Just one stop away from Tokyo's Shinjuku hub, in Shin-Okubo, the streets are lined with shops advertising Korean music and movies, bibimbap and the latest beauty secrets from the country next door. Young Japanese girls rolling bright suitcases behind them sift through pictures of Korean celebrities from groups like Big Bang and U-KISS.
No one in Shin-Okubo seems fazed that tensions between Japan and South Korea have increased after South Korean President Lee Myung-bak visited a pair of disputed islands, listed on global maps as the Liancourt Rocks, and called Dokdo in South Korea and Takeshima in Japan. But there are signs that tensions may now be spilling over from diplomacy to pop culture.
On Friday, Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi, Japan's vice foreign minister, said during a television appearance that it might be "difficult" for Korean actor Song Il-guk to come to Japan after he swam in a relay to the disputed islands last week on South Korea's Independence Day.
This Monday, members of the seminal metal band X Japan were in Odaiba rubbing shoulders with the likes of Brad Pitt, Lady Gaga and AKB48′s Yuko Oshima. The catch? They were all made out of wax. (Japan Times )
The parents of a nightclub worker killed in an arson fire three years ago filed a suit in the Nagoya District Court on Monday seeking damages against top members of the Yamaguchi-gumi organized crime group. (Tokyo Reporter )