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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Japanorama is a series of documentaries presented by Jonathan Ross, exploring various facets of popular culture and trends of modern-day Japan.

Each episode of Japanorama has a theme, around which Jonathan Ross presents cultural phenomena, films, music, and art that exemplify facets of Japan. The series is colorful in both its creative use of subject matter, and its use of bright colors that helps accent the action on screen rather than distract from it. Subjects were separated by eye catches that often featured the artwork of Junko Mizuno. Ross hosts each episode in suits so bright and stylised they could have been stolen from an anime character.

Fans have credited the series for the care that both Ross and the BBC have placed in its production. Time was given to delve into each subject, and Ross was able to interview various figureheads of culture and industry, including Hayao Miyazaki, Mamoru Oshii, Takashi Murakami, Takashi Miike, and Takeshi Kitano.

The theme song of the show is Kiyoshi no zundoko bushi by Kiyoshi Hikawa.


Series and episodes

Japanorama consists of three series, each with six episodes. The first series was shown on BBC Choice in 2002, while series two and three were shown on BBC Three in 2006 and 2007 respectively.

Series 1

Title Episode First aired
Science Fiction 001 June 9 2002
Segments include:

TV: Ultraman and interview with the director
Film: Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1988) and interview with director Shinya Tsukamoto
Video games: Interview with the CEO of UGA
Etiquette: How to enter a room
Anime: Astro Boy (1963), and Akira (1988)
Film: Ghost in the Shell, Avalon and interview with director Mamoru Oshii
Culture: Robot pets and robot people
Film: I.K.U. (2001), sci-fi porn feature inspired by Blade Runner

Youth 002  ?
Segments include:

Film: Waterboys (2001), a comedy
Conceptual Art: Cupheads
Etiquette: How to laugh
Culture: J-Pop Idols
Film: Love and Pop (1998) and interview with director Hideaki Anno
Culture: "Hostbed" , this is how internet was meant to be
Interview: Hayao Miyazaki, director of some of Japan's most popular animated films
Film: Battle Royale (2000): a group of teenagers on an island are forced to kill each other

Sex 003  ?
Segments include:

Film: Warm Water Under a Red Bridge
TV: The Paradise TV network, 24 hour erotic show
Film: In the Realm of the Senses and interview with Nagisa Oshima
Interview: The "Kings of Pink" - Serious adult film makers
Etiquette: Chopsticks
Anime: Looks at sex in various anime
Anime: Legend of the Overfiend (1989)
Culture: Figure, erotic cosplay with masks
Film: Tokyo Decadence (1992), about a SM girl for hire

Crime 004  ?
Segments include:

Film: Tokyo Drifter (1966)
Film: Branded to Kill (1967)
Film: Brother (2000), interview with actor and director Takeshi Kitano
Etiquette: How to exchange business cards
Interview: Director Takashi MiikeAudition (1999), City of Lost Souls (2000), Ichi the Killer (2001)
Reality TV: "Crybaby". Which girl can produce the most tears? Interview with producer and winner
Music: Pizzicato Five, interview with Yasuharu Konishi
Anime: Defining the difference between anime and cartoons with The Professional: Golgo 13 (1983)

Tradition 005  ?
Segments include:

Manga: Lone Wolf and Cub, Interview with writer Kazuo Koike
Etiquette: How to bow
Film: Zatoichi Meets the One Armed Swordsman (1971)
Film: Samurai Fiction (1998), interview with director Nakano Hiroyuki
Anime: Ninja Scroll
Conceptual Art: Breadman
Film: Onibaba (1964)
Culture: Kano Sisters, celebrities known for nothing in particular
Music: SUPERCAR, J-Rock
Film: Seven Samurai (1954), Yojimbo (1961), hosts from Akira.

Horror 006  ?
Segments include:

Interview: Architects and Godzilla actors
Etiquette: Numbers
Film: Kwaidan (1964)
Film: Scarecrow (2001)
Film: St.John's Wort (2001)
Film: Ring (1998) and Ring 2, interview with director Hideo Nakata
Anime: Barefoot Gen (1983), interview with writer Keiji Nakazawa
Interview: Junko Mizuno
Interview: Dir en grey and fans

Series 2

Title Episode First aired
Kakkoii (Cool) 001 September 7, 2006
Segments include:

Architecture: Buildings in Omotesandō, Tokyo.
Interview: Pop and video artist Nagi Noda, creator of the Hanpanda.
Custom: Slurping when eating noodles.
Interview: Nigo, creator of Bathing Ape.
Interview: Actor Tadanobu Asano.
Technology: Robots, such as ASIMO, and an interview with robot builder Tatsuya Matsui.

Otaku (Nerd Culture) 002 September 14, 2006
Segments include:

Culture: Akihabara
Film: Train Man
Interview: Toru Honda, "King of Otaku"
Culture: Garage kits and other anime model kits, as well as Wonder festival, an annual event dedicated to these things
Culture: Moe
Culture: Cosplay
Culture: Maid cafes
Custom: Lying and the Japanese saying that doing so would cause you to lose your tongue in the afterlife
Music: AKB48, an idol group catering to Otaku

Zoku (Tribes) 003 September 21, 2006
Segments include:

Culture: Harajuku, Tokyo and the subcultures who go there to show off — gothic lolitas, gyaru, rockabillys and the like.
Music: Junko, dancehall queen.
Custom: On graduation day, girls ask the boy they like for their second uniform button — the one closest to his heart.
Interview: Fashion designer Paul Smith
Culture: Yakuza and their style in clothes and tattoos.

Owarai (Comedy) 004 September 28, 2006
Segments include:

Culture: Manzai, stand-up comedy
Interview: TV comedian Hard Gay
TV: Oh! Mikey, TV comedy sketches
Film: Cop in a Wig
Film: Cromartie high
Film: The Glamorous Life of Sachiko Hanai

Bushido (Samurai Spirit) 005 October 5, 2006
Segments include:

Culture: Beetle sumo
Interview: Director Minoru Kawasaki about his films Calamari Wrestler, Executive Koala and Crab Goalkeeper
Technology: Sumo robots controlled by cell phones via Bluetooth
Film: The films with Chiaki Kuriyama

Kawaii (Cute) 006 October 12 2006
Segments include:

Culture: Hello Kitty.
Music: Ichirou Mizuki, King of the Anime Singers.
Custom: The tradition to throw a fallen-out bottom tooth over your house to symbolise the new tooth growing straight up quickly. Upper teeth should be thrown under the house.
TV: Ga-Ra-Ku-Ta: Mr. Stain on Junk Alley and Funny Pets by Ryuji Masuda.
Culture: Gloomy Bear and an interview with its creator, Mori Chack.
Culture: Japanese dolls, in particular the Super Dollfie dolls.

Series 3

Title Episode First aired
Gaijin (Outsiders) 001 March 19, 2007
Segments include:

Culture: Bosozoku (bikers)
Culture: Drift racing
Music: Electric Eel Shock hard rock band
Culture: Truckers decorating their trucks
Manga: Afro Samurai, manga and anime series about a black samurai taking revenge
Culture: Yayoi Kusama, polka dot artist

Ai and Koi (Love and Romance) 002 March 26, 2007
Segments include:

Religion: Shinto shrines with fertility rites and penis festivals.
Culture: Host clubs where women go to meet well-paid male hosts for companship. There are also onnabe hosts — women dressed as men and taking hormones to grow beards.
Culture: Takarazuka Revue, an all-female revue form of theatre.
Manga: Yaoi manga, comics featuring romance and sex between males.
Culture: Air sex, like air guitar but pretend sex instead of guitar play.
Culture: Businesses renting rooms with latex love dolls to men.

J-Art (Japanese Pop Art) 003 April 2, 2007
Segments include:

Culture: Takashi Murakami's "Superflat" style of subversive characters derived from Manga and Anime, turned into merchandise
Culture: Gesai #10, Tokyo fair for young artists, 2006
Culture: Toast Girl uses household items for performance art
Culture: Yoshitomo Nara and his paintings with dark child-like figures
Culture: Toy-art, collectible figures created in limited editions
Culture: Tomohiro Yasui creates paper figures of wrestling robots
Culture: Hard Gay's paintings and sculpture, showing a giant anus
Culture: Keiichi Tanaami has created colorful psychedelic art since the late 1960s.

Densetsu (Legends) 004 April 9, 2007
Segments include:

TV: 40 years of Ultraman, and the "Ukulele Ultraman" pop video
Anime: Gundam, Pokémon, Astro Boy
Culture: Illusionist Princess Tenko
Song: Haruka and Rena perform "Tarako, Tarako, Tarako"
Food: Ramen, noodles in broth with toppings
Interview: Martial arts actor Sonny Chiba, about his film The Street Fighter and his acting in Kill Bill

Kaidan (Horror) 005 April 16, 2007
Segments include:

Culture: Kimodameshi (scary walks for children)
Entertainment: "Haunted Hospital" in Fuji-Q Highland, one of the scariest haunted houses, with life actors
Anime: Spirited Away (Oscar, 2001), Pom Poko (1994)
Culture: Obake, transforming monsters in Japanese folklore, including Kaminari, Bake Chochin and Karakasa Obake (one-legged umbrella)
Music: Interview with Demon Kogure, head of a religious heavy metal band who claims to have conquered Earth in 1999
Film: J-Horror films including Kwaidan (1964) with "The Woman of the Snow" and "Hoichi the Earless"; Kuroneko (1968); Ring Trilogy (1998) by director Hideo Nakata; Ju-on: The Grudge (2003) by Takashi Shimizu
Manga: Interview with Junji Ito, creator of Uzumaki (The Spiral), Tomie and Gyo
Photography: Kaoru Izima takes pictures of fashion models as if they were dead
Film: Ero guro ("erotic grotesque") movies, many based on the horror novels by Rampo Edogawa, e.g. Japanese Hell (1999) and The Blind Beast Vs The Dwarf (2001) by Teruo Ishii and Sexual Parasite: Killer Pussy (2004) by Takao Nakano

Gyaru (Bad girls) 006 April 23 2007
Segments include:

Culture: Kogals, Ganguro and Yamanba girls.
Dance: Para Para, synchronised group dancing performed to eurobeat music.
Interview: Maeda Ken, para para pop star behind the Maeken Trance Project.
Film: Azumi (2003).
Feature: Entertainer Reiko Ike, best known for her action/erotic roles in so-called "pink films".
Film: Kamikaze Girls (2004), Sakuran (2007) and interview with actress and pop idol Anna Tsuchiya.
Culture: Female wrestling.
Music: Female pop stars Namie Amuro, Ayumi Hamasaki and Kumi Koda. All-female bands Metal Chicks, The Feminine and eX-Girl.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Japanorama" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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