A.1. sauce gives bun its color
Burger King is bringing it to the U.S. just in time for Halloween. “Something wicked is coming,” announced the burger chain on Twitter, with a brief promo video featuring thunder and lightning and a lunar eclipse, with a burger standing in for the moon…
And the Red Samurai Burger…
Poster for ‘Rashomon’ (羅生門) Directed by Akira Kurosawa, Starring Toshiro Mifune (三船 敏郎) and Machiko Kyo (京 マチ子) 1950Posted: September 27, 2015
Apple fans in Japan finally got a chance to get their hands on the iPhone 6s Friday…
Japan was among the 12 countries and territories where the iPhone 6s went on sale Friday. The new models were available by reservation only in China, Hong Kong, Japan and U.S. stores in tax-free states.
Despite the rainy weather in Tokyo, fans turned out to try the new 6s, including some wearing iPhone-shaped hats….(read more)
Source: Japan Real Time – WSJ
After Japan’s defeat in World War II, its new constitution banned it from going to war or deploying military forces except for self-defense. Now Japan’s parliament is expected to pass legislation as early as Thursday night to allow troops to support allies fighting in a war, even if the conflict is beyond Japan’s borders. Here are five ways Japan’s Self-Defense Forces would change….(read more)
Rolling Sushi Art: Osaka’s Dōtonbori Canal Turned into a Gigantic Conveyor Belt Carrying Plates of Sushi the Size of Compact CarsPosted: September 11, 2015
The world’s first conveyor belt sushi restaurant opened in Osaka, Japan in 1958. Now Osaka’s Dōtonbori canal has been turned into a gigantic conveyor belt carrying plates of sushi the size of compact cars. This enormous floating piscine parade is an art project called Rolling Sushi.
These photos and the video are from a recent test run to make sure all the sushi successfully floats. The colossal conveyor belt will be on display in Osaka for the first couple weeks of October.
The Yamaguchi-gumi was founded in Kobe in 1915 by Harukichi Yamaguchi as an association of dockworkers. The man credited with building the Yamaguchi-gumi into Japan’s largest yakuza syndicate was Kazuo Taoka, the charismatic third don dubbed ‘the bear’ for clawing his opponent’s eyes during brawls.
Alexander Martin reports: The Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s largest and most powerful yakuza crime syndicate, is undergoing a major split on its 100th anniversary after years of police crackdowns and financial strains.
“Such exploits furnished material for countless yakuza movies over the years, some of which implicitly celebrated the gangsters as upholders of traditional Japanese values of loyalty and sacrifice.”
Japanese police, fearing the outbreak of a bloody gang war, have been on alert since news broke in late August that groups within the Yamaguchi-gumi were parting ways with its sixth-generation don. The result is two groups– the Yamaguchi-gumi and a rival syndicate, both of which are based in central Japan.
“Even today, the existence of yakuza groups isn’t technically illegal. They have offices as well as fan magazines dedicated to their underworld endeavors.”
Experts say the split reflects the harsh environment facing the yakuza, Japan’s homegrown mafia, following a slew of anti-gang laws that have choked off their revenue.
“Clampdowns against the yakuza have been enforced at all points, making it increasingly difficult for them to rack up profits.”
— Yoshiaki Shinozaki, an attorney with decades of experience fighting organized crime
Once tacitly accepted as a necessary evil to handle society’s dirty work, the yakuza are now taboo for large corporations, and gang members are having more trouble extorting money through protection rackets or serving as muscle men in real-estate schemes.
The Yamaguchi-gumi was founded in Kobe in 1915 by Harukichi Yamaguchi as an association of dockworkers. The man credited with building the Yamaguchi-gumi into Japan’s largest yakuza syndicate was Kazuo Taoka, the charismatic third don dubbed “the bear” for clawing his opponent’s eyes during brawls.
“Once tacitly accepted as a necessary evil to handle society’s dirty work, the yakuza are now taboo for large corporations, and gang members are having more trouble extorting money through protection rackets or serving as muscle men in real-estate schemes.”
During Mr. Taoka’s reign from 1946 to his death in 1981, the Yamaguchi-gumi expanded its membership, developed ties with show business and spread its tentacles into political and financial circles.
“Public attitudes toward the yakuza hardened over the years. Racketeers known as sokaiya were especially feared by corporate Japan for extorting money by threatening to publicly humiliate and expose corporate secrets at annual shareholders meetings.”
Such exploits furnished material for countless yakuza movies over the years, some of which implicitly celebrated the gangsters as upholders of traditional Japanese values of loyalty and sacrifice. Even today, the existence of yakuza groups isn’t technically illegal. They have offices as well as fan magazines dedicated to their underworld endeavors.
“We will undermine them by moving ahead with strategic and focused crackdowns on both their human resources and funding sources.”
— Ichiro Kume, police chief of the prefecture that includes Kobe
But public attitudes toward the yakuza hardened over the years. Racketeers known as sokaiya were especially feared by corporate Japan for extorting money by threatening to publicly humiliate and expose corporate secrets at annual shareholders meetings. In 1997, the former chairman of Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank (now part of Mizuho Financial Group) committed suicide after the bank was found to have lent tens of millions of dollars to a sokaiya leader.
The government’s top spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, confirmed signs of recent disorder in the Yamaguchi-gumi and described them as an opportunity to weaken the groups. Read the rest of this entry »
Netflix just dipped its toes into Asia with a launch in Japan this month, and now the U.S. video streaming service has revealed plans for a major expansion that will see it hit four more countries…(read more)
Japanese electronics maker Hitachi said it has developed a new artificial intelligence program that will enable robots to deliver instructions to employees, improving work efficiency.
The Japanese electronics maker said it has developed a new artificial intelligence program that will enable robots to deliver instructions to employees based on analyses of big data and the workers’ routines.
“The AI automatically analyzes the outcome of these new approaches, and selects processes which produce better results and applies it to the next work order.”
“Work efficiency improved by 8% in warehouses with the new artificial intelligence program, compared to those without them,” a Hitachi spokeswoman said. “The program can examine an extremely large amount of data to provide the most efficient instruction, which is impossible for human managers to handle.”
Ben Kuroki, the only Japanese American to fly over Japan during WW II, has died. He was 98.
‘The Greedy Lady with the Box of Demons’, from the series 100 Ghost Stories of China and Japan, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi 月岡芳年Posted: September 5, 2015
On September 2, 1945, the Japanese representatives signed the official Instrument of Surrender, prepared by the War Department and approved by President Truman. It set out in eight short paragraphs the complete capitulation of Japan. The opening words, “We, acting by command of and in behalf of the Emperor of Japan,” signified the importance attached to the Emperor’s role by the Americans who drafted the document. The short second paragraph went straight to the heart of the matter: “We hereby proclaim the unconditional surrender to the Allied Powers of the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters and of all Japanese armed forces and all armed forces under Japanese control wherever situated.”
That morning, on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay, the Japanese envoys Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and Gen. Yoshijiro Umezu signed their names on the Instrument of Surrender.
“We hereby proclaim the unconditional surrender to the Allied Powers of the Japanese Imperial General Headquarters and of all Japanese armed forces and all armed forces under Japanese control wherever situated.”
The time was recorded as 4 minutes past 9 o’clock. Afterward, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Commander in the Southwest Pacific and Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, also signed. He accepted the Japanese surrender “for the United States, Republic of China, United Kingdom, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and in the interests of the other United Nations at war with Japan.”
On September 6, Col. Bernard Thielen brought the surrender document and a second imperial rescript back to Washington, DC. The following day, Thielen presented the documents to President Truman in a formal White House ceremony. Read the rest of this entry »
Source: vintage everyday
“The six astronauts won’t be sneaking a sip. It’s all for science.”
A Japanese company known for its whiskey and other alcoholic beverages included five types of distilled spirits in a space station cargo ship. The station’s big robotic arm — operated by Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui — grabbed onto the supply craft launched Wednesday by his homeland. Flight controllers helped anchor it down.
The supply ship contains nearly 10,000 pounds of cargo, including the six liquor samples. Suntory Global Innovation Center in Tokyo wants to see if alcoholic beverages mellow the same in space as they do on Earth.
[Also see – うん！Suntory Plans Space-Aged Whiskey]
The samples will be used for experiments and will spend at least a year in orbit before being returned to Earth. An identical set of samples will be stored on the ground in Japan. Read the rest of this entry »
If there’s one thing we know for certain, it’s that there will always be more awesomely weird and wonderful things to learn about Japan. Today we learned about the annual Pikachu invasion/festival that takes place in Yokohama. For one week in August countless giant Pikachu swarm that Minato Mirai district.
They parade through the streets in perfectly synchronized formation, always smiling and never blinking, a cute yet frightening spectacle as only Japan could create:
If there weren’t so many images of this kawaii spectacle all over the Internets, we’d think we were dreaming. Head over to RocketNews24 for even more photos and videos of packs of people in Pikachu costumes plotting world domination parading and dancing around Yokohama this year and last year.
NEW YORK — cassyfiano writes: With a countdown of “five, four, three, two, one, smooch,” couples from across the world puckered up in Times Square on Friday to mark the 70th anniversary of the famous kiss celebrating the end of World War II.
“Ellie and I are deeply honored and privileged to represent the greatest generation here today.”
— Ray Williams, 91, of Blairsville, Georgia
A 25-foot sculpture depicting Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photograph of a sailor kissing a white-uniformed nurse towered over the commemoration of V-J Day, when Japan’s surrender to Allied forces was announced.
“It’s very beautiful to commemorate such an incredible event. Especially for us. We come from a country which was occupied by the Germans … and we’re still faced with all the horrifying stories of the war.”
— Roel van Dalen, visitors from Amsterdam
Ray and Ellie Williams, Navy veterans who married the day after V-J Day, kicked off the anniversary of the kiss Aug. 14, 1945. Read the rest of this entry »
On the 70th anniversary of the Japanese surrender in World War II, separating the legend from the history
Myth 1: Emperor Hirohito was a Golden God
After the overthrow of the Japanese Shogunate in 1868, the four southern tribes, the Satsuma, Choshu, Saba and Tosa, sought to embed the legitimacy of their new regime by the re-promotion of an eighth century myth that the Japanese Emperor was a God. The myths were set out in two official chronicles, the Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters: AD 712) and the Nihon Shoki (Chronicles of Japan: AD 720).
The powers of the Emperor did not survive as power shifted to the Shogun system and until 1868 the Imperial Japanese family continued to
exist largely in obscurity and often in relative poverty. As often happens with revolutionary regimes, a new national identity was required to justify and embed the country’s new military rulers.
An infant Emperor Meiji was adopted as the new order’s figurehead and self-justification. Japan’s new regime re-emphasized the role of the Emperor as a living God, making it the heart of an ideological indoctrination taught in the new state school education system. The Japanese Army took this further by the simultaneous incorporation of Bushido (the military scholar code) into its military programs. Thus the overthrow of the Shogun was portrayed less as a revolution and was characterized instead as the Meiji Restoration, a title that gave moral justification to a successful armed insurrection.
Myth 2: Hirohito was simply a constitutional monarch forced into war by his generals
In March 1946, some nine months after the Pacific War had been brought to an end, Emperor Hirohito made a testament about his role in the war. In a bizarre scene, Hirohito had a single bed set up on which he lay in pure white pajamas on the finest soft cotton pillows. In eight hours of statements, the Showa Tenno no Dokuhaku Roku (Emperor’s Soliloquy: his post-war testament) Hirohito absolved himself for all responsibility for the war by claiming that he was a constitutional monarch entirely in the hands of the military: ‘I was a virtual prisoner and was powerless.’
This was a lie. Although by convention Hirohito behaved as a constitutional monarch, the Meiji Constitution granted him absolute power – he was after all enshrined as a God. On three separate occasions during his rule he had demonstrated his absolute powers; in 1929 he forced the resignation of his prime minister; in 1936 he overruled his military advisors to insist on the harshest treatment of the young officers
involved in the coup d’etat known as the 26 February Incident in 1945; and finally in August 1945 he overruled his advisors by insisting on a Japanese surrender.
Hirohito had the power to stop Japan’s military adventurism in the 1930s but chose not to. As his former aide-de-camp Vice-Admiral Noboru Hirata conjectured, “What [his majesty] did at the end of the war, we might have had him do at the start.” Read the rest of this entry »