Gunka is a style of propaganda music from the "Let's conquer the world!" days: '35 ~'45 (ish). It comes from the characters 軍 (army) and 歌 (song).
The songs were not FOR soldiers, they were for the folks back home, to whip up enthusiasm for war.
That's why a lot of gunka sounds like childrens' music.
You can [...]
A while ago, I wrote a short glossary of Dangerous Japanese – Japanese words for cult leaders, serial killers, embarrassing customs, etc. Part of that dealt with war crimes. But there’s so many amazing military terms, they really deserve their own glossary – so here is the
TOKYO DAMAGE REPORT GUIDE TO JAPAN’S SENJINKUN!!!!
(SENJINKUN = 先陣訓 [...]
What is DEATH OF A POLITICAL YOUTH? A book, dummy. A banned book. Who's it by? Nobel laureate Kenzaburo Oe. Download the whole thing here as an .rtf file.
Last year I translated Kenzaburo Oe's novella SEVENTEEN. You can read it here.
Seventeen – besides being funny – is important because it got banned for making fun [...]
What is SEVENTEEN??
CHAPTER ONE, part one.
Today is my birthday. I turned juu-nana-sai. In English, they call it sebentiin! My family – Father, Mother, and Older Brother – didn't even notice (or perhaps they pretended not to notice), so I didn't say anything either. At nightfall, my elder sister, who works as a nurse at the nearby [...]
I got an email a month ago from Francois, a reader who blew my mind with the story of Furyu Mutan!!!
“Furyu Mutan” (風流夢譚 = “The Tale of the Elegant Dream”) is a story written by Shichiro Fukazawa (深沢七郎) , published in Japan in 1960. It’s famous because it was so scandalous that mobsters sent an [...]
October 10, 2009 @ earthdom
WHAT IS ICEPICK?? It’s a once-a-year concert that unites " patriotic bands" and "skinhead bands" for an all-out right-winger sing-a-long. It’s been going on – I think – for nine years now.
This year it occurred in Earthdom, which was kind of ironic since Earthdom is in the center of Koreatown.
Naturally I had [...]