Wed, 6 March 2013
Colin Marshall sits down in Echo Park, Los Angeles with Roland Kelts, lecturer at the University of Tokyo, co-editor of the literary journal A Public Space, and author of the book Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U.S. They discuss whether Japan has yet really figured out how to sell its pop culture abroad; the success of CrunchyRoll.com; his time growing up as a partial outsider in the white northeastern United States, and how anime and manga's focus on the outsider thus resonated with him; the commission he received from the Coppolas to write a story about Japan, which had him live in Osaka for a year; the subsequent offers that came his way to write about Murakami, Miyazaki, and Japanese youth culture; why the Wachowskis like anime so much; what his youthful Anglophilia revealed to him about the parallels, especially aesthetic, between Britain and Japan; how we even have sushi in American convenience stores, yet nothing like Japanese street vending machines; whether he felt, as did novelist Todd Shimoda, a not-fully-foreign presence in Japan; how he splits his time between New York and Tokyo, and the importance of maintaining ties with his native land; how the geographical oscillation provides him perspective on both cities, and what escapes his attention (Lena Dunham, for example) when he's away from each; the relative lack of coded engagement and easier physical flow of New York; his understanding of American psychology coming through a cross-country drive of vast spaces and non-major cities; and the passing of Donald Richie, which raises questions of how best to write about Japan, a country which must now return to doing more with less.
Direct download: NCC_S3E14_Roland_Kelts.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:50pm UTC