Japan gives Harry Potter the manga treatment

 Manga Harry Potter

The Harry Potter franchise continues to enjoy huge success in Japan, 15 years after the release of first movie, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The seven films in the series have grossed more than US$893 in the country and been seen in cinemas by more than 78 million people, while Philosopher’s Stone is the country’s fourth highest-grossing film of all time. In 2007, Tokyo was chosen to host the world premiere of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, while The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, an attraction that opened at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka in July 2014, has been credited with bringing record numbers of visitors to the park.

I’d happily pay good money to see a Manga Harry Potter movie.

Read the full story here

V&A brings Japanese craftsmanship back to life for gallery reopening

Of the 550 pieces going on display in the new gallery, more than 400 needed conservation work, a project that has taken years of work by specialists in paper, metal, ceramics, lacquer, leather and textiles, a complex project coordinated by Victor Borges, senior sculpture conservator at the V&A. The lacquer pieces needed particular care, which senior furniture conservator Dana Melcher explained was unnerving for her team, because some of it went against a fundamental principle of modern western conservation practice, that all their work should be reversible. Many of the objects still look perfect to the naked eye, but under a magnifying glass minute fragments of gold leaf, mother of pearl, and gemstones in the decoration can be seen lifting and detaching. Not only is the traditional Japanese urushi lacquer derived from highly toxic tree sap – children of the traditional craftsmen are said to have been fed tiny quantities from babyhood to develop an immunity – but once applied and cured, it is irreversible and cannot be removed without destroying the object. Unlike painted surfaces, the lacquer also only sets at a high humidity level, so the treated objects have had to go into a vapour cabinet watched over by an anxious curator. Too much humidity and the gleaming surface will dull and spoil; too low and it will never set. Each piece finished and signed off has been a great relief to the team.

Read the full story here

Japan urged to ban manga child abuse images

Japan must ban sexually abusive images of children in manga comics, despite claims that such a move would threaten freedom of expression, the UN’s special envoy on child protection has said. Maud de Boer-Buquicchio praised Japan for passing a law last year that banned the possession of abusive images of children, but said it contained loopholes that allowed exploitation to continue.

Read the full story here

To mourn a robotic dog is to be truly human

When a Japanese pet is ceremonially cremated, the owners return after the ashes have cooled to sift through them with special chopsticks, picking out the bones one by one and transferring them to their final resting urn. This was the strangest thing I knew about Japanese funeral rites until I discovered that Buddhist priests there now hold services for robot pets as well.

Read the full story here