Tomorrow (May 23) is known as kisu no hi or “kiss day,” so I thought I’d talk about the Western practice of kissing in Japan. Although kissing is seen as a modern import from the West, along with automobiles, movie theaters and business suits, kissing in Japan has actually always been a thing, showing up in the art of the Edo Period (1603-1868) and the literature of the Heian Period (794-1185). A kiss is a very big deal in Japan, done only by lovers in private, and Japanese are scandalized at the thought of displaying affection in public, which they sometimes see when visiting other countries. They’re also highly suspicious of the European cheek-kiss-as-greeting, and are on some level sure that any foreigner, even a Brit or American, is going to suddenly kiss them then say “in the West it’s just a greeting!” (This joke shows up in anime a lot.) Kiss scenes have always been a great climax to a dramatic love story in anime, and we were one of the things that let me know that anime was here to tell amazing high-stakes stories. What was the first really special kiss you witnessed in anime?
One observation I’ve always had about Japan is the high number of 偶然 guuzen or “coincidence events” i seem to encounter here. While encountering obscure information or coincides is actually not that rare — it’s called the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon and has to do with the way our brains are good at recognizing patterns while discarding unimportant details without our noticing — I’ve really had more than my fair share. On several occasions I’ve bumped into people I studied Japanese with at SDSU in Tokyo and Yokohama — quite a feat, considering that I live far from these places myself. Before coming to Japan, I taught myself the language using the classic baseball manga Touch, and by an incredible coincidence the city I came to live in (Isesaki, Gunma) just happens to be the birthplace of the artist, Adachi Mitsuru…who also shares a birthday with my wife. Yulia Nova is a beautiful Russian model who was discovered by Japanese photographer Satoshi Kizu, and by chance he just happens to live down the street from us, about 3 km away. When we became an official Touhou shop, we were surprised to learn that the distributor we’d be buying games, soundtracks and keychains from was located…right near J-List, which is really odd considering we live in a small agriculture city far from Tokyo. Recently a lot of Japanese believe in “power spots,” different locations that have a supernatural ability to influence human events, and Hakone/Mt. Fuji, Miyajima Shrine near Hiroshima and Osore-zan (“Mt. Fear”) in Aomori are three such famous places. Perhaps our city of Isesaki is also a “power spot” that enables us to promote anime and related culture around the world, or something?
We got great news for you: were opening preorders for the highly-anticipated moe strategy game Eiyu*Senki, which we will be publishing soon. The game is outstanding, a fabulous world that you must conquer, with the help of super cute gender-bent versions of famous characters from history, everyone from King Arthur to Napolean to Nostradamus. Preorder now!