Saturday, August 26

Bob Leddy: Japanese culture for Americans

01:00 AM EDT on Saturday, August 19, 2006

Economic power is self-explanatory. So-called soft power applies to a nation's cultural influence beyond its borders. Japan has the world's second-largest economy, behind the United States; its products are part of Americans' daily lives. But its soft power is another matter. Except in some academic circles, Japanese literature, music, and theater (kabuki) are little known in this country.

Apart from karaoke, Japanese cinema has the strongest foothold here. Indeed, Japanese animation (anime) enjoys a near-exalted status in American pop culture. It's been thus since the 1970s, when Astro Boy appeared on our Saturday-morning televisions. The anime director Hayao Miyazaki (sometimes called the Japanese Walt Disney) is a U.S. household name; his 2001 film, Spirited Away, won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Full article is here.

New Straits Time coverage on anime in Malaysia

See: In anime heaven
25 Aug 2006

Finally! Malaysians hankering for Japanese animation now have a whole channel going for them 24/7. But wait, there’s more. DEBRA CHONG gets the lowdown on what’s new on Animax from vice-president Betty Tsui.

GOOD things come to those who wait. But two years is still asking a lot when one’s neighbours keep flaunting it in one’s face.

Originally, Animax was to have launched here in 2004, same as in Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. Unfortunately, said Betty Tsui, the satellite broadcast provider in Malaysia lacked the capacity to support the Japanese animation network back then.

Tsui is the vice-president in charge of programming and production at SPE Networks Asia, a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Entertainment and the regional branch handling cable networks Animax and AXN.

No matter, on the stroke of midnight ushering in Merdeka (Aug 31), Astro will begin the long-awaited transmission over Channel 75 at no extra charge, at least until next year.

The delay has worked to Animax’s benefit, and perhaps ours as well. In the two-year interim, the general perception towards J-animation (anime for short) has undergone a significant and positive change.

Full article is here

Ah, finally in my home country something like this is more available than usual.