Category Archives: Essays

The Shinjuku West Gate Underground Plaza Protest Movement, 1969 and Today: Japan’s Invisible Civil Society and Phatic Silence in Urban Space

Shinjuku Station in Tokyo is commonly described as the busiest train station in the world, used by millions of passengers daily.(1) A key component of the station is the West Gate (or West Exit) area, which comprises a long street … Continue reading

Posted in Essays | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Lovable communism: Japanese Communist Party creates anime idol character election songs and music videos

The Japanese Communist Party has launched its campaign for the upcoming House of Councillors election this month with the customary tactics of speeches in public places and canvassing, but has also created surely the most original videos by any of … Continue reading

Posted in Essays, News | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

“The Name of the New Era is Taiyo Komon Spapan”: Thirty Years of Music, Politics, and White Underpants

An Interview with Masanosuke Hanasaki of Taiyo Komon Spapan Interview and Text by Anastasia Traynin Photos Copyright Hiromichi Ugaya (except top image) This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Heisei era and also its unprecedented end, with Emperor Akihito … Continue reading

Posted in Essays | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Politics and dōjinshi: Zengakuren booth at Comiket sells revolution to otaku

On 31 December, 2018, while much of Japanese society was getting ready to crowd around the TV to watch Kōhaku Uta Gassen that evening on NHK or helping out in the kitchen, the scene was quite different in Odaiba, where … Continue reading

Posted in Essays, News | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anti-government monk group JKS47 protests nuclear power with monthly prayer rituals in Kasumigaseki

It should be obvious to all that Premium Friday, that ill-named and ill-begotten government gimmick to encourage workers to leave their jobs early on the final Friday of the month, has utterly failed when even the (no doubt overworked and … Continue reading

Posted in Essays | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment