Michael Kors Brand Expands Overseas Market in Japan

Popular fashion line Michael Kors expands it overseas market in Japan.  The designer opened his first store in in Omotesando, Tokyo back in August 2010.  Omotesando is known as one of the most popular fashion districts alongside Harajuku and Shibuya.  The Michael Kors brand has huge purchasing power and appeal among international luxury brands.

A quote by Timothy Schepis at Tokyo Fashion Daily comments that “Since the opening of the first Omotesando store in August 2010, Michael Kors has opened an additional 18 stores throughout Japan, and there is no plans to stop yet as Michael Kors has plans to open a total of 10 or more this fiscal year alone; with 2 already opened and 8 left to go.”

Other Asian countries that have strong markets include China, South Korea, and Taiwan.  Despite enormous competition and ongoing changes in today’s fashion industry, the Michael Kors brand has tremendous potential to maintain success in the Japanese market for many years to come.



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Hunger Games vs. Battle Royale – Which movie does everyone prefer and why should it matter?

Recently, I read an article titled “Hollywood ripping off Japanese anime.” Since anime is originally a Japanese artform, it is no surprise that America has this tendency to take an original idea and remake it. For example, there are two movies that came out called Battle Royale and Hunger Games. Both movies have similar plots of surviving in a harsh world, but I would not consider them remakes.

My definition of a remake is a movie that has the same title and uses different actors to play the same roles. For example, Spike Lee’s version of Oldboy is a remake of the South Korean movie directed by Park-chan Wook. Some remakes are better than the originals, but that’s besides the point. It is subjective and people need to analyze both movies before jumping to the conclusion that Hunger Games is a ripoff of Battle Royale. Battle Royale was made in Japan and Hunger Games was made in America.

Even though both movies focus on similar elements of daily survival, we need to focus on issues that affect young people on a daily basis such as the education, politics, socioeconomics, and upbringing of these characters. These circumstances play a crucial role in the way their minds are shaped as individuals and we need to take a closer look at this issue.  For more information, check out the links below and respond.


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Japanese Film “Homeland” tackles Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Issue

The film Homeland  is about a Japanese farming family forced out their home by the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster.  It is the first Japanese mass-market film set in Fukushima since the disaster.  Homeland opened nationwide on March 1st.  Even though the film reflects the reality of what went on during this horrific time, director Nao Kubota wants to get the public in thinking critically and seeking solutions that could solve the ongoing problem of nuclear radiation.  For more information about this film, check out the link below.


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Keiji Inafune Announces Azure Striker Gunvolt Game

Video game producer/illustrator Keiji Inafune and the Japanese game development company IntiCreates has announced a new 2D side-scrolling action game titled Azure Striker Gunvolt.  It will premiere on Nintendo 3DS eShop this summer.  Inafune takes on the role of executive producer/action supervisor.  In addition, he produced the Onimusha and Dead Rising game franchises in addition to creating the Rockman/Megaman game.  For more information, check out the link below and please leave your comments.



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Toshio Suzuki Steps Down as Producer at Ghibli Studios

Toshio Suzuki will step down as his role as producer and take on the role of general manager at Studio Ghibli.  Yoshiaki Nishimura will become his successor.  He accepted the Japan Academy Prize for Best Animated Feature Film this past Friday for Hayao Miyazaki’s film The Wind Rises.  Toshio Suzuki has co-founded Studio Ghibli with directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata during its creating in 1985.  For more information, check out the link below and please leave your comments.


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Director Gareth Edwards Discusses Godzilla Film Trailer

Director Gareth Edwards discusses the latest Godzilla trailer.  It will star Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, David Strathairn, Bryan Cranston, Richard T. Jones, Juliette Binoche, and Sally Hawkins.  Japanese film actor Akira Takarada starred in the orginal Godzilla film series and will also appear in the remake.  The film will be released on May 16th.  Check out the links below and leave your comments.





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Hayao Miyazaki’s Final Film The Wind Rises Opens Nationwide Today

Hayao Miyazaki’s last film “The Wind Rises” opened today around theaters in North America.  The film has already earned about $306,000 during its limited release.  It is based on a true story about a young boy that would grow up to build airplanes.

His name is Jiro Hirokoshi, an engineer that would go on to create the Mitsubishi A5M and Mitsubishi A6M Zero.  These particular fighter planes were popular during the World War II era, especially among kamikaze pilots.  Many American audiences did not know the film took place when were America and Japan were enemies during World War II.  As time progressed, they became allies.

Today, many Americans have embrace Japanese culture through various outlets such as manga and anime.  Hopefully, the American audience will appreciate this film and acknowledge the contributions that Hayao Miyazaki left on the anime world.  For more information, check out the link below and leave your comments.



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Actress Tao Tsuchiya Wins Role in Live-Action Film Rurouni Kenshin

Actress Tao Tsuchiya plays female ninja Misao Makimachi in the live-action film Rurouni Kenshin.   She starred in the historical action TV series Ryomaden directed by Keishi Otomo before appearing in the first live-action Rurouni Kenshin and its two sequels.  The two new films will include the Kyoto arc from Nobuhiro Watsuki’s original historical action manga.  Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Taika-hen(Rurouni Kenshin: The Great Kyoto Fire) will open on August 1st and Rurouni Densetsu no Saigo-hen(Rurouni Kenshin: The End of a Legend) on September 13th in Japan.  The first film opened in Japan back in 2012 and had a North American premiere in Los Angeles during December of that same year.  For more information about this interview, click on the link below and leave your comments .


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“The Wind Rises” Opens Past Weekend in Limited Release with $306,000 in the U.S.

Hayao Miyazaki’s final film “The Wind Rises” opened this past weekend in limited release around the U.S. with $306,000.  Disney released the film and Studio Ghibli International produced the English-language dubbed version starring actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Emily Blunt with producer Frank Marshall.  Currently, it is being shown in different cities around the country such as Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington D.C.  “The Wind Rises” will see a wide release this upcoming Friday.  The film won the Annie Award for Writing in an Animated Feature Production on February 1st.  It is currently nominated for an Oscar in the Best Animated Film category.  For more information, click on the link and leave your comments.


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GReeeeN’s New Song “Shinobi” Featured in Classic TV Cartoon Teenage Ninja Mutant Ninja Turtles

The popular classic TV cartoon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will start airing on TV Tokyo on April 4th.  Japanese pop rock/hiphop/breakbeat vocal group  GReeeeN’s new song “Shinobi” is going to be used as the opening theme for the Japanese-dubbed version.         This song contains the theme “ninja” specifically written for the series.  For more information, click on the link below and please leave your comments.


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Idolmaster: One for All Newest Trailer is Released

The latest trailer for The Idolmaster: One for All has been featured.  Similar to previous entries, game fanatics will get the opportunity to manage idols while competing in rhythm-based challenges.  Currently, the game will be released only for Playstation 3 on March 15th in Japan.  The series has only debuted on iOS and Android devices in North America and Europe.  For more information, click on the lick below and leave your comments.


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Fans Produce Their Live Action Version of Akira

A group of guys are working on creating a live action version of Akira.  Fans have showed their appreciation for the project by producing their own live action trailer.  For more information, check out the link below and leave your comments.


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YAIBA: Ninja Gaiden Z Star Yaiba Kamikaze Seeks Revenge

YAIBA: Ninja Gaiden Z has featured a new trailer featuring two-headed zombie babies.  The story is about Yaiba Kamikaze, a resurrected evil ninja that seeks revenge against Ninja Gaiden’s leading man Ryu Hayabusa responsible for killing him in the first place. This video game will be available on March 18th in North America and March 21st for Xbox360 and Playstation 3 in Europe.  Also a PC version will be released on this date as well.  For more information about its release, check out both links below and leave your comments:




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Remake of Classic Anime Film Ghost In the Shell Will Hit Big Screen in the Future

British director Rupert Sanders, known for the 2012 blockbuster hit Snow White and the Huntsman, is set to take on the remake of the 1995 anime film Ghost in the Shell.  The original anime film version was directed by Mamoru Oshii and manga version was created by Masamune Shirow.  Dreamworks Studios offered him the opportunity to direct this project.  The remake will be based on a screenplay written by William Wheeler with Avi Arad and produced by Ari Arad and Steven Paul.  In the past, Hollywood have been known to radically change the original storyline to make their movies more appealing to a mass audience even if it is inaccurate.  Hopefully, the filmmaker will work with producers to help them stay true to the “Puppet Master” storyline from the original version.  One example of a movie that tanked at the box office was the 2001 release of “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within” directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi.  We will see if fans are going to turn out for this one.  For further information,   click on the links below:



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Japanese Anime Influences Big-Budget Hollywood Films

Japanese anime has had a major impact on many mainstream Hollywood movies over the years.  Five movies that used elements in anime are Clash of the Titans, The Matrix, Avatar, Real Steel, and Transformers.

The first movie is the 2010 remake of the Clash of the Titans directed by Louis Leterrier.  It is a remake of the 1981 classic based on the famous Greek myth of Perseus.  The armor-like costume in the movie was inspired by anime Saint Seiya, which borrowed heavily from Greek legend in which the characters battle with each other wearing special armor called “Cloths.”  The French-born director thought it looked great andwanted topay homage but putting it in the movie.

A second movie greatly influenced by Japanese anime is The Matrix starring Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne.  It contains a great storyline and spectacular visual effects.  Japanese anime Akira and Ghost in the Shell had a great influence on the making of this movie.  Super-human by some of the movie’s characters are reminiscent of certain scenes in Akira and Ghost in the Shell.  One example can be shown in the cinematography of some chase scenes in The Matrix.  The Wachowski Brothers were very inspired by Ghost in the Shell and motivated to create a live-action movie.  Also, they even provided a video of the anime to the creative staff.  The impact of the anime gave them a clear visual concept of the world they wanted to create on film. A Japanese reference in The Matrix consist of falling green digital code containing mirror images of Japanese katakana letters.

Another movie is the 2009 hit movie Avatar directed by James Cameron.  It is an epic story about saving mankind from destruction.  Hayao Miyazaki has a huge influence on this movie in several ways.  The presence of a strong, attractivefemale lead character is a crucial element that Avatar shares with Miyazaki’s works.  It displays a similar theme of industry/technology vs. nature them consisting of unique vibrant colors.  Characters in Japanese anime that share similar struggles are San in Princess Mononoke and Nausicaa in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.  Both are young women that battle wars with sophisticated technology and fight to protect the environment around them.  Many visual details contain images of Miyazaki’s.  These examples include the floating islands of rock similar to the floating castle Laputa in Castle in the Sky or supernaturally powerful tree with healing tendrils, a concept appearing in Princess Mononoke.

The next movie is called Real Steel starring Hugh Jackman set in a world of robots engaging in boxing matches to substitute human boxers.  It contains images of Japanese anime famous for its robot/mecha genre.  Among some of the hugely popular anime such as Mobile Suit Gundam and Neon Genesis Evangelion.  The main character of the robot in this movie is named AtomAtom is the name that Astro Boy (iconic anime robot character) is known in Japan.  Movie viewers of Real Steel is reminiscent of the classic Tetsujin 28-go.  In the United States, it was released as Gigantor.  The design of some robots is similar in the anime version.  Also, the robot is controlled by a young boy just like in Real Steel.

Finally, Transformers has a large impact on Japanese anime.  Based on the 80s cartoon, the anime world has had a tremendous impact on the visual elements in this movie as well.  This popular toy line of robots was produced jointly by an American and Japanese company.  Over time, the entire franchise including the animated series, both companies has collaborated with South Korea in the process.  In one of the earlier animated versions, some designs of the original toys were most likely influenced by the Macross anime series.  

For more information about this topic, check out the links below:







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New Astro Boy Series will be Broadcasted in Nigeria for March Debut

An international production will broadcast a new Astro Boy series in Nigeria preparing to make its March debut.  Astro Boy was a manga series written and illustrated by Osamu Tezuka from 1952-1968.  The original series focuses on the adventures of a robot fighting crime and injustice.

The new thirty minute series will focus more on an innocent child that makes mistakes from time to time.  It will be called Robot Atom and it is a joint production between Tezuka Productions and a local Nigerian TV station.  Two episodes will air in March and at least eight episodes will be greenlit.  The joint venture began after the Nigerian TV station  approached Tezuka Productions to obtain the skills in producing animation locally.

Under the agreement that was reached with Tezuka Productions, three interns from Nigeria came to Japan last November to learn the art of drawing and anime production.  Tezuka Productions will also create joint-production plans to expand sales in other countries besides Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and oil producing nation with 170 million people.  Share your comments.  For more information about the new series, click on the links below:



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Classic Video Game Strider Gets New Makeover for 2014

Capcom and Double Helix is working on the upcoming of the updated version of the classic video game Strider.  They want to recreate this game in the modern era.

Capcom’s goal is to create a character that has many different elements such as an increase in speed and maneuvering.  The main character in the game is Strider Hiryu.  One of his signature traits is his red scarf.   The modern versionwill give game designers an opportunity to change colors and obtain new powers with “Cypher.”  They are the explosive, ultrabomb, and reflect “Cypher.”  Throughout the game, Strider creates an effective use of real time, dynamic lights on impact, and explosions heard throughout the game.  It provides an authentic feel throughout this character’s journey.

Gamers will see a variety of different landscapes while playing the game.  For example, Kazakh City is modeled after cities of former Communist bloc.  This is one of the constituent republics of the Soviet Union until it collapsed in 1991.    The original version of the game was released in 1989.  Modern day Strider will be a colorful, exciting, fast-paced game.  

Hopefully, the audience will embrace this new version and enjoy it as much as they do the original.  Strider will be available on February 19th on PC, XBox360, XBoxOne, Playstation 3, and Playstation 4.  For more information about this popular video game, please check out the links below.    





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Sailor Zombie: AKB48 Arcade Edition Release in April

A popular game titled Sailor Zombie: AKB48 Arcade Edition will be released in April across Japan from Namco Bandai.  It allows people to use the popular J-pop idol group AKB48 as target practice.  The group consists of Yuko Oshima, Mayu Watanabe, Kugi Kashiwagi, Rina Kawaei, Anna Iriyama, Mako Kojima, and Miki Nishino.

In the game, the members will portray zombies dressed in sailor suits and the main objective of the game is to shoot them.  During certain parts, it also consists of a few songs where they dance.  Whether people will come out and play this game is left to be seen.

However, what I can say is that companies will use this as a great marketing tool to help them generate more publicity about the group.  For more information about this game, click on the link below.


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Goro Miyazaki, Son of Legendary Anime Film Director, Plans to Start New Fall Series

Goro Miyazaki, son of legendary anime film director Hayao Miyazaki plans on starting a new television anime series in the fall.  The title of the series is “Sanzoku no Musume Ronia” based on the children’s bookRonia the the Robber’s Daughter”written by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren.

Previously he directed “Gedo Senki”(Tales from Earthsea) and “Kokuriko-zaka Kara”(From Up on Poppy Hill).  Originally, he worked as a construction consultant and environmental designer participating in designing parks, green spaces, and landscapes.

Animation film producer Toshio Suzuki is a long-time companion of his father Hayao Miyazaki that encouraged him to join Studio Ghibli, a popular Japanese anime film studio that started in the 1980s.  For more information, click on the links below and please leave your comments.



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Japanese Anime Market Explodes in India

NHK World’s news reports discussed the popularity and growth of Japanese anime in India.  It has become popular among the younger generation, especially children.  Shops are starting to pop up in certain parts of the country.  Anime continues to become a growing industry and set to be $194 million.  Japanese companies see this as an opportunity to create a school that offers anime and motivated students to take classes and study.  Exposure has helped bring it to a much broader level.  In the long run, this will help the industry flourish in India and attract more people abroad.

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IdolMaster Movie Releases Feature Promo for Theme Song

“IdolMaster: The Movie- To the Glittering Side” (Kayagayaki no Mukogawa e!) heads into its second week in Japanese theaters.  Director Atsushi Nishigori shows new feature promo of the 765Pro girls performing the theme song.  Please leave your comments and thoughts on this topic.  There is a link below from the source CrunchyRoll:


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The Wind Rises Becomes Top-Grossing Movie of 2013 in Japan

Two Japanese movies have surpassed Hollywood’s box office successes last year.  Hayao Miyazaki’s movie “The Wind Rises” was the top grossing movie of 2013 in Japan.  It grossed 12.02 billion yen.   The second grossing movie was “One Piece Film Z” grossing 6.87 billion yen.  For the rest of top box office movies in Hollywood, click on the link below:



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Kawaii International’s Impact on School Uniforms

A couple of days ago, I saw an episode on Kawaii International’s impact on school uniforms.  Junior and high school girls are required to wear school uniforms at a certain length.  Girls are popular for shortening their skirts.  Lolita, harajuku-style fashion, and school uniforms are an important part of Kawaii fashion culture in Japan.

About a century ago, sailor uniforms became popular at a time when Japan switched toWestern-style clothing.  The sailor-style uniform design was originated from the BritishNavy.  It consists of a shirt with a sailor collar, red scarf, and Navy-pleated skirt.  Nowadays, girls in Japan wear blazers with a ribbon or necktie, white dress shirt, and pleated skirt.  

Super short-skirts, loose-fitting cardigans, and big sweaters keep this look from being too formal.  Some girls wear black tights with mouton boots while Shibuya girls wear white loose socks.  It helps them express their individuality and makes them stand out more.  However, socks are free from uniform rules.  High-school and junior high school girls also carry designer bags to match their personality.

One popular store in Japan specializing in school uniform fashion is CONOMI.  Clothes in various styles and colors.  There are twenty-five colors of cardigans, over fifty patterns of skirts, over thirty-five socks sold to fashion-conscious girls.  A school can become more popular by having a Japanese designer create their clothes.  School uniforms are popular overseas in countries such as Australia and Sweden.

Comic Market, Japan’s largest otaku culture festival, provides everyone the opportunity to dress up as their favorite characters in anime, manga, and video games in addition to wearing school uniforms.  School uniforms have become a popular fashion item among idol groups, especially among the Japanese group Band Janai Mon.  Two years ago, Tokyo Fashion Week created a show that captured years of adolescence in a teenager’s life.  More and more designers in the Japanese fashion industry are inspired by school uniforms for both men and women designs.

Kawaii International also introduced Nabilla Benattia, a popular French model/TV personality.  She is the host of Allo Nabilla, a popular reality show in France.  During her time in Japan, she got a makeover by visiting Harajuku’s top malls to search for the best fashion forward clothes.  In addition, her hair was done by famous stylist Hiroshi Yamamoto popular with Japanese magazine models.  Japan utilizes a lot of colorful wigs to create style that is cute and couture.  Her makeover has ton of Tokyo elements that consisting of a jacket with pony pattern, scary Kawaii necklace, corset with jewels, and necklace collar.  In Japan, it gives all girls the freedom in creating their own Kawaii style. Japanese culture provides everyone the opportunity to express themselves without being judged harshly.  Here is more information on the episode below and leave your comments.

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Phenomenon of feature movie/anime “Wake Up, Girls!”

The NHK World pop culture/anime show Image-Nation discussed a popular anime series that recently came out titled Wake Up, Girls!  Originally, it was released as a movie and shortly became an anime series shortly afterwards.

“Wake Up, Girls!” was directed by Yukata Yamamoto.  It is a story about seven girls from Sendai, the largest city in the Tokohu region, that dreams of becoming pop idols.  One factor making the anime series unique is that it’s set in an actual Japanese city.  As a result, it provides the movie with greater authenticity and helps audiences connect with the story.

Some characters in the anime version share the hairstyles and facial moles.  In addition, personal names of the girls match their characters.  For example, Miyu Okamoto is narrated by Miyu Takagi and Minami Katatayama is narrated by Minami Tanaka.

The “Wake Up, Girls!” series has inspired a real-life girl group detined for stardom.  This gives fans a greater opportunity to attend their concerts and see them live in person just like their anime counterparts. Check out the link above and tell me what you think.

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Upcoming Movie Genome Hazard Starring Actor Nishima Hidetoshi Opens January 24th in Japan

Actor Nishima Hidetoshi will star in the upcoming movie Genome Hazard scheduled to open on January 24th. The movie is a Japanese/Korean collaboration that includes Kim Hyo-Jin, Yoko Maki, and Manabu Hamada.

It is about a scientist that finds his wife dead when returning home and receives asuspicious phone call.  He has vague memories of being somebody elseand tries to seekthe truth behind what is going on.  However, the situation becomes more complicated when strange men start following him that claim to be fromthe police.  

Below is a link of the car chase scene filmed from the source Tokyo Hive and additional information about this Korean/Japanese production.



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Japanese Premiere of Live-Action Movie Version Black Butler

Japan has just release the live-action movie version of Kuroshitsuji, also known as the Black Butler, based on the manga/anime series written and directed by Yana Toboso.  It stars Ayame Goriki as Genpou Shiori and Hiro Mizushima as Sebastian Michaelis.  The movie is set is 2020 Asia where Shiori Genpo runs a large corporation name d Funtom supported by the wealthy and burgeoisie.  It is a confectionary and toy manufacturer owned by Ciel Phantomhive, a thirteen-year old who is head of the noble family and known as the Queen’s watchdog.

Shiori is considered a descendant of the prestigious noble family in England.  Her main duty is to solve difficult cases ordered by the Queen.  One way of getting revenge is by making a deal with Sebastian, the demonic butler of the Phantomhive household that serves Ciel in carrying out whatever demands he says.  Even though Butler Sebastian protects Shiori and helps her get revenge, she ends up paying the ultimate price.  Butler Sebastian ends up consuming her soul.

In the manga series released back in 2006, the original setting took place in England during the 19th century.  The movie is directed by Kentaro Otani and Keiichi Sato.  It has an all-star Japanese cast that includes Mizuki Yamamoto, Taro Shigaki, Yuka, and Tomomi Maruyama.  There is additional information and photo stills from the movie in the link below.


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Celebrities of Japanese Descent

We live in a multicultural society.  In today’s world, it should be no surprise that a majority of people that exist have mixed heritage, especially celebrities.  However, many people judge only judge them by their looks.  As a result, I want to educate people on mixed race Japanese heritage.  Click on the link at the end of the sentence to gain a greater understanding on this topic. http://hapavoice.com/famous-hapas/

Hopefully, you’ll find this helpful.  If anyone else is interested in discussing this topic in further detail, I’ll be more than happy to.

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Japanese Street Fashion

The Japanese are known for their unique and eccentric style of street fashion.  Japanese fashion has been heavily influenced by America.  Some of the most popular fashion subcultures include Gothic Lolita, Sweet Lolita, Visual Kei, and Decora .  In Japan, some of the most well-known fashion districts include Tokyo, Shibuya, and Shinjuku.

Gothic Lolita is characterized by primarily black frilled clothing that emerged during the 1990s.  This style is inspired by theatrical outfits worn by members of visual kei rock bands .  One of the most influential groups was Malice Mizer.  Their leader Mana established ‘Moi-meme-Moitie’ fashion label in 1999, one of the well-known Gothic Lolita brands.

Another popular street style in Japan is Sweet Lolita.  Sweet Lolita uses pastels and lots of lace/bows.  Its origins in old-fashion, little-girl image marketed in the 1980s by companies such as Pink House and Shirley Temple.  Dolls , cuddly toys, and references to Victorian children’s literature most notably Alice in Wonderland.  Some prominent brands include Baby, Angelic Pretty, and The Stars Shine Bright, which opened its first shop back in 1988.

The third style is Visual Kei.  Visual Kei was orginially created in the mid-1980s by Japanese musicians that were famous for wearing eccentric costumes, unusual hair styles, and makeup.  Influential artists for making this style well-known include X Japan and Malice Mizer.  Visual Kei was inspired by 1970s glam rock from the United Kingdom.

The last style that I will discuss is Decora.  This style is bright and decorative.  Girls wear many plastic accessories and barrettes, neon skirts, colorful socks, and cute character character products.

For more information about different style of Japanese fashion, check out the links below.




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Japanese Culture in American Movies

In the movie industry, Hollywood has made movies that have contain strong references to Japanese culture.  Through the years, some have been successful and other have not.

Some examples include the James Bond classic You Only Live Twice starring Sean Connery(1967), the World War 2 classic Tora!Tora!Tora!(1970), Karate Kid Part II with Ralph Macchio(1986), Empire of the Sun with Christian Bale(1987), Black Rain  with Michael Douglas(1989), Rising Sun with Sean Connery(1993), Windtalkers with Nicholas Cage(2002), The Last Samurai with Tom Cruise (2003), and the most recent box-office flop 47 Ronin(2013) starring Keanu Reeves.

As a movie buff, it has promoted a greater curiosity for my love of Japanese culture.  What movies have had a significant impact on your perspective of Japan?  Explain certain scenes in movies that stuck out the most.

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Another Great and Exciting Year for Hyper Japan 2014 London

There is going to be another great event taking place at Hyper Japan 2014 in London.  It is one of the biggest events that occurs in the UK every summer providing people with a great opportunity to experience Japanese culture and its history.  This year, it will be held from July 25th — July 27th.

As usual, it will attract people deeply passionate about Japanese culture.  Hyper Japan 2014 will host cultural events, fashion shows, cosplays, manga, anime, live musical performances, and all things Japanese.  Last year, one aspect of the show that stood out for me is observing performances from geishas.  Geishas are an essential part of the culture that the audience needs to know.  It is one element that shapes the way Japan is viewed by the world today.  Educating the public not only about pop culture but also its history will help the public gain a greater understanding of the culture as a whole.

For example, last year’s introduced a variety of different cuisines open to the public.  In the UK, people sampled foods included sushi and sake, a popular Japanese alcoholic drink.  Japan hosted different flavors of sake to the public.  Also, it motivated people to launch their own manga series in the UK.  Manga is a huge part of Japanese culture and it continues to do a great job of promoting this artform to other parts of the world. 

For all die-hard fans of Japanese culture, what do you look forward to seeing and think will be better this year?  The video that I uploaded above is from last year and anyone interested in Japanese culture can check it out for themselves and tell me what you think.                               


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Exploration of Mixed Race and Identity in Japan

Japan has released the documentary Hafu.  The term hafu refers to an individual that has mixed race Japanese identity.  Globalization plays a key role in the world we live in today.  As we should all know, a majority of people around the world are mixed with another race such as Japanese-Brazilian or Chinese-Jamaican.

The goal of this documentary is to provide them with a greater understanding of how a person’s identity can have a tremendous impact on their life.  A lot of times, people fail to realize the difficulties that individuals with mixed identities face on a daily basis.  Belonging to two nationalities can bring confusion among certain individuals because they might not have learned how to cope with it.

Hopefully, this documentary will educate everyone about the ongoing struggles that people of mixed-race identity have to deal with in today’s society.  For more information about this topic, I will provide two links that everyone can check outhttp://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/01/09/hafu-the-film-explores-mixed-race-japanese-identity/



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Japanese Attractions

Japan is one country that attracts many people from around the world.  What is so unique about Japan is that it does a magnificent job of combining the old with the new.  Despite being such an advanced country in terms of technology, fashion, and architecture, it preserves its tradition that makes Japan the country it is.  Everyone has a different perception about Japan.  Therefore, it does not necessarily mean it is good or bad.  As a society, we need to embrace another culture despite their differences.  What aspect of Japan fascinates you the most and why?(food, fashion, people, history, etc.)

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Japanese boxer dies in hospital

Twenty-one Japanese boxer Teeshin Okada dies in a Tokyo hospital after being knocked out during his professional debut seventeen days later.  He was the 38th boxer to dies from injuries since the Japan Boxing Commission was founded in 1952.  Unfortunately, this is a tragic incident for the sporting world.

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Plans Underway for Rebuilding of Stadium for 2020 Olympics

The Japanese government is going to rebuild the National Stadium in Tokyo as the main venue for the 2020 Olympic Games.  The current stadium was built for the 1964 Games.  Plans for reconstruction will begin in a few months and they scheduled to have the new stadium completed by March 2019.  See link for more information on the article:   http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20140105_22.html

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Japanese Band Winter Olympics Theme Song

Japanese band Kobukuro is set to release theme song “Ima, Sakihokoru Hanatachi yo” for the NHK broadcast “Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.” The Winter Olympics will be held in Russia next month.  See the link for more information: http://www.tokyohive.com/article/2014/01/kobukuro-to-release-nhk-sochi-olympics theme-song

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Japan’s Hot Spots

What are some of the best places to visit in Japan?  As an expat, what attracts you to these places and would you recommend it someone else?  If anyone likes this post, please let me know and leave your feedback.

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New Year’s Goals and Aspirations 2014

For everyone living in Japan and those that love Japanese culture around the world, what are some of your goals and aspirations for the New Year?  Share your thoughts with me and the rest of the world.

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Celebrating New Year’s Day in Japan

How does Japanese culture celebrate New Year’s Day?  Is it any different from the US?  If so,  what some of these differences?

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47 Ronin Released on Christmas Day


Keanu Reeve’s movie “47 Ronin” got released on Christmas Day in the US.  For anyone who knows about the movie, it turned out to be a box office flop in Japan.  How do you think people will respond to it?  Will they give it a chance or pass?  Leave your feedback.

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Popular TV Anime Sazae-san Still Goes Strong

Sazae-san is a popular TV anime that celebrates forty-five years of entertaining audiences of all ages about three generations of a family living together under one roof.  It was listed as the longest running show according to the Guinness World Records.  That is an amazing accomplishment.  What qualities do this show have that other shows don’t?  Leave me your feedback.  You can check out the link below:


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Surge in Japanese Tourism Surpasses 10 Million

Japanese tourism saw a surge of international visitors to the region surpassing 10 million. This is primarily due to the decline of the yen and a strategy utilized by the Japanese government to improve economic growth.  They aim to double the number of international visitors by 2020 for the Olympic Games held in Tokyo and triple this amount by 2030.  What are your predictions for the future and how do you see Japan meeting this goal?

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Japanese animated film “The Wind Rises” nominated for Golden Globe Awards

Hayao Miyazaki’s animated film “The Wind Rises” is nominated for best foreign film at the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards in Hollywood.  It is based on the true life story of Jiro Horikoshi, a Japanese engineer best known for designing Japanese fighter planes during the Second World War.   Will he take home the award?  Only time will tell.

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It is a documentary about a club located in the Nakazaki-cho district of Osaka that was forced to shut its doors in April 2012. Local police believed it violated a 65 year-old law allowing people to dance on its premises without permission. However, the law was created when dance clubs were used as a place of prostitution. In my opinion, People should free to express themselves as long it does not harm others. For people on the dance scene, please leave your thoughts and let me know what you think.

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Maaya Sakamoto

Popular Japanese artist Maaya Sakamoto promoted the top-selling album “Singer-Songwriter,”  her 8th original album released in Japan back on March 27th.  All of the songs were written and produced by herself.

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“Fast and Furious” star Paul Walker dies

I just heard the news yesterday that actor Paul Walker from “The Fast and Furious” died in a car accident.  Even though I am not a huge fan of the series, I think it was a tragedy that he died so young.  All I can say is rest in peace.  Any Japanese fans of the series please feel free to leave your comments and I’ll see you next time.

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Video Game “Rain”

I was watching the show Imagine-Nation on NHK World and they were discussing the popular video game Rain for PS3.  It is about an invisible boy that get lost in a strange place.  As children, we can remember a time when we were lost.  When I reviewed this game, I strongly think the graphics and music captured the mood perfectly.  One aspect of the game appealing to gamers focuses on character design and uses motion capture technology effectively.  For fans that have played this game, what are your thoughts?

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Hayao Miyazaki “The Wind Rises”

Hayao Miyazaki will release the film titled “The Wind Rises” in the U.S. on February 21, 2014. THe film was release this past July in Japan. It is based on the true story of Dr. Jiro Horikoshi. He was an engineer best known for creating many Japanese fighter planes during World War II. One of his best designs included the Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter.

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“47 Ronin”

Hollywood star Keanu Reeves is starring in an upcoming movie based on a true story of a real life group of samurai that take revenge on the murder of their master during 18th century Japan. The cast consists of primarily Japanese actors such as Rinko Kikuchi, Tadanobu Asano, and Hiroyuki Sanada. It will be released in the U.S. on Christmas Day. Here is a link to the trailer: http://youtu.be/j8cKdDkkIYY

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1)  What are your favorite episodes to watch?

2)  How has the show changed your perception of Japanese culture?

                               Here is a video link that I attached below on one of the episodes:


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Japan Expo 2013

The JAPAN EXPO 2013 is among one of the biggest events held in Paris, France.  It gave fans the opportunity to come out and dress up as their favorite anime/manga characters.  Another great thing is that they are given a platform to showcase their talents by singing popular anime songs.  Anime songs are popularfor being energetic, fun, and cheerful.

A Japanese TV show called Image-Nation on NHK WORLD hosted a karaoke competition over three days.  For each round, the best performers competed against each other and the winner was chosen the last day.  The winner would receive a karaoke machine.  During the competition, it would show the lyrics and accuracy of their pitch when they sang on the television screen behind them.

Therefore, whoever scored the most points is entered into a karaoke song competition sponsored by the French TV channel Nolife.  They air a lot of Japanese anime.  Two events held at JAPAN EXPO 2013 was the Tokyo Fashion Express and NEXUS Kawaii International talk show featuring Japanese fashion designer Sebastian Masuda that discusses fashion shows in Japan and current news in the industry.

Popular acts that performed at the expo include Nightmare and Natsuko Aso, an admired singer among French audiences.  A huge benefit among fans of anime and manga fans is that it helps the fans learn Japanese more effectively.  France is one of the many countries that has bookstores that offers a tremendous amount of anime CDs for fans to explore.  Since they have a deep passion for Japanese pop culture, this makes it easier for them to speak with confidence.

In 2011, French restaurant cosplay featured staff wearing costumes with table tops displaying elements of manga.  Japanese music played in the background while guests enjoyed each other’s company and drank sake, a popular Japanese drink.  Setting the mood helped immersed them into Japanese culture without leaving home.

Despite having few karaoke places in France for Japanese anime, fans are willing to seek them out and live out their passion with others.  JAPAN EXPO 2013 has provided them with a great outlet for fans to get seen and heard.  In my opinion, it will only get bigger and better in the upcoming years.

I attached a link to a Youtube video below discussing the events occurring during the past three days in Paris, France :

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Breaking Down Barriers with Style and Grace

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Actress/singer Diahann Carroll passed away recently from cancer at 84 years old.  However, her legacy in the theater, film and television industry speaks volumes and should not be forgotten.  She has earned multiple award nominations throughout her illustrious career and broken down many racial barriers that has prevented other black actresses from getting the quality roles that they deserved.  Diahann Carroll set a great example for other black actresses to follow in her footsteps and the thing that sets her apart from everybody else is that she carried herself with style and grace. 

Even though Hollywood is still a place that loves to limit the type of roles that black actors and actresses can play, Diahann Carroll has made it a little easier for black actresses to take on roles that were denied to them a long time ago.  Many black actresses such as Halle Berry, Angela Bassett, Gabrielle Union, Regina King, and many others should acknowledge this woman for making it possible to be where they are today.  Somebody had to make that sacrifice.  

Diahann Carroll is a pioneer in every true sense of the word.  She starred in many legendary films that include Carmen Jones, Porgy and Bess, Claudine, and The Five Heartbeats In 1962, she made history by becoming the first black actress to win a Tony award for Best Actress in a Musical playing an American fashion model living in Paris in the Broadway production No Strings However, the role that forever changed the racial landscape on television was her role as a widowed nurse on the NBC sitcom Julia She was the first black actress to star in a non-stereotypical role on her own prime time network series.  Also, it was a groundbreaking show that promoted black people in a positive way that they needed to see at that time.  During the 1960s, black people were fighting to gain respect in this country and this show reflected a shift in the changing attitudes during that era.  As a result, Julia won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Television Series and was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1969.  Several years later, Diahann Carroll got nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as a single mother raising six children in the film Claudine starring legendary actor James Earl Jones.  In the 1980s, she also made television history by becoming the first black character featured on the popular primetime show Dynasty as Dominique Deveraux and its spinoff The Colby’s for three seasons on ABC.

Diahann Carroll is a legend that paved the way for many black actresses working in Hollywood today.  Throughout her career, being a black actress in Hollywood was and never will be easy, but I respect her even more for creating a way for future generations to have a chance to showcase their remarkable talents to the world.  Diahann Carroll is going to be deeply missed but her legacy will live on forever.

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Save The Amazon Before It’s Too Late

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One news story that has caught my attention is the Amazon Rainforest burning in Brazil.  This is not only going to greatly affect the indigenous people in this region, but also the entire planet as a whole.  Some celebrities that spoke against this issue are actor Leonardo DiCaprio and singer Madonna.  The deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest would pose a major disaster for future generations because we rely on the trees to provide us the oxygen we need to live.  Without it, life on Earth would be extinct.  Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro needs to step up and take accountability for what is going on.  I think the Brazilian people need to put pressure on their politicians to make sure they are doing their job of preserving the Amazon Rainforest.  People that decide to do damage should be severely punished because they are putting everyone else’s life in danger around the globe.  We need to start treating our planet with the respect it deserves or else we are not going to be around much longer to see it.  If this does not get people off their butts and do something, I don’t know what will.  Saving our planet takes a collective effort and everyone needs to take charge in making sure that we preserve it for future generations.

Watch this video below for more detail about the Amazon Rainforest Fires:

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Overcoming The Stigma of Mental Illness

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Popular Youtuber Etika (AKA Desmond Amofah) committed suicide by drowning in the East River about two months ago.  This brings me to the issue of mental illness.  Mental illness is an issue that should be discussed more often, but many people are afraid to talk about it.  The major reason mental illness remains prevalent in this country is because people do not raise awareness about its consequences.  Mental illness does not discriminate.

Celebrities are not immune to mental illness either.  Just because they are rich and famous does not make their lives better than the average person.  Some celebrities that have dealt with mental illness include Mariah Carey, Kid Cudi, Ariana Grande, Mariah Carey, and Demi Lovato.  In fact, it makes them more vulnerable to mental illness when dealing with the media and society placing unrealistic expectations for them to live up to a certain standard.  Therefore, it gives people a false sense of identity and puts unnecessary pressure on them to become something they are not.  This is where the problem lies.

Click on the link below to view other celebrities that have struggled with mental illness over the years:


For example, let’s take comedian Robin Williams.  He was one of the most talented and successful celebrities in Hollywood.  He could have anything that his heart desires.  However, he struggled to find peace of mind and felt that he could not overcome his problems.  As a result, he committed suicide.  Suicide should never be the final answer.  Everyone falls on hard times and we should seek help because there is always someone that is going through a similar or worse situation.  People need to be honest with themselves and not be afraid to ask for help when they need it.  A lot of times, people are quick to judge someone if they have a problem, but will never make an effort to fix theirs.  There is no shame in asking for help.

The first step in solving mental illness is to admit you have a problem.  Once you do that, then you can go about taking the necessary steps to seek treatment.  Mental illness remains a major ongoing issue that needs to be addressed.  We can save more lives and create open dialogue that allows people to express their problems so they can find effective solutions in overcoming them.

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Why Does Race Still Matter in 2019?

Image result for halle bailey little mermaid
Hailey Bailey’s casting as Ariel in the live-action version of The Little Mermaid has
sparked controversy over the past two weeks.  She deserves an opportunity to play
this role.  The major issue that continues to get me upset is that too many people focus on
an actor’s skin color instead of their talent.  Therefore, many black actors and actresses
still get overlooked way too often instead of somebody giving them an opportunity to let
their talent shine.
It is hypocritical for racist people to argue about actress Halle Bailey playing Ariel in The
Little Mermaid but nobody says anything when British actor Joseph Fiennes played
Michael Jackson?  Are you kidding me?  Even though The Little Mermaid was originally a
fictional white female character, I think that Halle Bailey will bring something new and
exciting to the role.
Click on the link below to read more about this talented actress:


However, at the same time, it is critical that we create our own characters for the younger generation to look up to.  We have more than enough black millionaires in this country to create our own entertainment industry.  As black people, we need to take the initiative to tell our own stories.  Images are very powerful and we have to start learning to love ourselves.  If we don’t make it happen for ourselves, no one else will. What are we waiting for?

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Kim Kardashian Does It Again

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About two weeks ago, Kim Kardashian received criticism for naming her new shapewear line “Kimono.”  It even caught the attention from the mayor of Kyoto demanding that she change the name.  This is a great example of cultural appropriation because she took something that was not hers and tried to distort its value for financial gain.  Therefore, the kimono is seen as a vital part of Japanese culture.

To read more information about this story, click on the link below:


Japanese women have been wearing this traditional garment for centuries.  It is still worn on special occasions such as weddings, funerals, tea ceremonies, and graduations.  The kimono holds a very special place in the hearts of many Japanese people, especially among the older generation.  In my opinion, the Japanese people have every reason to get upset because they strongly believe in preserving their culture.

This is what a kimono looks like:

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Culture plays an essential role in identifying a group’s beliefs and values.  Many Japanese people came to realize that she was disrespecting their culture and voiced their opinions about it.  Kim Kardashian’s shapewear line would give people the wrong idea of what a kimono is and what it truly represents.  I think that people should be exposed and educate themselves about other cultures to gain a better perspective of the world they live in.  Unfortunately, she had to learn the hard way.  This is one lesson that everyone should learn from.

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K-Pop Academy Celebrates Fourth Year in Abu Dhabi

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See the source imageThe K-Pop Academy will provide a six week course for anyone interested in learning dance moves performed by their favorite K-pop stars.  It is returning for its fourth year and hosted by the Korean Cultural Center in Abu Dhabi.  This course provides individuals with the opportunity to get real exposure of what it is like to dance alongside their favorite K-pop group. 

Also, participants learn and gain knowledge from some of the most skilled and experienced dance instructors in the K-pop industry.  Dance instructor Roh will be coming to Abu Dhabi for training the current participants.  She has experience dancing on the same stage with major acts such as Blackpink and Ikon.  It allows fans a glimpse into the world of K-pop and what it takes to make it in the industry.  I think these classes are a great way for young people to express themselves creatively and freely through their passion for dance.  Young people should pursue something that they are passionate about and there is no better way of learning dance choreography than from someone that is an expert in their field.

 With each passing year, more individuals will continue taking advantage of this amazing opportunity in Abu Dhabi and use it as a stepping stone to become future K-pop dancers and choreographers.  Only time will tell.

For more information about this story, click on the link below:

K-Pop Academy Is Back In Abu Dhabi


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Music Has No Cultural Boundaries

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Young Japanese people are flocking to South Korea with high hopes of accomplishing their goals to become a K-pop star.  K-pop has become a global phenomenon that inspires younger generations to emulate their idols.  I think this is a great opportunity for young Japanese people because it allows them to pursue something that they love.  Despite the tense relationship between Japan and South Korea, music is a great way for bringing people from both cultures together.

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Historically, Japan occupied Korea from 1910 until the end of World War II.  While both countries have a turbulent history, it is up to the younger generation to make things better.  No one can change the past, but both countries can learn from their mistakes and work towards creating a brighter future.  Music is one language that everyone can understand no matter where you are from.  Not only does music bring people from different cultures together, but it can also help them resolve conflict.  It provides young Japanese people to showcase their unique talents with the Korean people and express themselves freely in a constructive manner.

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In the long run, I think that the collaboration between aspiring K-pop idols will continue
inspiring young people to pursue their dreams and create a legacy for future generations to follow.
For more information about this topic, check out the YouTube video below:


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