Sunday, September 29, 2013

Who was Nobuyoshi Ashibe?

Nobuyoshi Ashibe(芦部 信喜) was a scholar of constitutional law in Japan. He was born in 1923, and died in 1999. He earned a doctorate in law from the University of Tokyo. He worked as a professor at the University of Tokyo, Gakushuin University, and the Open University of Japan.

Ashibe's representative textbook is "Kenpou(憲法: constitutional law)" published by Iwanami Shoten(岩波書店). Most of law students in Japan have it. After his death, it has been revised by Kazuyuki Takahashi(高橋 和之), one of pupils of Ashibe.

His other pupils are Koji Tonami(戸波 江二), Hidenori Tomatsu(戸松 秀典), Yasuji Nosaka(野坂 泰司), Yasuo Hasebe(長谷部 恭男), Kouichi Aoyagi(青柳 幸一), Tsutomu Hibino(日比野 勤), Hideki Shibutani(渋谷 秀樹), Noriho Urabe(浦部 法穂), and so on.



Saturday, September 28, 2013

Who is Mai Hakase?

Mai Hakase(葉加瀬 マイ) is a well-known Japanese glomour model. Her real and former stage name is Mai Hakamada(袴田 真衣). She graduated in history from Japan Women's University in Tokyo, Japan.

She is good at speaking Korean, classical ballet, and "kimo-taisou"(キモ体操). "Kimo" is short for "Kimochiwarui(気持ち悪い)" which means creepy, and "taisou" means exercise. She also likes swimming.

She was voted Miss Flash 2012 in the Miss Flash pageant sponsored by Flash magazine, one of leading weekly pictorial magazines in Japan.

Here are some videos of Mai Hakase.

Mai Hakase's blog
Mai Hakase on twitter



Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Jurip A.S.A Al, Rola's father, has been placed on the international wanted list for fraud.

Jurip A.S.A Al(ジュリップ・エイエスエイ・アル) has been placed on the international wanted list for suspected fraud by Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department(警視庁), police officials said on June 25. He is suspected of defrauding Setagaya Ward(世田谷区) office of 870,000 yen in benefits related to national health insurance. In addition, he is said to be a ringleader of Bangladeshi swindlers' group in Japan. He has stayed in Bangladesh since August 2012, and refuses to return to Japan.

This kind of fraud case is a daily event in Japan. However, the news above is specifically attracting Japanese people's attention because Jurip is the father of Rola.

Rola(ローラ) is a Japanese fashion model and TV personality. She appears on a lot of TV shows in Japan recently because her casual talk is funny. Although Japanese people generally talk to older people using the polite form of speech, she talks to anyone (even older people) in a casual manner.

Rola is of Bengali, Japanese and Russian descent, as her father is from Bangladesh and her mother is Japanese with a quarter Russian heritage. She was born in Japan, and was raised primarily in Bangladesh until she was 9 years old. Her parents were divorced and she was primarily raised by her step-mother, who was Chinese. Rola's modelling career began when she was a high school student after being approached by a scout while walking down the street in Shibuya, Tokyo.

Right after the news of Jurip was reported on afternoon news programs of all TV stations on June 25, Rola appeared as usual on "Waratte Iitomo(笑っていいとも)", an afternoon live variety show of Fuji TV. In the program, she didn't make any comments on the news.

On the evening of June 25, she made a comment on the news sent to Japanese mass media by fax. She commented "I was very amazed when I heard the news today. I'm very sorry that my father caused trouble. I'm very sad. I'm really sorry."

Here is a video of Jurip and Rola.

Here is a parody video of Carly Rae Jepsen"Call Me Maybe", starring Rola.

[PV] Rola (ローラ) - "Call Me Maybe" from TOKYO... 投稿者 wonderful-life1989

Some people think Arie Mizusawa(水沢アリー) 's appearance on TV will grow in place of Rola. Mizusawa is becoming popular in Japan as a look-alike for Rola.

MSN産経ニュース:ローラさんの父親に逮捕状 海外療養費詐取の疑い 警視庁 被害1千万円以上か

Model Press:ローラ、父親の詐欺容疑でコメント発表<FAX全文>

Wikipedia: Rola (model)

Rola's blog

Rola on twitter



Monday, June 24, 2013

Who is Rie Ueki?

Rie Ueki(植木理恵) is a Japanese psychologist. She completed Ph.D program without a Ph.D. degree, School of Education, University of Tokyo.
[Link: Ueki's Images]

She is well known for Japanese people because she appears on "HONMADEKKA!?TV(ホンマでっか!?TV)", a variety show of Fuji TV.

She wrote a lot of psychology books for the general public, such as "You can think of anything, except a white bear!(Shirokuma No Kotodake Ha Kangaeruna!(シロクマのことだけは考えるな!))".



Saturday, June 22, 2013

What is "Sorajiro"?

"Sorajiro(そらジロー)" is a mascot of weather reports of NTV(日本テレビ). Some people regard him as a kind of "yuru-kyara(ゆるキャラ)".

"Sorajiro" is a combination of two words: "Sora" means sky in Japanese, and "jiro" is a common boy's name, which is given to a second son in Japan.

He appears on weather reports of NTV with a weather forecaster. For example, Sorajiro appears on the weather report of "news every.(ニュース・エブリィ)", a evening news program of NTV, with Minoru Kihara(木原実), a weather forecaster.

Here is a video of Sorajiro and Minoru Kihara delivering a weather forecast.

Here is a video of Sorajiro having an accident.

Sorajiro's facebook page

Sorajiro on twitter



Friday, June 21, 2013

Japanese news anchor Jiro Shinbo rescued on the Pacific Ocean by the Japanese Navy

Jiro Shinbo(辛坊治郎) and Mitsuhiro Iwamoto(岩本光弘) were rescued on the Pacific Ocean by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force(海上自衛隊), or the Japanese Navy, on June 21. Shinbo is a news anchor, and Iwamoto is a stone-blind yachtsman.

Shinbo and Iwamoto planed to sail across the Pacific Ocean on a yacht. They set off from Osaka on June 8. They planed to arrive at San Diego in August. Unfortunately, on June 21, their yacht was flooded, and then, they called for help.

Here is a video of Shinbo and Iwamoto sailing out from Osaka.

Some Japanese people pay attention to whether Shinbo bears the cost of the rescue. For he argued that the Japanese government should not spend taxpayers' money to help the victims abducted by terrorists in Iraq in 2004. He asked them for self-responsibility, because they went to a dangerous place on their own will.

Jiro Shinbo's blog

Mitsuhiro Iwamoto's website



Who is Minoru Kihara?

Minoru Kihara(木原実) is a Japanese weather forecaster, actor and voice actor.

He is well known for Japanese people as a weathercaster rather than an actor, because he has been the weathercaster for the evening news programs of NTV(日本テレビ) for more than 20 years.

Here is a video of Miroru Kihara's photo collection.

木原実1960-2012 投稿者 dm_50b1688b3f2a0

Minoru Kihara's facebook page
Minoru Kihara on twitter



Thursday, June 20, 2013

Who is Masamitsu Morita?

Masamitsu Morita(森田正光) is a Japanese weather forecaster. He also is the president of Weather Map Co., Ltd.(ウェザーマップ), a private weather information company in Japan.

He is well known for Japanese people, because he has been the weathercaster for the evening news programs of TBS(東京放送) for more than 30 years.

Here are videos of Masamitsu Morita delivering lectures.

Masamitsu Morita on twitter



Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Who is Anna Konno?

Anna Konno(今野杏南) is a popular glomour model in Japan.

She is popular among many Japanese men because she resembles Satomi Ishihara(石原さとみ), a famous and popular actress in Japan.

Here are some videos of Anna Konno.

She is a member of "Dororich Girls(ドロリッチガールズ)" which are the poster girls for "Dororich(ドロリッチ)", a drink produced by Glico Dairy Products Company(グリコ乳業).

Here is a TV commercial of Dororich.

Here is an interview with Anna Konno as a member of Dororich Girls.

Anna Konno's blog
Anna Konno on twitter

Monday, June 17, 2013

Who is Tatsuya Kawagoe?

Tatsuya Kawagoe(川越達也) is a famous chef in Japan. He runs a Italian restaurant "TATSUYA KAWAGOE" in Daikanyama(代官山), Tokyo.

Kawagoe's appearance on TV has become more frequent over the past several years, because his handsome looks and tell-it-like-it-is speaking style have gained popularity among Japanese women. His boom was triggered by his appearance on "Onegai! Ranking(お願い!ランキング)", a variety show of TV Asahi.

In June 2013, Japanese public and mass media criticized Kawagoe that he looked down on low-income people in the interview by "Cyzo(サイゾー)", one of leading monthly magazines in Japan. In the interview, he said "Some people who earn only three or four million yen a year post critical messages about expensive restaurants on internet message boards. They can't understand the expensive restaurants' own efforts and histories."

Here is a video of Tatsuya Kawagoe cooking.

Tatsuya Kawagoe's blog

TATSUYA KAWAGOE(Italian restaurant) website



Sunday, June 16, 2013

Who is Kayoko Okubo?

Kayoko Okubo(大久保佳代子) is a Japanese comedienne. She has formed a comedy duo,"Oasizu(オアシズ)", with Yasuko Mitsuura(光浦靖子) since 1992. Okubo and Mitsuura are friends from childhood.

Okubo's appearance on TV has become more frequent over the past several years, because her dirty talk has gained popularity among single women in their forties. Her boom was triggered by her appearance on "Mecha-Mecha Iketeru!(めちゃ²イケてるッ!)", a comedy show of Fuji TV.

Okubo couldn't appear on many TV shows for a long time, while her partner Mitsuura has appeared on many TV shows since 1990s. Because of this, working as a comedienne, she had also worked at a call center as a contract employee until August 2010.

Here is a video of Okubo speaking.

Kayoko Okubo on twitter



Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Who is Sachiko Takada?

Sachiko Takada(高田紗千子) is a Japanese comedienne. She has formed a comedy duo,"Umekobachi(梅小鉢)", with Mayu Komori(小森麻由) since 2000. Takada and Komori were classmates in high school.

Takada is known for her impersonations of Japanese celebrities such as Miho Kanno(菅野美穂), Megumi Yasu(安めぐみ), Shizuyo Yamazaki(山崎静代), Serina(芹那), Shoko Nakagawa(中川翔子), Suzanne(スザンヌ) and Kaori Mochida(持田香織) and so on.

Here is a video of Takada doing impersonations of Miho Kanno and Megumi Yasu by turns.

Here is a video of Takada doing impersonations of Miho Kanno, Shizuyo Yamazaki, Serina, Megumi Yasu, Shoko Nakagawa, Suzanne and Kaori Mochida.

Sachiko Takada's blog



Who is Chinami Suzuki?

Chinami Suzuki(鈴木ちなみ) is a Japanese glamour model, television presenter and actress.

She became popular among Japanese males for a reporter of "Mezamashi Saturday(めざましどようび)", a Saturday morning show of Fuji TV. Why did she get popular? Because she often appears on the program in the bikini swimsuit and her sexy body attracts male viewers.

Here are Chinami Suzuki's videos on "Mezamashi Saturday."

Her glomour photo book "By the way(ちなみに)" was released on November 2012. It became a best seller in Japan.

Here are clips on making of the photo book.

You can buy the photo book on or

Chinami Suzuki's blog (Japanese)



Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Who is Kenzo Umeda?

Kenzo Umeda(梅田賢三) is a male fashion model in Japan.

On May 21, 2013, he immediately became famous in Japan, when Josei Seven(女性セブン), a leading weekly entertainment magazine in Japan, reported that he had an affair with Mari Yaguchi. According to reports, Masaya Nakamura, Yaguchi's husband, unfortunately witnessed Yaguchi in bed with Umeda in February 2013. Yaguchi and Nakamura got divorced for infidelity on May 30, 2013.

Mari Yaguchi(矢口真里) is a Japanese pop artist, actress and TV personality and former member of Morning Musume(モーニング娘。). She got married to Masaya Nakamura(中村昌也), then a nameless actor, in 2011. According to Internet gossip, Yaguchi also had affairs with Yu Shirota(城田優), Jin Akanishi(赤西仁), and so on, during marriage.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Samsung is not a Japanese company, but a South Korean company.

Samsung is a South Korean based company.

However, many people except Japanese and Korean mistake Samsung to be a Japanese based company. According to the survey by KOTRA(Korean Trade-Investment Promotion Agency) in 2009 (see Searchina's article), 25.9% of foreign people think Samsung is a Japanese company(59.7%: a Korean Company, 10.4%: a Chinese company). Some Chinese people misunderstand it too, even though China is a neighboring country of Japan and South Korea. In China in 2012, Samsung's shop was attacked by Chinese rioters who were frustrated with JAPAN (see's article). As said before, Samsung is a SOUTH KOREAN company.

Why do many people think Samsung is a Japanese company? There are three reasons.

First of all, many people don't know Japan and South Korea are SEPARATE countries. If you see the map below, you will get to know Japan and South Korea are separate countries.

Map created from DEMIS Mapserver, which are public domain, and then edited and location names added by the writer.

Secondly, Samsung have actively adopted Japanese technology. For instance, Samsung have picked out employees of Japanese manufacturers, such as Toshiba, Sony, Panasonic, Sanyo, Sharp, NEC and so on. In addition, Lee Kun-hee, Chairman of Samsung Electronics, has a degree in economics from Waseda University in Tokyo. Waseda University is one of leading universities in Japan.

The third, Samsung uses images of Japan for its advertising. For example, Samsung used a ninja(忍者) for its television commercial. A ninja is a kind of spy or assassin who lived in JAPAN beginning in the 14th century (If you don't know a ninja, see wikipedia). Here is the TV commercial.

Samsung's website



Friday, March 15, 2013

What is "Funassyi"?

"Funassyi"(ふなっしー) is one of popular "yuru-kyara(ゆるキャラ)"(loose characters) in Japan. (If you don't know yuru-kyara, see what is yuru-kyara?) He (or she?) promotes Funabashi-shi(Funabashi city) in Chiba Prefecture on TV programs, festivals, events and so on."Funassyi" is a combination of two words: "Funa" is short for Funabashi and "nassyi" represents the Japanese word for "pears," or "nashi(梨)." Funabashi is known for production of pears.

Funassyi appeared in TV commercial for "Juroku-cha(十六茶)", a Japanese tea product, with Yui Niigaki(a Japanese actress) and other yuru-kyara, such as "Adu-chan(あづちゃん)","Nishiko-kun(にしこくん)",and so on.
Here is the TV commercial of Juroku-cha.

Funassyi has three notable features.

1. Funassyi is an UNOFFICIAL character.
   Though most of yuru-kyara in Japan are authorized and supported by their own prefectures(都道府県) or municipalities(市町村), Funassyi isn't authorized and supported by Funabashi-shi. Funassyi isn't authorized and supported by any other organizations too. Funassyi does activities at its own expense.

2. Funassyi CAN speak.
   Though most of yuru-kyara in Japan can't let out their voice, Funassyi can do it. Funassyi always speaks in a high voice with adding "nassyi(なっしー)" at the end of its sentences.

3. Funassyi makes ACTIVE movements.
   Though many of yuru-kyara in Japan are placid, Funassyi makes active(sometimes acrobatic) movements.

Here are Funassyi's videos.

Funassyi's website
Funassyi on twitter

Thursday, March 14, 2013

What is "Yuru-kyara"?

"Yuru-kyara(ゆるキャラ)"(loose characters) are cute, friendly and a little bizarre mascots owned by national government organizations, local governments, companies, individuals for the purpose of public relations. In recent years in Japan, more and more local governments(prefectures and municipalities) compete to create their own yuru-kyara. It is commonly called "yuru-kyara boom."

One of the most popular yuru-kyara in Japan is "Kumamon(くまモン)", which is a mascot of Kumamoto Prefecture. "Kumamon" is a combination of two words: "Kuma" is short for Kumamoto and "Mon" represents the local dialect that uses that word for the standard Japanese word for "things," or "mono(物)."

Here are Kumamon's images.

Kumamon standing 

Kumamon running 

Kumamon raising his right hand

Kumamon sitting

Kumamon holding an apple in both hands

Kumamon sleeping

Kumamon's official website

Wall Street Journal
--- Isn't That Cute? In Japan, Cuddly Characters Compete
--- The Mischievous Kumamon: The Life and Times of Japan's Mascots

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Who is Hirocho Nishimura?

Hirocho Nishimura(西村ヒロチョ) is a comedian who is becoming increasingly popular in Japan.

He puts on a one-man stage play, which is very romantic. For example, he performs a fictional drama of a romance between two famous historical figures, such as "Nobunaga Oda and Mitsuhide Akechi", "Ryoma Sakamoto and Takamori Saigo", "Shikibu Murasaki and Kenko Yoshida", the Wright brothers, and so on.

His signature phrase is "Zappaan(ザッパーン)", which has no meaning.
His trademark pose is "Jojo-dachi(ジョジョ立ち)"(Jojo's pose) which are standing poses of characters of a Japanese comic "Jojo-no-kimyo-na-bouken(ジョジョの奇妙な冒険)"(Jojo's Bizarre Adventure).
[Examples of "Jojo-dachi": Google Images]

Here are Hirocho Nishimura's performances.

Hirocho Nishimura's blog
Hirocho Nishimura on twitter



Thursday, March 7, 2013

Who is Takashi Mikuriya?

Takashi Mikuriya(御厨貴) is one of the leading political scientists in Japan. He specializes in Japan's Political History, Public Policy, Oral History, Architecture and Politics, Media and Politics.

He is a professor of the Open University of Japan(OUJ). Before he took up a professorship at OUJ in 2012, he had been a professor of the University of Tokyo("Todai"), one of the leading universities in Japan. Some people were surprised when he left "Todai" at the age of 60, because the compulsory retirement age of "Todai" is 65. According to the article of the Asahi Shimbun Degital(, as the reason of leaving "Todai", Mikuriya said "Futility and flexibility are needed for study and research with dreams. "Todai" used to think much of futility and flexibility in the past. However, it is running the rat race now and lost futility and flexibility completely."

He is known to Japanese public as the host of "Jiji-Houdan"(Current Affair Talks), a Sunday morning political talk show on the TBS channel.

Here is a Video Report (Press Briefing): "Towards Reconstruction," Report by the Reconstruction Design Council (June 25, 2011). Takashi Mikuriya is one of the speakers.

Takashi Mikuriya's Profile on the website of International Research Center for Japanese Studies</ br>

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Who is Kintaro?

Kintaro(キンタロー。) is one of the most famous comedians in Japan now. She is famous for her impression of Atsuko Maeda, a former member of AKB48 which is the most famous Japanese idol group today.
Though Kintaro hardly resembles Atsuko Maeda in face, Kintaro sounds like Atsuko Maeda. In Addition, Kintaro dances to the music of AKB48 quite exactly. Dancing is in her line, because she worked as an instructor of ballroom dance before becoming a comedian in 2011.

Here is a video of Kintaro doing impressions of Atsuko Maeda, Yuko Oshima, Haruna Kojima, Momoiro Clover Z, and so on.

Here is a video of Kintaro dancing with AKB48.



Monday, March 4, 2013

Who is Osamu Hayashi?

Osamu Hayashi (林修) is a Japanese (National Language) teacher at Toshin High School which is not a high school but a cram school for university entrance exams.
He is the most famous teacher in Japan at the moment. He is famous for his phrase "Itsuyaruka?---Imadesyo! (When will you do? --- Right now!)."
His phrase became known among Japanese people after he acted in TV commercial of Toshin High School in 2011.
He is one of the most talked-about people in Japan now, because he also acts in Toyota Motor's TV commercial, which imitates Toshin's TV commercial. In Toyota's TV commercial, he says "Itsukauka?---Imadesyo! (When will you buy? --- Right now!)"

Here is Osamu Hayashi in TV commercial of Toyota Motor Corporation.

Here is TV commercial of Toshin High School.

Toshin High School
Toyota Motor Corporation