Japanese Pop Culture

Current as of October 2003

Trends in Japan

The Japan Information Network presents this online magazine about contemporary Japanese culture. Of particular interest is the “Evolving Trends” section, which features articles about robotics, anime, cell phones, and fashion.

Modern Japan (The Japan Zone)

The Japan Zone offers information about contemporary entertainment in Japan.

Japanese Pop Culture Vocabulary

The National Clearinghouse for U.S.-Japan Studies developed this list of words commonly used in the United States and Japan to discuss facets of Japanese pop culture.

Famous People of Japan

(Lessons consist of five separate PDF files located in "Unit 1")
The Institute for Japanese Studies at Ohio State University presents this lesson plan designed to introduce notable Japanese individuals who have influenced politics, literature, film and television in Japan and the United States. The lesson plan is written for middle school students, but tips for adapting it to elementary and high school students are included.

Kid’s Web Japan -- Trends in Japan

Kid’s Web Japan features some of the latest fads in Japan for Japanese middle school students. Articles on fashion, music, toys and cartoons.

Anime Research.com

This site provides links to academic research about anime, manga and other aspects of Japanese popular culture, as well as book reviews, bibliographies and links to nonacademic articles and news reports.

Big in Japan

This article at Entrepreneur.com discusses how the latest trends start with Japanese youth and how what’s big in Japan could be the next big thing elsewhere.

Cosplay Lab

Cosplay or costume play is a growing phenomenon. Over 10,000 members have registered at Cosplay Lab, a well-organized, family-friendly site for the cosplay community. Non-members can look at several features, including pictures of costumes and links to organized cosplay events where anime and manga fans dress as their favorite characters.

DDR Freak Press Page

The website DDR Freak is produced by Konami Corporation, the makers of Dance Dance Revolution, an interactive video arcade game that has players dancing to a syncopated beat as arrows direct their steps on a grid beneath their feat. This press page links to news articles that illustrate the trend’s growth and popularity around the United States since the late 1990s. A side menu links to other features of the site.


Japan’s Gross National Cool


(accessing this article may require registration and/or a fee)
This article, from the magazine Foreign Policy, explores how, despite its recent economic recession, Japan has reinvented itself as a cultural superpower. Japan’s pop music, consumer electronics, fashion, animation, sports, cuisine and youth-market products such as Hello Kitty are spreading as Japan’s global cultural influence grows.

Book Review of Japan Pop!

This book review, which appears on the website of the online journal Habits of Waste provides some useful information and insights in to Japanese pop culture.

’Parasite Singles’ – A Uniquely Japanese Phenomenon?

Partly fueling the surge in pop culture consumption in Japan is the trend of what the Japanese call “parasite singles,” young working adults who live with their parents. The article looks at the reasons for this phenomenon, compares the situation in various other countries and discusses possible implications.

Hello Kitty, Pokemon, Doraemon Battle for Global Supremacy

Long considered cute, Japanese character products are now considered cool as Japanese companies try to corner the global market.

Hello Kitty Is the Cat’s Meow

Little girls and grown-up celebrities love Hello Kitty. The character was introduced in the United States from Japan in 1974 and is gaining is undergoing an upsurge in popularity. Products include fashion accessories, office supplies and kitchen appliances.

The Cultural Diversity of Anime

Columnist Gil Asakawa discusses attending a Cosplay convention. Asakawa, a writer who examines culture from the Japanese American perspective, describes some of the people he meets at the convention and discusses how interest in anime and cosplay has spurred interest in Japanese culture and cultural exchange.

Crouching Lizard: Step aside, Pikachu. The ‘King of Games’ Has Stolen Your Crown in Japan and is Poised to Conquer America

This article looks at one of the latest popular entertainment/consumer trends to come out of Japan: Yu-gi-oh!