[:it]Japanese Culture: Il Ramen[:en]Japanese Culture: Ramen[:ja]Japanese Culture: Ramen[:]

[:it]

Ramen: “Imperatore” della tavola Giapponese.

Photo credits: narutonoodle.com/

Fino a pochi anni fa, per amanti o meno della cucina etnica, andare al Giapponese equivaleva prettamente a gustare Sushi: piatto composto da pesce crudo e riso.

Questo piatto da colori e forme suggestive strizza l’occhio ai commensali più modaioli (ma non solo!), che hanno modo di gustare “prima con gli occhi che con la gola”. Ma ora un altro piatto famoso in tutto il Giappone è finalmente approdato anche sulle nostre tavole, facendo impazzire i più.

Il Ramen (ラーメン,拉麺 rāmen), forse vero e proprio piatto rappresentativo del paese. Talmente conosciuto in tutto il Giappone che vanta per ogni regione un suo modo diverso di farlo. Regione diversa, ricetta diversa. Gustiamole tutte allora …

Una zuppa ricca di ingredienti: spaghetti cinesi, carne di maiale, Nori (海苔) o alga secca, uova sode, e il kamaboko. Da noi conosciuto come surimi, la sua forma più famosa, quella a spirale, si chiama Naruto (come il personaggio del manga omonimo il cui nome è ispirato proprio a questo ingrediente) . Il brodo può essere di pesce o carne, varie guarnizioni e modi diversi di insaporire, con semi di sesamo o pepe, dal miso alla salsa di soia.

Storia di una Zuppa

Photo credits: travelcaffeine.com

Benché non sia chiaro quando ebbe inizio la diffusione di questo piatto in suolo giapponese, l’origine è cinese, visto che uno degli ingredienti base sono i mian o spaghetti cinesi di frumento. Va anche detto che in Cina solo negli ultimi anni c’è stata una riscoperta, non considerato più piatto tradizionale ma d’importazione giapponese. In Cina vengono chiamati rìshì lāmiàn “Lamian in stile Giapponese”.

Il Ramen è sempre stato un piatto da gustare fuori casa, e all’inizio del ‘900 c’erano numerosi chioschi da strada con gestori Cinesi. Poi, dopo la Seconda Guerra Mondiale, i soldati giapponesi di rientro dalla Cina, dove avevano appreso la tradizione culinaria, aprirono diversi ristoranti in tutto il paese. Da lì in poi, una continua evoluzione che ha portato a come si conosce il Ramen oggi giorno.

Così tanto amato che dal 1994 è stato aperto a Yokohama lo Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum il museo interamente dedicato a questa prelibatezza.

Ramen da compagnia.

Photo credits: jpninfo.com

Come detto in precedenza, in passato non era poi così strano gustare scodelle di Ramen nei chioschi da strada, famosi anche oggi giorno sebbene non diffusissimi. Questo perché il Ramen è anche un cibo da strada da assaporare nei tradizionali Yatai, bancarelle mobili. I migliori ristoranti invece sono i Ramen-ya con pochi posti a sedere sia al banco che ai tavoli, ma con la finalità di mangiare solo Ramen.

E non è inusuale trovare piatti di Ramen in parchi divertimento o nei menù dei karaoke. Ci scappa anche che finito il lavoro tra colleghi si faccia un salto agli Izakaya, pub con la formula Nomihodai “all you can drink” e Tabehodai “all you can eat”. Qui, con un tempo massimo di tre ore, i commensali tra liquori ed altri cibi possono gustare anche il Ramen con un menù dal prezzo fisso.

Menzioni d’onore e le regionali.

 Photo credits: zerochan.net

Benché la ricetta classica sia comune in tutto il Giappone ci sono varianti sempre innovative.

Qui va menzionato il Ramen Blue , di un bellissimo e brillantissimo colore, e vogliamo anche dirlo del tutto naturale! Ma questa è un'innovazione estrema.

Le varianti “classiche” regionali sono:

  • Quella di Tokyo con tagliatelle spesse in brodo di pollo al gusto soia, con guarnizione di germogli di bamboo, scalogno, maiale a fette, spinaci alghe, un uovo e un po’ di Dashi. Da provare nei quartieri di Ikebukuro, Ogikubo e Ebisu.
  • A Sapporo è famosa per la versione “invernale”, con talvolta frutti di mare, burro, maiale, mais e germogli di fagioli.
  • Yokohama ha il le-kei , uovo alla coque dove il commensale deve indicare la morbidezza desiderata per poi romperlo ed insaporire il brodo con cipolla, maiale, spinaci e alga.
  • Kitakata con tagliatelle spesse ma piatte, servite in brodo di maiale.
  • Hakata con brodo composto da osso di maiale, e con spaghetti sottili, zenzero, aglio, verdure in senape e semi di sesamo.

Se leggendo questo articolo vi è venuta una gran fame vogliamo lasciarvi alcuni indirizzi dove poterlo gustare qui in Italia:

Nozomi

Via Pietro Calvi 2, 20129 Milano, Italia
+39 02 7602 3197
http://www.nozomi.milano.it/

Casa Ramen

Via Porro Lambertenghi 25, Milano, Italia
+39 02 3944 4560
https://www.facebook.com/casaramen

Zarà Ramen

Via Solferino, 48, 20121 Milano, Italia
+39 02 3679 9000
https://www.facebook.com/zazaramen/

Mi-Ramen Bistro

Viale col di lana, 15 | Viale Col Di Lana, 15, 20136, Milano
+39 339 232 2656
http://mi-ramenbistro.it/

Osaka

Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi 68, 20121 Milano, Italia
+39 02 2906 0678
http://www.milanoosaka.com/

Ryukishin

Via Ariberto 1, 20123 Milano, Italia
+39 02 8940 8866
http://www.ryukishin.it/

Banki Ramen

Via Dei Banchi 14 Rosso, 50123, Firenze, Italia
+39 055 213776

Waraku

Via Prenestina 321/A, 00177 Roma, Italia
+39 06 2170 2358
https://www.facebook.com/Waraku-192626757583758/[:en]

Ramen: The “emperor” of Japanese cuisine.

Photo credits: narutonoodle.com/

Until a few years ago, for ethnic cuisine enthusiasts, going to a Japanese restaurant strictly referred to consuming Sushi: a dish made of raw fish and rice.

This dish, with its colourful and evocative shapes, winks at the most fashionable diners (but not just them!), who have the opportunity to taste "first with their eyes, then with their mouth".  But now another famous dish from Japan has finally made its way to our tables with many people going crazy about it.

We are talking about Ramen (ラーメン,拉麺 rāmen), perhaps the real representative dish of the country. It is so famous throughout Japan that each region boasts a different way to prepare it. Different region, different recipe. Let’s taste them all then...

It is a soup dish with many ingredients: noodles, pork, Nori (海苔) or dried seaweed, boiled eggs, and the kamaboko which is also known as surimi. Its most famous form, the spiral one, is called Naruto (like the manga character of the same name whose name derives from this ingredient). Ramen can be made with either a seafood-based or meat-based broth, various garnishes, and different ways to flavour it; sesame seeds or pepper, for example, miso or soy sauce.

Story of a Soup

Photo credits: travelcaffeine.com

Although it is unclear when the popularisation of this plate began in Japan, it originally came from China as one of its main ingredients is the Chinese mian,or wheat noodles. But we must say that in recent years, there has been a reintroduction of this dish in China, as ramen is no longer considered a traditional dish from China, but a Japanese imported product. In China, they are called rìshì lāmiàn or "Japanese style Lamian", which is considered as a completely different dish from the Chinese lāmiàn.

Ramen has always been a dish to be enjoyed outside and at the beginning of the 20th century, there were numerous kiosks manned by Chinese handlers. Then, after the Second World War, Japanese soldiers returning from China, where they had learned this culinary tradition, opened several restaurants across the country. From that point on, there has been an evolution that led to ramen as we know it today.

It is so appreciated that in 1994, the Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum, which is entirely dedicated to this delicacy, was opened in Yokohama.

‘Company’ Ramen.

Photo credits: jpninfo.com

As previously mentioned, it was not an oddity to taste bowls of ramen in street stalls in the past. These stalls are still popular today, although not as widespread as they once were. This is because ramen is also considered a street food to be enjoyed in traditional Yatai's or stalls. On the other hand, the best restaurants are the Ramen-ya with just a few seats at the counter and at the tables as well, but with the purpose of eating ramen only. It is not unusual to find ramen in amusement parks or in karaoke's menus. It may also happen that after work colleagues stop by an Izakaya, a pub with the formula Nomihodai "all you can drink" - Tabehodai "all you can eat". Here, with a limit of three hours, diners can enjoy ramen together with liquor and other foods with a fixed-price menu.

Honourable mentions and regional variants

Photo credits: zerochan.net

Although the classic recipe is common throughout Japan, there are always innovative variants.

Here we have to mention the Blue Ramen, of beautiful and brilliant colour, and we want to specify that this is completely natural! But this is an extreme innovation.

“Traditional” regional variants are:

  • Tokyo variant, with thick noodles, chicken and soy broth, garnished with bamboo shoots, shallots, sliced pork, seaweed, spinach, an egg and a little bit of Dashi. We recommend that you try shops in Ikebukuro, Ogikubo and Ebisu wards.
  • Sapporo is famous for their "winter" version, sometimes garnished with seafood, butter, pork, corn and bean sprouts.
  • Yokohama has the le-kei , coddled eggs for which each customer can choose the desired softness and then break it so to flavour the broth, also adding onion, pork, spinach and seaweed.
  • Kitakata, with its thick but flat noodles, served with pork broth.
  • Hakata and its broth made of pork bones, thin noodles, ginger, vegetables, mustard and sesame seeds.

If reading this article made you really hungry we want to recommend some places where you can taste ramen in Italy:

Nozomi

Via Pietro Calvi 2, 20129 Milano, Italia
+39 02 7602 3197
http://www.nozomi.milano.it/

Casa Ramen

Via Porro Lambertenghi 25, Milano, Italia
+39 02 3944 4560
https://www.facebook.com/casaramen

Zarà Ramen

Via Solferino, 48, 20121 Milano, Italia
+39 02 3679 9000
https://www.facebook.com/zazaramen/

Mi-Ramen Bistro

Viale col di lana, 15 | Viale Col Di Lana, 15, 20136, Milano
+39 339 232 2656
http://mi-ramenbistro.it/

Osaka

Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi 68, 20121 Milano, Italia
+39 02 2906 0678
http://www.milanoosaka.com/

Ryukishin

Via Ariberto 1, 20123 Milano, Italia
+39 02 8940 8866
http://www.ryukishin.it/

Banki Ramen

Via Dei Banchi 14 Rosso, 50123, Firenze, Italia
+39 055 213776

Waraku

Via Prenestina 321/A, 00177 Roma, Italia
+39 06 2170 2358
https://www.facebook.com/Waraku-192626757583758/

 [:ja]

Ramen: “The emperor” of Japanese cuisine.

Photo credits: narutonoodle.com/

Until a few years ago, for ethnic cuisine enthusiasts, going to a Japanese restaurant strictly referred to taste Sushi: a dish made of raw fish and rice.

This dish, with its colorful and evocative shapes, winks at the most fashionable diners (but not just them!), who have the opportunity to taste "first with their eyes than with their mouth".  But now another famous dish in Japan has finally made its way to our tables, with many people going crazy about it.

We are talking about Ramen (ラーメン,拉麺 rāmen), perhaps the real representative dish of the country, and so famous throughout Japan that each region boasts a different way to prepare it. Different region, different recipe. Let’s taste them all then...

A soup with many ingredients: Chinese noodles, pork, Nori (海苔) or dried seaweed, boiled eggs, and the kamaboko. Mainly known as surimi. Its most famous form, the spiral one, is called Naruto (like the manga character of the same name whose name derives from this ingredient). It can have fish or meat broth, various garnishes and different ways to flavor it, with sesame seeds or pepper for example, miso or soy sauce.

Story of a Soup

Photo credits: travelcaffeine.com

Although it is unclear when the spread of this plate began in Japan, the origin is Chinese as one of its main ingredients are the Chinese mian or Chinese wheat noodles. But we must say that only in recent years there has been a revival in China, as ramen is no longer considered a traditional dish but a Japanese imported product. In China, they are called rìshì lāmiàn or "Japanese style Lamian".

Ramen has always been a dish to be enjoyed outside and at the beginning of the 20th century there were numerous kiosks with Chinese handlers. Then, after the Second World War, Japanese soldiers returning from China, where they had learned this culinary tradition, opened several restaurants across the country. From that point on, there has been an evolution that led to ramen as we know it today.

It is so appreciated that in 1994 the Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum entirely dedicated to this delicacy was opened in Yokohama .

‘Company’ Ramen.

Photo credits: jpninfo.com

As previously mentioned, in the past it was not so strange to taste ramen bowls in street stalls, which are still popular today, though not so very widespread. This is because ramen is also considered a street food to be enjoyed in traditional Yatais or stalls. On the other hand, the best restaurants are the Ramen-ya with just a few seats at the counter and at the tables as well, but with the purpose of eating ramen only. And it is not unusual to find ramen in amusement parks or in karaoke's menus. It may also happen that after work colleagues stop by an Izakaya, a pub with the formula Nomihodai "all you can drink" - Tabehodai "all you can eat". Here, with a limit of three hours, diners can enjoy ramen together with liquor and other foods with fixed-price menu.

Honorable mention and regional variants

Photo credits: zerochan.net

Although the classic recipe is common throughout Japan there are always innovative variants.

Here we have to mention the Blue Ramen, of a beautiful and brilliant color, and we want to specifie this, it is completely natural! But this is an extreme innovation.

“Traditional” regional variants are:

  • Tokyo variant, with thick noodles, chicken and soy broth, garnished with bamboo shoots, shallots, sliced pork, seaweed, spinach, an egg and a little bit of Dashi. We recommend you try shops in Ikebukuro, Ogikubo and Ebisu wards.
  • Sapporo is famous for the "winter" version, sometimes garnished with seafood, butter, pork, corn and bean sprouts.
  • Yokohama has the le-kei , coddled eggs for which each customer can choose the desired softness and then break it so to flavor the broth, also adding onion, pork, spinach and seaweed.
  • Kitakata with its thick but flat noodles served with pork broth.
  • Hakata and its broth made of pork bones, thin noodles, ginger, vegetables, mustard and sesame seeds.

If reading this article made you really hungry we want to recommend some places where you can taste ramen in Italy:

Nozomi

Via Pietro Calvi 2, 20129 Milano, Italia
+39 02 7602 3197
http://www.nozomi.milano.it/

Casa Ramen

Via Porro Lambertenghi 25, Milano, Italia
+39 02 3944 4560
https://www.facebook.com/casaramen

Zarà Ramen

Via Solferino, 48, 20121 Milano, Italia
+39 02 3679 9000
https://www.facebook.com/zazaramen/

Mi-Ramen Bistro

Viale col di lana, 15 | Viale Col Di Lana, 15, 20136, Milano
+39 339 232 2656
http://mi-ramenbistro.it/

Osaka

Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi 68, 20121 Milano, Italia
+39 02 2906 0678
http://www.milanoosaka.com/

Ryukishin

Via Ariberto 1, 20123 Milano, Italia
+39 02 8940 8866
http://www.ryukishin.it/

Banki Ramen

Via Dei Banchi 14 Rosso, 50123, Firenze, Italia
+39 055 213776

Waraku

Via Prenestina 321/A, 00177 Roma, Italia
+39 06 2170 2358
https://www.facebook.com/Waraku-192626757583758/

 [:]


Japanese Folklore: The Ring

[:it]

Ringu: La cassetta maledetta

Photo credits: Movieweb.com

The Ring è il fortunato horror statunitense con protagonista Naomi Watson che nel 2002 infestò i cinema di tutto il mondo. Incassando più di 250 milioni di dollari al botteghino ha ridato vita ad un genere ormai stantio con nuovi spunti per procurare brividi agli spettatori più temerari. Ha avuto anche un sequel, The Ring 2, uscito nel 2005, ed è da poco arrivato sugli schermi The Ring 3 a distanza di quindici anni dalla pellicola originale.

Samara Morgan è una bambina dai lunghi capelli corvini e la pelle nivea, e dalla descrizione potrebbe sembrare una candida Biancaneve. Ma la realtà è ben diversa. Con la sua frase celebre “Tra sette giorni morirai” è un fantasma che conduce alla morte, grazie ad un cerchio senza fine, chiunque veda la sua casetta maledetta.

Samara oggigiorno è tra i “cattivi” per antonomasia del genere Horror americano (come Jason di Venerdì 13, o Freddy Krueger di Nightmare con la sua natura soprannaturale e demoniaca). E diciamolo, è anche una delle possibili maschere di Halloween.

Photo credits: flickr.com

Ma la sua nascita non è americana bensì giapponese, nata dalla penna dello scrittore Koji Suzuki autore dell’omonimo romanzo Ring ( リング Ringu). Suzuki è autore anche di Spiral, uno dei sequel di The Ring, e di Dark Water che si guadagnò un film di cui in America venne prodotto il remake. La protagonista è qui Jennifer Connelly, e anche questo è un Horror di indubbio terrore che però non ha eguagliato la fama di The Ring.

Il remake Americano di The Ring non è molto diverso dal soggetto originale(almeno per i primi film è così). La protagonista è in entrambi una giornalista che ricerca il mistero delle inspiegabili morti dovute alla visione della cassetta maledetta. Purtroppo la donna finirà per portare con sé in questa spirale la propria famiglia in una corsa disperata per salvarsi. Ma il fantasma non è più una inquietante bambina ma una giovane donna.

Sadako 貞子

Photo credits: Movieclips.com

Sadako è il fantasma di una diciannovenne con lunghi capelli corvini che le coprono completamente il volto e che uscendo dal televisore porta il malcapitato ad una violenta morte.

Questo fantasma è in realtà una creatura molto complessa, come tutti i fantasmi Giapponesi, la cui crudeltà non è dettata altro che dalla vendetta. E purtroppo, quando la missione di vendicarsi di chi gli ha fatto male nella loro vita umana si conclude, l’odio ormai ha preso il sopravvento. Ogni possibile redenzione è perduta.

Sadako Yamamura era il suo nome umano e in tutti i film abbiamo una visione della sua storia e sappiamo qualcosa del suo personaggio. Ma è nel prequel della prima saga, The Ringu 0: Birthday, che abbiamo una visione completa della sua vita terrena.

Photo credits: anythinghorror.wordpress.com

Prima di diventare il fantasma senza pace che caratterizza tutto il racconto Sadako nasce da un rapporto proibito. Di padre ignoto, si vocifera fosse un demone, sua madre era una sacerdotessa devota alle arti nere. Sin dall’infanzia viene perseguitata dalle voci secondo cui la vicinanza con lei porti sciagura e morte perché dotata di enormi ma oscuri poteri. Potrebbe avere un lieve spiraglio di luce in una vita tormentata quando ormai adolescente si trasferisce a Tokyo con il professor Ikuma. Ex amante della madre, il professore tratterà la giovane come una figlia che arrivata all’età adulta si iscrive in una compagnia teatrale. Qui, una serie di tragici avvenimenti la porterà a diventare attrice protagonista, ma con questo anche all’ascesa della parte maligna dentro di lei.

Si scoprirà infatti che in lei vivono due entità, la sua parte umana e buona, e la parte demoniaca dall’aspetto di una bambina. E saranno le vessazioni e la morte della sua parte buona, uccisa dai suoi colleghi, che faranno prevalere il lato demoniaco, e scateneranno la serie di fatali avvenimenti conseguenti.

Photo credits: noset.com

Ikuma cercherà di uccidere anche la Sadako malvagia buttandola in un pozzo e sigillandolo, ma l’entità sopravvive alla caduta pur restando imprigionata. Qui il demone diventa sempre più forte concretizzando alla fine il suo odio nella videocassetta maledetta che in sette giorni conduce alla morte chiunque la guardi.

Ma ciò nonostante non si può non nutrire compassione per lei, essere travagliato. Nell’ultimo attimo di umana lucidità, prima che la sua parte demoniaca prenda il sopravvento, ricorda Toyama l’unico ragazzo che abbia mai amato.

I film hanno una sostanziale differenza rispetto al libro di Koji Suzuki per quanto riguarda la storia del personaggio. La giovane ha infatti una vita ben più travagliata e molto più complessa, che si conclude con un destino fatale.

Banchō Sarayashiki 番町皿屋敷

Photo credits: Wikipedia

Il personaggio creato da Koji Suzuki, come molti altri del cinema horror giapponese moderno, prende spunto da una antica leggenda.

Parliamo della storia di Okiku e i nove piatti. Molto spesso anche il teatro Kabuki ne ha preso spunto per le sue rappresentazioni e ve ne sono diverse versioni.

In tutte la protagonista è Okiku, una bella e giovane serva che lavora per la famiglia di Aoyama Tessan un samurai innamorato di lei. Innumerevoli volte la ragazza rifiuta le avance del samurai che per farla cedere alla passione le fa credere di aver perso un piatto di finissima porcellana di un servizio da dieci. Okiku conta e riconta i piatti ma il decimo non salta fuori. La povera piange disperata perché sa che la pena che la attende è severa ma il samurai la rassicura dicendo che in cambio del suo amore non subirà punizioni. Okiku rifiuta è il samurai offuscato da un raptus di rabbia la spinge in un pozzo facendola morire. Okiku torna come fantasma per tormentare il suo assassino continuando senza sosta a contare fino a nove e poi iniziare a piangere. Solo un monaco esorcista riesce a liberare lo spirito durante la sua ennesima apparizione notturna. Dopo averla fatta contare fino a nove il monaco urla DIECI! cosi facendo libera Okiku ora pronta ad andare in paradiso.

Photo credits: Wikipedia

Ci sono, come già detto, diverse varianti di questa leggenda, tutte più o meno simili. In una la storia si svolge al castello Himeji e in alcune Okiku muore per un complotto di corte, in altre perché il suo amante, lo shogun, la uccide per aver rotto volontariamente il decimo piatto.

In ogni versione comunque si è mossi a compassione per questo personaggio, sicuramente oscuro ma allo stesso tempo infelice.[:en]

Ringu: The cursed tape

Photo credits: Movieweb.com

The Ring is the fortunate American horror movie with Naomi Watson in the role of the protagonist that in 2002 haunted cinemas all around the world. Earning more than $250 million dollars at the box-office it revived a suffering genre giving the bravest spectators shivers. The movie had a sequel, The Ring 2 out in 2005, and The Ring 3 recently came out, fifteen years after the original movie.

Samara Morgan is a little girl with long raven hair and snow-white skin, and from this description she might appear like a pure Snow White. But reality is quite different. With her famous words “You will die in seven days” she is a ghost that brings to death all those who watch her cursed tape thanks to an infinite ring.

Nowadays, Samara is among the ultimate ‘villains’ of the American horror genre (together with Jason from Friday the 13th, or Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street with his supernatural and demoniac nature). And we might as well say she is one of the many possible Halloween masks.

Photo credits: flickr.com

However her birth is not American but Japanese, as she was born from the pen of the writer Koji Suzuki author of the novel of the same title Ring ( リング Ringu). Suzuki is also the author of Spiral, one of the sequels of The Ring, and Dark Water which gained a movie and an American remake. Here the protagonist is Jennifer Connelly and it's undoubtedly a terrifying movie, yet unable to reach the fame of The Ring.

The American Remake of The Ring in not so different from the original subject (This is true at least for the first movies). In both films the protagonist is a journalist that is trying to solve the mystery behind the inexplicable deaths caused by the viewing of a cursed videotape. The woman will end up involving her family in this spiral, in a desperate run for their lives. But the ghost is not that of a disturbing child now, but that of a young woman.

Sadako 貞子

Photo credits: Movieclips.com

Sadako is the ghost of a nineteenth years old girls with long hair that cover her face completely and that coming out of the television brings the unfortunate person to a violent death.

This ghost is in reality a very complex creature, like all Japanese ghosts, as their cruelty is driven by nothing but revenge. Unfortunately, when the mission of seeking vengeance from those who had hurt them in their human life is accomplished, hatred has already taken over. Every possibility of redemption gone.

Sadako Yamamura was her human name and in each movie we have an insight into her story discovering something about her character. But it's in the prequel of the first story-line, The Ringu 0:Birthday, that we have a complete vision of her human life.

Photo credits: anythinghorror.wordpress.com

Before she became the restless ghost that characterizes the whole story, Sadako was born from a forbidden intercourse. Her father unknown, he was said to be a demon, her mother was a priestess devoted to dark arts. Since her childhood she was harassed by voices saying that being close to her brought misfortune and death because of her enormous but dark powers. She could have had a little light of hope in a tormented life when she moves to Tokyo with professor Ikuma. The professor, her mother’s ex-lover, treats Sadako as his own daughter and reached adulthood she joins a theater company. Here, due to a series of tragic events she becomes leading actress, but this also led to the rise of her evil part.

In fact, we will find out that there are two entities inside her, the human part that is good, and the demoniac part with the appearance of a child. The abuses she suffers and the death of her good part by the hands of her colleagues will bring out her demoniac side, with the consequent series of tragic events.

Photo credits: noset.com

Ikuma will try to kill the evil Sadako too, trowing her in a well and sealing it, but the entity survives the fall even if it is now imprisoned. Inside the well the demon will grow stronger and stronger until its hatred takes concrete form in the cursed video tape that in seven days leads to death whoever watches it.

But in spite of all this we can’t help but pity here, miserable soul. In her last moment of human lucidity, before her demoniac side takes over, she remembers of Toyama the only man she had ever loved.

The movies have a substantial differences from Koji Suzuki’s books regarding the story of this character as the young girl has an even more tormented and complicated life, ending with her fatal death.

Banchō Sarayashiki 番町皿屋敷

Photo credits: Wikipedia

The character created by Koji Suzuki, like many other of the Japanese modern horror genre, takes a cue from an old legend.

We are speaking about the story of Okiku and the nine plates. The Kabuki theater has often used this legend for its representations and there are many versions of it.

The protagonist is always Okiku a young and beautiful servant that works for the family of a samurai, Aoyama Tessan, that is in love with her. Countless times the girl refuses the samurai’s approaches, so to induce her in temptation he makes her believe she had lost a precious porcelain plate part of a set of ten. The poor girl desperately cries because she knows that the punishment will be severe, but the samurai comforts her saying that in exchange for her love she won’t be punished. Okiku still refuses him and the samurai blinded by rage pushes the girl into a well killing her.

Okiku comes back as a ghost to torment her assassin and keeps counting to nine and then start crying. Only a monk and exorcist is able to purify her spirit during one of her appearance. After he had her count to 9 the monk screams TEN!,in this way the spirit is free and ready to go to heaven.

Photo credits: Wikipedia

As we said, there are many variations to this story, more or less similar to each other. In one of them the story takes place in the Himeji castle where Okiku dies because of a conspiracy within the court, or because the shogun, her lover, kills her because she voluntarily breaks the tenth plate.

Anyway, in every version we are brought to pity this character, surely obscure but tormented at the same time.[:ja]

Ringu: The cursed tape

Photo credits: Movieweb.com

The Ring is the fortunate American horror movie with Naomi Watson in the role of the protagonist that in 2002 haunted cinemas all around the world. Earning more than $250 million dollars at the box-office it revived a suffering genre giving the bravest spectators shivers. The movie had a sequel, The Ring 2 out in 2005, and The Ring 3 recently came out, fifteen years after the original movie.

Samara Morgan is a little girl with long raven hair and snow-white skin, and from this description she might appear like a pure Snow White. But reality is quite different. With her famous words “You will die in seven days” she is a ghost that brings to death all those who watch her cursed tape thanks to an infinite ring.

Nowadays, Samara is among the ultimate ‘villains’ of the American horror genre (together with Jason from Friday the 13th, or Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street with his supernatural and demoniac nature). And we might as well say she is one of the many possible Halloween masks.

Photo credits: flickr.com

However her birth is not American but Japanese, as she was born from the pen of the writer Koji Suzuki author of the novel of the same title Ring ( リング Ringu). Suzuki is also the author of Spiral, one of the sequels of The Ring, and Dark Water which gained a movie and an American remake. Here the protagonist is Jennifer Connelly and it's undoubtedly a terrifying movie, yet unable to reach the fame of The Ring.

The American Remake of The Ring in not so different from the original subject (This is true at least for the first movies). In both films the protagonist is a journalist that is trying to solve the mystery behind the inexplicable deaths caused by the viewing of a cursed videotape. The woman will end up involving her family in this spiral, in a desperate run for their lives. But the ghost is not that of a disturbing child now, but that of a young woman.

Sadako 貞子

Photo credits: Movieclips.com

Sadako is the ghost of a nineteenth years old girls with long hair that cover her face completely and that coming out of the television brings the unfortunate person to a violent death.

This ghost is in reality a very complex creature, like all Japanese ghosts, as their cruelty is driven by nothing but revenge. Unfortunately, when the mission of seeking vengeance from those who had hurt them in their human life is accomplished, hatred has already taken over. Every possibility of redemption gone.

Sadako Yamamura was her human name and in each movie we have an insight into her story discovering something about her character. But it's in the prequel of the first story-line, The Ringu 0:Birthday, that we have a complete vision of her human life.

Photo credits: anythinghorror.wordpress.com

Before she became the restless ghost that characterizes the whole story, Sadako was born from a forbidden intercourse. Her father unknown, he was said to be a demon, her mother was a priestess devoted to dark arts. Since her childhood she was harassed by voices saying that being close to her brought misfortune and death because of her enormous but dark powers. She could have had a little light of hope in a tormented life when she moves to Tokyo with professor Ikuma. The professor, her mother’s ex-lover, treats Sadako as his own daughter and reached adulthood she joins a theater company. Here, due to a series of tragic events she becomes leading actress, but this also led to the rise of her evil part.

In fact, we will find out that there are two entities inside her, the human part that is good, and the demoniac part with the appearance of a child. The abuses she suffers and the death of her good part by the hands of her colleagues will bring out her demoniac side, with the consequent series of tragic events.

Photo credits: noset.com

Ikuma will try to kill the evil Sadako too, trowing her in a well and sealing it, but the entity survives the fall even if it is now imprisoned. Inside the well the demon will grow stronger and stronger until its hatred takes concrete form in the cursed video tape that in seven days leads to death whoever watches it.

But in spite of all this we can’t help but pity here, miserable soul. In her last moment of human lucidity, before her demoniac side takes over, she remembers of Toyama the only man she had ever loved.

The movies have a substantial differences from Koji Suzuki’s books regarding the story of this character as the young girl has an even more tormented and complicated life, ending with her fatal death.

Banchō Sarayashiki 番町皿屋敷

Photo credits: Wikipedia

The character created by Koji Suzuki, like many other of the Japanese modern horror genre, takes a cue from an old legend.

We are speaking about the story of Okiku and the nine plates. The Kabuki theater has often used this legend for its representations and there are many versions of it.

The protagonist is always Okiku a young and beautiful servant that works for the family of a samurai, Aoyama Tessan, that is in love with her. Countless times the girl refuses the samurai’s approaches, so to induce her in temptation he makes her believe she had lost a precious porcelain plate part of a set of ten. The poor girl desperately cries because she knows that the punishment will be severe, but the samurai comforts her saying that in exchange for her love she won’t be punished. Okiku still refuses him and the samurai blinded by rage pushes the girl into a well killing her.

Okiku comes back as a ghost to torment her assassin and keeps counting to nine and then start crying. Only a monk and exorcist is able to purify her spirit during one of her appearance. After he had her count to 9 the monk screams TEN!,in this way the spirit is free and ready to go to heaven.

Photo credits: Wikipedia

As we said, there are many variations to this story, more or less similar to each other. In one of them the story takes place in the Himeji castle where Okiku dies because of a conspiracy within the court, or because the shogun, her lover, kills her because she voluntarily breaks the tenth plate.

Anyway, in every version we are brought to pity this character, surely obscure but tormented at the same time.[:]


Japanese Culture: Lolita fashion

[:it]

Lolita fashion - (ロリータ・ファッション Rorīta fasshon)

photo credit: mangakas-onfire.blogspot.it

Molto probabilmente chi ha una vena molto romantica, sospesa in un tempo indefinito nel passato, vorrebbe apparire come una meravigliosa bambola di porcellana. Magari vorrebbe avere abiti talmente vezzosi da far invidia a Maria Antonietta e partecipare a Tea Party da favola.

Tutto questo è possibile farlo grazie al fenomeno Lolita, una delle più famose ed elaborate mode Giapponesi. Questa è un misto tra Barocco e stile Vittoriano , molto amata in patria ma conosciuta ormai in tutto il mondo.
Il nome evoca ma non celebra il romanzo di Vladimir Vladimirovič Nabokov, ma questa moda non è un tributo ad una giovane e provocante sensualità. Infatti questa rappresenta la bellezza che cela l’ingenuità, l’eleganza nel celare più che nello scoprire. In più, il nome Lolita è un Wasei-eigo, termine che include tutte quelle parole anglofone che in lingua originale hanno un significato completamente diverso o sono addirittura inesistenti, ma sono entrate nel dizionario Giapponese.

photo credit: honoluluacademy.org

Non si sa precisamente quando sia nato questo stile d’abbigliamento. Alcuni sostengono già dalla fine degli anni 70, benché effettivamente è diventato celebre verso la fine degli anni novanta. Questa moda è stata fortemente influenzata dal genere musicale Visual Kei. E non a caso, perchè questo tipo di musica è fortemente teatrale non solo nelle note ma anche nell’abbigliamento delle band stesse.

Esemplari sono i MALICE MIZER anche grazie a Mana co-fondatore e leader della band (chiamato anche Mana-sama dai suoi fans). Mana ha influenzata particolarmente la moda lolita coniando il termine “Gothic Lolita” e firmando il suo personale brand Moi-même-Moitié.

photo credit: pinterest

Gothic Lolita e Sweet Lolita

photo credit: my-lolita-dress.com

Lo stile Lolita e diviso in due correnti ben distinte (a loro volta divise in molteplici sottostili): il Gothic Lolita forse il più celebre, e lo Sweet Lolita.

GothLoli (ゴスロリ gosu rori): Il Gothic Lolita come detto è il genere più conosciuto ma questo nome viene erroneamente attribuito a tutta la moda. Colore dominante è il nero e né si celebrano tutte le più possibili sfumature. Non vengo però disdegnati nemmeno i colori scuri come il rosso bordeaux, il blu scuro, il viola o il verde smeraldo. Questi colori sono spesso utilizzati nelle stoffe come nel make-up con un pesante e drammatico smokey eyes e il rossetto che risalta su una cipria bianca. Di fatto è l’unica eccezione nella moda Lolita dove si utilizza questo tipo di cipria, perché negli altri stili si preferisce un look più naturale. I fitti ricami degli abiti si ispirano a macabri racconti con i loro teschi; o si ispirano a tematiche religiose con croci (appunto gotiche) presenti spesso anche nei gioielli. Bare usate come piccole borse e ombrellini neri di pizzo ne rifiniscono l’outfit.

photo credit: pinterest

L’Aristocrat è uno dei numerosi sottogeneri del Gothloli ma più maturo e sobrio, come dice il termine stesso, volutamente “aristocratico” e molto elegante.
Dato che la moda Gothic Lolita si basa sullo stille Vittoriano, che come ricordiamo è l’emblema del gotico e del raffinato, c’è da notare la similitudine con lo stile più occidentale detto steampunk.

Ama-loli (甘ロリ ama rori): Lo Sweet Lolita invece predilige colori pastello preferibilmente il rosa. E lo stesso vale per il makeup qui meno drammatico, quasi più naturale. Resta comunque elaborato, enfatizzando gli occhi con toni rosati e ciglia finte per uno sguardo da bambola, così come nuance tenue per le labbra. Questo stile come il precedente prende spunto dall’epoca Vittoriana ma è più influenzato dal Rococò francese. È uno stile Lolita più “infantile”, e qui la fanno da padroni fiocchi e nastrini. Le trame dei vestiti sono ispirate al mondo delle favole, unicorni e piccole miniature di pasticcini francesi come i Macaron. Sono gioielli da sfoggiare assieme a zaini a forma di orsetti o coniglietti e l’eroina a cui ispirarsi è “Alice nel paese delle meraviglie”.

photo credit: pinterest

Sottogeneri e il Principe

Il mondo lolita è davvero molto vario ed elaborato, esistono generi per tutti i gusti. Il Wa Lolita ad esempio è un mix tra i vestititi lolita e le stoffe dei Kimono tradizionali, con Obi ad adornare la vita e i classici sandali Geta come calzature; Il Qi Lolita che si riffa allo stille Cinese dove al posto dei Kimono si modificano i qípáo; il Sailor Lolita che si basa sulla classica divisa scolastica con la sua variante più elaborata; o ancora il Pirate Lolita.
E se si pensa che lo stile lolita sia solo “zucchero e cannella” abbiamo anche il Guro Lolita. Qui le lolita si ispirano all’horror con sangue finto che risalta su candidi abiti bianchi per dare l’idea di essere bambole di porcellana in frantumi.

photo credit: pinterest

Ma ci sono davvero molti altri esempi da citare. Una nota particolare bisogna farla però per lo stille Ōji (王子 principe) per chi crede erroneamente che la moda lolita sia solo femminile. Lo stile Principe si basa sui modelli di vestiti usati dai giovani Dandy Vittoriani e qui vediamo la comparsa di pantaloncini corti e calze al ginocchio. Questo però non significa sia solo maschile. Se una ragazza si affacciasse al mondo lolita ma volesse avere uno stile più androgino questo tipo di abbigliamento fa per lei.

I must have, i vari Brand, anime e l’influenza fuori dal Giappone

Esistono alcuni oggetti di culto che ogni Lolita che si rispetti possiede nel proprio guardaroba: le Cutsew, camicie con enormi fiocchi e maniche a sbuffo o le Petticoat ovvero sottovesti per ampliare i vestiti e le gonne. Per chi si domanda invece come fanno le Lolita ad avere dei capelli tanto meravigliosi e folti … beh, sappiate che sono parrucche. Le lolite le decorano poi con enormi fiocchi e i Bonnet, i classici cappelli di una volta, e le scarpe iconiche sono modello Mary Jane. Queste, anche se nate all’inizio del secolo scorso per i bambini ormai sono le scarpe che ogni lolita che si rispetti indossa.

photo credit: pinterest

Oltre il brand di Mana-sama, altri molto conosciuti sono Angelic Pretty, e Baby, The Stars Shine Bright quest’ultima con boutique non solo a Tokyo ma anche a Parigi e San Francisco. Bisogna ammettere che la moda lolita è molto dispendiosa, ma esistono Indie brand belli quanto le marche più famose ma sicuramente meno dispendiose. Ed in Giappone è possibile acquistare abiti lolita anche nei grandi magazzini e volendo ci sono siti web appositi per comprare abiti lolita di seconda o terza mano. In altre parole è diventata una moda per più tasche.
Il fenomeno lolita ha trovato la sua strada anche in molti anime di successo. Esemplari sono Paradise Kiss di Ai Yazawa meglio nota per essere la mamma di Nana; Princess Princess anime dove la moda lolita e vista tramite gli occhi di tre ragazzi; Le Portrait de Petit Cossette, versione femminile e Noir del ritratto di Dorian Gray; e Rozen Maiden dove protagoniste sono appunto delle bellissime bambole.

Come già detto, le Lolita non sono famose solo in madre patria, ma dall’America a tutta l’Europa si possono incontrare piccole comunità di Lolita. Queste si riuniscono in raffinate Tea House per celebrare il Tè delle cinque con la classe e lo stile che le differenzia da qualsiasi altra moda.[:en]

Lolita fashion - (ロリータ・ファッション Rorīta fasshon)

photo credit: mangakas-onfire.blogspot.it

Probably, those who have a romantic vein suspended in an undefined past, would like to be like a beautiful porcelain doll. Maybe they would like to have lovely dresses that would rival those of Marie Antoinette ad go to a dreamy Tea Party.

All this things are possible thanks to the Lolita phenomenon, one of the most famous and sophisticated Japanese trends. As a mix between Baroque and Victorian style, it is really appreciated in its home-country but is also known all around the world.

The name refers to, although it doesn’t celebrate, Vladimir Vladimirovič Nabokov’s novel, but this trend is not a tribute to a young and provocative sensuality. In fact, it represents beauty that hides innocence, the elegance in hiding more than showing. Moreover, the name ‘Lolita’ is a Wasei-eigo, a word that includes all those anglophone words that in their original language have a completely different meaning or don’t even exist, but that are part of the Japanese vocabulary.

photo credit: honoluluacademy.org

It’s not certain when this type of clothing was created. Some think in late 70’s, although it is true that it become popular by the end of the 90’s. This trend was greatly influenced by the musical genre of Visual Kei. It is no coincidence that this type of music is really theatrical not only in its sound but also in band members’ dresses too.

Exemplary are MALICE MIZERE partly thanks to their co-founder and leader of the band Mana (also called Mana-sama by his fans). In particular Mana influenced the “Gothic Lolita” also signing his own brand Moi-même-Moitié.

photo credit: pinterest

Gothic Lolita and Sweet Lolita

photo credit: my-lolita-dress.com

The Lolita Style is divided into two distinctive trends (also divided into many sub-styles) : The Gothic Lolita, maybe the most famous one, and the Sweet Lolita.

The GothLoli (ゴスロリ gosu rori): The Gothic Lolita as we said is probably the most famous type but its name is erroneously attributed to the whole genre. Black is the dominant color celebrated in all its possible shades. But it doesn’t disdain other dark colors like burgundy, dark blue, violet, and emerald green. These colors are often used in both cloth and make-up with heavy and dramatic smokey eyes and lipstick that stand out on the white powder. In fact, this is the only exception to the Lolita style in which this type of powder is used because in all the other styles a more natural look is preferred. The dense embroideries of the clothes are inspired by grim stories with their skulls; or religious themes with crosses (gothic crosses) used in jewelry too. Coffins are used as small purses and small black lacy umbrellas refine the outfit.

photo credit: pinterest

The Aristocrat Style is one of the many sub-genres of the Gothloli but is more mature and somber, as its name suggests, purposely more “aristocrat” and very elegant.

Since the Gothic Lolita style is based on the Victorian Style, that as we remember is emblematic of the Gothic and the refined, we have to take notice of the similarity with the western steam-punk.

Ama-loli (甘ロリ ama rori) : the Sweet Lolita on the other hand prefers pastel colors and especially pink. The same goes with make-up here less dramatic, almost more natural. Nevertheless, it still remains an elaborate style, especially emphatic on the eyes with light shades of pink and fake eyelashes for doll-like eyes, as well as light nuances for the lips. This style too is inspired by the Victorian Age but even more it is influenced by French Rococo. This is a more ‘child-like’ lolita style, were ribbons and bows are dominant. The embroidery are inspired by the world of fairy tales, unicorns and small miniature french sweets like Macaron. They are jewels to show off together with small rucksacks with the shape of small bears or rabbits and the inspiring heroine is “Alice in wonderland”.

photo credit: pinterest

Sub-genres and the Prince

The world of lolitas is various and elaborated, there are genres to suit every taste. The Wa Lolita is a mix between lolita clothes and traditional kimonos, with a Obi around the waist and the classic Geta as shoes; The Qi Lolita, that comes back to the Chinese style where instead of kimonos it modifies Chinese qípáo; The Sailor Lolita is based on the classic sailor uniform with its more elaborated variation; or the Pirate Lolita.

And if you think that the Lolita style is all “Sugar and cinnamon” we also have the Guro Lolita. Here lolitas are inspired by the horror genre with fake blood standing out on pure-white dresses to give the idea of broken porcelain dolls.

photo credit: pinterest

But there are really a great number of examples we could speak about.
A particular note must be given to the Ōji (王子 prince) Style for all those that think that the lolita style is only a girl’s trend. The Prince style is based on models of clothes used by young Victorian Dandies, so here we have short trousers and knee socks. But this doesn’t mean it is a men-only style. If a girl would like to get close to the lolita world and wanted to have a more androgynous style this is the right choice for her.

Must-have, various Brands, animes and influence outside Japan.

There are some cult objects that every Lolita with this name must have in her wardrobe: the Cutsew, blouse with big blows and puff sleeves or the Petticoat, the undergarment used to give a larger shape to skirts and dresses.
For those who would like to know how can lolitas have such beautiful and thick hair… well you must know that it is a wig.
Lolitas embellish them with big ribbons and Bonnets too, the typical small hats used in the past, and this goes together with iconic shoes in a Mary Jane like style. Even if these shoes for kids come from the past century they are the shoes that every Lolita wears.

photo credit: pinterest

Aside from that of Mana-sama, other popular brands are Angelic Pretty, e Baby, The Stars Shine Bright, this last one with boutiques not only in Tokyo but in Paris and San Francisco too.
We must say that the lolita fashion is very expensive, but there are Indie brands
as beautiful as the most famous one that are certainly less expensive. And in Japan there’s the possibility to buy lolita clothes in department stores too, or there are dedicated web sites that sell second or third hand clothes. In other words it is a style open to everyone.

The Lolita phenomenon found its way to many successful animes too.
Some examples are Paradise Kiss by Ai Yazawa better known as the ‘mother’ of Nana; Princess Princess, where the lolita fashion is seen through the eyes of three boys; Le Portrait de Petit Cossette, female and Noir version of the Portrait of Dorian Gray; and Rozen Maiden too, where the protagonists are precisely beautiful dolls.

As we said, Lolitas are famous not only in Japan but we can meet a great number of small communities from America to Europe.
Lolitas gather together in refined Tea Houses to celebrate the 5 o’clock tea with the class and the style that distinguishes them from any other trend.[:ja]

Lolita fashion - (ロリータ・ファッション Rorīta fasshon)

photo credit: mangakas-onfire.blogspot.it

Probably, those who have a romantic vein suspended in an undefined past, would like to be like a beautiful porcelain doll. Maybe they would like to have lovely dresses that would rival those of Marie Antoinette ad go to a dreamy Tea Party.

All this things are possible thanks to the Lolita phenomenon, one of the most famous and sophisticated Japanese trends. As a mix between Baroque and Victorian style, it is really appreciated in its home-country but is also known all around the world.

The name refers to, although it doesn’t celebrate, Vladimir Vladimirovič Nabokov’s novel, but this trend is not a tribute to a young and provocative sensuality. In fact, it represents beauty that hides innocence, the elegance in hiding more than showing. Moreover, the name ‘Lolita’ is a Wasei-eigo, a word that includes all those anglophone words that in their original language have a completely different meaning or don’t even exist, but that are part of the Japanese vocabulary.

photo credit: honoluluacademy.org

It’s not certain when this type of clothing was created. Some think in late 70’s, although it is true that it become popular by the end of the 90’s. This trend was greatly influenced by the musical genre of Visual Kei. It is no coincidence that this type of music is really theatrical not only in its sound but also in band members’ dresses too.

Exemplary are MALICE MIZERE partly thanks to their co-founder and leader of the band Mana (also called Mana-sama by his fans). In particular Mana influenced the “Gothic Lolita” also signing his own brand Moi-même-Moitié.

photo credit: pinterest

Gothic Lolita and Sweet Lolita

photo credit: my-lolita-dress.com

The Lolita Style is divided into two distinctive trends (also divided into many sub-styles) : The Gothic Lolita, maybe the most famous one, and the Sweet Lolita.

The GothLoli (ゴスロリ gosu rori): The Gothic Lolita as we said is probably the most famous type but its name is erroneously attributed to the whole genre. Black is the dominant color celebrated in all its possible shades. But it doesn’t disdain other dark colors like burgundy, dark blue, violet, and emerald green. These colors are often used in both cloth and make-up with heavy and dramatic smokey eyes and lipstick that stand out on the white powder. In fact, this is the only exception to the Lolita style in which this type of powder is used because in all the other styles a more natural look is preferred. The dense embroideries of the clothes are inspired by grim stories with their skulls; or religious themes with crosses (gothic crosses) used in jewelry too. Coffins are used as small purses and small black lacy umbrellas refine the outfit.

photo credit: pinterest

The Aristocrat Style is one of the many sub-genres of the Gothloli but is more mature and somber, as its name suggests, purposely more “aristocrat” and very elegant.

Since the Gothic Lolita style is based on the Victorian Style, that as we remember is emblematic of the Gothic and the refined, we have to take notice of the similarity with the western steam-punk.

Ama-loli (甘ロリ ama rori) : the Sweet Lolita on the other hand prefers pastel colors and especially pink. The same goes with make-up here less dramatic, almost more natural. Nevertheless, it still remains an elaborate style, especially emphatic on the eyes with light shades of pink and fake eyelashes for doll-like eyes, as well as light nuances for the lips. This style too is inspired by the Victorian Age but even more it is influenced by French Rococo. This is a more ‘child-like’ lolita style, were ribbons and bows are dominant. The embroidery are inspired by the world of fairy tales, unicorns and small miniature french sweets like Macaron. They are jewels to show off together with small rucksacks with the shape of small bears or rabbits and the inspiring heroine is “Alice in wonderland”.

photo credit: pinterest

Sub-genres and the Prince

The world of lolitas is various and elaborated, there are genres to suit every taste. The Wa Lolita is a mix between lolita clothes and traditional kimonos, with a Obi around the waist and the classic Geta as shoes; The Qi Lolita, that comes back to the Chinese style where instead of kimonos it modifies Chinese qípáo; The Sailor Lolita is based on the classic sailor uniform with its more elaborated variation; or the Pirate Lolita.

And if you think that the Lolita style is all “Sugar and cinnamon” we also have the Guro Lolita. Here lolitas are inspired by the horror genre with fake blood standing out on pure-white dresses to give the idea of broken porcelain dolls.

photo credit: pinterest

But there are really a great number of examples we could speak about.
A particular note must be given to the Ōji (王子 prince) Style for all those that think that the lolita style is only a girl’s trend. The Prince style is based on models of clothes used by young Victorian Dandies, so here we have short trousers and knee socks. But this doesn’t mean it is a men-only style. If a girl would like to get close to the lolita world and wanted to have a more androgynous style this is the right choice for her.

Must-have, various Brands, animes and influence outside Japan.

There are some cult objects that every Lolita with this name must have in her wardrobe: the Cutsew, blouse with big blows and puff sleeves or the Petticoat, the undergarment used to give a larger shape to skirts and dresses.
For those who would like to know how can lolitas have such beautiful and thick hair… well you must know that it is a wig.
Lolitas embellish them with big ribbons and Bonnets too, the typical small hats used in the past, and this goes together with iconic shoes in a Mary Jane like style. Even if these shoes for kids come from the past century they are the shoes that every Lolita wears.

photo credit: pinterest

Aside from that of Mana-sama, other popular brands are Angelic Pretty, e Baby, The Stars Shine Bright, this last one with boutiques not only in Tokyo but in Paris and San Francisco too.
We must say that the lolita fashion is very expensive, but there are Indie brands
as beautiful as the most famous one that are certainly less expensive. And in Japan there’s the possibility to buy lolita clothes in department stores too, or there are dedicated web sites that sell second or third hand clothes. In other words it is a style open to everyone.

The Lolita phenomenon found its way to many successful animes too.
Some examples are Paradise Kiss by Ai Yazawa better known as the ‘mother’ of Nana; Princess Princess, where the lolita fashion is seen through the eyes of three boys; Le Portrait de Petit Cossette, female and Noir version of the Portrait of Dorian Gray; and Rozen Maiden too, where the protagonists are precisely beautiful dolls.

As we said, Lolitas are famous not only in Japan but we can meet a great number of small communities from America to Europe.
Lolitas gather together in refined Tea Houses to celebrate the 5 o’clock tea with the class and the style that distinguishes them from any other trend.[:]


kappa

Japanese Folklore: Kappa

[:it]

Kappa ovvero “Il figlio del fiume”

Il Kappa è una simpatica chimera, non si sa bene quale sia il suo aspetto, a tratti umanoide, dalle fattezze magari scimmiesche. Il più delle volte però ha il volto di una tartaruga con un becco giallo. Dalle tartarughe ha preso in prestito anche il guscio e una pelle squamosa dai colori acquatici ma in prevalenza di un bel verde alga. Sulla testa porta una foglia di loto contenete dell’acqua ed è da questa che trae i suoi poteri. Lui è il Kappa (河童) o se volete chiamarlo Kawatarō ( "ragazzo di fiume") o Kawako ("figlio del fiume"), ne sarà felice.

kappa

Nato come monito per spaventare i bambini dai pericoli che le acque profonde nascondono, è uno Suijin (水神 "dei acquatici") dello shintoismo. Comunemente però la sua figura è uno dei tanti Yōkai (demoni o fantasmi) del folklore Nipponico.

Per quanto il suo aspetto grottesco può suscitare una certa ironia, non è un tipo con cui scherzare perché è un essere dispettoso e malizioso. Nell’antichità si diceva rapisse i bambini perché ne era ghiotto ma non disdegnava nemmeno le viscere di umano adulto. E’ sempre pronto a fare scherzi di cattivo gusto come alzare le gonne dei kimono delle giovani donne al rubare il raccolto dei contadini.

kappa

Anche se dispettoso e magari pericoloso, un buon modo per salvarsi da lui sono le formalità. Ebbene sì, è molto educato anche se pare difficile da credere. Ama le buone maniere e se gli farete fare un profondo inchino verserà la sua acqua magica e lui perderà le energie. È anche un essere pronto a mantenere la parola data e a elargire ricompense.
Se ne trovate uno in difficoltà aiutatelo e versate acqua sulla sua foglia, sarà vostro debitore a vita! Magari volete averlo come amico? Beh, Io non vi ho detto nulla ma i Kappa amano i Cetrioli! Ebbene sì! Offrite ad un Kappa queste fresche verdure e vi donerà la sua amicizia, e chi non vorrebbe un Kappa come amico ai nostri giorni?

Il Kappa vive nei laghi o negli stagni profondi e per questo è un ottimo nuotatore. Ma qui c’è proprio da dire: “kappa no kawa nagare”, "un kappa che si fa portar via dalla corrente" , perché anche i più bravi sbagliano, non demordiamo quindi!

kappa

Oggigiorno i Kappa sono meno spaventosi, per certi versi più “Kawaii”e innumerevoli anime ne hanno preso spunto. In “Marmalade boy” i due protagonisti Miki e Yu hanno un Kappa di Pelushe come mascotte; diversi Pokemon sono ispirati a questa figura e “Kappa no Coo to Natsuyasumi” ( Un’estate con coo) parla dell’amicizia tra un bambino dei giorni nostri ed un Kappa alla ricerca di suoi simili.

Anche J.K. Rowling ha parlato di queste creature mitologiche nel suo libro “Animali fantastici: dove trovarli”. E se siete interessati a trovare un vero Kappa, o quanto meno ciò che ne rimane, vorrete recarvi ad Asakusa distretto di Tokyo. All’interno del tempio buddista Sogen-ji se ne possono venerare i resti.

photo credit: manganews, wikipediafacebook.com/TeaFoxIllustrations
[:en]

Kappa or “Son of the river”

A Kappa is a funny chimera, its true appearance is still unknown, a bit human a bit monkey-like. But most of the times it is depicted with the face of a tortoise with a yellow beak. From tortoises it borrowed the shell and the scaly skin with its watery colors, usually of a nice seaweed-green. On the head it carries a lotus leaf containing water, and it is from this water that it draws its powers. This is the Kappa (河童) or, if you like, you could call it Kawatarō ( "boy of the river") or Kawako ("son of the river"), you will make him happy.

kappa

Born as a warning to scare kids away from the dangers lurking into deep waters, they are Shintoist Suijin (水神 "water god"). However, generally speaking these mythological figures are one of the many Yōkai (demons or phantoms) of the Nipponic folklore.

As much as its appearance may arouse your mockery, the Kappa is not the type to make fun of because it is a mischievous and naughty creature. In the past it was said that he abducted children because it is a glutton for them, but didn’t say no to adults bowels. They are always ready to do mischievous pranks from pulling the kimono of young girls to stealing the harvest of farmers.

kappa

Even if it is naughty and somewhat dangerous, formalities are a good way to be safe with it. That’s right, it is a very polite creature even if it seems hard to believe. The Kappa loves good manners and if you make him do a good, deep bow, it will spill its magical water and lose all its powers. The Kappa is also a creature always ready to stick to its word and to give rewards. If you find a Kappa in difficulty help it by pouring water on the leaf on its head, it will be indebted to you for life! Maybe you would like to have one of them as a friend? Well, I said nothing but Kappa love cucumbers! Yes! Offer this fresh vegetables to a Kappa and it will reward you with its friendship. And well, who wouldn’t like to have one as a friend nowadays?

Usually, they live in lakes and deep ponds and this is why they are skilled swimmers. But here we must say “kappa no kawa nagare”, "a kappa drowing in a river" , because even the most skilled make mistakes, so never give up!

kappa

Nowadays they are not as feared as in the past, they have become somewhat more “Kawaii” and a great number of animes take a cue from them. In Marmalade Boy the two main characters Miki and Yu have a Kappa plush as their mascot; different Pokemons were inspired to this creature and Kappa no Coo to Natsuyasumi (Summer days with Coo) is the story of the friendship between a kid of our days and a Kappa looking for its fellows.

Even J.K. Rowlong wrote about this mythological creature in her book Fantastic beasts: where to find them. And if you are interested in seeing a real one, or at least what is left of it, you would like to go to Asakusa, Tokyo district. In the Buddhist temple Sogen-ji you can worship its remains.

photo credit: manganews, wikipediafacebook.com/TeaFoxIllustrations
[:ja]

Kappa or “Son of the river”

A Kappa is a funny chimera, its true appearance is still unknown, a bit human a bit monkey-like. But most of the times it is depicted with the face of a tortoise with a yellow beak. From tortoises it borrowed the shell and the scaly skin with its watery colors, usually of a nice seaweed-green. On the head it carries a lotus leaf containing water, and it is from this water that it draws its powers. This is the Kappa (河童) or, if you like, you could call it Kawatarō ( "boy of the river") or Kawako ("son of the river"), you will make him happy.

kappa

Born as a warning to scare kids away from the dangers lurking into deep waters, they are Shintoist Suijin (水神 "water god"). However, generally speaking these mythological figures are one of the many Yōkai (demons or phantoms) of the Nipponic folklore.

As much as its appearance may arouse your mockery, the Kappa is not the type to make fun of because it is a mischievous and naughty creature. In the past it was said that he abducted children because it is a glutton for them, but didn’t say no to adults bowels. They are always ready to do mischievous pranks from pulling the kimono of young girls to stealing the harvest of farmers.

kappa

Even if it is naughty and somewhat dangerous, formalities are a good way to be safe with it. That’s right, it is a very polite creature even if it seems hard to believe. The Kappa loves good manners and if you make him do a good, deep bow, it will spill its magical water and lose all its powers. The Kappa is also a creature always ready to stick to its word and to give rewards. If you find a Kappa in difficulty help it by pouring water on the leaf on its head, it will be indebted to you for life! Maybe you would like to have one of them as a friend? Well, I said nothing but Kappa love cucumbers! Yes! Offer this fresh vegetables to a Kappa and it will reward you with its friendship. And well, who wouldn’t like to have one as a friend nowadays?

Usually, they live in lakes and deep ponds and this is why they are skilled swimmers. But here we must say “kappa no kawa nagare”, "a kappa drowing in a river" , because even the most skilled make mistakes, so never give up!

kappa

Nowadays they are not as feared as in the past, they have become somewhat more “Kawaii” and a great number of animes take a cue from them. In Marmalade Boy the two main characters Miki and Yu have a Kappa plush as their mascot; different Pokemons were inspired to this creature and Kappa no Coo to Natsuyasumi (Summer days with Coo) is the story of the friendship between a kid of our days and a Kappa looking for its fellows.

Even J.K. Rowlong wrote about this mythological creature in her book Fantastic beasts: where to find them. And if you are interested in seeing a real one, or at least what is left of it, you would like to go to Asakusa, Tokyo district. In the Buddhist temple Sogen-ji you can worship its remains.

photo credit: manganews, wikipediafacebook.com/TeaFoxIllustrations
[:]


Shingeki no Kyojin, manga, anime, japan italy bridge

Japanese Culture: Shingeki no Kyojin

[:it]

SHINGEKI NO KYOJIN – Il manga rivelazione degli ultimi anni

Questa volta parliano di Shingeki no Kyojin (進撃の巨人), meglio conosciuto in italia come "L'attacco dei giganti", vera e propria rivelazione di questi ultimi anni.
Per gli appassionati di anime e manga è diventata una serie shōnen action horror di culto. Ai meno appassionati basti sapere che ha in breve tempo sbaragliato tutte le classifiche giapponesi e mondiali, diventando uno degli anime più visti al mondo. Il manga è secondo per numero di vedite solo a One piece.

Per dare qualche cifra, parliamo di circa 2 milioni di copie vendute per volume, contro i circa 3 milioni di copie di One Piece (vendite giapponesi). La cifra è ancora più sbalorditiva se consideriamo che mentre One piece ha alle spalle anni di pubblicazioni (il primo volume uscì nel lontano agosto 1997). Il primo volume dell'Attacco dei giganti è uscito solo nel settembre 2009. Numeri da far girare la testa insomma che gli sono valsi, tra le altre cose, anche il prestigioso premio Kodansha come miglior manga shōnen, nel 2011.

Shingeki no Kyojin, manga, anime, japan italy bridge

La trama

Il manga è pubblicato da una delle maggiori case editrici giapponesi, la Kodansha. Al suo attivo ha 21 volumi fino ad ora e nasce dalla penna di Hajime Isayama, che ha ambientato la sua storia in una sorta di Medioevo alternativo.

Tutto ruota attorno al personaggio di Eren Jaegar che vive in un mondo in cui secoli prima l’umanità aveva rischiato lo sterminio totale. I pochi uomini rimasti sopravvivono in un complesso urbano organizzato all’interno di tre mura concentriche alte 50 metri. L’unica difesa tra l’uomo e il mondo esterno popolato da misteriose creature sono appunto i giganti. Queste creature, incredibilmente simili agli esseri umani ma di altezza compresa tra i 3 e i 15 metri, sembrano privi di intelligenza e di uno scopo reale, se non quello di divorare carne umana.

Ma presto un evento porrà fine alla tranquillità durata solo un secolo. Un gigante, alto al punto da superare le mura stesse, appare dal nulla aprendo una breccia nel muro di protezione più esterno. Questo permetterà ai giganti di penetrare e fare strage di vite umane. Eren, vinto il terrore iniziale e il dolore per la perdita della madre, si riprometterà di eliminare ogni singolo gigante esistente, e in questa sua lotta contro l’ignoto non sarà solo.

Shingeki no Kyojin, manga, anime, japan italy bridge

La serie animata e la fama internazionale

La vera fama di questo manga la si deve proprio alla serie anime uscita nel 2013. Prodotto da Wit Studio in collaborazione con la più famosa Production I.G.
La differenza dal punto di vista visivo rispetto alle tavole originali di Isayama è sorprendente. Curati fin nel più piccolo dettaglio e animati da animazione estremamente realistica, i personaggi si muovono su uno sfondo anch’esso curatissimo e realistico. I realizzatori della serie hanno quindi colmato le lacune stilistiche del mangaka. Tuttavia Isayama ha seguito in prima persona l’intera produzione dando indicazioni su quale fosse il modo migliore per dare corpo alle sue idee.

La colonna sonora altrettanto curata accompagna tutta la narrazione. Non tace mai, non lascia punti vuoti, ma sottolinea invece ogni istante della storia e contribuisce a coinvolgere lo spettatore in un action anime pieno di colpi di scena.
Azione, horror, intrighi politi, fanatismo religioso e lotta per la sopravvivenza fanno da trama. Qui si muovono personaggi ben delineati che, in un crescendo di azione e suspance, ci mostrano tanto la forza quando la fragilità degli esseri umani.

Niente viene lasciato al caso, e anche i personaggi che in apparenza potrebbero sembrare insignificanti svolgeranno invece un ruolo fondamentale. E proprio l’elemento horror sapientemente dosato senza mai scadere nella violenza nuda e cruda alla ricerca del dettaglio più scabroso, rende l’adattamento anime ancora più pregevole e adatto anche a chi non ama particolarmente questo genere.

Shingeki no Kyojin, manga, anime, japan italy bridge

Le interpretazioni

L’opera si presta a numerose interpretazioni. Qualcuno ci ha voluto vedere anche una sorta di propaganda politica. Ma è l’autore stesso ha darci qualche piccola chiave di lettura svelandoci la genesi dell’opera.

Ad esempio, le 3 mura entro le quali gli esseri umani vivono, sono viste sia come una barriera protettiva che come una prigione soffocante. Questa è stessa sensazione che l’autore ha raccontato di aver provato nascendo in una piccola città della prefettura di Ōita circondata dalle montagne. Non sfugge qui il parallelismo con la società giapponese, da sempre isolazionista e protezionista. O ancora, i giganti stessi rappresentano la paura dello sconosciuto, uno sconosciuto che non solo temiamo ma con il quale è impossibile comunicare.

E’ una storia che a tratti si fa angosciante, quella stessa angoscia e paura così comune anche nella società moderna. Niente è come sembra, ma non per questo i personaggi si fermeranno nella loro ricerca della verità e della libertà.

深い闇を俺は抜け出した。疾風(はやて)みたいに逃げ出した。
Fukai yami wo ore wo nukedashita. Hayate mitai ni nigedashita.
Siamo fuggiti da una spessa oscurità. Siamo sopravvissuti a quello sembrava un uragano.
生きた屍みたいだった俺達は、壁の外へ。
Ikita shikabane mitai datta oretachi wa, kabe no soto e.
Noi, che non sembriamo altro che zombie, andremo oltre queste mura.
また会おうぜ、地図にない場所で。
Mata aou ze, chizu ni nai basho de.
Ci incontreremo di nuovo, in un mondo che non esiste su mappa alcuna.

The grate escape dei Cinema staff – Seconda ending

La storia continua

La storia nasconde un segreto che tutt’ora non è stato svelato. Tuttavia, vi interesserà sapere che il manga è entrato ormai nel suo arco finale quindi presto potrebbero venire svelate molte verità interessanti.

In un momento che alcuni definirebbero di stagniazione per l'animazione giapponese, Shingeki no Kyojin ha saputo distinguersi come opera originale e senza precedenti. Isayama ha saputo imporre il suo tratto distintivo e perfettamente riconoscibile. Originalità premiata dal grande successo di pubblico che ha avuto e sta avendo tutt'ora.
Inoltre, un'altra buona notizia per tutti i fan che attendono ormai dal 2013. Dopo numerose smentite, 3 ova, e tanta pazienza, qualche settimana fa è stato confermato che la seconda serie sarà finalmente in onda a partire dal 1 aprile. L'attesa è dunque finita.

Fonti: Atpress; google
[:en]

SHINGEKI NO KYOJIN – The revelation of the past few years

This time we will talk about Shingeki no Kyoujin (進撃の巨人), translated in English as Attack on Titans, the revelation of this past few years.
It's an action horror shōnen manga series already recognised as a cult among anime and manga fans. For those who don't know it, it is enough to know that in just a short period of time it was able to climb up all charts, Japanese ones and worldwide too. It became one of the most viewed anime around the world, and its original manga ranks second in numbers of sold copies, second only to One Piece.

To give you some numbers, we talk about around 2 million copies per volume (Japanese sales), while One Piece sales are around 3 million copies.
This results are even more incredible if we consider that One Piece has many years of releases already (the first volume was released back in August 1997). On the contrary, the first volume of Shingeki no Kyojin was release only in September 2009. This numbers are enough to make your head spin, and contributed to let this manga gain the prestigious Kodansha Manga Award in the shōnen category in 2011, to say the least.

Shingeki no Kyojin, manga, anime, japan italy bridge

Plot

The original manga is published by one of the largest publishing companies in Japan, the Kodansha Publishing. It counts 21 volumes up to today. It was created by Hajime Isayama and the story, and it takes place in an alternative Midldle Age era. The plot revolves around the character of Eren Jaegar. He lives in a world that many centuries before had been on the verge of destruction. The few humans that survived now live in a urban complex built inside three concentric walls, 50 meters each. The only protection between mankind and the outside world overrun by mysterious creatures are the titans.

This titans resemble human beings but they can be from 3 to 15 meters tall, apparently thoughtless and with the sole objective of devouring human flesh. However, an unexpected event will bring this period of peace to an end. A titan so tall that he could even surpass the walls, appears from nowhere opening a hole in the most external wall. This allowed other titans to break into the city and leading to the massacre of many human lives.
Eren, after regaining his senses because of the loss of his mother by the hands of a titan, swears to eliminate every single titan in the world, and he will not be alone in this fight against the unknown.

Shingeki no Kyojin, manga, anime, japan italy bridge

Anime adaptation and international recognition

This series gained its worldwide success thanks to its anime adaptation, produced by Wit Studio in collaboration with the famous Production I.G, that was release in 2013.
The difference with the original panels of Isayama in terms of visual impact is astonishing: with an incredible attention to even the smallest detail, and animated by an extremely realistic animation, all the characters take their actions on a background equally elaborated and realistic. The producers of the animated series filled the holes in terms of style left by the mangaka. He also followed the whole production, giving advice on which was the best way to give shape to his ideas.

The original soundtrack skillfully created follows the whole narration. It never fall silent, it never leaves open spots. Instead, it contributes to underline every instant of the story and envelopes the viewer in an action anime full of twists and turns.
Action, horror elements, political intrigues, religious fanaticism and the fight for survival create the background. Here well delineated characters take their action, in a crescendo of action and suspense, showing us both the strength and fragility of human beings.

Nothing has been left to chance. Even characters that apparently look not so important will be proven to have a fundamental role to play.
The horror element is skillfully balanced, it doesn't exceed into pure violence, searching for the smallest gory detail. All this makes the animated version even more enjoyable and appropriate even for people who don't really like this genre.

Shingeki no Kyojin, manga, anime, japan italy bridge

Interpretations

This series is open to many interpretations, someone even wanted to read into it a sort of political propaganda. However, the author himself gave us some keys to understanding the genesis of the story.

For examples, the 3 walls in which mankind survives, can be seen as both a protection and a suffocating prison. This is the exact same feeling that the Isayama experienced living in his hometown in Ōita prefecture surrounded by mountains. And it is clearly visible here a parallelism with Japanese society, generally known to be isolationist and enclosed.

Furthermore, the titans represent the fear of the unknown, an unknown that you can't even communicate with.
At times the story makes you experience a feeling of overwhelming anguish and fear. The same feeling that is so common in our modern society where nothing is what it seems, but all the characters never stop fighting in their quest for truth and freedom.

深い闇を俺は抜け出した。疾風(はやて)みたいに逃げ出した。
Fukai yami wo ore wo nukedashita. Hayate mitai ni nigedashita.
We broke out of the thick darkness. We escaped from what seemed like a hurricane.
生きた屍みたいだった俺達は、壁の外へ。
Ikita shikabane mitai datta oretachi wa, kabe no soto e.
We, who look like living corpses, are going outside the walls.
また会おうぜ、地図にない場所で。
Mata aou ze, chizu ni nai basho de.
Let's meet again, in the unmapped place.

The grate escape by Cinema staff – Second ending

What's next?

The plot hides a secret that is still unknown but you might want to know that the original manga has now entered the final arch so, important truths might be unveiled very soon.
In a moment that some would call of stagnation for the Japanese animation, Shingeki no Kyojin was able to impose its originality, and Isayama created a distinctive style of his own. And this originality was rewarded with the great success in terms of fans that it had and that are still increasing.

Moreover, another good news for all affectionate fans that were kept waiting since 2013: after many denial ad postponements, 3 ova, and a lot of patience of the fans, it was finally announced that the first episode of the second season of the anime will be aired on April 1st (April's fool? Doesn't seem to be the case). The wait is over.

Fonti: Atpressgoogle

 

 [:ja]

SHINGEKI NO KYOJIN – The revelation of the past few years

This time we will talk about Shingeki no Kyoujin (進撃の巨人), translated in English as Attack on Titans, the revelation of this past few years.
It's an action horror shōnen manga series already recognised as a cult among anime and manga fans. For those who don't know it, it is enough to know that in just a short period of time it was able to climb up all charts, Japanese ones and worldwide too. It became one of the most viewed anime around the world, and its original manga ranks second in numbers of sold copies, second only to One Piece.

To give you some numbers, we talk about around 2 million copies per volume (Japanese sales), while One Piece sales are around 3 million copies.
This results are even more incredible if we consider that One Piece has many years of releases already (the first volume was released back in August 1997). On the contrary, the first volume of Shingeki no Kyojin was release only in September 2009. This numbers are enough to make your head spin, and contributed to let this manga gain the prestigious Kodansha Manga Award in the shōnen category in 2011, to say the least.

Shingeki no Kyojin, manga, anime, japan italy bridge

Plot

The original manga is published by one of the largest publishing companies in Japan, the Kodansha Publishing. It counts 21 volumes up to today. It was created by Hajime Isayama and the story, and it takes place in an alternative Midldle Age era. The plot revolves around the character of Eren Jaegar. He lives in a world that many centuries before had been on the verge of destruction. The few humans that survived now live in a urban complex built inside three concentric walls, 50 meters each. The only protection between mankind and the outside world overrun by mysterious creatures are the titans.

This titans resemble human beings but they can be from 3 to 15 meters tall, apparently thoughtless and with the sole objective of devouring human flesh. However, an unexpected event will bring this period of peace to an end. A titan so tall that he could even surpass the walls, appears from nowhere opening a hole in the most external wall. This allowed other titans to break into the city and leading to the massacre of many human lives.
Eren, after regaining his senses because of the loss of his mother by the hands of a titan, swears to eliminate every single titan in the world, and he will not be alone in this fight against the unknown.

Shingeki no Kyojin, manga, anime, japan italy bridge

Anime adaptation and international recognition

This series gained its worldwide success thanks to its anime adaptation, produced by Wit Studio in collaboration with the famous Production I.G, that was release in 2013.
The difference with the original panels of Isayama in terms of visual impact is astonishing: with an incredible attention to even the smallest detail, and animated by an extremely realistic animation, all the characters take their actions on a background equally elaborated and realistic. The producers of the animated series filled the holes in terms of style left by the mangaka. He also followed the whole production, giving advice on which was the best way to give shape to his ideas.

The original soundtrack skillfully created follows the whole narration. It never fall silent, it never leaves open spots. Instead, it contributes to underline every instant of the story and envelopes the viewer in an action anime full of twists and turns.
Action, horror elements, political intrigues, religious fanaticism and the fight for survival create the background. Here well delineated characters take their action, in a crescendo of action and suspense, showing us both the strength and fragility of human beings.

Nothing has been left to chance. Even characters that apparently look not so important will be proven to have a fundamental role to play.
The horror element is skillfully balanced, it doesn't exceed into pure violence, searching for the smallest gory detail. All this makes the animated version even more enjoyable and appropriate even for people who don't really like this genre.

Shingeki no Kyojin, manga, anime, japan italy bridge

Interpretations

This series is open to many interpretations, someone even wanted to read into it a sort of political propaganda. However, the author himself gave us some keys to understanding the genesis of the story.

For examples, the 3 walls in which mankind survives, can be seen as both a protection and a suffocating prison. This is the exact same feeling that the Isayama experienced living in his hometown in Ōita prefecture surrounded by mountains. And it is clearly visible here a parallelism with Japanese society, generally known to be isolationist and enclosed.

Furthermore, the titans represent the fear of the unknown, an unknown that you can't even communicate with.
At times the story makes you experience a feeling of overwhelming anguish and fear. The same feeling that is so common in our modern society where nothing is what it seems, but all the characters never stop fighting in their quest for truth and freedom.

深い闇を俺は抜け出した。疾風(はやて)みたいに逃げ出した。
Fukai yami wo ore wo nukedashita. Hayate mitai ni nigedashita.
We broke out of the thick darkness. We escaped from what seemed like a hurricane.
生きた屍みたいだった俺達は、壁の外へ。
Ikita shikabane mitai datta oretachi wa, kabe no soto e.
We, who look like living corpses, are going outside the walls.
また会おうぜ、地図にない場所で。
Mata aou ze, chizu ni nai basho de.
Let's meet again, in the unmapped place.

The grate escape by Cinema staff – Second ending

What's next?

The plot hides a secret that is still unknown but you might want to know that the original manga has now entered the final arch so, important truths might be unveiled very soon.
In a moment that some would call of stagnation for the Japanese animation, Shingeki no Kyojin was able to impose its originality, and Isayama created a distinctive style of his own. And this originality was rewarded with the great success in terms of fans that it had and that are still increasing.

Moreover, another good news for all affectionate fans that were kept waiting since 2013: after many denial ad postponements, 3 ova, and a lot of patience of the fans, it was finally announced that the first episode of the second season of the anime will be aired on April 1st (April's fool? Doesn't seem to be the case). The wait is over.

Fonti: Atpressgoogle

 

 

[:]


Sailor moon, pretty guardian sailor moon, japan italy bridge, japan, italy

Japanese Folklore: Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon

[:it]

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon

Sailor moon, pretty guardian sailor moon, japan italy bridge, japan, italy

Se vi dico che la sua pettinatura è diventata celebre in tutto il mondo per i biondi codini incorniciati da due teneri Odango (lett. polpetta) sapete di chi sto parlando? No? Non vi dice nulla che il suo outfit sia un misto tra una divisa scolastica e una marinara? No, questo è impossibile perché lei è Usagi Tsukino.

Universalmente nota come Sailor Moon la guerriera che veste alla marinara e che protegge la terra da alieni cattivi sparsi per la galassia. Paladina per i bambini degli anni novanta e co-ambasciatrice del Giappone per i giochi olimpici che si terranno nel 2020.

Nata dalle sublimi tavole di Naoko Takeuchi, agli inizi degli anni novanta divenne da subito un’icona tanto in madre patria quanto all’estero. Ha fatto sognare generazioni con la sua storia d’amore immortale con Tuxedo Kamen. Ha insegnato i valori dell’amicizia con le sue compagne d’avventura le Sailor Senshi, ancora oggi è un mito.

Sailor moon, pretty guardian sailor moon, japan italy bridge, japan, italy

Le Origini

Sailor moon è nata come spin-off di Codename Sailor V. Ebbene sì! la nostra paladina lunare e nata dopo la sua collega Sailor Venus, vero leader delle Sailor. Questo manga è la rappresentazione migliore del genere Majokko (魔女っ子 "streghetta") sottogenere a sua volta del shōjo. La trama tipica delle opere appartenenti a questo genere, parla di una ragazza magica affiancata da un’animale magico. Nel nostro caso abbiamo i gatti Luna, Artemis e Diana. Solitamente la ragazza possiede poteri magici, mescolando amore e fantasia. Tuttavia Sailor Moon è anche la prima versione al femminile del genere Sentai Mono (戦隊モノ "gruppo d'attacco"). Questo è quel genere fumettistico che racchiude tutti quei manga dove troviamo un gruppo di protagonisti pronto ad unirsi per sconfiggere le forze del male.

Non a caso Sailor Moon è per questo e tanti altri motivi, uno degli esempi migliori di Femminismo nei manga.

L’amore non barriere di tempo, spazio o genere.

Sailor Moon non ha solo insegnato i valori dell’amicizia, ma anche dato un forte impatto sull’amore, senza generalizzare per categorie, come molto spesso accade nei manga e nella vita reale.

Sappiamo tutti che la coppia che spicca più nel manga come nell’anime è quella di Sailor Moon e il suo Tuxedo Kamen, un amore che varca il tempo e lo spazio, immortale.
Innamorati anche nella loro vita passata, la Principessa Serenity e il Principe Endymion, prendono il loro nome dalla Dea greca della Luna Selene e il suo amato principe terrestre Endimione. Dal mito alla realtà, innamorati anche nella loro vita odierna come Usagi Tsukino e Mamoru Chiba, ed in futuro come Neo Queen Serenity e King Endymion.

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Si potrebbe erroneamente pensare che sia Tuxedo Kamen a salvare la nostra eroina quando è nei guai con le sue rose svolazzanti. Tuttavia è solo grazie all’amore di Sailor Moon che riesce a salvarsi ed insieme a lui tutti noi umani. Perché come disse la Takeuchi “Le ragazze devono essere forti per proteggere l’uomo che amano”.

Sailor Moon e i rapporti omosessuali

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Sono presenti anche altre relazioni amorose nel manga. La relazione saffica e non nascosta tra l’androgina Sailor Uranus e la sensuale Sailor Neptune. Una relazione velata ma che spicca bene dal terzo atto della saga in poi.

Il rapporto Omosessuale tra due degli emissari del Dark Kingdom. Tuttavia, Zoisite e Kunzite avevano un rapporto che cambia a seconda dell’adattamento. Essi erano protagonisti di un legame amoroso nell’anime contro una forte amicizia nel manga.

Possiamo anche citare il legame forte che unisce Sailor Mars e Sailor Venus, proprio per ricordare l’unione del mito tra Marte e Venere.

Naoko Takeuchi: un impero tra stelle, arte e moda.

La mamma della nostra bella marinaretta, come detto è Naoko Takeuchi classe 1967. Potremmo dire che ha vinto la lotteria della vita nel mondo dei manga. Non solo la sua opera più famosa Sailor Moon è conosciuta in tutto il mondo, ma ha anche sposato Yoshihiro Togashi, il papà di Yū Yū Hakusho e Hunter x Hunter. Inoltre è amica di altrettanto famose Mangaka come Wataru Yoshizumi (Marmalade Boy) e Yuu Watase (Fushigi Yûgi).

La passione per il disegno l’ha sempre avuta anche se ha frequentato studi universitari in chimica. Il suo tratto è caratterizzato da linee pulite e delicate, molto vezzose negli art book con centini che fungono come decori.

È una donna dalle molteplici passioni, che spaziano dalla lettura, le macchine, l’arte e altro. Molte volte ha usato come riferimento per le sue illustrazioni le opere di Art Nouveau di Alfons Mucha. Altra grande passione è la moda, molti abiti usati dalle guerriere Sailor e dai loro nemici si rifanno alla Maison Dior. L’iconico il meraviglioso abito di Princess Serenity prende spunto dal modello “palladio” dalla collezione Dior primavera/estate dell’92.

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Grazie all’anniversario dei vent’anni ed ora dei venticinque ora, Sailor Moon brilla di una nuova fortunata stella. Gioia per tutti i bambini cresciuti con lei che ormai sono diventati collezionisti adulti.

Il Francising Sailor Moon

Il franchising di Sailor Moon spazia dalle classiche bambole, alle più svariate action figure. Inclusi anche innumerevoli prodotti di makeup, svariati oggetti di culto come la proplica del Moon Stick, abiti e molto altro.

Il manga ha avuto una serie live action, diversi OVA, musical. Non dimentichiamo il riadattamento con Sailor Moon Crystal uscito il 5 luglio 2014.

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A Tokyo per un periodo di tempo è stato aperto un bar a tema. Per tutti quelli sfortunatamente non è riuscito a passarci, potete visitare Azabu Juban “shopping street” quartiere centrale a Tokyo. Questo infatti è uno dei quartieri che molto spesso appare nei fotogrammi di Sailor Moon. Per qualsiasi fans che si rispetti questo è un luogo mecca per sentirsi una vera Guerriera Sailor.

Photo credits: Tumblr, Pinterest.
[:en]

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon

Sailor moon, pretty guardian sailor moon, japan italy bridge, japan, italy

If I tell you that her hairstyle is famous all around the world for its blonde pigtails tied up into cute Odango (lit. Meatballs) can you guess who I'm talking about? No? Her outfit is a mix between a school uniform and a sailor's one and it doesn't ring any bell? No, this is impossible because we are talking about Usagi Tsukino.

She universally known as Sailor Moon the warrior in a sailor uniform that protects the Earth from evil aliens from all around the galaxy. Beloved heroine among children from the 90s and one of the ambassadress for Tokyo’s Olympic games  in 2020.

Born from the sublime work of Naoko Takeuchi, at the beginning of the 90s, it immediately became and iconic character both in Japan and abroad. Triggering dreams of generations of people with her immortal love story with Tuxedo Kamen and teaching the values of friendship together with her companions of adventure, the Sailor Senshi, she is legend today still.

Sailor moon, pretty guardian sailor moon, japan italy bridge, japan, italy

The origin

Sailor Moon was originally created to be the spin-off of Codename Sailor V. Yes! Our heroine from the moon was born after her companion Sailor Venus, true leader of the Sailor warriors. This manga represents the best example of Majokko (魔女っ子 "Magical girl"), that is a sub-genre of the shōjo genre. The typical plot for this genre tells the story of a magical girl supported by a magical animal. In our case we have three cats, Luna, Artemis and Diana. Usually the protagonist of this type of mangas has magical powers, mixing love and fantasy. However Sailor Moon is also the first female version of the genre Sentai Mono (戦隊モノ "fighting squad"). This is a genre that includes all those mangas in which a group of protagonists stick together and fight against evil forces.

So it is no surprise that Sailor Moon is, for this and other reasons, one of the best examples of Feminism in the manga world.

Love beyond time, space and genre

Sailor Moon not only taught us the values of friendship, but it also had a great impact on love, free from any generalizations for categories, as it often happens in mangas and even in real life.

We all know that the most known couple in the manga like in the anime is that formed by Sailor Moon and her Tuxedo Kamen, a love beyond time and space, hence immortal.

In love since their previous life, Princess Serenity and Prince Endymion form Earth, they take their names from the Greek moon goddess, Selene, and her beloved prince from Earth, Endymion. From the legend to reality, they love each other even in their present life as Usagi Tsukino and Mamoru Chiba, as they will love each other in the future too as Neo Queen Serenity and King Endymion.

Sailor moon, pretty guardian sailor moon, japan italy bridge, japan, italy

One might think that is Tuxedo Kamen that rescues our heroine when she is in danger with his flying roses, but it’s his character that many times falls in the hands of the enemy, even becoming evil himself at some points. However, it’s only thanks to the love that Sailor Moon has for him that he manages to survive and with him, all us humans. Because as Takeuchi said “Girls have to be strong to protect the man they love”.

Sailor moon and the homosexual relationships

Sailor moon, pretty guardian sailor moon, japan italy bridge, japan, italy

But there are also other love relationships in the manga. The sapphic and unconcealed relationship between the androgynous Sailor Uranus and the sensual Sailor Neptune. A relationship that is somewhat veiled but that is clearly visible from the third act on.

Also, there's the homosexual relationship between two emissaries of the Dark Kingdome. Zoisite and Kunzite's relationship changed from version to version. Love in the animated series and strong friendship that never becomes love in the manga.

But we can also mention the strong bond between Sailor Mars and Sailor Venus, that reminds us of the bond between Mars and Venus in the ancient myths.

Naoko Takeuchi: an empire among stars, art and style

The ‘mother’ of our beautiful sailor warriors is, as said before, Naoko Takeuchi, born in 1967. It is as if she won the lottery of life in the world of mangas. Not only her most famous work is well known all around the world, but she also married Yoshihito Togaki, ‘father’ of Yū Yū Hakusho and Hunter x Hunter.
Also, she is close friend with other famous mangakas like Wataru Yoshizumi (Marmalade Boy) e Yuu Watase (Fushigi Yûgi).

The passion for drawings has always been with her in spite of the fact that she studied chemistry in University. Her style is characterized by clean and delicate lines, that are particularly lovely in the art book with doilies as decoration.

She is a woman of many passions, from literature, to cars, arts and many other things. In many cases she used the Art Nouveau works of Alfons Muchas as references for her illustrations. Another great passion of hers is fashion, various outfits used by Sailor warriors and their enemies were inspired by Maison Dior. The wonderful and iconic gown worn by Princess Serenity is inspired by Dior’s “palladio” gown from the ‘92 spring/summer collection.

Sailor moon, pretty guardian sailor moon, japan italy bridge, japan, italy

Thanks to its 20th anniversary, and now to its 25th anniversary, Sailor Moon shines brightly under a new lucky star. True happiness for all those kids that grew up with her and now have turned into grown up collector.

Sailor Moon Franchising

The Sailor Moon franchising goes from the classic dolls, to the most varied action figures. There are also countless make-up products, lots of cult objects like the replica of the Moon Stick, outfits and many things more.

The manga was adapted into a live action series, several OVAs, musicals and let's not forget the new anime adaptation of Sailor Moon Crystal released on July the 5th, in 2014.

Sailor moon, pretty guardian sailor moon, japan italy bridge, japan, italy

In Tokyo a theme bar was opened and remained active for some time. For all those that couldn’t go there, you can always visit the Azabu Juban “shopping district”, central district in Tokyo. This area is often shown in Sailor Moon’s frames. For every true fan this is a must if you want to feel like a real Sailor Warrior.

Photo credits: TumblrPinterest.
[:ja]

Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon

Sailor moon, pretty guardian sailor moon, japan italy bridge, japan, italy

If I tell you that her hairstyle is famous all around the world for its blonde pigtails tied up into cute Odango (lit. Meatballs) can you guess who I'm talking about? No? Her outfit is a mix between a school uniform and a sailor's one and it doesn't ring any bell? No, this is impossible because we are talking about Usagi Tsukino.

She universally known as Sailor Moon the warrior in a sailor uniform that protects the Earth from evil aliens from all around the galaxy. Beloved heroine among children from the 90s and one of the ambassadress for Tokyo’s Olympic games  in 2020.

Born from the sublime work of Naoko Takeuchi, at the beginning of the 90s, it immediately became and iconic character both in Japan and abroad. Triggering dreams of generations of people with her immortal love story with Tuxedo Kamen and teaching the values of friendship together with her companions of adventure, the Sailor Senshi, she is legend today still.

Sailor moon, pretty guardian sailor moon, japan italy bridge, japan, italy

The origin

Sailor Moon was originally created to be the spin-off of Codename Sailor V. Yes! Our heroine from the moon was born after her companion Sailor Venus, true leader of the Sailor warriors. This manga represents the best example of Majokko (魔女っ子 "Magical girl"), that is a sub-genre of the shōjo genre. The typical plot for this genre tells the story of a magical girl supported by a magical animal. In our case we have three cats, Luna, Artemis and Diana. Usually the protagonist of this type of mangas has magical powers, mixing love and fantasy. However Sailor Moon is also the first female version of the genre Sentai Mono (戦隊モノ "fighting squad"). This is a genre that includes all those mangas in which a group of protagonists stick together and fight against evil forces.

So it is no surprise that Sailor Moon is, for this and other reasons, one of the best examples of Feminism in the manga world.

Love beyond time, space and genre

Sailor Moon not only taught us the values of friendship, but it also had a great impact on love, free from any generalizations for categories, as it often happens in mangas and even in real life.

We all know that the most known couple in the manga like in the anime is that formed by Sailor Moon and her Tuxedo Kamen, a love beyond time and space, hence immortal.

In love since their previous life, Princess Serenity and Prince Endymion form Earth, they take their names from the Greek moon goddess, Selene, and her beloved prince from Earth, Endymion. From the legend to reality, they love each other even in their present life as Usagi Tsukino and Mamoru Chiba, as they will love each other in the future too as Neo Queen Serenity and King Endymion.

Sailor moon, pretty guardian sailor moon, japan italy bridge, japan, italy

One might think that is Tuxedo Kamen that rescues our heroine when she is in danger with his flying roses, but it’s his character that many times falls in the hands of the enemy, even becoming evil himself at some points. However, it’s only thanks to the love that Sailor Moon has for him that he manages to survive and with him, all us humans. Because as Takeuchi said “Girls have to be strong to protect the man they love”.

Sailor moon and the homosexual relationships

Sailor moon, pretty guardian sailor moon, japan italy bridge, japan, italy

But there are also other love relationships in the manga. The sapphic and unconcealed relationship between the androgynous Sailor Uranus and the sensual Sailor Neptune. A relationship that is somewhat veiled but that is clearly visible from the third act on.

Also, there's the homosexual relationship between two emissaries of the Dark Kingdome. Zoisite and Kunzite's relationship changed from version to version. Love in the animated series and strong friendship that never becomes love in the manga.

But we can also mention the strong bond between Sailor Mars and Sailor Venus, that reminds us of the bond between Mars and Venus in the ancient myths.

Naoko Takeuchi: an empire among stars, art and style

The ‘mother’ of our beautiful sailor warriors is, as said before, Naoko Takeuchi, born in 1967. It is as if she won the lottery of life in the world of mangas. Not only her most famous work is well known all around the world, but she also married Yoshihito Togaki, ‘father’ of Yū Yū Hakusho and Hunter x Hunter.
Also, she is close friend with other famous mangakas like Wataru Yoshizumi (Marmalade Boy) e Yuu Watase (Fushigi Yûgi).

The passion for drawings has always been with her in spite of the fact that she studied chemistry in University. Her style is characterized by clean and delicate lines, that are particularly lovely in the art book with doilies as decoration.

She is a woman of many passions, from literature, to cars, arts and many other things. In many cases she used the Art Nouveau works of Alfons Muchas as references for her illustrations. Another great passion of hers is fashion, various outfits used by Sailor warriors and their enemies were inspired by Maison Dior. The wonderful and iconic gown worn by Princess Serenity is inspired by Dior’s “palladio” gown from the ‘92 spring/summer collection.

Sailor moon, pretty guardian sailor moon, japan italy bridge, japan, italy

Thanks to its 20th anniversary, and now to its 25th anniversary, Sailor Moon shines brightly under a new lucky star. True happiness for all those kids that grew up with her and now have turned into grown up collector.

Sailor Moon Franchising

The Sailor Moon franchising goes from the classic dolls, to the most varied action figures. There are also countless make-up products, lots of cult objects like the replica of the Moon Stick, outfits and many things more.

The manga was adapted into a live action series, several OVAs, musicals and let's not forget the new anime adaptation of Sailor Moon Crystal released on July the 5th, in 2014.

Sailor moon, pretty guardian sailor moon, japan italy bridge, japan, italy

In Tokyo a theme bar was opened and remained active for some time. For all those that couldn’t go there, you can always visit the Azabu Juban “shopping district”, central district in Tokyo. This area is often shown in Sailor Moon’s frames. For every true fan this is a must if you want to feel like a real Sailor Warrior.

Photo credits: TumblrPinterest.
[:]


kitsune, kitsune fox, kitsune volpe, legend kitsune, kitsune leggenda, japan italy bridge, japan italy, japan tradition, samurai, tradizione giappone, giappone, giapponese

Japan Folklore: Kitsune

[:it]

Kitsune (狐)

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La volpe che torna sempre

Kitsune. Furbe, scaltre, con una bellissima pelliccia colore delle foglie d’autunno, una folta coda e un musetto che quasi ti sorride. Le volpi sono in molte culture gli animali per antonomasia dell’astuzia, ma in Giappone hanno qualcosa in più. Esse infatti hanno qualcosa di sopranaturale e magico.

Le Kitsune sono nel folklore nipponico spiriti dotati di grandi poteri. Esse sputano fuoco, fulmini ed entrano nei sogni altrui. Questi poteri aumentano con il passare della loro longeva vita. Anche le loro code passano da una a due, tre fino ad arrivare a nove. Il manto che muta diventa di color bianco (talvolta oro) ma in alcune varianti anche nero. Le Kitsune sono famose per essere spiriti mutaforma. Moltissime sono le leggende dove queste creature si trasformano in bellissime e avvenenti donne che fanno innamorare il fortunato o sfortunato umano di turno.

Sono esseri ambivalenti, da un lato amabili amanti e dall’altro maliziose creature. Ci sono infatti diversi tipi di Kitsune. Le Zenko (善狐 "volpi buone") sono le accompagnatrice di Inari la divinità shintoista dell’agricoltura, il raccolto, il riso e la fertilità. Esse sono spiriti benevoli ed il loro incontro può solo portare liete novelle. Al contrario le Yako (野狐 "volpi di campo", o nogitsune) sono dispettose o per lo più malvagie.

In contrapposizione alle Zenko con il loro poteri portano guai e riescono a possedere gli esseri umani. I poveri malcapitati vengono chiamati yako-tsuki e la possessione li fa sembrare folli. Nel passato per giustificare malati di mente si credeva fossero posseduti da queste entità maligne. Talvolta l’incontro con loro causa la morte.
Oltre ad essere intelligenti sono molto sagge. Questa saggezza accresce con il tempo come i poteri fino alla onniscienza. Esse sanno tutto quello che succede nel mondo, conoscono il passato e ciò che accadrà in futuro.

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Leggenda Narra

Effettivamente la parola Kitsune non significa letteralmente volpe. Kitzu era il termine che ne indicava il verso. In giapponese antico, kitsu-ne significava "torna e dorme" oppure ki-tsune "torna sempre". La giustificazione può essere data da una delle tante leggende su questi spiriti. La più antica narra:

«Ono, un abitante di Mino (come narra un'antica leggenda giapponese del 545 d.C.), impiegò molto tempo per trovare il suo ideale di bellezza femminile. Una sera trovò la donna perfetta in una vasta palude decidendo quindi di sposarla. Contemporaneamente alla nascita del primo figlio anche il cane di Ono ebbe un cucciolo, che crescendo divenne sempre più ostile verso la donna delle brughiere. Ella pregò il marito di ucciderlo, ma lui si rifiutò. Un giorno il cane l'attaccò terrorizzandola tanto che lei tornò alla sua originale forma volpina e scappò via.

"Sarai anche una volpe" le diceva poi Ono "ma sei la madre dei miei figli e io ti amo. Torna quando ti pare; sarai sempre benvenuta".

Così ogni sera ella tornava e dormiva tra le sue braccia.»

(Dal racconto Torna e dorme scritto dal monaco Kyoukai nel tardo VIII secolo o all'inizio del IX secolo)

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Un essere dualista

Come detto sono spiriti mutaforma, hanno la capacità trasformarsi senza problemi d’età o di sesso. La loro figura più famosa e indubbiamente affascinante è quella di una bella e giovane donna. Infatti kitsune-gao (狐顔 "faccia da volpe") e un termine usato per descrive lineamenti femminili, con zigomi alti con occhi fini e ravvicinati considerati molto sensuali. Secondo la tradizione si crede che vedere vagare senza meta una bella donna durante le ore dell’imbrunire sia in realtà una volpe.

Per poter scoprirne la vera natura bisogna trovarne la coda poiché le Kitsune non riescono a mascherarla nella trasformazione. In alternativa si dovrebbe essere persone leali ma anche la loro avversione per i cani può essere un segnale, proprio perché animali leali riescono a percepirne il vero essere. Talvolta nella loro forma maligna le Kitsune traggono forza e potere dai proprio amante. Assorbono le loro energie tramite rapporti sessuali e prosciugano le forze dell’essere umano e macabramente ne causano la morte.

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Ci sono diversi santuari dedicati ad Inari il loro protettore ed e usuale trovare raffigurazioni di questi animali in giro per i templi. Il più conosciuto è il Fushimi Inari Taisha il santuario dedicato alla divinità situato a Kyoto. Presenti anche nel buddismo, troviamo Dakini l’alterego femminile di Inari, mentre cavalca una volpe bianca brandendo una spada. In questi templi, i fedeli sono soliti lasciare offerte di cibo per loro, udon, soba, sushi ma preferibilmente l'aburaage tofu fritto di cui si dice le Kitzune siano grandi golosone.

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Dalla tradizione alla animazione

Sono indubbiamente creature molto amate in Giappone. Sono presenti nelle maschere tipiche dei spettacoli teatrali in diverse varianti: Gin-Tenko /volpe d’argento, Kinko /volpe d’oro, Hakuko/volpe bianca e molte altre. Nei netsuke sono statuine di legno o avorio che fungono come borselli per adornare i kimono, ed è normale trovarle spesso in manga o anime di enorme successo. Il più famoso negli ultimi anni è stato sicuramente “Naruto”, il giovane ninja che ha sigillato dentro di se lo spirito di una volpe.

Questo animale infatti è presente nei tratti del carattere, nell’aspetto fisico e nei poteri. Ritroviamo le volpi anche in “Inuyasha” dove Shippo è un piccolo demone volpe che combina simpatiche gag mutando aspetto. Anche in Kurama personaggio di “Yu degli spettri” che da spirito di volpe rinasce umano come Shuichi Minamino. Molto presente in questo ultimo personaggio il bellissimo dualismo di questi spiriti. Da un lato umano di buona indole, devoto verso la madre, leale agli amici mentre dall’altro spirito di volpe crudele ed impassibile. Tuttavia, questi sono solo alcuni esempi di quanto abbiano influenzato il mondo dell’animazione.

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A Shiroishi, città situata a Tohoku regione nel nord del Giappone, si trova il Miyagi Zao Fox Village, un parco faunistico dove si possono incontrare questi simpatici animali nel loro habitat naturale ed in libertà. Qui si può notare come essi siano socievoli ed è facile scattare foto ed interagire con loro.

Festival, parate

Ovviamente in un paese amante delle tradizioni come il Giappone vi sono numerosi festival per celebrarli. Il Kitsunebi Matsuri, festival della volpe di fuoco, si celebra il quarto sabato di settembre in prossimità del santuario Okura Inari di Hida. In questa occasione, gli abitati creano una mascherata, un matrimonio per auspicarsi fortuna. Durante il capodanno invece a Kita (quartiere speciale di Tokyo) si celebra la parata delle volpi di Ōji. In questo evento, ci si veste da volpe per recarsi nel santuario di Ōji Inari. Questa parata prende spunto da una leggenda che vuole che le volpi di tutto il Giappone si riuniscano sotto un albero travestite da umani per festeggiare il capodanno e raggiungere assieme il santuario.

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I Matrimoni

Troviamo anche il modo di dire Kitsune no yomeiri (狐の嫁入り "matrimonio di volpi"). È risaputo che di notte le Kitsune si riuniscono, ed in fila l’una dietro l’altra percorrono i fiume e le montagne con lanterne di carta per celebrare delle nozze. Eccezione fa Tokushima dove si crede sia una processione funebre. A detta dei giapponesi se fuori piove ma c’è il sole le volpi festeggiano un matrimonio. Il pensiero cambia a seconda della zona dove ci troviamo. Per esempio, con la neve a Ehime mentre con l’arcobaleno a Kumamoto. A volte, con questi fenomeni atmosferici capita di notare delle sfavillanti lucine, esse sono infatti le lanterne delle volpi! Quando vi capita, fate attenzione, potreste vedere un matrimonio di volpi anche voi.

Photo credits: tokyoblingmangadreams; pinterest; deviantart.
[:en]

Kitsune ()

kitsune, kitsune fox, kitsune volpe, legend kitsune, kitsune leggenda, japan italy bridge, japan italy, japan tradition, samurai, tradizione giappone, giappone, giapponese

The fox that always comes back

Kitsune. Clever, sly, with a beautiful fur the color of the Autumn leaves, a thick tail and a lovely face that makes them look like they are smiling. Foxes are in many cultures associated with slyness, but in Japan they have something more. In fact they have something magical and mysterious.
In the Japanese Folklore the kistunes are spirits in possession of great powers. They have fire breathing, they can create lightnings and can also enter people’s dreams. They can have a really long life and their powers grow stronger as they grow older, and so do their tails, that go from one, to two, three, up to nine of them. Their fur changes to become white (or sometimes gold), but according to some legends it can also be black.

The Powers

The kitsunes are famous for having shape-shifting powers. There are a great number of legends where these creatures take the shape of beautiful and charming women that make the fortunate or unfortunate man fall in love with them. They are ambivalent beings, on one side they are lovable lovers, on the other side they are mischievous creatures. In fact, there are different types of kitsunes.

The Zenko Kitsune (善狐 "good foxes") are the foxes that follow Inari, the Shinto deity of agriculture, harvest, rise and fertility. They are benevolent spirits and meeting one of them can only bring good news. On the contrary, the Yako Kistune (野狐 "foxes of the fields", o nogitsune) are mischievous and even evil. In contrast with the Zenko Kitsune, the Yako bring misfortune with their powers and can even posses people. The unlucky men that fall for their tricks are called Yako-tsuki and this possession makes them look they are lunatic. In the past it was said that people were possessed by these evil entities in order to find a justification for many mental illnesses. Sometimes the encounter with one of these spirits could bring to death.

They are not only intelligent but also wise. This wisdom increases with time, like their powers do, until they become omniscient. They know everything about this world, they know the past and what will happen in the future.

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As the tale goes

The world Kitsune does not literally mean ‘Fox’. Kitsu was the word used to indicate the sound emitted by these animals. In ancient Japanese, Kitsu-ne meant “that comes back and sleeps”, or it could also be read as ki-tsune, “that always comes back” The explanation for these interpretations can be give by one of the many legends about these spirits.

The most ancient one goes like this:

«Ono, an inhabitant of Mino (says an ancient Japanese legend of A.D. 545), spent the seasons longing for his ideal of female beauty. He met her one evening on a vast moor and married her. Simultaneously with the birth of their son, Ono's dog was delivered of a pup which as it grew up became more and more hostile to the lady of the moors. She begged her husband to kill it, but he refused. At last one day the dog attacked her so furiously that she lost courage, resumed vulpine shape, leaped over a fence and fled.

"You may be a fox", Ono called after her, "but you are the mother of my son and I love you. Come back when you please; you will always be welcome".

So every evening she stole back and slept in his arms.»

(From the tale It comes back and sleeps written by monk Kyoukai in late VIII s. Or in the beginning of IX s.)

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A dualist being

As mentioned, they are shapeshifting spirits and they have the ability to turn without age or sex problems. Their most famous and undoubtedly fascinating figure is that of a beautiful young woman. In fact Kitsune-gao (狐 顔 "fox face") is a term used to describe feminine features. High cheekbones and fine and narrow eyes, considered to be very sensual. According to tradition it is believed that seeing a beautiful woman wandering aimlessly during sunset hours it could actually be a fox.

kitsune, kitsune fox, kitsune volpe, legend kitsune, kitsune leggenda, japan italy bridge, japan italy, japan tradition, samurai, tradizione giappone, giappone, giapponese

In order to discover their true nature we must find the tail as the Kitsune can not disguise it. Alternatively, you should be loyal people but also their dislike for dogs can be a signal. Loyal animals can perceive their true being. Sometimes in their malignant form, the Kitsune draw strength and power from her lover. They absorb their energies through sexual intercourse and dry up the human forces and gruesomely causing death.

There are several shrines dedicated to Inari, their protector. It's usual to find depictions of these animals around the temples. The most well known is the Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine dedicated to the gods located in Kyoto. Also present in Buddhism, we find Dakini, Inari's female alter ego, as she rides a white fox, brandishing a sword. In these temples, the faithful are used to leave offerings of food for them, udon, soba, sushi and preferably the Aburaage fried tofu which is said to be Kitzune's favourites.

kitsune, kitsune fox, kitsune volpe, legend kitsune, kitsune leggenda, japan italy bridge, japan italy, japan tradition, samurai, tradizione giappone, giappone, giapponese

From the tradition to the animation

They are undoubtedly loved creatures in Japan. They are on traditional masks used in theatrical plays, in many variants: Gin-tenko / Silver fox, Kinko/ Golden fox, Hakuko/ the White fox, and many more.
The netsuke are the small statues made in wood or ivory. They are used as coin-purses to decorate kimonos, and are normally seen in popular mangas or anime. The most famous anime of the past few years is Naruto. Here the young ninja Naruto has the spirit of a fox sealed inside his body. This animal can be recognised in his personality, in his physical aspect, and in his powers too. We can find a fox in Inuyasa too. Here Shippo is a small demon fox that always creates funny gags changing his appearance.

kitsune, kitsune fox, kitsune volpe, legend kitsune, kitsune leggenda, japan italy bridge, japan italy, japan tradition, samurai, tradizione giappone, giappone, giapponese

Also, in the character of Kurama, from Yū Yū Hakusho, we find a fox spirit that was reborn in the human form of Shuichi Minamino. In this last character it extremely visible the dualistic nature of these spirits. On one side, the good-natured human being, devoted to his mother and loyal to his friends, on the other side, the cruel and unaffected fox spirit.
But these are just a few examples of how kitsunes have influenced the world of the animation. In Shiroichi, in the Tohoku region (north Japan), we can find the Miyagi Zao Fox Village. This is a faunistic park where it is possible to meet these lovely animals in their natural environment. Here you can see how friendly they can be and it's really easy to take pictures or even interact with them.

Festivals, Parades

Obviously, in a country so in love with traditions like Japan, there are numerous festivals dedicated to foxes too. The Kitsunebi matsuri, ‘The Festival of the Fire Fox’, is celebrated on the forth Saturday of September in the vicinity of the Okura Inari sanctuary of Hida. On this occasion, people create a masked parade, a sort of rappresentation of the so called ‘Marriage of the fox’, to invite good luck. During the New Year celebrations, in Kita (special ward of Tokyo) takes place the parade of the foxes of Ōji. During this event, everyone disguise as foxes and go to the Ōji Inari. This parade is inspired by the legend that tells how foxes all around Japan gather around a tree disguised as humans to celebrate the New Year and then reach the nearby sanctuary.

kitsune, kitsune fox, kitsune volpe, legend kitsune, kitsune leggenda, japan italy bridge, japan italy, japan tradition, samurai, tradizione giappone, giappone, giapponese

Marriage

We also have the saying Kitsune no Yomeiri (狐の嫁入り "the marriage of the foxes"). During the night foxes gather together, and in a line one behind the other, travel for rivers and mountains with lanterns made of paper to celebrate their marriages. An exception to this legend is Tokushima where it is believed that this is a funeral procession. According to Japanese people, if outside is raining but there is the sun too, then it means that foxes are celebrating a marriage.
This way of thinking changes from area to area. For example, in Ehime it happens when it is snowing, while in Kumamoto when there is the rainbow.
Nonetheless, with this atmospheric phenomenons it's not so uncommon to see small glittering lights. Those lights are the lanterns of the foxes. When you see something like this, pay attention, you might be able to see the marriage of the foxes!

Photo credits: tokyoblingmangadreamspinterestdeviantart.
[:ja]

Kitsune ()

kitsune, kitsune fox, kitsune volpe, legend kitsune, kitsune leggenda, japan italy bridge, japan italy, japan tradition, samurai, tradizione giappone, giappone, giapponese

The fox that always comes back

Kitsune. Clever, sly, with a beautiful fur the color of the Autumn leaves, a thick tail and a lovely face that makes them look like they are smiling. Foxes are in many cultures associated with slyness, but in Japan they have something more. In fact they have something magical and mysterious.
In the Japanese Folklore the kistunes are spirits in possession of great powers. They have fire breathing, they can create lightnings and can also enter people’s dreams. They can have a really long life and their powers grow stronger as they grow older, and so do their tails, that go from one, to two, three, up to nine of them. Their fur changes to become white (or sometimes gold), but according to some legends it can also be black.

The Powers

The kitsunes are famous for having shape-shifting powers. There are a great number of legends where these creatures take the shape of beautiful and charming women that make the fortunate or unfortunate man fall in love with them. They are ambivalent beings, on one side they are lovable lovers, on the other side they are mischievous creatures. In fact, there are different types of kitsunes.

The Zenko Kitsune (善狐 "good foxes") are the foxes that follow Inari, the Shinto deity of agriculture, harvest, rise and fertility. They are benevolent spirits and meeting one of them can only bring good news. On the contrary, the Yako Kistune (野狐 "foxes of the fields", o nogitsune) are mischievous and even evil. In contrast with the Zenko Kitsune, the Yako bring misfortune with their powers and can even posses people. The unlucky men that fall for their tricks are called Yako-tsuki and this possession makes them look they are lunatic. In the past it was said that people were possessed by these evil entities in order to find a justification for many mental illnesses. Sometimes the encounter with one of these spirits could bring to death.

They are not only intelligent but also wise. This wisdom increases with time, like their powers do, until they become omniscient. They know everything about this world, they know the past and what will happen in the future.

kitsune, kitsune fox, kitsune volpe, legend kitsune, kitsune leggenda, japan italy bridge, japan italy, japan tradition, samurai, tradizione giappone, giappone, giapponese

As the tale goes

The world Kitsune does not literally mean ‘Fox’. Kitsu was the word used to indicate the sound emitted by these animals. In ancient Japanese, Kitsu-ne meant “that comes back and sleeps”, or it could also be read as ki-tsune, “that always comes back” The explanation for these interpretations can be give by one of the many legends about these spirits.

The most ancient one goes like this:

«Ono, an inhabitant of Mino (says an ancient Japanese legend of A.D. 545), spent the seasons longing for his ideal of female beauty. He met her one evening on a vast moor and married her. Simultaneously with the birth of their son, Ono's dog was delivered of a pup which as it grew up became more and more hostile to the lady of the moors. She begged her husband to kill it, but he refused. At last one day the dog attacked her so furiously that she lost courage, resumed vulpine shape, leaped over a fence and fled.

"You may be a fox", Ono called after her, "but you are the mother of my son and I love you. Come back when you please; you will always be welcome".

So every evening she stole back and slept in his arms.»

(From the tale It comes back and sleeps written by monk Kyoukai in late VIII s. Or in the beginning of IX s.)

kitsune, kitsune fox, kitsune volpe, legend kitsune, kitsune leggenda, japan italy bridge, japan italy, japan tradition, samurai, tradizione giappone, giappone, giapponese

A dualist being

As mentioned, they are shapeshifting spirits and they have the ability to turn without age or sex problems. Their most famous and undoubtedly fascinating figure is that of a beautiful young woman. In fact Kitsune-gao (狐 顔 "fox face") is a term used to describe feminine features. High cheekbones and fine and narrow eyes, considered to be very sensual. According to tradition it is believed that seeing a beautiful woman wandering aimlessly during sunset hours it could actually be a fox.

kitsune, kitsune fox, kitsune volpe, legend kitsune, kitsune leggenda, japan italy bridge, japan italy, japan tradition, samurai, tradizione giappone, giappone, giapponese

In order to discover their true nature we must find the tail as the Kitsune can not disguise it. Alternatively, you should be loyal people but also their dislike for dogs can be a signal. Loyal animals can perceive their true being. Sometimes in their malignant form, the Kitsune draw strength and power from her lover. They absorb their energies through sexual intercourse and dry up the human forces and gruesomely causing death.

There are several shrines dedicated to Inari, their protector. It's usual to find depictions of these animals around the temples. The most well known is the Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine dedicated to the gods located in Kyoto. Also present in Buddhism, we find Dakini, Inari's female alter ego, as she rides a white fox, brandishing a sword. In these temples, the faithful are used to leave offerings of food for them, udon, soba, sushi and preferably the Aburaage fried tofu which is said to be Kitzune's favourites.

kitsune, kitsune fox, kitsune volpe, legend kitsune, kitsune leggenda, japan italy bridge, japan italy, japan tradition, samurai, tradizione giappone, giappone, giapponese

From the tradition to the animation

They are undoubtedly loved creatures in Japan. They are on traditional masks used in theatrical plays, in many variants: Gin-tenko / Silver fox, Kinko/ Golden fox, Hakuko/ the White fox, and many more.
The netsuke are the small statues made in wood or ivory. They are used as coin-purses to decorate kimonos, and are normally seen in popular mangas or anime. The most famous anime of the past few years is Naruto. Here the young ninja Naruto has the spirit of a fox sealed inside his body. This animal can be recognised in his personality, in his physical aspect, and in his powers too. We can find a fox in Inuyasa too. Here Shippo is a small demon fox that always creates funny gags changing his appearance.

kitsune, kitsune fox, kitsune volpe, legend kitsune, kitsune leggenda, japan italy bridge, japan italy, japan tradition, samurai, tradizione giappone, giappone, giapponese

Also, in the character of Kurama, from Yū Yū Hakusho, we find a fox spirit that was reborn in the human form of Shuichi Minamino. In this last character it extremely visible the dualistic nature of these spirits. On one side, the good-natured human being, devoted to his mother and loyal to his friends, on the other side, the cruel and unaffected fox spirit.
But these are just a few examples of how kitsunes have influenced the world of the animation. In Shiroichi, in the Tohoku region (north Japan), we can find the Miyagi Zao Fox Village. This is a faunistic park where it is possible to meet these lovely animals in their natural environment. Here you can see how friendly they can be and it's really easy to take pictures or even interact with them.

Festivals, Parades

Obviously, in a country so in love with traditions like Japan, there are numerous festivals dedicated to foxes too. The Kitsunebi matsuri, ‘The Festival of the Fire Fox’, is celebrated on the forth Saturday of September in the vicinity of the Okura Inari sanctuary of Hida. On this occasion, people create a masked parade, a sort of rappresentation of the so called ‘Marriage of the fox’, to invite good luck. During the New Year celebrations, in Kita (special ward of Tokyo) takes place the parade of the foxes of Ōji. During this event, everyone disguise as foxes and go to the Ōji Inari. This parade is inspired by the legend that tells how foxes all around Japan gather around a tree disguised as humans to celebrate the New Year and then reach the nearby sanctuary.

kitsune, kitsune fox, kitsune volpe, legend kitsune, kitsune leggenda, japan italy bridge, japan italy, japan tradition, samurai, tradizione giappone, giappone, giapponese

Marriage

We also have the saying Kitsune no Yomeiri (狐の嫁入り "the marriage of the foxes"). During the night foxes gather together, and in a line one behind the other, travel for rivers and mountains with lanterns made of paper to celebrate their marriages. An exception to this legend is Tokushima where it is believed that this is a funeral procession. According to Japanese people, if outside is raining but there is the sun too, then it means that foxes are celebrating a marriage.
This way of thinking changes from area to area. For example, in Ehime it happens when it is snowing, while in Kumamoto when there is the rainbow.
Nonetheless, with this atmospheric phenomenons it's not so uncommon to see small glittering lights. Those lights are the lanterns of the foxes. When you see something like this, pay attention, you might be able to see the marriage of the foxes!

Photo credits: tokyoblingmangadreamspinterestdeviantart.
[:]