Your Friend in Japan

The Origin of Pokemon, plus This Art Club Has a Problem

Written by HotAnime

One series I’m enjoying a lot is Kono Bijutsubu ni Mondai ga Aru, aka There’s a Problem With This Art Club, the story of an art club at a junior high school with the usual lineup of colorful members, including the main heroine Usami who’s in love with another club member named Uchimaki-kun. The “problem” in the show’s title comes from the fact that he’s an otaku who only likes “2D” girls and who joined the art club so he could learn how to paint the perfect anime waifu, and he has no interest in “3D” girls like poor Usami. The show is similar to the excellent Monthly Girl’s Nozaki-kun — Usami even shares a voice actress with Chiyo from that series — but featuring a higher appreciation of how some otakus feel about 2D characters, which some of us might be able to relate to. I recommend the series highly!

Currently a lot of people are playing the new Pokemon Go game, including my kids, who are both logging many kilometers per day on it. (My son bagged a Pikachu in Shinjuku the other day.) It’s all made me quite natsukashii (er, sentimental) for when my son was young and went through his beetle collecting phase, which all Japanese boys go through in elementary school. I have fond memories of getting into the car with him at 10 pm and trudging through nearby parks with flashlights and little bug cages searching for rhinoceros or stag beetles, which are popular as pets in overly-urbanized Japan. Pokemon creator Satoshi Tajiri was also an avid fan of beetle collecting as a boy, and based his Pokemon game ideas on this fun pasttime as a way of recapturing some of the magic of youth. As is often the case in Japan, you find that common everyday customs are actually very old, and the fascination with collecting insects goes back at least 1,000 years, and is mentioned in the classic Tale of Genji novel.

J-List has great news for everyone: We’re having a huge sale on our popular anime and kanji T-shirts, which are in stock in our warehouse in San Diego. We’re closing out dozens of our otaku-friendly shirts at special prices. Want to grab our Mirai Suenaga shirt, or Toradora shirt, or classic “Looking for a Japanese Girlfriend” shirt? Order now before the sizes you want sell out!

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