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Modern and Traditional Japanese Culture: The Psychology of Buddhism, Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Manga, Anime and Shinto. 在日イギリス人男性による日本文化論.

Monday, December 16, 2013


Japanese High School Girls and the Real Visual

Japanese High School Girls and the Real Visual by timtak
Japanese High School Girls and the Real Visual, a photo by timtak on Flickr.
Max Weber would have us believe that the upper echelons of society create the fads and fashions which the hoi polio blindly follow. Unless Japanese high school girls are the upper echelons of Japanese society (that remains a distinct possibility) Weber's theory, and other "trickle down theories" do not apply to Japan. It is commonly said that Japanese fads and fashions start with Japanese high school girls. This common sense is believed to the extent that research institutes regularly survey Japanese high school girls' opinions to keep their finger on the pulse of the latest Japanese booms and crazes.

Risa Risa research institute has just published a list of the top 8 most popular things among Japanese high school girls. Get your pens ready! The top eight are as follows

1 Line (Skype for Smart Phones?)
2 Funasshi- (a cuddly character representing Funahashi City)
3 Twitter
4 Pretending to be "Attack Giant" in trick photography (above bottom)
5. TwitCasting (Twitter for Android?)
6. Makankou Sappou (Hadouken-ing, or Vadering) pretending to use the power of the force to move people in group versions of fast exposure "Yowayowa Kamera" style flying photography (above top).
7. Daisy Patterned Fabric
8. "Director Wrapped" jumpers (wrapping ones sweater or jumper around ones neck, with its arms used as a scarf).

All the above are important in informing investment decisions, and new product ideas. I would like to draw attention to the inclusion of two forms of trick photography (illustrated in the above photo), that emulate scale and motion through trick photography. Why should this be popular in Japan? I think that images have always been very popular in Japan, so much so that the Japanese identify them. Westerners tend to think of the real, scientific world being a linguistic construction, or mapping one to one with language, and images as merely the cover or "wrapping." In Japan however, words are the fluff, and reality is the in the image. If it looks real, then to most intents and purposes it is. Hence the popularity of Japanese idols, foreign villages, robots, look-good-but-tasteless-cakes, sweet curry-looking-custard, smiles, characters, manga, anime and as above, trick photography. The real is visual, the visual is real in Japan.

Images copyright their respective owners from the google image search for マカンコウサッポウ and 進撃の巨人ごっこ.

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This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.