Hello, friends!!

Thank you for supporting Japan on last Thursday!! It was a thrilling game, wasn’t it?

I was watching the game with my colleagues at the home party and it was the occasion for me to be reminded the extreme joy to watch football match with as many friends as possible.

Especially, when Endo made the 2nd point by his FK, I stood out and screamed ‘Ooooooh!!’ loudly and found out that my 2-year-old daughter was clinging to my knee, too much scared by MY NOISE.

Now, Japan is among the best 16, who are going to fight the final tournament.

Tomorrow, tune yourself to Japan-Paraguay at 17:00!!

Well, today’s topic is one of the most popular weekly comic magazine, called ‘Shonen Jump.’

From this April, we started its subscription for our library. I think it is useful for learning non-standard Japanese language, which is diverse in generation, gender, historical setting, locality, and so on, as you have recognized in JF’s ‘Japanese in Anime & Manga’ website.

Almost all the contents of the magazine are strange to me, who enjoyed reading ‘JUMP’ more than 20-30 years ago. The one which is familier even to my generation is ‘NARUTO,‘ which is globally popular thanks to the broadcasting of its Anime version.

However, what I would like to recommend most is not ‘NARUTO,’ but ‘KOCHI-KAME,’ whose full title is ‘Kochira Katsushikaku Kamearikuenmae Hashutsujyo.’ It can be translated as ‘Here we are at Police Box in front of Kameari Park at Katsushika-Ward.’

  • You know how the Police Box is like?
  • You know what is implicated by the location of Katsushika-ward for the story?

Police Box (either Hashutujyo or Koban) is unique local police station in Japan, where 2 or 3 policemen/women are working, not only as protectors of security but also as guides for the people in needs. Whenever I visit unknown towns or areas of big cities, I always get lost and rush to the police boxes asking for the way to the destination. Most of them are truly kind and guide me correctly (Of course, there are always exceptions, sometimes, though).

In other words, the Police Box represents the one aspect of Japan’s local traditional culture, where there are human bonds in towns and local police officers played important roles to mediate or enhance this human networks, together with many other social functions like OMATSURI (local festivals).

And the second keyword, ‘KATSUSHIKA-KU’ is representing one of the areas of Tokyo where such kind of traditional human bonds are still active, compared to others. I think this is partly because there haven’t been gigantic scale investment for modern construction or business entrepreneurship incurred on this area, which has been changing the landscape of Tokyo drastically since its beginning of modernization.

KATSUSHIKA-KU is also the location for one of the most popular movie serial in Japan, called ‘TORA-SAN.’ (Actual title is ‘OTOKO WA TSURAIYO.’) TORA-SAN is only one adult vagabond among his families who is always out of his home, touring around the country. The rest of the families are enjoying their peaceful, sometimes boring status-quo without him. Then many troubles and incidents start to occur right after his sudden return from his journey. What is most important is that the families or the community always accommodate him with affection, however being troubled by his ‘out of common sense’ behavier. Actual Japanese society has been changed so much and we have lost this kind of deep connection between people where you live your day to day lives. That is why the viewers would cherish what we are about to lose, represented by the plots of the movies.

“OTOKO WA TSURAIYO” Official Website: http://www.tora-san.jp/

And the same can be told about this comic book, ‘KOCHI-KAME.’

The protagonist, ‘Ryo-san,‘ is far from diligent, strong policeman, whom people expect to be. On the other hand, he skips his duty and is always playing around. However, he loves the town he has been brought up, the good old friends who keeps living in the same town, and all kinds of old and new cultures, which have enriched his life.

For example, the latest issue which I have just finished reading, deals with the plastic models which he used to make in his childhood, and small factories and proud artisans who were the foundations of this rich culture.

Every time the latest ‘Shonen Jump’ comes to my desk, being scared to be seen skipping job like Ryo-san, I enjoy reading ‘KOCHI-KAME,’ which makes me feel happy with so much sympathy and nostalgia.

‘KOCHI-KAME’ Official Website: http://www.j-kochikame.com/