Tag Archives: religion

Objects in Japanese Pop Culture

The recent theft of costumes and props from an AKB48 set highlights an interesting behavioral pattern. Viewed in a harsh light, it might be seen as a kind of voodoo, a ritual shamanism: obtaining relics of important people so as to be nearer to them and draw upon their power.

Mainichi Japan concludes its article on the incident with a tell-tale quote: “We intended to sell the items after getting tired of looking at them.” At once the frivolity of the exercise is laid bare: having no practical use for girls’ clothing or specially made signboards, all the boys really could do is look at the objects.

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Art and Soul 6 – Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 and Human Nature

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Update, 3/13/2011: welcome, new visitors. I felt these reflections were worth reposting in the wake of current events in Japan. I am aware that this is based on a half-watching of Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 and does not account for its ending, and I am preparing a sequel/follow up in the coming days with additional thoughts.

There’s an editorial in the New York Times, and another story in the LA Times about the resilience and civility of the Japanese people in the face of crisis. The spirit shown in the show is very real. (You may also find the original Time Magazine article about disaster behavior, referenced in the column, helpful to read too.)

While you listen, no matter what you believe, please consider donating to the ongoing relief efforts. Click here for a list, or see the links above for opportunities.

Yes, the first “Art and Soul” episode since June 6, 2008. This one is about what Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, and disasters in general, might tell us about human nature and behavior in such circumstances.

For those who don’t remember or know about this audio column, this is where I put on my seminary student, Christian theology and ethics and philosophy hat. You won’t offend me if you run away screaming after hearing that. :) In turn I promise not to be that preachy. I just felt after a while, it was time to do one again, and for a worthy show at that. And to counter any misunderstandings that might have happened this week, ahem.

Transcript after the cutaway.

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Art and Soul 4: Anglican Vampires, Oh My!

The anime, religion, and ethics audio column returns after a long hiatus! This time, I’ll be tackling the burning question: why is the Hellsing Organization so insistently Anglican? Does it have anything to do with the real Church of England? Or is it all part of an elaborate Japanese fantasy?

This is not a very serious article. Please don’t put me on a heresy trial!

Full transcript follows after the cutaway.

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