With all treats under ¥200, there’s no excuse not to indulge your sweet tooth. Plus, some of them are covered in real freeze-dried strawberries, meaning there are a few vitamins hidden among all of those calories.
After the major success of Babymetal, who fused Japanese idol culture with head-banging metal and opened for the likes of Metallica, Slayer and Lady Gaga, another J-pop unit is setting their sights on overseas fame and getting a helping hand from rock giants.
The teen idol group Momoiro Clover Z just released a new song, “Yume no Ukiyo ni Saite Mina,” with the help of legendary rockers . . . Kiss.
What? The Satanic pantomimes? The subterranean lizards of Detroit Rock City? Yes, that Kiss.
On Jan. 19, the two released a music video that is high on Japanese tack and low on coherence, more or less taking every possible traditional Japan cliche, putting them in a blender and turning it up to 11. Kiss — who are old enough to be their fathers — provides backup vocals and instrumentation while Momoclo do their thing with “Power Rangers”-esque transformations and sumo dance moves. The ukiyo-e-inspired video features the bands facing off with their signature brands of kowaii (scary) and kawaii (cute). After several back and forths, the leaders of each band eventually shake hands, so the world (and concertgoers) are safe for now.
While this combo might seem a bit random (a fated industry party hook-up perhaps?), the collaboration is actually cross-promotional effort as Kiss is scheduled to tour Japan with — surprise, surprise — Momoclo opening their Tokyo show. In addition, the same day that Momoclo released its newest video on YouTube, they also released an enthralling English introduction video, which includes choice quotes such as such as: “On stage, their ‘Power’ and ‘Performance’ unite the audience regardless of their age or gender.”
Kiss also plan to release their own version of “Yume no Ukiyo ni Saite Mina,” so this video is just the beginning of their budding marketing synergy. Will the aging Kiss Army happily lap up the sugarcoated sounds of J-pop? Or does this PR campaign signal more left-field J-pop collabs to come? Kyary Pamyu Pamyu vs Journey? AKB48 vs Blink 182?
Stranger things have happened — including this video.
At the end of 2014, YouTube took a look back at some of the fun, freaky and unforgettable videos that went viral over the past year. Titled “YouTube Rewind,” the official retrospective (which has 50 million views) gave special recognition to dozens of online personalities, including Kid President and Jenna Marbles, who YouTube decided were the top of class in 2014.
Japan was well represented with 14 YouTubers joining the global ranks. Their talent ranges from makeup tutorials and video game walkthroughs to clever pranks and English lessons. Without much further ado, here are the top YouTubers from featured in Rewind 2014:
Human beatboxer Hikakin has drummed up more 300,000,000 views on YouTube. He usually makes beatbox covers of hit songs including Disney’s “Let It Go” and even collaborates with pop stars like Ariana Grande.
Takahashi is an otaku master of apps and snacks. He uploads videos of him and his friends trying out the newest, weirdest and scariest games available on PC and mobile. He also reviews “konbini” food and drinks to help gamers stay energized during gaming sessions.
The only thing Kosuke cares about is “Pazu Dora” (“Puzzles & Dragons”), the enormously popular mobile game in Japan. He and his fellow co-workers at AppBank give viewers the best tips and tricks for mastering the puzzle/RPG game.
Going by the name Max Murai, he is the president of AppBank, a news site about — you guessed it — mobile apps. He talks about a variety of mobile games, including “Monster Striker,” and often collaborates with Kosuke and Takahashi.
PDS is often shirtless but never serious. He does a wide variety of silly videos and skits ranging from singing to pulling pranks on friends. He will also show subscribers some of the super weird and super cute toys available in Japan.
Sasaki gives practical makeup tips and reviews new cosmetics but also takes it a step further by painting her face for some extreme makeovers. Some of her most-viewed videos include zombie, doll and “Frozen” transformations.
World Order takes its dance moves and its quirky humor around the world in their videos. Whether they’re dancing in Japan or abroad, the singing salarymen are never afraid to strut their stuff right on the streets.
While every YouTuber is different, there seems to be a secret recipe for becoming big in Japan:
Stumped about what kind of Christmas gift to give the Japanophile in your life? Here’s a grab bag of possibilities, prepared by Japan Pulse’s elves. And you can follow us on Twitter for more #pulsepresents, tweeted daily.
Trainspotters will love you forever if you can track down a package of these cool limited edition KitKats, sold in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of the Tokaido Shinkansen. The packaging, depicted a number of classics, can be folded into a mini train. The flavor is, inexplicably, frozen mikan.
In this hot potato-style game, which requires the actual potato snack, players take turns opening up the container to remove a crunchy potato stick. The loser has to draw a penalty card which, in this video, includes a tissue nose probe. Ew.
For your stressed-out friend, we suggest “The Art of Setting Stones” an overview of traditional Japanese gardens, which describes how the gardens are both “a microcosm of the natural universe and a clear expression of our humanity.”
Cardcaptors of the Clow, expect the unexpected blemish now! A new cosmetic kit featuring Sakura’s magical tools doubles as cute trinkets from the anime and manga series, as well as lip balm and foundation.
Designer Kazumi Takigawa has created a new type of canvas bag that has a similar look of the typical brown paper bag but with the functionality and durability of a tote. Each bag is handmade in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Astro Boy is using his seven powers not to fight evil to but to direct traffic in Kangawa as a new traffic light was erected in the prefecture using Astro Boy’s image as the pedestrian walk signals.
The traffic light was created to draw attention to the Sagami area, which is rebranding itself as the premier robot town and a “robot industrial zone.” Kanagawa Prefecture recently released a video highlighting the technological advances being made in Sagami.
Japan plays its first match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, against Côte d’Ivoire this weekend. Although the tournament kicks off two days earlier in São Paulo, for many the Samurai Blue’s opening game ushers in the event, along with the activities that would normally raise eyebrows but get a pass every four years, such […]