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.
The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant said Wednesday it has finished filtering a total of 620,000 tons of extremely toxic water being stored in tanks on the premises of the complex to lower its radiation level. (Kyodo)
On May 21, police in Japan's Miyagi Prefecture arrested a woman on swindling charges after the cashier at a local store erroneously handed her an extra 45,000 yen (US$370) in change. (rocketnews24.com)
In a crackdown on a business believed to be supporting organized crime, Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Tuesday announced the bust of an illegal pornographic DVD business in Shinjuku Ward, reports TV Asahi (May 26). (Tokyo Reporter)
The Fukushima District Court on Monday sentenced a 33-year-old man to 18 months in prison, suspended for three years, for distributing naked photos of a female friend-a practice known as revenge porn. (Japan Today)
Tochigi Prefectural Police on Sunday confirmed that a body discovered on a property in Mooka City is that of a 21-year-old woman who went missing last month, reports the Sankei Shimbun. (Tokyo Reporter)
About half of the nation's 47 prefectural and 20 ordinance-designated city governments have prohibited or are considering a ban on drone flights in locations that attract large numbers of people, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned. (The Japan News)
When you hear the expression "JK business," do you have any idea what kind of work this refers to? JK stands for joshi kōsei (high school girls). In Japan, JK is a very powerful brand - and high school girls are a highly valued commodity. (Japan Times)