A Pop To Be Reckoned With


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A feature article on the Japanese Pop Culture, under my pen name "Esther Lee"

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A Pop To Be Reckoned With

  1. 1. Leisure By Esther Lee Manga, anime, J-pop and even the word kawaii (a word that means cute in Japanese). What do all these have in common? That’s right. They are all part of catch on a regular basis on 50 something that has taken the Okto, a local childrens channel world by storm - the Japanese on television. From Digimon popular culture. Like all modern Data Squad to more matureFirst published in Vita Edition, Issue 7 (February 2009)secondary school students. Published by Asiapac Books (http://www.asiapacbooks.com)Vita Edition is an educational magazine for primary and cultures, the Japanese popular shows like Jigoku Shojo, anime culture has its roots in Japan’s is well known across the world literary and artistic past. It is a and has gathered numerous means of entertainment for both fans. Anime, mostly hand- the young and old, reflecting drawn or animated by current attitudes and beliefs computer, can be based on through various forms like books, manga (Japanese comics), light movies, music, etc. So what are some of these forms of Japanese popular culture? One Naruto and Macross good example would be the animes Japanese animation (otherwise known as anime) that you can
  2. 2. Leisure 51 Spirited Awaynovels (dialogue-driven novels international admirers too. Inthat usually target teens and fact, their jobs often branch intoyoung adults), or even games. areas like singing and acting. OneDepending on the medium the such seiyu, May’n, was invited toanime is derived from, the the Anime Festival Asia held atseries may span over 200 Suntec City from 22 to 23episodes like Naruto or simply November 2008. She performedlast for a couple of hours as a the singing voice of Sheryl Nomemovie like Spirited Away. from the anime Macross Frontier and Singapore was her very firstDue to the popularity of anime, live performance outside Japan.prominent animators like HayaoMiyazaki of critically acclaimed In addition to currently providinganime movies like Spirited Away about 60% of the worldsand Howl’s Moving Castle enjoy animated series, Japan also gavea loyal following in both the East us cosplay - a hobby where fansand West. And it’s not just honour their favourite anime,animators who attract fans. manga, games, etc throughVoice actors (otherwise known as dressing up as a particularseiyu) who lend their voices to character. They try to behave likeanime characters have their the character they are cosplaying
  3. 3. Leisure as far as possible and attend events like the STAC EOY held at Singapore Expo on 13 December 2008 where they allow photographers and like-minded people to snap pictures of them. Enthusiastic cosplayers even organise private photo shoots at locations like the Chinese and Japanese Gardens. Such a hobby does not come cheap however for one has to spend a lot of52 money and time on making sure the cosplay costumes and props are as accurate as possible. Little details such as the colour of the eyes or scars must all be taken into account when cosplaying. Of course, cosplaying is not just limited to simply putting on a costume. There are those who cosplay giant robots from anime series such as Gundam, using materials like cardboard to create an entire robot outfit that is worn part by part. Much effort goes into the making of these outfits and cosplayers often need an assistant to help them. Another type of cosplay that originates from Japan is the kigurumi cosplay where the cosplayer is completely encased in a body suit and face mask. To this date, this form of cosplay is still a small part of Japans cosplay community but Above: Lolita fashion in red and black we do have our very own
  4. 4. Leisurekigurumi cosplayer in Singapore! is the Lolita fashion that is prettyYou can visit his website at http:/ popular among young people/wyu.ulmb.com/. around the world. Girls wear clothing such as knee-lengthCompared to Japan’s vibrant dresses, blouses, headdressescosplaying scene, Singapore’s and platform shoes, etc to createcosplay community is still growing a childlike innocent image. Lolitabut it is evident that the hobby fashion can also be divided intois beginning to catch on among subtypes such as Gothic Lolita,Singapore youngsters. If you are Classic Lolita, Waloli, etc. Younginterested in seeing what cosplay males too can get into the actionis all about, you can visit events through male Lolita fashion whichlike Cosfest that is usually held is inspired by Victorian-style 53at Downtown East during July clothes worn by boys in the past.annually. To find out more about Popularised by Visual Keiwhen they are going to hold their (Japanese rock bands who mainlynext event, simply check out perform in intricate costumes)http://www.cosfest.com/. and often seen in mediums such as anime and manga, it isThe Japanese popular culture has therefore not surprising to seealso influenced fashion in moreways than one. One such example
  5. 5. Leisure the Lolita fashion taking root in though Japan is halfway across Singapore. Japan even has Lolita the world? With the help of the fashion selling in departmental Internet and other media, we will stores and several well known continue to see an evolution of brands that carry different types the Japanese popular culture as of Lolita styles. it encounters different cultures in other countries. Take the Qi There are some who consider the Lolita for instance. It combines term ‘Lolita’ to be overtly sexual cheongsam-style clothes with a due to a book with the same title petticoat to result in a unique by Vladimir Nabokov. However Lolita fashion. those who follow the Lolita54 fashion prefer to consider It is indeed a force to be themselves cute due to the reckoned with, isnt it? Japanese penchant for childlike appearances and behaviour. Hence as far as the Lolita fashion enthusiasts are concerned, they are more kawaii than sexy. In fact to enhance their youthful image, they often carry teddy bears or dolls around. For those who are keen on seeing what Lolita fashion is all about, you can go to Haru House at Far East Plaza #03-42/46 where the lady owner carries cosplay costumes and props in addition to her Lolita, punk and casual street wear. She also has a blog at http:/ /haru-house.blogspot.com where she updates visitors on the stores latest news. Isn’t it amazing how far the Japanese popular culture has reached into our lives even