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The Takarazuka Revue

Hyogo Culture Alison Muir Alison Muir

In the Takarazuka Revue, all the women are beautiful – and so are the men. The motto of the Takarazuka Revue is "kiyoku, tadashiku, utsukushiku" – a reminder to live with purity, integrity, and beauty. These are three qualities that the founder of this all-female musical theatre troupe, Ichizo K… Read More

XX-Kei: Herbivores & Carnivores…

Culture Ayla Yuile Ayla Yuile

When you look at a room full of young people, it's easy to group certain types of people into stereotypical archetypes. The jocks, the geeks, the glamorous, the hippies etc. There's a similar practice in the Japanese culture as well, where they express each archetype by actually using the word 'ty… Read More

Setsubun – A day of beans & evil spirits!

Culture Ayla Yuile Ayla Yuile

In the traditional Japanese calendar, there are four separate days that mark the beginning of each season. The first of the year, the first day of spring - known as ‘Risshun’ - falls around the 4th or 5th of February each year. This day marks the arrival of a new season and with it, a new year. … Read More

The Underworld of Japan: Host Clubs and Cabaret Clubs

Culture Ayla Yuile Ayla Yuile

Walking along the streets to the side of any CBD or central city area in Japan, you're more than likely to come across signage with glam photos of men and women. These are called 'host club'  and 'kyabakura' which is short for 'cabaret club'. The capital district of these clubs is Kabuki-cho in Shi… Read More

Toilets in Japan

Basics Alison Muir Alison Muir

Few things in Japan leave a bigger impression on the first-time visitor than Japanese toilets. In Australia, toilets tend not to be more complex than the distinction between a ‘toilet’, and a ‘dunny’ – admittedly an important distinction, when one is far more likely to contain spiders. But in Japan… Read More

Coming of Age in Japan

Culture Ayla Yuile Ayla Yuile

Every second Monday of the year is Coming of Age Day in Japan. This day celebrates young adults, who have just become of legal age at 20 years old. It’s a national public holiday and the streets are filled with formally dressed young men and women, celebrating their youth with peers from the local … Read More

Tattoos in Japanese Pop Culture

Culture Alison Muir Alison Muir

In recent years, Japan has seen the rise of fashion tattoos in the fringes of Japanese youth culture. Heavily influenced by American pop culture, Japanese pop stars like Ayumi Hamasaki and Namie Amuro have popularised tattoos as a form of fashion and self-expression among Japanese young people who … Read More

OSHOUGATSU – New Years in Japan

Culture Ayla Yuile Ayla Yuile

There are many interesting public holidays which come with traditional practices in the Japanese calendar, there's the Children's Day on May 5th, where families with boys fly a koi-shaped flags at their homes or there's Labor Thanksgiving Day on November 23rd. However there is no Boxing Day and if … Read More

The ‘Visual Types’

Culture Ayla Yuile Ayla Yuile

By now it is well-known around the world that Japan is the home to some interesting, sometimes borderline peculiar subcultures. The Japanese youth has a lot of commitment and passion for their subcultures - they live and breathe it. Without the maniacal commitment of these youths, some of these sub… Read More

The Freeter Phenomenon

Culture Alison Muir Alison Muir

One Japanese icon that is recognised worldwide is the stereotype of the ‘salaryman’. You’re probably aware of it, even if you’d never heard what it was called. ‘Salaryman’ describes the idea of a typical Japanese businessman (literally: a salaried man), a cut-and-paste clone in a cut-and-paste suit… Read More

The True Face of Geisha

Culture Alison Muir Alison Muir

The world of geisha is one steeped in mystery. The training of a geisha is a strict and demanding process, and the women who undergo this training are discouraged from revealing the secrets of this world to outsiders. Access to this world even by clients is restricted, and is generally only possibl… Read More

Be an Otaku for a day – Part 1: What’s an Otaku?

Culture Ayla Yuile Ayla Yuile

If you google the word ‘otaku’, google describes it as ‘(in Japan) a young person who is obsessed with computers or particular aspects of popular culture to the detriment of their social skills.’ For the most part otakus are a lot like the geeks of the western world, however, the level of obsession… Read More