I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Encyclopedia of Japanese Pop Culture

When this book first came out in the late 90s, I didn't just walk....I sprinted to the nearest big bookstore with an English-language section in Tokyo. It may have been Kinokuniya...can't be sure. Since I was and am a student of the often bizarre nature of Japanese popular culture, Mark Schilling's book was a must-buy for me.

courtesy of The Moog Image Dump at Flickr
It has entries on the Japanese obsession with blood types (since they allegedly determine personality and later success in matchmaking), consumer culture and TV personalities, including Beat Takeshi and the comedy group The Drifters. But where this blog is concerned, it has primers on singers and singing groups such as SMAP, singing legend Hibari Misora and Queen Aidoru Seiko Matsuda. It was published in 1997 so some entries are inevitably dated but for anyone who wants to know the history of some of the long-running veterans and why kayo kyoku had become what it was up to the 90s, it's still a great book to get. It's published by Weatherhill.

Mark Schilling is a columnist for "The Japan Times" who has contributed articles on movies and other aspects of Japanese pop culture. He has a collection of his stuff at his site called Tokyo Ramen.

I was so enamored by the book that I actually sent him a complimentary letter...just like a bloody schoolgirl. Strangely enough, he responded very graciously. Now, if I only knew where I had placed that letter....

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to provide any comments (pro or con). Just be civil about it.