I wrote an obit for Yanase "Anpanman" Takashi over at Néojaponisme.

What is left of Anpanman, then, when the historical accretions are stripped away? Or, rather, what has been at the core of Anpanman through all his adventures and transmigrations? Well... anko.

Come to think of it, Daniel Morales's review of Murakami Haruki's new book also went up there recently. Don't miss the exclusive blog-only follow-up, either.

Popularity factor: 2


I don't mean to start an argument (which is why this is on your blog instead of the article), but while I read this piece yesterday and enjoyed it, there was one sentence in it that did not seem appropriate for an obituary. You know, like, de mortuis nil nisi wicked awesome? In American fashion, I decided you deserve the right to remember the dead in your own way, and moved on. When I woke up this morning, though, I found that I had recorded a mental entry in my Liberalese-to-English dictionary:

"messed-up gender politics" <---> "something worth reading to my children"

This dictionary works both ways, so if you see me recommending other children's books now you know why.

On an unrelated note, I recently discovered the perennial bestseller Die Häschenschule by Albert Sixtus had been rendered into English, and bought a copy. It is absolutely delightful.


You wascally contwawian! Thanks for the tip there.

I thought hard about that sentence too, to be honest. What I really wanted to do was provide a counterweight to the kneejerk non-Japanese liberal (yes!) response to Anpanman, which is to simply project on the show all the perceived sins of Japan and call it a day. I decided that the best way to do this was to acknowledge that the work can be viewed as problematic but insist that it is worthy nevertheless. But it's certainly a valid criticism to point out that an obituary isn't the place to have those arguments -- thanks.

Incidentally, I hope it doesn't spoil your enjoyment but my son <em>loved</em> Anpanman as a 2-year-old, and I was happy with the situation; but then again, I have always been pretty conservative in my private life.

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