Yuri is a branch of manga that deals with girl romance. The genre was originally targeted toward girls, but there is a male-targeted branch as well.
Yuri (which literally translates to “lily”) encompasses everything from hardcore sex to school girl crushes where hand-holding is as far as it goes. The genre traces its roots to the early 1900s with the works of Yoshiya Nobuko. Nobuko wrote the first Japanese lesbian literature just as interest in same-sex attraction began being studied in Japan. At the same time, the first all-girls school was founded. One event brought same-sex female relationships to Japanese attention: in 1911 two Niigata Prefecture school girls killed themselves because their love for each other was forbidden. It was the first recorded case of lesbian love suicide in Japan. Five years later, Nobuko wrote her best selling girls fiction, Flower Tales, that focused on girl romance.
The first manga to feature ...
There are many little aspects in manga and anime that we Westerners miss because we have a different education system than the Japanese. One aspect we miss is just how strong Confucian values are present in some manga and anime.
Naruto and Confucius spend a lot of time sitting under the same roof eating cup-o-ramen.
First, I need give you a bit of a refresher. Confucius was a Chinese philosopher that lived 551-479 BCE. His ideas, contained in his Analects, profoundly shaped how both the Chinese and Japanese govern themselves and view their world. His ideas are divided into 2 sections: social and political. His social values centered upon compassion and loving others. This meant avoiding speech and actions that can mislead people and live by the Confucian Golden Rule:
“What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others.”
Politically, Confucius thought rulers should be rooted in the Golden Rule and ...
Artist’s impression of a heikegani. Remarkably, it’s pretty close to the reality.
The year was 1185, the place a tiny bay called Dan-no-ura. Two great fleets faced one another; on once side, the Heike clan, imperial rulers of Japan, and on the other the Minamoto, upstarts fighting to control the throne. At stake was control of all Japan. After a half-day of fighting, the Heike were routed, and their 6-year old emperor drowned to keep him out of Minamoto hands. Minamoto Yoritomo went on to become the first Shogun, or military ruler, of Japan.
A strange story arose in the wake of the battle. Locals told a legend about crabs in the area with strange patterns on their shells, said to resemble samurai masks. Legend held that the crabs were the reincarnations of samurai slain at the Battle of Dan-no-ura.
See what I mean? Credit: Nasir Sadeghi.
The crabs do bear an ...
Posted in Folklore and Urban Legends
Tagged Carl Sagan, evolution, folklore, ghost story, ghosts, Heikegani, japanese culture, paranormal, Samurai Crab, supernatural, urban legends
Yaoi, also known as Boy’s Love or 801, is an offshoot of shojo manga. Shojo is categorized by the primary audience: women and girls. Yaoi is focused on male homosexual relationships; however, it isn’t targeted toward a homosexual audience. That type of manga is called bara.
Yaoi is different from more traditional shojo storylines since it is focused on boys seeking love with each other as opposed to a girl seeking that of a boy. Yaoi stories deal with sexuality and violent emotions such as strong loneliness. Yaoi first appeared in the 1970s and sharply contrasted from the typical shojo focus on emotions and personal development. Yaoi is an acronym, by the way. It stands for: yama nashi, ochi nashi, imi nashi (no climax, no point, and no meaning). The acronym sounds sexual but actually refers to the story structures used in the sub-genre. It was said to be first used ...
Kamaitachi, by Toriyama Sekien.
Night has fallen. You’ve had a hard day at work, and you’re walking home, cutting across a grassy field to save time. All of a sudden, a huge gust of wind knocks you to the ground. When you stand, you happen to look down and notice that your pants have been sliced open at the calf, and a closer look shows an inch long slit in your skin. There is no blood, and no pain. Yet, anyway. The pain will set in later, and you’ll suffer for days as the wound will take a long time to heal.
So what in the world just happened? Well my friend, you have just run afoul of the kamaitachi, or the sickle weasel. The critters are yokai that hang around the Koshin’etsu region for the most part. They are said to resemble weasels, with sharp, sickle like claws. Accounts of ...
Posted in Folklore and Urban Legends
Tagged Anime, folklore, ghost story, ghosts, Horror, japanese culture, kamaitachi, sickle weasel, supernatural, urban legends, yokai
Izanagi and Izanami in the act of creating Japan.
Delving into the world of folklore as much as I have, I’ve come across a lot of very strange beliefs. While weird beliefs aren’t limited to Japan, not by a long shot, the Japanese certainly don’t disappoint when it comes to bizarre critters. I’ve often found myself wondering why and how so much weirdness came to be concentrated on a relatively small chain of islands on the rim of the Pacific. Now, I am far from a scholar when it comes to Japanese studies, but it isn’t much of a stretch to say that Japanese religious traditions probably have something to do with it.
Nowadays, Japan is a mostly secular country. The bulk of Japanese tell poll-takers that they don’t consider themselves part of any religion. Certainly, many people observe various Shinto and Buddhist festivals, but the vast majority seem to do ...