in the room, we have a post on the Japanoscope Japanese Home Decor page.

If you’re interested in complete Kotatsu sets, check our page here.

Japanoscope is a registered affiliate with several online shops and may receive a commission when you click on some of the links within content.

Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts doing a Masters Degree, have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1). I’ve written songs in Japanese and have released several albums through Tokyo label Majikick Records.

ピータージョセフヘッドです。4年間京都市立芸大の大学院として日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。

Translating Kiyoshiro Imawano’s Slow Ballad

Kiyoshiro Imawano, King of Japanese Rock

Many musicians have been appointed as rulers of a given musical domain. Sinatra was the chairman, Elvis was the King, Bowie was the Duke, Springteen the boss, and there have been many more fathers and godfathers than there have been mothers and godmothers similarly anointed to go around.

Well, other countries have their own musical monarchs too. Japan may be lorded over by an Emperor, but realm of rhythm is ruled by a King of Rock. His name is Kiyoshiro Imawano and he inhabits are persona somewhere between Mick Jagger, John Lennon and Van Morrison.

 

Today I’ve translated his song “Slow Ballad”, which was released as the 6th single for Kiyoshiro’s band RC Succession.

Japanese Language Difficulty

5/12 Could be easily understood by 5th grade level student in Japan

Themes

Love

Text Type

Songs In Translation

About RC Succession's "Slow Ballad"

The song is a meta-power ballad about a young man hearing a slow song on the radio while he’s sleeping in the car with his girlfriend. Slow Ballad has a soul feel that would not sound out of place sung by, say, Otis Redding, replete with horns provided by American group Tower Of Power, who happened to be touring in Japan around the time the song was recorded. But the song is made by Kiyoshiro’s passionately, impained, rasp of a vocal that is on the edge, often over the edge, of losing control. 

Nicholson Baker once wrote that to write a poem all you have to do is describe the most significant moment of your day. Slow Ballad is right on cue. Kiyoshiro’s moment is of two people on a frigid night, in a municipal car park, in a sedan, wrapped in a blanket sleeping while the tunes play. The strength of the song is in the fact that it never tries to break out of the instant. And yet, you still get the sense that the moment is part of some larger inexorable, and most probably darker, pulse of time. 

Released six years after the band’s first single, Slow Ballad appeared at a time when few people were buying the band’s music or coming to shows. And it would not be until the release of their 9th single another four years later that the band would see large-scale success. Kiyoshiro himself would ultimately go on to eclipse the band and have cross-over mainstream success another two years later after collaborating with Ryuichi Sakomoto on the track Ikenai Rouge Magic.

 

 

But the song Slow Ballad has lodged itself in the popular consciousness of Japan, as a record of the humbler and leaner days of the man who would go on to become rock royalty. From the municipal ground car park, kiyoshiro would claim his own country’s mantle of the King of Rock, and take his own throne at the table of the international council of dionysian lords of song.

Lyrics

昨日はクルマの中で寝た
あの娘と手をつないで
市営グランドの駐車場
二人で毛布にくるまって
 
カーラジオからスローバラード
夜露が窓をつつんで
悪い予感のかけらもないさ

あの娘のねごとを聞いたよ
ほんとさ 確かに聞いたんだ
 
カーラジオからスローバラード
夜露が窓をつつんで
悪い予感のかけらもないさ
ぼくら夢を見たのさ
とってもよく似た夢を

Last night I slept in a car
Hand in hand with a girl neath the stars
In the carpark at the municipal ground
With a warm warm blanket wrapped around us

And the radio played a balad so slow
As the night dew shimmered on the wind screen window
And I didn’t have a single bad feeling no no

And I tell you I heard her talk in her sleep
But what she said is a secret I’m gonna take with me
And the radio played a balad so slow
As the night dew shimmered on the wind screen window
And I didn’t have a single bad feeling no no
And the two of us dreamed a dream
So alike, that just one it may well have been

 

Japanoscope is a registered affiliate with several online shops and may receive a commission when you click on some of the links within content.

Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts and on working holiday. I have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1).

ピータージョセフヘッドです。3年間京都市立芸大の大学院として、一年間ワーキングホリデーとして日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。

Record Collecting Japanese Vinyl

Japan is a collector’s dream. Whether its toys, comics, or video games, there are stores filled with everything you want. What’s more, CD’s never really went out of fashion in Japan so there’s still large music stores such as Shibuya’s Tower Records which has seven levels divided by genres and themes.

I spoke with two record collectors about their hobby and what makes Japanese records and CD’s stand out from the rest.

I first spoke with Dave from djshadowreconstructed.com , a collector from the UK whose passion is DJ Shadow. So how did Dave get hooked?

“I guess I’ve always been a bit of a collector. I started to buy a lot of CD’s and things in my teenage years, and then my actual DJ Shadow collection probably [wasn’t started] until 2006…What started it was, I was getting more and more into Shadow and I was looking to try and track down every track its physical form, whether it be on vinyl or CD. So that started me on the road to buying multiple versions of things like a different copy of Endtroducing for example for the In / Flux bonus track.”

The bonus track appeared on the Japanese edition of DJ Shadow’s debut album Endtroducing from 1996, and at the time it was one of the few places to hear it on CD. This helped make the Japanese edition of the album highly sought after by collectors.

I next spoke to Brian from Australia who also goes by the name AstroBboy. With a nickname like that it will come as no surprise that Brian collects Hip Hop and Astro Boy merchandise. Or at least he did, because as he told me he no longer collects. So what happened?

“When it comes to records, I guess it started when I was 15 or 16. I was really into the Beastie Boys and a second hand CD/record store near my school had a copy of She’s On It. That single wasn’t released on Licensed To Ill so I needed that song to complete my collection at the time. So when I purchased this single it was just for that one song, and I was pretty happy…but then after collecting 500 Beastie Boys records it got a bit out of control. [Later] I was moving a lot and as you can imagine records weigh a lot. It was also getting to a point where it was more about collecting than the music, so I sold off the collection.”

What Is Special About Japanese Releases On Vinyl

While CDs and records are pressed all over the world, Japanese pressings are sought after by collectors for a variety of reasons. Sometimes there may be different artwork or bonus tracks, but an added curiosity is the obi strip. The obi is a piece of paper which is wrapped around one side of a CD or record packaging and they often contain information on them such as price, translated titles, and advertisements for other releases. The obi is uncommon outside of Japan leading to people sometimes throwing them away, which means collectors will often pay more for an item with an obi than without. Especially if they’re a completist.

Japanese Record With Obi Strip

Japanese Exclusive Songs and Albums

Part of the fun of collecting is finding interesting items, and Japan is full of them. While the unique artwork and obi strips can be cool, for me the main attraction is the bonus tracks, and Brian told me about one I had never heard.

In 2005 Beastie Boys released a compilation titled Solid Gold Hits which featured a remix of their song Right Right Now Now exclusive to Japan. The remix is titled RRNN: Straight Outta Shibuya and features a rap in Japanese by Takagi Kan. Kan is part of the Major Force group who released several Hip Hop records in Japan during the 1980’s and 1990’s. We previously wrote about his song Last Orgy, and how his TV show with Hiroshi Fujiwara inspired BAPE’s Nigo.

But Straight Outta Shibuya wasn’t the first time Takagi Kan collaborated with the Beastie Boys, as he actually contributed Japanese linear notes to some Japanese editions of Beastie Boys albums, including Licensed To Ill in 1986. Straight Outta Shibuya was later collected on a special digital deluxe edition of Beastie Boys To The 5 Boroughs album meaning more people have the opportunity to hear it now.

While “exclusive to Japan” may have once meant you were unlikely to find something outside of Japan at all, these days thanks to the internet and websites such as eBay or Discogs, you can get just about anything delivered to your door. So what exclusive items should I look out for? Dave gave some suggestions for a potential collector:

“There’s a few Mo’ Wax compilations which feature DJ Shadow, like Build & Destroy, Mo’ Groove, Ape Shall Never Kill Ape box set. Mostly the [interesting DJ Shadow] Japan stuff is promotional variations with unique artwork or track listings.”

I also asked Brian about Beastie Boys items and he told me about some “cute” 3” mini CDs. While CDs are generally 5”, in the 1980’s and 1990’s some bands released songs on 3” CDs, including the Beastie Boys’ Japan exclusive Get It Together single. Then in 2005 the band played with size again when they released a copy of their Licensed To Ill album on CD, but in a 12” packaging, replicating a vinyl release. Again, this was exclusive to Japan.

Keeping Track Of Your Collection

It’s hard to imagine ever keeping track of so many unique releases, and both Dave and Brian have found different ways to solve this by using the internet. 

Brian helps run Beastiemania, a fan website dedicated to everything Beastie Boys. But the collection on Beastiemania doesn’t all belong to Brian, and it’s instead been put together by a huge list of fans from all over the world, making it the most complete and detailed Beastie Boys discography online.

Meanwhile, Dave runs an Instagram page @thedjshadowcollection, which he uses to share his collection with the world. Through his page Dave shares regular posts with updates of new or interesting items, some of which are extremely rare. This has led to him meeting other collectors from around the world, and Dave is currently collaborating with some other fans on a new DJ Shadow fan site, DJ Shadow Reconstructed.

With so many people collecting now you would almost expect there to be nothing of interest left in stores. But when I was recently in Japan, I was struck by how well stocked their record stores are. It seemed I could find anything if I was willing to spend enough time digging through crates. 

Why Do People Like Japanese Vinyl

While I was impressed by all of the stock in Japanese record stores, I was even more impressed by how the CDs and records were all in such amazing condition, and often looked brand new. As a final question, I asked Dave and Brian about why they thought this was, but neither were too certain. While this aspect of collecting must remain a mystery, they both did agree that even if you’re buying something online from Japan it will always arrive with utmost care.

It seems that the reason people like Japanese records comes down to the following:

-Exclusive artwork

-Bonus tracks

-Obi Strip and Inserts (Lyrics Sheets, Linear Notes, Poster)

-Second hand items that look brand new

-Items which are posted to you undamaged

So, while you may not be able to visit Japan right now, it is perhaps the perfect time to start saving for your next trip so you can experience firsthand Japan’s exclusive records and CDs, and fill up the gaps in your collections. Even if you collect something other than Beastie Boys or DJ Shadow, Japan will surely have what you need tucked into a crate somewhere for a few hundred yen.

Where To Buy Japanese Vinyl Records

While there’s record stores all over Japan, here’s some of our favourites.

Tower Records Tokyo

The Shibuya store is a massive 7 floors, and the Shinjuku store has a great vinyl only floor filled with almost anything you could want. These stores are great if you want to find some new CD’s or records, but beware of the price!

Their website gives you an idea of their stock, and provides services to ship worldwide. http://tower.jp

Disc Union Tokyo & Osaka

These stores are spread all over Tokyo. Their main Shinjuku store is 8 floors, while they also have smaller stores dedicted to Jazz, Metal, and Soul. Disc Union are the best place to find second hand records and CDs, and some even sell cassette tapes. There website has a handy map of all their stores, and there’s even an English version. https://diskunion.net/st/shop/

Marking Records Matsumoto

A beautiful store, Marking sell new records, CDs, cassette tapes, and zines. Their focus is on Alternative music so take a look at their website to get an idea of what to expect. https://shop.markingrecords.com/ 

 

Time Bomb Osaka

Recommended by AstroBBoy, a great collection of second hand records across various genres. They also ship overseas if you buy online. https://timebomb.co.jp/en

Jet Set Kyoto

This store sells every genre of music, as well as books, magazines, and DVDs. They have a selection of new and used records to browse, and you can also buy online with international shipping.

https://www.jetsetrecords.net

Yahoo Auctions

This is the #1 place to buy random stuff from Japan if you’re overseas. It’s similar to eBay so there’s magazines, merchandise, and book alongside CDs and records, and a lot of Japan Exclusive items are available here. It can be complicated to use if you’re not in Japan, but you can use a service like Buyee to buy things on your behalf. https://auctions.yahoo.co.jp

Mercari

Similar to Yahoo Auctions, Mercari is filled with exclusive Japan Only items like records and magazines. Just like Yahoo Auctions, they use Buyee to allow international purchases. 

https://buyee.jp/mercari/ 

Contributor

James Gaunt is an Australian writer who published his book Making Psyence Fiction in 2020. James previously lived in Tokyo, Japan but has recently returned to Melbourne, Australia. He maintains a keen interest in Japanese music, and publishes regularly on Medium http://medium.com/@jimmyjrg

New Japanese Indie Music Platform Minna Kikeru

I introduce the new Japanese indie music platform Minna Kikeru, which is an amazing treasure trove of alternative music from Japan.
I translate some of the band bios and play some of the songs by tenniscoats, Yuko Ikema and My Pal Foot Foot.

Read More »

Transgender Women Accepted Into Japanese Women’s Universities

We’ve translated some Japanese media and social media about recent moves for the Women’s Universities in Japan to welcome transgender women as students.

There are a group of Women’s Universities in Japan that have recently come out to say that they will soon start accepting transgender women. This is, of course, a major change in the country and has been covered in several major news outlets and provoked a lot of discussion, of a more or less civil nature, across social media.

Today we’ve translated some excerpts from Asahi News, The Huffington Post Japan, and a selection of tweets from twitter to get an overview of the coverage.

We present the selections in Japanese, then in English, then sentence by sentence in Japanese and English for those that are interested to get down in the weeds of the language a bit more

Japanese Reading Difficulty

11/12 Could be read by 10th grade level student in Japan

Themes

Gender, Transgender, Education in Japan

Text Type

Newspapers & Social Media Posts

トランス女性OK、深化する女子大 課題はハラスメント

(2020年8月13日付け朝日新聞より)

 

生まれた時の性別が男性で、性自認が女性のトランスジェンダーの学生の受け入れが今春、お茶の水女子大(東京)と奈良女子大の国立2大学で始まった。

実際に入学したかどうかは明らかにしていない。

来春は宮城学院女子大でも始まる。

受け入れを検討する女子大が増える中、大学側に当事者を保護する取り組みを求め声もあがる。

 「全ての学びたい女性に開かれているのが女子大。それは、戸籍上の女性に限らないということ。女子大の使命の延長線上にある」

 この4月、トランスジェンダー女性の受け入れを始めたお茶の水女子大の三浦徹副学長はそう話す。

同大は2018年7月に受け入れを表明。19年4月に対応ガイドラインを制定し、準備を進めてきた。

どう接すれば…受け入れ前は不安の声も

 受け入れにあたっては「性自認が女性である」ことをどう認定するかが問われた。

同大では、受験前に申告書を出してもらい、性自認の確認や、受験時や学生生活を送る上での態勢などについて必要があれば面談をする形にした。

医師の診断書は必須ではない。「性自認は変化する。あえて多面的にした」と同大は説明する。

Trans women allowed, Women’s Universities Deepen, Harassment Challenge Remains

 

From this Spring, two public universities, Ochanomizu Women’s University (Tokyo) and Nara Women’s University, have begun accepting transgender students whose sex at time of birth was male but who identify their gender as female.

It is not clear whether any transgender students have yet been admitted.

From next Spring, Miyagi Gakuin Women’s University will also begin admitting transgender students.

As women’s universities that accept transgender women increase, so do the voices calling for safeguards for students.

“It’s the Women’s Universities that provide all women wishing to learn a safe place. That does not apply only to women who are listed as such on the official Family Register. This is an extension of the mission of Women’s Universities.”

So spoke Ochanomizu University Vice Head of School Toru Miura in April.

The university announced that they would accept transgender students in July 2018. Since drafting guidelines in April 2019, preparations have been proceeding.

Prior to the changes, voices expressed their unease at how they should interact with the students 

Questions have been raised about how “people that identify as female” should be validated under the new system.

At Ochanomizu, prospective students are asked to submit an application document prior to sitting the entrance exam and, where necessary, are asked to have an interview to confirm status of their gender identity in relation to exams and student life.

There is no necessity for a medical certificate from a doctor to be produced. “Gender identity changes. We now presume that it is versatile.”

室伏学長(お茶の水女子大学) は会見の冒頭で次のように述べた。

 

学ぶ意欲のあるすべての女性にとって、真摯な夢の実現の場として存在するという国立大学法人としての本学のミッションに基づき判断した。

今回の決定を『多様性を包摂する女子大学と社会』の創出に向けた取り組みと位置づけており、

今後、固定的な性別意識にとらわれず、ひとりひとりが人間としてその個性と能力を十分に発揮し、『多様な女性』があらゆる分野に参画できる社会の実現につながっていくことを期待している。

はるか以前の社会と比べると格段に進歩したが、それでも様々な場で女性が職業人として活躍するには困難がある。

その現状を変え、女性たちが差別や偏見を受けずに幸せに暮らせる社会を作るために、大学という学びの場で、自らの価値を認識し、社会に貢献するという確信を持って前進する精神をはぐくむ必要があると考える。

それが実現できるのは、女性が旧来の役割意識などの、無意識の偏見、そういったものから解放されて自由に活躍できる女子大学だろうと考えている。

本学はすべての女性たちがその年齢や国籍等に関係なく、個々人の尊厳と権利を保障されて、自身の学びを進化させ、自由に自己の資質能力を開発させることを目指している。

その意味からも、性自認が女性であって、真摯に女子大学で学ぶことを希望する人を受け入れるのは自然な流れだろうと思うし、多様性を包摂する社会としても当然のことと考えた。

As a national university corporate body, this decision was based on our mission of providing a place to all women who have a sincere desire and dream to learn.

We see this decision as part of a movement to create a women’s university and society that embraces diversity

We dream of a society where “diverse women” can participate in a variety of fields and where each person can achieve their own expression of their own unique human abilities, unrestrained by rigid concepts of gender. 

Though we have come a long way in comparison to societies of the distant past, there are still many barriers to women’s fruitful participation in the workforce.

We believe that we must change the status quo by fostering women’s sense of self worth and resolve to contribute to society, so that they can take their place in society to lead happy lives free from discrimination and prejudice.

We believe that it is the freely functioning women’s university that is able to free women from the conceptions of women’s traditional roles and from unconscious bias.

Our university aims to develop all women, regardless of age or nationality, by guaranteeing each and every individual’s dignity and rights, and pushing forward their learning to create people with the ability to freely express their innate abilities.

In this respect, we consider that it naturally flows that women who identify as female, who hold sincere desires to study at a women’s university, should be welcomed and that this should happen as a matter of course within a society that embraces diversity.

Some Twitter Comments

@milk_and_wine

Trans女子大のトランス女性受け入れに当事者でもないのに(当事者ってのはこの場合、その大学の学生たちのこと)「女子大終わった」みたいなこと言ってるトランスヘイターこっわ。

普通に学生やってるトランス女性より、こういうひとたちの方がよっぽど一緒に学びたくない…こわいし…

 

@ripo0079

トランス女性がお茶大入るのは女性の権利の侵害などと訴えている方は概ねお茶大には縁がない程度の知的階級さを感じさせますね。

 

@horry_a

「人の生命に関わることがらについて『コスト』という言葉を使う」って、ほんとにダメだと思う。

去年、お茶大の報道時に、誰でもトイレの増設は必要(でもトランスを閉じ込めてはいいけない)って書いたら「コスト」がかかるって非難がきた。

それはコストじゃない。必要なもの。

 

@MJunko0523

お茶大のトランスウーマン受け入れの件で、トランスウーマンになりすます奴がいるから駄目だという人たち。

たとえば、ある国で「日本人になりすました奴が犯罪を行ったから日本人は全員入国禁止」と言われたら、「はいそうですか」と納得するのですか?

私は納得できません。

要はそういうことです。

@milk_and_wine

I find the Trans-haters, who, without being in any way the ones that are personally affected by the admitting of transexual women (which is to say, students), and say things like “It’s the end of Women’s Universities”, just give me the creeps. I find the idea of studying with them a lot more scary than studying with transexual women.

 

@ripo0079

I find that the ones who say that allowing transexual women into women’s universities is a breach of women’s rights are generally those of the intellectual class with no connection with the university whatsoever.

 

@horry_a

I think that the use of the word “cost” when talking about matters that affect people’s very being is just not on.

When it was reported last year about Ochanomizu University,  I wrote that it is necessary to extend the provision of toilet amenities and I took criticism over the cost that this would entail.

That is not a “cost”. It is a necessity.

 

To the people who say that it won’t do to have trans women at Ochanomizu because there are men that will make themselves out to be transgender to get access.

If you heard that there was a country where they said “There are people making themselves out to be Japanese citizens that are coming to our country and committing crimes, so we will ban entry to all Japanese Citizens”, would you just say, “yes, that’s fair enough” and accept it.

I would not.

It’s a similar thing.

Language Learning Program Reviews

Japanoscope uses affiliate links. Which means we may receive commisions when you click on some product links. We only link to products we believe in, use ourselves or think are genuinely good. This helps us keep all of the content on the site free of charge. As Monty Python once said, “We’re selling records in the foyer. Some of us have gotta eat too you know”.

Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts and on working holiday. I have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1).

ピータージョセフヘッドです。3年間京都市立芸大の大学院として、一年間ワーキングホリデーとして日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。

Imjin River by the Folk Crusaders In Japanese and English

Japanese Reading Difficulty

4/12 Could be read and understood by 4th grade level student in Japan

Themes

Partitioning of Korea

Text Type

Songs In Translation

Lyrics

イムジン河水清く とうとうと流る
水鳥自由にむらがり 飛び交うよ
我が祖国南の地 想いははるか
イムジン河水清く とうとうと流る

北の大地から 南の空へ
飛び行く鳥よ 自由の使者よ
誰が祖国を二つに 分けてしまったの
誰が祖国を 分けてしまったの

    

イムジン河空遠く 虹よかかっておくれ
河よ 想いを伝えておくれ
ふるさとをいつまでも 忘れはしない
イムジン河水清く とうとうと流る

The imjin river flows so clear

It flows so strong, it flows so deep oh yes my dear

And the water fowl form flocks and fly

To and fro to and fro

My heart lies in the south

My hope lays at rivers mouth

And the imjin river flows so clear

It flows so strong it flows so deep oh yes my dear

 

From the northern continental planes

The birds they fly in flocks they fly in waves

And Like messengers from freedoms shore

make their way make their way

Who was it that cut our land in two

Gave half to me and half to you

And do they even know just what they’ve done

And do they watch the same great imjin river run

 

Down the imjin river way off far

Theres a rainbow forming in the air

Oh Imjin river tell my love

Look above look above

And tell them that I still know the road

That leads back to my home

Cause the imjin river flows so clear

 

It flows so strong it flows so deep oh yes my dear

Today for we’re looking at a song called イムジン河 Imjin River.

Imjin River runs between North and South Korea, through the ironically named demilitarised zone, where two armies eyeball eachother off across one of the most heavily armed borders on earth. The song about the river was original called Rimjingang and was composed in Korea in 1957 by Ko Jonghan to a poem by Pak Se-yong song. Rimjingang is banned in North Korea, as it uses the Imjin River as a symbol of freedom, flowing with the river north to south. 

The song found its way to Japan in the 1960s, with the Korean diaspora, where it was heard by a young writer in Kyoto names Takeshi Matsuyama. With the help of his Korean friends, Matsuyama translated some of the original lyrics and added two verses of his own. Late 60s Japan was heavily influenced by the folk music movement that was happening in America. A large number of folk acts, mixing Japanese and western folk elements were born, including a group called the Folk Crusaders in Kyoto. The group has some similarities with folk groups such as Peter, Paul and Mary. 

Matsuyama taught his version of the Korean song to group member Kazuhiko Kato. Both thought it was a long-standing Korean “traditional” song, rather than a fairly recently composed song with definite authors. The group arranged it into something quite new and attempted to launch it as their follow up song to the break out, and extremely odd, novelty single 帰ってきたよっぱらい Kaete Kaete Kita Yopparai.

Nagsa Oshima later made a somewhat experimental film of the same name, which you can see here.

Unfortunately, Imjin River was deemed too political by the Japanese government and was effectively banned in that country too.

The song, however, remains popular both in its original Korean form, and its modified Japanese form. It is a powerful statement of the pain felt by the partitioned people of the Koreas. The Japanese version also functions as a symbolic gesture by Japanese youths of the 1960s trying to break down the barriers that were often, and continue to be, placed around Korean communities in that country. Here is the Japanese version of the Folk Crusaders singing Imujin-Gawa.

 

Check out some more Japanese songs in translation here.

This song was translated as part of the Songs in Translation segment on RRR radio program Vital Bits.

Language Learning Program Reviews

Japanoscope is a registered affiliate with several online shops and may receive a commission when you click on some of the links within content.

Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts and on working holiday. I have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1).

ピータージョセフヘッドです。3年間京都市立芸大の大学院として、一年間ワーキングホリデーとして日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。

Hana Kimura, Her Mother’s Petition and The Rigging of Terrace House

Japanese Reading Difficulty

11/12 Could be read by 11th grade level student in Japan

Themes

Hana Kimura, Terrace House, Reality TV, Wrestling, Suicide, Online Abuse

Text Type

Translation of Weekly Magazine Shukan Bunshun

Today we translate an article from the Shukan Bunshun that outlines how Hana Kimura’s mother, Kyoko Kimura, is petitioning Japan’s broadcasting watchdog to examine how the show Terrace House was set up in a way that ultimately led to Hana’s demise.

Along with the text, we read the article in Japanese, then in English, then sentence by sentence in both languages.

Original Article from Shukan Bunshun

自ら命を絶った木村花さん(享年22)の母・響子さん(43)が、7月15日、BPO(放送倫理・番組向上機構)に対し、放送による人権侵害があったとして審議を申し立てたことが、「週刊文春」の取材で分かった。
自殺の原因となったのは3月31日にNetflixで配信された第38話「コスチューム事件」。花さんが同居人の帽子をはたくシーンが流れ、花さんのSNSに誹謗中傷が殺到した。配信当日、精神的に追い詰められた花さんが自殺未遂を起こしたにもかかわらず、フジは5月14日にYouTubeで「コスチューム」事件の続編(未公開映像)を3本立て続けに公開し、5月23日には地上波で本編を放送した。その5日後の5月23日、花さんは自ら命を絶つ。
響子さんは「週刊文春」の取材に対し、「コスチューム事件」の撮影において、スタッフから花さんに対し「ビンタしたらいいじゃん」などとやらせ指示があったことを証言。それを裏付ける花さんのLINEメッセージも携帯電話に多数残されていた。また、帽子をはたかれた同居人の小林快さんも、生前の花さんから「(帽子をはたいたのは)本心からではなくスタッフに煽られた行為だった」と謝罪を受けていたことを明かし、やらせの常態化も告発した(7月9日発売号)。
花さんら出演者がスタッフからの理不尽な要求に従い続けた背景には、フジ側と交わした「同意書兼誓約書」の存在がある。28項目ある誓約書の中には「演出指示に従うこと」をはじめ、「途中リタイアしないこと」「写真週刊誌などの雑誌に口外しないこと」「(制作側に)SNSのアカウント情報を開示すること」などという文面が並び、これらの誓約条項に違反し、放送・配信が中止になった場合は、出演者が放送回分の制作費を無条件に賠償すると記載されていた。
パワハラや名誉棄損問題に詳しい大城聡弁護士が指摘する。
「台本はなく、自由に共同生活を送っているかのように放送しているが、巨額の損害賠償の可能性をちらつかせた現代の“奴隷契約”とも言える誓約書兼同意書によって出演者個人の意思が制作側に制限される強い支配構造があったといえる。制作側による演出の態様によっては、憲法13条の自己決定権が奪われていたことになる。また、凶暴な悪役という虚像が本当の人格として視聴者に結びつけられ、SNSの炎上は生まれた。この点から放送によって人格権も侵害されていたともいえる。BPOではやらせがあったかどうかの放送倫理の問題だけでなく、人権侵害があったかどうかも審議されるべきです」
フジは7月3日の社長会見で、「無理強いはしていない」「感情表現をねじ曲げるような指示はしていない」「花さんと話し合った上で撮影や配信を行った」と主張。また、社内調査中だとし、検証結果は遺族感情を踏まえながら公表するとしている。
こうしたフジの説明に不信感を抱く響子さんは7月15日付でBPOの放送人権委員会に申し立てを行い、「週刊文春」の取材に次のように答えた。

「花や共演者、スタッフの証言から分かってきたのは、フジテレビさんが花を人間として扱ってはいなかったということ。フジ側はあたかも制作側と花が対等かのように説明していますが、これはイジメやパワハラの論理と同じです。2度と同じ悲劇が起きないようにするためにも、フジは花の死にきちんと向き合って欲しい」

English Translation

As outlined in the Weekly Bunshun magazine, Kyoko (43), the mother of Hana Kimura who took her own life at the age of 22, lodged a request with the Broadcast Ethics and Program Improvement authority on the 15th of July to examine whether human rights infringements had occurred in Fuji Television’s Terrace House broadcasts.

The cause of the suicide is the “Costume incident” that aired on the 31st of March on the 38th episode of the Netflix program. In the episode, Hana is seen to strike the hat off one of her housemates, leading Hana Kimura’s social media accounts to be flooded with abusive comments. Paying no heed to the desperate mental state that led to Kimura’s failed suicide attempt  on the day of the broadcast, Fuji Television released 3 videos on youtube on the 14th of May featuring unreleased footage continuing the “costume incident” theme and then put to air a larger program on the 23rd of May. Five days later, Kimura took her own life.

In coverage by the Shukan Bunshun magazine, Kyoko Kimura stated that production staff had instructed Hana to “go ahead and give him a slap”. This statement is backed up by numerous messages in the Line app on Hana’s phone. Further, the house mate Kai Kobayashi who had his hat struck off has made clear that he received an apology from Hana saying “I never wanted to hit your hat off. I was made to do it by production staff.” and that “fake” scenes had become the norm on the show.

Behind the unreasonable demands that Hana and other participants continuously bowed to was the Letter of Consent cum contract that they had entered into. In the 28 items of the contract were a parade of statements that included (the participant must) “obey performance instructions”, “must not give up during production”, “must not communicate with weekly photographic magazines”, and “must inform production staff of all social media account information”. In the event of contract violation and broadcast cancellations participants were required to make recompense of the production costs of broadcast episodes.

According to one lawyer well acquainted with matters of Power Harassment and defamation, Oshiro Satoru

While creating an appearance of housemates freely going about their lives unscripted, we can say there was a compelling structure of domination controlling participants by holding the possibility of a large scale compensation claim over them, amounting to a modern “contract of slavery”. The terms set out relating to performance from the production staff stole the participants right to self determination as set out in clause 13 of the Constitution. In being presented as a violent villain, Kimura’s true character was entwined with a false image in the eyes of the viewer, leading to a social media explosion. In this way, we can say that the broadcast was in violation of Kimura’s personal rights. The BPO should consider not just the ethical implications of whether or not there was false staging, but also whether there was a violation of human rights.

 

In a statement on the third of July, Fuji television’s president said “we have not used any compulsion”, “ We have made no instructions to make people change their emotional expression”, “we shot and broadcast in full consultation with Hana”. He further said that the company was conducting an internal investigation, and the results would, in consideration of the feelings of family members,  be released to the public.

Holding suspicions regarding the veracity of these explanations, Kyoko Kimura lodged a statement with the BPO Committee on Broadcast Human Rights on the 15th of July, and told the Shukan Bunshun,”What we have understood from the statements of Hana and her fellow performers is that Fuji Television did not treat Hana as a human being. The Fuji camp is trying to make it out as if the production team and Hana were on a level footing. This is the logic of bullying and power-based harassment. In order for this tragedy to never ever repeat, I want Fuji to properly face up to the death of Hana.

Language Learning Program Reviews

Japanoscope is a registered affiliate with several online shops and may receive a commission when you click on some of the links within content.

Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts and on working holiday. I have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1).

ピータージョセフヘッドです。3年間京都市立芸大の大学院として、一年間ワーキングホリデーとして日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。

Bape Mask Bargains

Get some Bape on Your Face

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No one likes having to wear a face mask. But if you’ve got to wear one, you may as well do it in style right? If you’re a fan of the Bape brand then why not get some Bape on your face with a Bape mask?

But Bape can be pricey right? We’ve found some cheap options below.

Check out our background article on the history of Bape here and a translation of an interview with Nigo and Jamese Lavelle here.

Japanoscope uses affiliate links. Which means we may receive commisions when you click on some product links. We only link to products we believe in, use ourselves or think are genuinely good. This helps us keep all of the content on the site free of charge. As Monty Python once said, “We’re selling records in the foyer. Some of us have gotta eat too you know”.

Contributor

Hi, I’m Peter.  I lived in Japan for four years as a University student completing a Masters Degree in Musicology.  I have succesfully completed the  highest level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (N1).  have toured the country six times playing music and singing songs in Japanese and English.

New Japanese Indie Music Platform Minna Kikeru

Japanese Reading Difficulty

10/12 Could be read by 10th grade level student in Japan

Themes

Japanese Indie Music
Japanese alternative Music

Text Type

Band Bios

Japan’s New Indie Label Music Platform “Minna Kikeru” みんなきける

https://youtu.be/mA0tPc2dIpw


It’s not all bad news in Covid 19, 2020. 

Take the new indie, alternative Japanese music platform that has come on line, called “Minna Kikeru”. It’s got around 100 releases there to stream and download by artists that, up until about a month ago, you would have been hard vinyl-pressed to find anywhere else. 

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The platform was initiated by one of my all time favourite artists in Japan, Tenniscoats (which we’ve written about here), and the Majikick label they run. In the interests of full disclosure, this is also the label that puts out the music I make in Japan, so I have a connection.

It’s not a one man band though. There are releases from labels including kuchikuchi, Tomoaki Saito Records, Alien Transistor, haptic perception (via nagoya), Sweet Dream Press, Pong-Kong Records, kurumi kadoya (via nagoya), Mrs.triangle, Basic Function, Is College Collective.


The innocent directness of the name, Minna Kikeru meaning “Everyone can listen”, breezily sums up the platform. It’s for people to get access to all this music they never would have found before, but sorely deserves to be.


I’ve been doing some translations for them so I’ll read you a couple of things I’ve done in Japanese and English.


Here’s the blurb they wrote about the site in Japanese and English.


Minna Kikeru Overview


Minna Kikeru は、majikick recordsと篠原敏蔵、モトの協力により、2020年にスタートします。

以前より計画は進めていましたが、奇遇にもこういった時期に巡り合わせました。

現状、手に入りにくい日本のインディミュージシャンの音楽にそれぞれアクセスし、楽しむことが出来、また、マージンをできるだけ少なくし、様々なアーティストやインディレーベルの自立を助けることを指針としています。


楽しんで、良いインスピレーションを得られますよう願っております。


Minna Kikeru was started by majikick and Toshizo Shinohara in collaboration with Moto in 2020.

Planning for the site had been happening for some time and it seemed almost fatalistic that the Covid-19 crisis would come and speed up the need for its completion.

The aim of the site is to provide access to Japanese independent music, which has been relatively hard to find, and to help a range of artists and independent labels create a sustainable future.

It is our hope that people enjoy the site and find some positive inspiration from what they find!


Tenniscoats


プカプカブライアンズから派生し、1996,7年辺りから録音を始め、さやが歌うように植野とつくったバンド。サイドギターに小野悟、ドラマーは久順。大学の部室に、8トラックオープンリールとミキサーを持ち込み録音、テープが伸びる寸前まで作業を重ねた。フレーズの立体感、初期の弾けるような新鮮さと熟考が混ざった不思議さのあるポップ。出した方がいいよ、と背中を押す久順の言葉でリリースと相成った。


After starting PukaPuka Brians, somewhere around 1996-97, Saya started singing with Ueno and together they created the band Tenniscoats. In a room of their University, they set up an 8 track real-to-real machine and a mixer where they would record, overdubbing to the point of making the tape stretch. 


They created a pop that combined equal parts freshness and careful consideration. Satoru Ono (E.Gtr), Hisatoshi (Drums) and a selection of friends joined in to realise the album.The album sat unreleased for some time, with Saya not feeling confident enough to go ahead, until So Hisatoshi gave them a gentle nudge with a “stop your worrying, you’ve just got to put this out”.


Yuko Ikema

SSW, 池間由布子のセルフリリースによる、2015年リリースの2ndアルバムです。majikickハウスの4トラックカセットMTRで録音されました。素朴て温かい由布子の人柄のように、その歌声も初めて会うのにどこか懐かしく、不思議さがあります。糸を紡ぐように導かれる「拝啓、朝」に始まる曲たちは瑞々しく、身近でいて美しい。植野隆司とさやが参加。

Singer song writer, Yuko Ikema released her 2nd album in 2015. This album was recorded with using a 4-track cassette MTR at majikick house. Just like Yuko’s personality, which is simple and warm, her singing voice is nostalgic and mysterious for the first time. The songs that begin with “Dear Morning”, guided by spinning threads, are fresh, familiar, and beautiful. Takashi Ueno and Saya joined in.


My Pal Foot Foot

竹下慶(ギター、コーラス)と河野ゆうこ(ボーカル、ギター)によるバンド。


彼らの初めてのレコーディングは、春の畑の中に位置するグロプチンのスタジオにmajikickの機材を持ち込み行われた。


飾らず真っ直ぐなゆうこのボーカルと竹下の楽曲は素のままで十分に魅力的。明るくてポップで、いつまでも瑞々しい。


ゲスト:植野(ギター)、さや(ドラム)、グロプチン、つびーが参加。


Kei Takeshita (Gtr, Chorus) and Yuko Konno (Vocal, Grr) are the main members.


The band’s first recording took place amongst the fields in springtime at the Gloptin Studio, on Majikick equipment. Yuko’s straight ahead singing style and Kei’s unadorned songs & guitar have all the charm you would need, just as they are. This record features eternal vivacious, sunny pop.

 

Language Learning Program Reviews

Japanoscope is a registered affiliate with several online shops and may receive a commission when you click on some of the links within content.

Who is behind this site?

I’m Peter Joseph Head. I lived in Japan for four years as a student at Kyoto City University of the Arts and on working holiday. I have toured the country six times playing music and speak Japanese (JLPT N1).

ピータージョセフヘッドです。3年間京都市立芸大の大学院として、一年間ワーキングホリデーとして日本に住み、6回日本で音楽ツアーをし、日本語能力試験で1級を取得しました。要するに日本好きです。