Japanese Technology from the Future Friday!
This week the earth shook, babies cried, and the very logic of existence was thrown into doubt: an American anime is being exported to Japan, and since the Obon holiday equals a very slow tech week, the ultimately circular cultural force of animated images is all we’re talking about!
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Welcome to Japanese Technology from the Future Friday!
It’s already Friday west of the international dateline – here in Japan, it’s totally the future. The weekly JTFF is our somewhat Technosnarky coverage of 2-5 particularly important, specifically Japan-related tech stories. Get yourself hip to the micro & macro that went down while North America was sleeping – check in with Akihabara News every Friday morning and BOOM! Ahead of the game, you win.
:: JTFF – August 15, 2014 ::
• American Anime to be Exported to...Wait, Where? Japan?!
Yep, something strange happened in the universe today: the poles reversed, birds flew backwards, and a donkey wrote a sonnet. And then, to put a final layer of weird icing on the existential cake, it was announced that an American anime called RWBY, created by the Yankees at Rooster Teeth Productions, has been licensed for distribution and merchandising here in Japan.
To the best of anyone’s knowledge, this is the first time an American anime has officially been offered a chance over here. Now, on one hand, it is surprising that something so very Japanese, having been exported to the U.S., first loved, then studied, inevitably emulated, and ultimately refined into a unique and viable product, could have a chance in its country of origin. On the other reality hand, this process really shouldn’t surprise us all that much - in fact, the Japanese have been aggressively and systematically doing the inverse for about 150 or so years. Here at the JTFF, we call this process Japanification.*
Ironically enough, the word 'anime' illustrates this pun-intended point perfectly: way back many decades ago who knows how long exactly because we don’t want to research it, the Japanese encountered this new technology called 'animation.' Being that it was in fact completely foreign to the Japanese lexicon, there were two options: create some kinda uber-Chinese kanji casserole to express the fundamentals of the concept (then paint it with Japanese phonology), or just bogart the English word. Chosing the latter, 'animation' became yet another English-based loanword to be written in Katakana, the angular, jagged Japanese script reserved almost exclusively for foreign concepts and associated vocabulary. And so it went: animation would be known as 'アニメーション' (ah-knee-may-shone), which was eventually shortened to 'アニメ' (ah-knee-may). See, in a very real and practical way, this is all circular - the very definition of turnabout.
So, congrats, team Rooster parts, your product, the inverted cultural/entertainment equivalent of America’s first Toyota, shall soon begin its trials.
[AMERICAN ANIME TO BE EXPORTED TO JAPAN HOLY COW - ADWEEK]
AkihabaraNews' Anime Coverage
*Addendum: the Japanification Phenomenon
Japanification, N. [Japanify, V.] The unstoppable, BORG-like capability of the collective Japanese psyche to reach out into the universe, inhale whatever interesting cultural or technological nuggets are found, and own them so hard that even the Japanese are oblivious to the origins. The products of this process are often pelleted back into the global market, vastly improved over the original, and, inexplicably, 1.8% of humanity’s population thereby becomes a profoundly vital pillar of global pop culture. This is the single most powerful macro-cultural superpower in the history of the human species.
That was the JTFF, and live from the future – that is all.
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Tokyo at Night via PhotoEverywhere.