My Schoolgirl Fantasy

Vice serves up an unusual slice of Japanese life.

From Akira and the animation of Studio Ghibli to the films of Kurosawa, Mizoguchi, Ozu, Kitano and many more, not to mention a rich literary tradition from Genji Monogatari to the surrealism of Haruki Murakami, I’ve been something of a “Japanophile” for many years. The culture and history of Japan is truly unique and fascinating – not least, the impact of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the collective psyche.


4 responses to “My Schoolgirl Fantasy

  1. In the past few years I’ve become a “Japonophile” (or would it be a Nihonophile?) myself. I’ve found that the storytelling, even the formula following stories, are just plain more entertaining than the Majority of Drivel America Produces. The language, the History and Culture is fascinating, then you get into the Art, which is mind blowing. I first watched Akira the first time I tried LSD, the Giant Teddy Bears were outrageous. Kurosawa’s films, The Toho Company who produced the Godzilla Movies and more (cannot pass up a Godzilla Movie ) Fascinated me that the owner who was an actor in Samurai films, would often stay after filming, writing, or cleaning toilets and sets. I thought that summed up Indie spirit. Then I found the Japanese Avant Gard, they’re embracing of Dada/Surrealism, and even the Cosplay Lolita Goth stuff is cool. I’ve seen a lot of recent movies, and the LoliGoth stuff get Monty Python Absurd with it’s fountains of blood and absurd comedy. Musically I’ve become a huge fan of ALI Project, beautiful, versatile and any group with a mixture of classical and pop, that does albums called “Dali” and ” Psychedelic Insanity” is fine by me. But MerzBow, Melt Banana and some of the younger groups which I’ve had the pleasure of conversing with via Reverbnation, and Soundcloud, a Noise Rock band along the vein of Sonic Youth called “JAP” they’re wonderful, and a Prog-Metal-Psyche band name Sayyan(?) they are great as well.. sorry to ramble, but There’s some great stuff coming out of Japan, and the underground we can finally experience. My Dad was there after he was Airlifted During the Tet Offensive in “68 ( His Lung Collapsed from Pneumonia) and fell in love with Japan, The people and the Country. Here in Oregon, we have a great relationship and several of our Sister Cities are Japanese. The Town I live in has a branch of Tokyo University, and a Yamasa Foods factory. We have a lot of exchange. The call mount Hood in Portland “American Fuji because of the similarity of appearance and Climate. as always a great post, and thanks!

    • orwellwasright

      My fascination with Japan started as a teenager, then at uni I studied both history and literature of Japan and, far more significantly, in my spare time Japanese movies, particularly those of Ozu, Mizoguchi, Kurosawa etc. I even managed to write two of my final year dissertations on post-war Japanese cinema and Japanese literature. As a country, their policy of isolationism combined with the nuclear bombings makes them truly unique, and it’s clearly reflected in the culture. It’s one of the main places on this planet I want to visit before I die.

      • I too hope to Visit one day. I’d like to kind of follow in my Dad’s steps, and see some of what he has seen. He Want’s to go back to Viet Nam, like he said it is a beautiful country and he would like to see the recovery as a guest instead of a combatant, He’d like to go back to Malaysia, and then onto Japan. I happened to catch some Japanese cinema from 1929-30 or thereabouts, I wish I could remember the name of the film, but it was a “Talkie” It was very interesting to see Tokyo at that time. It reminded me of an almost Japanese ” Grape Of wrath”, dealing with the effects of the Depression.

      • orwellwasright

        Some of Yasujiro Ozu’s earlier work sounds like it could fit that description – wonderful film making. A couple of friends of mine went backpacking around Japan for a couple of months and described it as the best time of their lives – I can imagine that being the case!

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