Hollywood has a somewhat chequered history when it comes to depictions of Japan and Japanese culture. From the thoroughly reprehensible Bond excursion You Only Live Twice, to the twin monstrosities that were 1989's Black Rain and 1993's Rising Sun (Sean Connery really should have known better by this point), film-makers have rarely strayed far beyond cliche and stereotype when depicting life on the archipelago.
James Mangold's comic-book adaptation The Wolverine, for which a new expository featurette hit the web earlier this week, may face serious criticism should it slip into stereotyping. In the Marvel universe, Japan really is a country populated almost entirely by ninjas, samurai, Yakuza and geisha girls. The Wolverine is based on a 1982 limited series run by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, and sees X-Men character Logan battling crime boss Shingen Yashida (Hiroyuki Sanada) and the Silver Samurai (Will Yun Lee), a fearsome warrior with an electrified suit of armour.
Unlike its predecessor, 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the story is set after the events of 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand, with Wolverine alone and vulnerable following the superhero ensemble's disintegration. Earlier trailers have shown him losing his self-healing power as part of what appears to be a devious conspiracy.
The new featurette helpfully explains how the adamantium-clawed superhero ends up in Japan in the first place. Riffing on Logan's advanced age and apparent inability to ever get any older, it is revealed that the mutant saved the life of Yashida during the second world war. Lost and alone after the breakup of the X-Men in Brett Ratner's execrable The Last Stand, Wolverine takes up an invitation to travel to Japan. There he is offered a change to achieve mortality, though it appears the "gift" comes with a price: vulnerability. That's not to say Wolverine is totally incapable of defending himself: winning fights tends to be a lot easier when your bones are reinforced with the hardest (fictional) substance known to man and you have retractable blades protruding from your knuckles.
A woman in her 20s who was bitten by a mosquito in Ueno Park in Tokyo's Taito Ward earlier this month has been confirmed infected with dengue fever, the Tokyo metropolitan government said Friday. (The Japan News)
Japanese director Takashi Miike, whose violent and often controversial films boast a huge cult following, will be awarded the 2014 Maverick Director Award at the Rome film festival, organisers said Saturday. (AFP)
Two vending machines were torched and the money taken from them in Tokyo's Katsushika Ward on Saturday morning, bringing to 19 the number of vending machines which have been destroyed by fire in the area since Sept 15. (Japan Today)
Police in Tokyo said Friday they are looking for a man who sprayed a 17-year-old girl with a liquid resembling paint thinner as she walked home on Wednesday night-the third such incident to occur in the area since last month. (Japan Today)
A 61-year-old truck driver has been arrested after he hit a group of elementary school children in Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, killing one 9-year-old girl and injuring two other children, aged 8 and 9. (Japan Today)
Following the bust of a shopping site selling shoes containing a miniature camera used to take illicit photographs, Kyoto Prefectural Police are now seeking the return of the merchandise from customers, it was revealed on Tuesday, reports the Mainichi Shimbun (Sept. 17). (Tokyo Reporter)