Is There Anyone In Japan That Actually Wants The Olympics?

I spent some time trawling and translating Tweets from Japan to see if I could find anyone who was pro the Tokyo Olympics. I didn’t find any. Here we read through the tweets in Japanese and English to see what people are talking about.

日本ツイッターを検索して日本で五輪開催を支持している人がいるかみてみました。みつかりませんでした。このビデオで見つかったツイートを英語に訳してその話をします。

Follow me on social media to see my translations of Japanese social media posts in real time.

Should Tokyo Olympics Go Ahead?

五輪やってもいいかやらない方がいいか?

When I filtered through trending tweets about the Olympics in Japan, looking at only posts with 100+ likes I could find almost nothing that was actually expressing a positive opinion about the olympics. This may just be the bias of the sample, eg. Twitter, where negative voices often speak louder, but it was interesting to take a look at the conversation none the less.

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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。

Naomi Osaka Japanese Tweets

Translating Japanese Tweets About Naomi Osaka

大坂なおみ選手についての日本語ツイートを英語に訳す

 

Today I’m going to read through and translate some of the Japanese Twitter commentary about Naomi Osaka pulling out of the French Open.

This caused a stir when it was reported that Osaka faced fines and disqualification from the tournament for refusing to do press conferences. This ultimately led to her saying that she was pulling out of the Open due to mental health issues.

As always on the internet, people voiced every opinion under the sun about this. Generally, the ark of commentary went from being quite anti Osaka when she first refused the press conference to being more sympathetic once she announced she was struggling with depression.

Personally I think that they could pay the players that want to do the press conferences extra for their troubles, but not make it a requirement of playing. Because, at the end of the day playing tennis and speaking to media are two very separate things.

Anyway, let’s look at what Japanese people were saying online.

Follow me on social media to see my translations of Japanese social media posts in real time.

An example of some of the colorful language people use on social media. I translated こいつ as “this character”, but could have gone with “joker” or, if I wanted to be crass about it, “asshole”.

Don’t you love it when there are parallels in language? In English, we have the quasi-religous phrase “all that’s fair must fade”, meaning bad things can happen to anyone, even you. In Japanese they have the phrase 盛者必衰 (じょうしゃひっすい)

Lots of references to Nettouyo. “Right wing netizen”. One of the many wonderful Japanese portmanteau. A combo of “Net” and “Uyoku”, meaning right wing. Language wins again.

「日本人らしくない」is un interesting phrase. In Australia, people sometimes refer to people they don’t agree with as “Unaustralian”. Strikes me as similar.

I found it interesting that a Japanese person was using this phrase:

いかに世界と乖離した感覚で日本人が生きているかよく分かる例。

“This is a prime example of how Japanese people live with a sense of being separate from the world.”

As non-Japanese people we often feel this sense of Japanese people seeing us as somehow fundamentally seperate to them. Here’s a Japanese person voicing the same idea.

 

And one tweet to finish off with a positive message!

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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。

What’s Trending in Japanese Social Media #3

What's New In Japanese Social Media? #3

日本のSNSまとめ in 英語 and 日本語

Some of the hashtags I’ve seen trending on Japanese social media this week include
#倫理観が無すぎる
#I can’t believe the lack of all sense of ethics

#か突然ですが占ってもいいですか
Excuse me, can I tell your fortune?

#てりやき食べたくてすみません
“Sorry, I just want to eat Teriyaki”

#ネットにつなげると便利なもの
#It would be handy if you could connect this to the internet

#新幹線運転士
Shinkansen driver

Follow me on social media to see my translations of Japanese social media posts in real time.

https://twitter.com/japanoscope
https://www.instagram.com/japan.oscope/
https://www.pinterest.com.au/japanoscope/
https://www.facebook.com/japanoscope/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0rPzOftAFIF2zHwQpeu6eQ

Follow me on social media to see my translations of Japanese social media posts in real time.

#倫理観が無すぎる #I can’t believe the lack of all sense of ethics

Rainy Season Comes Early In Japan

Beautiful Japanese Quote

#か突然ですが占ってもいいですか Excuse me, can I tell your fortune?

#てりやき食べたくてすみません “Sorry, I just want to eat Teriyaki”

#新幹線運転士 Shinkansen driver

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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。

What’s Trending In Japanese Social Media? #2

What's New In Japanese Social Media?

日本のSNSまとめ in 英語 and 日本語

#池江選手 Rikako Ikee, the Japanese Olympic swimming star people have been asking to stand down from competing in the Games.
#メイドの日 Maid day – so named because it falls on the tenth (Tou in Japanese) day of May (Mei). It’s kind of like a Japanese version of May 4th Star Wars day, but with sexier outfits.
#国会騒然 Japanese parliament descended into a moment of chaos this week when Renho parliamentarian asked Prime Minister Suga a question and replied with a pre-written answer to a different question.
#俺の股間 This one translates as “My nether regions”. Very internet.

Follow me on social media to see my translations of Japanese social media posts in real time.

Rikako Ikee asked to pull out of Olympics

In 2018 Rikako Ikee won six gold medals at the Asian games – a new record. In 2019, she was diagnosed with Leukemia. In 2021, she qualified for the Olympics and became a national hero. She was also called on by a lot of people to withdraw from and denounce the Olympic Games because of Covid. So she put out this statement:

My Nether regions are...

The hashtag #俺の股間がの後に曲名を入れると性的 was trending this week.

It translates as my nether regions are…(place name of famous song here to make sexy sentence). So I gave it a go with the Beatles in English and Japanese –

May 10 is "Maid Day"

The West has Star Wars Day, Japan has Maid Day. Make of that what you will.

This Maid Cafe worker tweeted about how she had to struggle to be allowed to work in a Maid Cafe.

Chaos in the Diet

Things got heated in the Diet this week when Renho parliamentarian asked Prime Minister Suga a question and replied with a pre-written answer to a different quesion.

Government Admits Less Trains Equals More Congestion. Suprise!

There’s some more stuff in the video/podcast version of this. Please let me know if you like this “Social media roundup” format!

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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

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.

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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。

Black Lives Matter In Japan – A Look At The Language

Approx Japanese level

Text Type

Black Lives Matter sparked some serious debate in Japanese media and social media. Here are some of the texts we found, both supportive of the movement and critical of the movement. 

Cocoalizzy

Cocoa Lizzy posted a series of insightful video entries on her Instagram. She highlighted several examples of her own experiences of racism in Japan as a black Japanese person in this post

Here is a translation of an excerpt:

 

私も日本にいるころはバイトをしていた時も黒人からものを買いたくないからあの子をやめさせてほしいと言われたこともあるし

When I was doing a casual job in Japan I had someone say “I don’t want to buy stuff from a black person, you should get rid of her”. 

黒人だからお客さん怖がらさせてしまうかもしれないから君はレストランで働けないかなって言われたこともあるし、

At a restaurant someone told me “I don’t think you could work here because you’re black and you may scare the customers”.

でもまだよかった方

But really that’s the least of it

こっちでは肌の色だけで殺されたり捕まっちゃったりとかする人もいて

Over here there are people who are killed or arrested 

もしかして日本人のみんなはこれがただの黒人と白人の戦いと思っているかもしれないだけど、

And Japanese people might just think that’s just some fight between black people and white people

違くてこのこういう人たちこういうブラックの人たちが世界的に弱い立場にいることをどう思いますか。

But, from a distance, what do you think about the fact that black people are in this position of weakness?

という。考えてくれていますか。Are you thinking about these things?

皆はこれが違うって沢山の人が立ち上がっているのね。

There are a lot of people who think things have to change that are standing up.

 

だからあなたが黒人か、白人か、日本人かとかは関係なくあなたはこの状況をどう思いますかっていうこと

So whether you are black, white, Japanese it doesn’t matter, it’s what you think about the situation.

でもし皆の好きな歌手が黒人で皆その人の歌を聞いていて

But if people have a singer that they like and listen to

今もその人が生まれてときから今までもずっと黒人として扱われていて

And that person had been treated as a black person from the moment they had been born

その人達がSOSを出しているとき皆はただ見てみぬフリをするのかそこで私達は一緒の人間だって、

And if that person was putting out an SOS signal, would you act like you had seen nothing or would you acknowledge that they have the same humanity as you.

肌の色で扱いが変わることはおかしいって立ち上がる人がもっともっといてくれていいじゃないか

Wouldn’t  it be great if there were many many more people that stood up to the idea of changing the way you treat people according to the color of their skin?

 

Twittersphere

Across twitter there were a lot of comments. We don’t want to give too much air to people espousing more or less racist views, but it is important to acknowledge the debate that is happening. Here is a selection of some of the posts we saw:

 

Tweet:

日本人は黒人を差別したことはありません。

Japanese people have never been racist towards black people.

 

日本で黒人が殺されたことあるの?

日本で黒人って理由で入店拒否されたことあるの?差別してないよね!

Has there ever been a black person murdered in Japan?

Has there ever been a black person that has beef refused entry to a shop? Really, we don’t racially vilify do we?

 

Melissa Luna:

私たちが受けてきた差別は全部デタラメだったんですね?

いかに自己中心的で盲目なのかが伝わります。これがマジョリティの特権。

So all the racism we have experienced is just a load of rubbish right?

It is clear just how self centered and non-seeing the people writing these comments are. This is the privilege of the majority.

 

Tweet:

日本人がコロナ対策のために『三密』を避けて頑張ってるのに、日本人の命はどうでもいいのでしょうか?

Japanese people are doing everything they can to go social distance and fight the coronavirus. But I guess Japanse lives aren’t worth anything right?

 

宇多田ヒカル Tweet

 

日本で生まれ育った日本人からすると人種差別っていまいちピンと来ないかもしれないけど、今アメリカで起きていることは未来の世界史に載るような歴史的な局面かもしれない…というかそうであってほしい

To people who are born and raised in Japan, racism may seem like they have no connection to. What is happening in America may be a historic moment in the future…it least that’s how I hope this may be.

 

Tweet

ここは日本。

『日本人の命は大切だ!』

明日は土砂降りになりますようにUmbrella with rain drops

This is Japan. Japanese lives matter!

I hope the rain buckets down on you tomorrow.

 

Tweet

都合良く問題を一般化しないでください。ドイツが難民受け入れを「世界の課題」にしてるのと似ている。

Don’t generalise the problem according to your own agenda. This is like how Germany called the need to accommodate refugees a “world problem”.

 

Tweet

ここ数日で黒人に対する見方が本当に変わったわ。黒人とは関わらないようにしよう。

In these past few days my opinion of black people has really changed. I’m going to do my best to not associate with black people.

 

私は、日本で生まれ育った日本人ですが、日本に人種差別がない、なんて小学生の頃から思っていませんでした。近くに在日コリアンの方々がいたし、朝鮮学校もあったし。彼等もずっと差別の中にいると思う。その環境を作ったのは私達日本人。差別は許されない。

I was born and raised in Japan and I’ve never thought for a moment from elementary school onwards that Japan is a country without racism. Around me there were members of the Korean diaspora, and a Korean school. I believe these people have been the subject of ongoing racism. It is us Japanese that have created that environment. There is no place for racism.

 

https://news.yahoo.co.jp/byline/daisukekawasaki/20200607-00182173/

Blogs

 

川崎大助 | 作家 Yahoo

 

この問題は、対岸の火事ではないのだ。遠く離れた大陸での出来事かもしれないが、しかし「日本人だから」という理由で無視していい問題ではない。「日本人も人類の一員」ならば、無視はできない。

This problem isn’t “a fire on the far coast”. This may be something that is happening on a far away continent, but “I’m Japanese” isn’t an excuse to ignore the problem. If Japanese people are just one people within a larger human race, then there is no excuse to turn a blind eye.

 

Ruru Ruriko ピンク 55 Telling Asahi 55

今まで差別について考えたことがなかったり、経験がない人は差別をされる人の気持ちを想像するのは難しいでしょう。そして、日本人が黒人の気持ちや経験を理解することは不可能です。しかし、わからない、知らないでは、このまま一生状況は変わりません。

疑わずに、まず当事者の言葉に耳を傾けてください。

For people who have never had occasion to think about racism, or have never been racially vilified, it is probably difficult to imagine what it must be like to be the subject of racism. But if we keep saying “I don’t understand” or “this is not something I know about” the situation will never change. 

When in doubt, start by lending your ears to those directly affected.

 

Cocoa Lizzy (Part 2)

We’ll end this look at the language around BLM in Japan with 2nd entry by Cocoa Lizzy

白人の特権とみんなの特権 #BLACLIVESMATTER Understanding own privilege

 

さて今日はホワイトwhite privilege (白人の優遇)と私達それぞれのprivilageについて話していきます!最近ドールテストの動画をストーリーに上げたりして、みんなも興味を持ってくれました。沢山の人はまだ肌の色だけで、”怖い” ”強そう” ”危なそう”などのステレオタイプ(思い込み、先入観)があると思います。でもそのステレオタイプを政府や世間、警察に持たれた黒人はアメリカでどのような扱いをされているか考えたことはありますか?黒人である私達は、肌の色のせいだけで、政府から悪いイメージをずっと持たれ、今も普通の生活をしたいだけでも他の人種の人と比べられて公平な支援やサポートをしてもらえません。

Today I would like to go ahead and talk about White privilege, and all of our own privilege. Recently I added a Doll Test video to my story, and people were kind enough to show some interest. I believe there are a lot of people who see black skin and, through stereotyping, think “they look scary” or “ they look strong” or “they look dangerous”. But have you ever thought about how black people in America are treated by a government, a society or a police force that hold this stereotype. For a black person such as myself this means I am looked down on by the government just for the color of my skin. Even now, all I want to do is lead a normal life, but I am compared to people from other ethnic backgrounds and am not offered the same backing or support.

 

逆に私はアジア人だけど、黒人だからイエローとかコロナって呼ばれない。それは私の特権の1つ。1人ずつそれぞれ人種のことから、家族構成、生活において特権や社会的地位は変わってきてしまう。それを当たり前に思い、その特権を持っていない人に対して攻撃する人、政府がまだ世界には沢山あります。自分も気づかずにしているかもしれません。

 

Conversely, I am Asian, but I am black so people don’t call me “yellow” or say “Corona” to me. That is one of the ways that I am privileged. Each person, has their own ethnic background, family make up, way of living that, that can’t help but come to influence their social status. There are still many people, and governments, in the world that believe that this is only natural and are willing to attack others as a result. I may even be guilty of doing the same thing without even being aware of it.

 

人間はすべての人達が同じ権利を人間として持つはずなら、性別、出身地、外見、家族の事だけで下に見られたり、チャンスが無かったり、比べられることは無いはずなのに。私達が自分の特権で今この不公平な世界を作っていて、自分の特権を見つめる事で悲しむ人に寄り添って力になる事ができると思います!

 

If humans are supposed to all have the same human rights, then there shouldn’t be such a thing as drawing comparisons or losing opportunity according to gender,  place of birth, appearance or family background. All of us create this unequal world out of our own place of privilege. But I believe that through gazing into our own privilege, we are able to draw closer to those experiencing hardship and become a force for good.

 

Some Japanese words around racism:

有色人種 ゆうしょくじんしゅ People of Color

人種差別主義者 じんしゅさべつしゅぎしゃ Racist person

黄色人種 おうしょくじんしゅ asian “yellow” race

特権 とっけん privilege

優遇 ゆうぐう privilege

対岸の火事 たいがんのかじ Fire on the far coast

 

See also this videothat aired on NHK during this period that was widely criticised, and later withdrawn, because of it charicaturing of African Americans:

https://youtu.be/WqmII4DuJO0

Which has been abley translated by Japanse For Morons here:

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。

What does it mean to be “Ugly” In Japan

What does it mean to be “busu” 「ブス」or “minikui” in Japan?

In a world that worships at the altar of kawaii 「可愛い」, at saucer sized eyes and at double skinned eyelids. What is it like to feel like you don’t live up? And how can you live a life so that it doesn’t overwhelm you.

Twitter writer and Youtuber “Todoron” painfully, graphically and courageously lays bear her experiences of this situation for all to see on Twitter, and later Youtube. Her first tweet was a single Hiragana character. Her third tweet got 150,000 likes and 30,000 retweets. 

She seems to having something that resonates with contemporary online Japanese society. She mixes simple-truth observations of the state of the world, and her own inner state. Topics she tackles include her history of cosmetic surgery, concepts of beauty and mental health.

Today I want to have a look at the language she uses around the issues.

 

A translation of Todoron's first tweets

Through repeated rounds of cosmetic surgery, you can turn yourself into something that you believe to be beautiful. But turning yourself into something the world believes is beautiful remains impossible to do forever. Beauty is talent. It all depends on whether you are able to bring this beauty out, or you choose to deny it. Even people who show the world that they have achieved beauty through effort are only keeping an appointment with their own natural born talent.

Feelings that only ugly people can understand

・ The fear of the group photo

・ The fear of catching your own image reflecting back at you from panes of glass throughout the city

・ The fear that Snow will not be enough to make you beautiful

・ The feeling of guilt at being attracted to a hot guy

・ The philosophical regret of “Why did I have to be born as myself when I could have just as easily been born as someone like Nozomi Sasaki”

 

I love girly things like frills and lace. It makes me sad that I am so scared of people denying the femininity of the “me covered in those things” that I act like I don’t even like them in the first place.

People always seem to think that people who go public with their cosmetic surgery say to themselves “Cosmetic surgery is making an effort! Please acknowledge how much work I’ve put in! Tell me I’m beautiful” out of some kind of need for acknowledgment of self or urgent need for recognition. But really, I think that the vast majority of people are actually saying to themselves “If I try and hide the fact I’ve had some work done, people will still talk, so I may as well just be open about it. People can choose not to accept what I’ve done if they like, no one is forcing them to stick around if they don’t want to”.

A translation of Todoron's first Youtube clip

こんな醜い感情で生きていてもいいですか

Is it good enough to live life with these kind of ugly feelings?

はじめましてとどろんと申します。初投稿です。

Pleased to meet you, I’m dodoron this is my first video.

本日は東京新潟間を背景に整形経験者である私の話をして行こうと思います。

Today, with the scenery between Tokyo and Niigata as my background, I’m going to talk about myself and my experiences as someone who has had cosmetic surgery.

整形経験者

Person who has had cosmetic surgery  

東京駅から発射します。楽しみです。

Launching out from Tokyo. This is going to be fun.

自分語りになりますがこうして外に出られるようになったのは整形してからです。

I fear I will be talking all about myself, but going out like this is only something I have been able to do since having surgery.

ブスは外に出るのも許されない。

Ugly people aren’t allowed in public.

日々顔を非難される経験を積めばそういう思考になります。

If you have experience of having your face criticized on a daily basis over a long period of time, that’s how you come to think.

恐怖。

Fear.

評価。

Criticism.

新潟に出発です。電車や新幹線の音っていいですね。

Leaving Niigata. Don’t you love the sound of the train and the shinkansen?

ガラスがなければ自分の顔を見なくていいし最高なのになあ。

If only there was no glass here to reflect my face everything would be perfect.

朝食を食べ損ねた弁当を買いました。

I missed breakfast, so I’ve bought a bento.

余談ですが美人て財布を出すふりが上手いですよね。

To digress a moment, beautiful people are great at making like they are pulling out their wallet aren’t they?

やっぱりおごられなれているのでしょうか。

I suppose it’s because they are so used to having others pay the bill.

ていうか今気がついたけど服のシワやばいですね。

Never mind that, I’ve just realised the wrinkles in my shirt are next level.

こういうところがブスなんですよね。ごめんなさい。

I guess this is one of the hallmarks of being ugly. I apologize.

美人は服がシワシワでもだらしない美人なのにブスは「そんなんだからブスなんだよ」と言われるの理不尽だよね。

If a beautiful person wears wrinkled clothes they are just a beautiful person in wrinkled clothes. But if an ugly person wears wrinkled clothing, people say “that’s the reason you’re so unattractive”. It makes no sense.

いただきます。おいしそう。

Bon appetite. Looks good.

さて再出発です。雪だー!綺麗!

And, we’re off again. Look at the snow. It’s beautiful!

整形前はきれいなものを見ても素直に口に出せませんでした。

Before having cosmetic surgery, I was unable to speak freely about beautiful things.

ブスがはしゃいでると思われるのが恥ずかしかったからです。

I felt that people would just think that I was an ugly person shooting her mouth off.

ブスって捻くれてる人が多いと思うんですがそういった複雑な感情も影響していると思います。

Ugly people are often a little twisted I think that it must be the result of experiencing such complex emotions.

よし帰りましょ。

Well, time to head for home.

新潟でも撮ろうと思ったのですが無理だったのでお土産を紹介します。

I wasn’t able to shoot in Niigata, as I’d hoped, so I’ll just show you my souvenirs.

のどぐろ茶漬け

Nodo Guro cyatuke

 

嫉妬

Jealousy

 

これは自分用。夜食に食べたら死ぬほど美味しい絶対

This is for me. This would be the bomb to have as a late night snack.

 

可愛い女の子がおっさん臭いもの好きをアピールするのがウザいと思うのは私だけでしょうか。ギャップがいいとか言うけどだいたいだれでも好きだわ。

Am I the only one that gets annoyed at beautiful people trying to make a big thing out of how they love eating the sort of snacks a middle aged man might like. People say “it’s such a lovely contrast”, but let’s face it, who doesn’t like that stuff?

そしてこちらは家族へのお土産

I got these for my family

笹団子です

Bamboo shoot balls

 

ブスだけど見た目可愛いものは好き

I may be ugly, but I like cute stuff.

 

そしてジャスミンティー

And, jazmine tea

 

なんか凹んでるんだけど

Looks a bit dinted but

パンを食べる、うめぇ

Time for a pastry. Man, that’s good.

おいしいという感覚は美醜に関わらず平等に与えられた最高の快楽ですね。

Deliciousness is the greatest sense that people of beauty or ugliness have received equally.

ごちそうさまでした。

That was good.

帰りは雨で景色がよく見えませんでした。

I couldn’t see the scenery on the way back because of the rain.

今日の動画はここで終わりです。初投稿いかがでしたか。

I’ll finish up my video here. How did you like my first post?

ぜひご意見ありましたらコメント欄までお願いいたします。

If you have any thoughts please let me know in the comments.

では、ありがとうございました。

Thank you very much.

さようなら

Goodbye.

 

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。

Japanoscope Translations Podcast #2: Being An Artist In Covid-19 Japan – Getting Back To Nature With Live Painter Kohei Kondo

Kohei Kudo at Haretara sora ni mame maite
Kohei Kudo at Haretara sora ni mame maite

Japanese Reading Difficulty

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

Themes

Art, Painting, Live Painting, Covid-19, Music

Text Type

Social Media Post (from artist's instagram)

About The Artist

Kohei Kondo

I first met Kohei Kondo when we were put on the same bill to play a gig at the magnificently named Tokyo music venue「晴れたら空に豆まいて」”When the weather’s fine throw peas at the sky”.

Japanese Parasol Umbrella from haretara sora ni mame maite
Red Japanese Parasol at Haretara sora ni mame maite

I was playing songs in Japanese and English and Kohei was doing Live Painting. It was one of the first shows I had done with live painting. If you are not familiar with the concept, it’s pretty much how it sounds. The artist makes a painting while a musician does sound. It actually works pretty well. 

In my experience, this goes on a lot more in Japan than in the English speaking world.  It’s hard to know why that is.  It could be as simple as being because Japanese gigs are usually more expensive to get into so there’s a little more money to go around. Japanese gigs also tend to be a lot less raucous, with audiences that sit and listen fairly quietly, so having an artistic element makes a lot more sense.

Liquid Lighting at Emma Russack and Lachlan gig in Melbourne

Kohei makes swirling rainbow-like visions that seem at once vivid and washed out. His style is someone remiscent of liquid lighting techniques popular from the psychadelic 60s. 

His pictures also have some common ground with the visual work of legendary Dirty Three guitarist, Mick Turner.

A translation of an Instagram post from the artist

3月はライブペインティングが3本なくなり、4月は全部なくなった。

5月はhoshiotoとグリーンルームという大好きなフェス。それと台湾台北での浮現祭というフェスでのライブペインティンが楽しみだったけれど、全部なくなった。でも日本のふたつは両方とも中止ではなくて延期だから楽しみが先に延びたんだなぁと思うのも悪くない。浮現祭もまた再び開催されるといいな!

僕は絵描きとしてライブペインティングとあとは絵を個展で発表してそれを販売するというこの2つが主に大きな活動。間違った。あとはCDジャケットやポスターなどに提供もあるから3つだ。

その中でライブペインティンがなくなったので今はずっと家にいて絵を描いている。病気を持っている高齢の父とふたり暮らしなので父さんと一緒に過ごせる時間がたくさんあるのは嬉しい。もしかしたらプレゼントのような時間なのかも?とも思ってしまう。

それと去年はゆっくりとできなかった畑も再開した。毎日午後絵を描いた後に草刈りからしてるのだけどめちゃくちゃ楽しい。草刈りは明確にやった分の成果が見えるのが楽しい。あと単純に僕は土とか虫とか小さい生き物が好き。子どもの時からずっと。

どれくらいかというと方向感覚がくるちゃったのか道路を無謀にも横断しようとしているミミズを見つけたらすかさず手でつまんで草むらに救出しちゃうくらい!

草刈りが終わったら、土を耕して、苗を植えて。。。楽しみだなぁ。

今一番一生懸命描いているのは画集の絵だ。2年前から約束しているのにずっとずっと待たせてしまった。出してくれるのはやはり2年前に立ち上がったばかりの出版社。僕は元々児童書業界にいたのだけど、児童書業界というのは会社の垣根を超えて勉強会があったり普通に仲良しなんだけど、その時に知り合った他の会社の出版社の編集者。僕がクレヨンハウスという絵本屋さんで働いていた時から知ってるのだからもうもしかしたら15年ぐらいの知り合いなのかも!!!すごい!

そうそう、そのかたが会社をやめて独立をされて自分の出版社を立ち上げたのだ。その最初のタイミングで僕に声をかけてくれたのだから嬉しい。いい画集を作りたいなぁと思う。

 

あとそれに父さんは元々編集者で書物を・紙媒体をこよなく愛している人なので父さんに見せてあげれるのも嬉しい。
ところで僕は3〜4年前ほどはひたすらがむしゃらにライブペインティングをしていて、年間150本ぐらいしていた。だけどやはり父さんと過ごす時間も短くなるし、純粋に体力的にもきついなぁと感じていた。いや、体力は持つんだけど個展に向けての制作に時間がうまく配分できなくなっていた。ライブペインティングの時と制作の時は随分と精神のモードが違うのだけど、そう簡単には切り替えることができない。

だから制作を初めて1週間ぐらいたって「あ、制作モードになってきたなぁ」という時にライブペインティングが入ってしまうと心のモードが途切れてしまう。
たとえ一日のライブペインティングでもまた制作モードに入れるのは数日後。
だからこうしてずっとライブペインティングがないのことはプレゼントのような時間なような気がする。でもこう書いているとライブペインティングが嫌いなように見えてしまうけれど、全く違くて心から超超超超超大好き。

普段からこんな感じにメリハリつけて「この月は制作」とか「この月はライブ」とか決めればいいんだけど、でも難しい!
だって僕は音楽が大好きで大好きなミュージシャンがたくさんていてライブペインティングも大好きだから。
ライブペインティングのいいところはその日の化学科反応で僕でも知らない何かが描けること。なんていうか横方向に無限というか。
個展の制作はまた違う面白さがある。自分の中を深く潜っていく感じ。こっちは縦方向の無限なのか。

いつも話ずれちゃうし、「康平くんの話は落ちがなくて、雰囲気勝負だよね」って時々友達に言われてちゃうのだけど今日もそうなっちゃった。。。 とにかく今は画集の絵を頑張っているという報告と。

それとまたライブペインティングできる日をもう本当に体の奥の方からウズウズしている。みんなに会いたいな

 

Gig poster for Peter Joseph Head and Kohei Kondo gig in 2014

May has my favourite festivals, Hoshioto and Green Room. I was also looking forward to doing  live painting at the Ukigensai festival in Taipei, Taiwan, but it’s been cancelled. It’s not all bad though, at least both of the Japanese festivals are still being planned to take place at a later date and have not been canceled, so the fun has just been delayed. I hope the Ukigen Festival will happen at some stage!

These two festivals were to be my current major activities as a painter, consisting of live painting with sale of works at a solo exhibition afterwards.  I’m also working on three other CD jacket and poster projects I’ve been asked for.

So the Live Painting has stopped happening and now I’m constantly at home drawing. I live with my sick elderly father, so I’m happy to have a lot of time to spend with him.  It makes me think, maybe this time is actually like a gift?

Also, I’ve been able to get stuck into tending the rice fields that I wasn’t able to spend much time on last year. Everyday after I’ve done my painting I go out and do the mowing. I’m having a ball. It’s so satisfying to see the tangible results of something like mowing the lawn. In a simple way, I just like the soil, the insects and all the small lifeforms you come across. I’ve been that way since I was a child.

How far have my sensibilities changed? Well, If I come across an earthworm, recklessly trying to cross the road, I find myself picking it up in my fingers to deliver it to the safety of the grass!
After mowing, I plow the soil, I plant the seedlings. . . I’m having a good time
What I’m working on most intently at the moment is a new art collection. I promised the work two years ago, but I’ve been putting it off forever. The publisher only launched themselves two years ago. I was in the children’s book industry, which is a tight knit world, and the publisher is one of the editors that I used to know during this time. I’ve known him since I worked at a picture book store called Crayon House, so maybe I’ve known him for about 15 years! Wow!
Yes, that’s how it was, the editor finished up with the publisher he was with, became independent, and started his own publishing company. I was so happy that he called on me right at the start of his business. You know, I really want to make this art book good.

Also, my father was an editor, so he loves books and paper and I’m happy that I can share my work with him.

For about 3 or 4 years I was spending all my time all-out hustling doing Live Painting, and would do about 150 gigs a year. But it got to the point that I was having so little time to spend with my father, and that it was just too much for me even physically. Well, I guess I had the physical strength, but it was becoming impossible to efficiently allocate time to production for my solo exhibitions. Live painting requires a whole different state of mind, and it is not that easy to just switch the different modes of working. 

I would get into the solo production mode, feeling like “I’m getting into the zone here” and then a week later a Live Painting gig would come along and it would feel like my whole mindstate had just been interrupted.

Even with a single day’s live painting, it still takes me a few days to change modes.

So it feels like having no live painting like this is actually a gift. When I write it like that it sounds like I don’t like Live Painting but actually I love love love love Live Painting.

Ideally, it’s good to organise things so that it’s “production this month” or “Live Painting this month”, but that’s easier said than done!

I love music, I love the musicians I work with, and I love Live Painting.
The thing about live painting is that you can come up with something that is like a direct chemical reaction to what is going on at the time. It’s kind of like you find some kind of infinite horizontal direction.
Solo production is interesting in it’s own way. It’s more like you’re diving deeply inside yourself. Perhaps solo is about the infinite vertical direction?

When I talk, I always seem to go off the rails. My friends tell me, “Kouhei, your stories don’t have a punchline, you’re always trying to bluff it by creating some kind of atmosphere”, and I fear today is no different. Anyway, for now, I guess I’m just reporting that I’m hard at work on a new art collection.

Also, I’m itching, from deep down inside my body, for the day when I can get back to the Live Painting. I tell you, I can’t wait to meet up with everyone.

Kondo Kohei drawing

Visit Kondo’s website here

Visit his web shop here.

Kohei Kondo Artist Profile 

Born in 1975 in Japan, Kohei Kondo is a painter based in Tokyo. He holds a Masters Degree from Tottori University, majoring in forestry. Later he taught himself painting. He is active in a variety of “painting” genres including live painting, clothing line branding, book sleeves, CD jackets and performing arts.

 【Exhibition history】 He has heldsolo exhibitions at large commercial facilities including Laforet Harajuku,  Shinjuku Isetan and Shibuya PARCO. He has held solo exhibitions in various locations across Japan, Taiwan and the United States . 

【Work history】He has provided designs for fashion brands, seasonal visuals at commercial facilities, CD jackets, and has appeared on television. 

【Live Painting Performance】 His performances use painting improvised in accordance with musicians’ performances. While responding & synchronizing with the music, he uses the palm of his hands to paint directly on to large canvases. Audience members often remark “I have never seen painting done live as a performance” or “it felt like I was watching a movie.” He is active in various music festivals, music venues, theaters etc.

【Personal Statement】 My pictures are influenced largely by two things. One, that I spent my childhood in nature. I majored in forestry at university and have studied Japanese environments. As a result, there were many opportunities to get in touch with nature. I became interested in these wonderful habitats which bring out feelings beyond words when touching the sea, the wind, the clouds and forests. Nature is my grand motif. I would like to express the feelings that I get in nature.

The second thing is a Japanese traditional aesthetic sense called “MITATE”. For example, ancient Japanese have seen a rock in the garden as an island floating in the waves. Likewise, they have imaged the plum blossoms in association with the snow. I’d like to make use of this kind of sensibility in my paintings. I’d like to bring “mitate” into one universe and narrative, in a pattern that floats across the canvas.

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。