Keeping Up With The Isonos

Image]

Meet the Isono family.

The stars of the longest-running animated and non-soap opera scripted TV series in history, Sazae-san.

The comic strip was started in 1946 by manga artist Machiko Hasegawa. It appeared in her local newspaper and in 1949 when the national Asahi Shinbun asked her to draw for them, she moved herself, as with the setting for the cartoon, from Kyushu to Tokyo.

The story follow the family dynamics and daily lives of the Isono family and the eldest daughter Sazae.

At the time of its release Sazae was a role model for the modern woman, more interested in being herself than dressing up in kimono and makeup to attract her future husband. Hasegawa wanted the Isonos to embody the image of the modern Japanese family after World War II.

In 1969 Fuji television commissioned the animated series. It has run every Sunday at six thirty since then creating over six thousand three hundred episodes. Although the comic strips were forward thinking the animated series are renowned for their representation of a traditional Japanese family, The shows never feature video games, cell phones or the things that spring to mind when thinking of Tokyo.  The family always has dinner together and all major festivals are shown.

The names of the main characters were all inspired by a trip made by Hasegawa to the sea.

Isono 磯野  The family name,  iso means rocky shore

Namihei 波平 The father – 54, nami meaning wave

Fune  船 The mother – 50. Her name means ship

Sazae サザエ The eldest daughter and shows namesake – 24. Sazae is a shellfish that is a great delicacy in Japan.

Katsuo カツオ Sazae’s younger brother – 11, Katsuo means bonito fish or skipjack tuna.

Wakame  ワカメ The youngest daugther – 9, wakame is seaweed found in soups and salads.

Masuo Fugata マスオ フグ田  Sazae’s husband – 28, Masu meaning trout and Fugu meaning blowfish

Tara  タラ Masuo and Sazae’s son – 3, Tara means cod.

Hasegawa lived and worked in Sakura-Shinmachi a suburban neighborhood in Setagaya-Ku Tokyo.  There is a museum dedicated to her life and work. In 2012 the town unveiled bronze statues to try to increase tourism to the area. The father’s trademark strand of hair has been stolen twice.

Sazae-san airs at 18:30 every Sunday on Fuji Television.

Advertisements

Today’s 日本語 JPN ABBR.

Japanese has many contracted words. Anything that can be said shorter and easier is stripped down to its bare bones.

for example;

Odawara Express Electric Railway, 小田原急行電鉄 Odawarakyuukoudentetsu becomes 小田急 Odakyu

The immigration office, 入国管理局 Nyuukokukanrikyoku  becomes 入管 Nyukan

Toshiba is a contraction of “Tokyo Shibaura”, and Nissan is a contraction of “Nippon Sangyo”.

Most borrowed words are shortened to create;

anime アニメ animēshon アニメーション animation
dejikame デジカメ dejitaru kamera デジタルカメラ digital camera
depāto デパート depātomento sutoa デパートメント・ストア department store
eakon エアコン ea kondishonaa エアコンディショナー air conditioner
famikon ファミコン famirī konpyūtā ファミリーコンピューター family computer (Nintendo)
famiresu ファミレス famirī resutoran ファミリーレストラン family restaurant
konbini コンビニ konbiniensu sutoa コンビニエンス・ストア convenience store
puroresu プロレス purofesshonaru resuringu プロフェッショナル・レスリング professional wrestling
rabuho ラブホ rabu hoteru ラブホテル love hotel
rimokon リモコン rimōto kontorōrā リモートコントローラー remote control
terebi テレビ terebijon テレビジョン TV (television)
toire トイレ toiretto トイレット toilet

Night of the Living Dollers

When Masahiro Mori (the famed japanese robot technician) coined the phrase the uncanny valley, a term which describes the feeling of revulsion humans experience when facing a robot or android that looks too human, he was describing Dollers . 

Dollers are an extreme niche of the cosplay world. The great majority are men in their late teens to early twenties and they look a little like this.

The wide, dead stare, the flawless plastic skin and the silent smile of a killer.
Recently Madonna used dollers in her music video for “Give Me All Your Luvin'” (they were the second most plastic thing in it).

Animegao employs full body suits and full head masks made of plastic, fibreglass and clay. The can be bought online (how could you go into a shop for it?) for about 80,000 yen ($1000). Many “dollers” choose to customise their own, gluing on wigs and painting in their own eyes. If you are looking for an art project check out Nukopan’s online shop.

Discover more with an interview with a doller here.