Your Friend in Japan

Celebrating 40 Years of Geek Pride with Japan

Written by HotAnime

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Will you be at Phoenix Comic Con? So will we! Phoenix has become one of our favorite shows, and J-List will be there with tons of great products for you. Come see us at booth 653 all weekend long!

While May 4 has more or less taken over Star Wars fandom because of the “May the 4th be with you” joke, I’ve always been puzzled by this change, because every true fan know that May 25th is the actual anniversary of the film’s release. There have been two main influences in my life: Star Wars and Japan, though they’re really two sides of the same coin, since so much the film — the Jedi are stylized samurai who wield the Force instead of the life energy known as chi, Darth Vader was based on a feudal lord named Date Masamune — was directly inspired by Japan. Today May 25 has become known as International Geek Pride Day, a day to celebrate the nerdier side of life. Geeks have certainly come a long way over the past few decades, from hiding our hobbies lest we be subject to social ostracization to being able to openly enjoy most any nerdy pursuit, whether it involves Star Wars or paper-and-dice gaming or esoteric anime from the 90s. Even when I started J-List in 1996, it would have been a bit eccentric for a grown man to fill his office with 400+ Star Wars figures (plus vehicles!) as I’ve done, but today it’s just another aspect of fandom. So have a Happy Geek Pride Day, everyone! If you need me I’ll be re-enacting the Battle of Yavin…

We’ve been watching the events in Manchester with great sadness, sending positive thoughts to our dear friends in the U.K. Someone on Twitter asked me if these kinds of attacks happened in Japan, so I thought I’d wrote about this topic. The answer is that Japan has experienced senseless attacks, including several by a group called the Japan Red Army in the 70s, plus two sarin gas attacks by a religious cult called Aum Shinrikyo in the 90s. When Japan planned Narita Airport, they didn’t bother informing the farmers who lived there that their land would be taken, which launched decades of protest that became violent at times, causing police to remain on alert for possible attacks. Still, except for the sad abducting of (at least) 17 Japanese citizens by North Korea, Japan is largely a peaceful place, free from violence and crime — even the yakuza are careful to never involve private citizens in their conflicts. Japan is such a peaceful pace that it’s often called heiwa-boke (hay-WAH BOH-kay), roughly meaning “being dull-witted from too much peace,” which is what happens when Japanese assume the rest of the world is a peaceful as their country is.

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