Japan in popular media
Wednesday, September 24, 2008 2:59:57 AM
Japan has shown up in The Simpsons more than once. One memorable time was the episode entitled "Thrity Minutes Over Tokyo," which largely parodied Japanese stereotypes. The Simpsons make their way to Japan by scoring lucky, mega-saver tickets at the airport. There are a few injokes in the episode that only devout Japanaholics would have picked up:
★ When Marge remembers that Homer liked the movie Rashoumon, Homer says that that's not the way he remembers it. Anyone who's seen Akira Kurosawa's classic movie will get why this is funny.
★ The Japanese game show is a little extreme, it goes to show that some Japanese game shows are based around humiliating the contestants.
★ The play of the Chuushingura, or the tale of the 47 ronin is referenced in this show.
★ Woody Allen was shooting a commerical in Japan. You'd be surprised at the huge number of American celebrities who get paid a lot of money to do out-of-character commercials in Japan. The site Japander.com has a very extensive collection of such commercials.
★ There is some Japanese in the show that is actually real Japanese, though pronounced a little funny.
★ The Seizure Robots cartoon is a reference to the episode of Pokemon that had more than 700 kids go into a seizure after watching it. I heard that they played it on the news later that day... only to have more people have seizures.
Another episode of The Simpsons that deals with Japan is the famous "Mr. Sparkle" episode, entitles "In Marge We Trust." Homer stumbles across a laundry detergent mascot that looks just like him, and tries to get to the bottom of it all by getting in touch with Japan.
There's not much to say about it, but the highlight is the commerical, which you can find on Youtube. The episode incorporates authentic Japanese, though of course quirky, in the expected Simpsons' style. The story deserved to have a dedicated episode, though, rather than sharing airtime with a relatively weak plot involving Marge and reverend Lovejoy.
I'm a huge fan of South Park, well I really love the recent seasons, not so much the first seasons. The comedy really has evolved from toilet humor to comedy genius. That said, there are a few 爆笑 bakushou (LMAO) moments even in these early seasons. If there's one thing South Park does, and has always done well, it's disrespecting any group/race/religion without discrimination, and they show no mercy to Japanese people.
The episode, "Chinpokomon" (a play on Pokemon and ちんぽ chinpo, penis) is a parody of Pokemon. The villains of the episode are the Japanese, who want to enslave America from the inside out by getting kids hooked on collecting Chinpokomon toys. It really is terrible from a race-relations view, but slightly funny in its blatent portrayals. You may be able to stream it from AllSP, or the official site if you live in the US. It's season 3, episode 10.