The Wolverine sharpens claws to take on Japanese culture
guardian.co.uk -- Jul 06
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.
Two death-row inmates were hanged Thursday in the fourth round of executions since the launch last December of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government, Justice Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki said. (Japan Times )
South Korea has condemned Japan for publishing a video in 10 languages challenging its sovereignty over a tiny group of islets at the heart of a territorial dispute, demanding Tokyo remove it. (channelnewsasia.com )
Japan's Supreme Court has upheld the petition of a female-to-male transgender man to be recorded on the official family registry as the father of a boy born to his wife after the use of semen from a donor, it was learned on Wednesday. (Jiji Press )
Japan is likely to achieve its goal of drawing 10 million foreign travellers in 2013 as government data showed Wednesday that the number of foreign visitors to Japan totalled about 9.5 million between January and November. (Bangkok Post )
The number of shoplifting cases accounted for nearly 10 pct of all criminal offenses recognized by Japanese police, with the rate increasing, a National Police Agency survey showed Wednesday. (Jiji Press )
A 43-year-old woman and other six boys and girls aged 14 to 18 years have been arrested by police in the western Japanese prefecture of Hyogo in connection with the abuse of a 15-year-old junior high school student, local press reported on Tuesday. (Global Times )