Tabloids Being Unfair To Keiko

It seems Keiko Kitagawa (Sailor Mars in PGSM) has been the subject of many tabloids’ fodder lately. The first one came a little over a week ago, where she was compared to Aya Ueto. Aya Ueto is an idol who has a nickname in the Japanese press, she is known as the “low-ratings idol” since she mostly appears in magazine, commercials, and low-rated dramas. According to this article, Aya has some competition with her “low-ratings” crown in the form of Keiko Kitagawa, who over the last nine months has been seen in the same sorts of things that Aya used to conquer! The article goes on to say that Aya has had a 10-year career, while Keiko has only been on the scene for 6 years. But it makes light of dramas which they starred in and their dwindling ratings. There’s an error in this article, as he calls Keiko only an actress and Aya an actress and a singer. Keiko has sung songs for PGSM which we’re pretty sure were well loved (at least it wasn’t Miyuu Sawaii’s singing). The writer of this article, at the end shows a shred of humanity saying that he doesn’t want fans to be angry with his decision about who the new low-ratings idol is. He ends saying Keiko is winning against Aya right now, but has more faith in Keiko having a better career in the future. He also notes that it is hard for many idols to achieve a lot of popularity. Aya is pictured here ->.

Yes, we know this article was garbage, but we really don’t think that this was fair to even put her in that category! Sure her latest dramas haven’t had wide appeal (Homeroom on the Beachside lost ratings steadily), however she is one of the few stars of PGSM who is steadily working hard towards stardom (even though she is not as successful as others)! Plus, she is featured frequently on commercials for cosmetics giant Kanebo (as is Aya). We remember reading in an interview a long time ago that she didn’t feel like she was worthy enough to be with all the other, more beautiful, idols that were in the commercials. To us, Keiko seems willing to try different things to put herself out there, and we know that she will never be a low-ratings queen to us!


We also came across this scan of Keiko’s various romantic interests and other men she has starred in movies and dramas with. We can’t name any of them unfortunately – if any of you know who they are, please tell us! Miyuu Sawai and Ayaka Komatsu are only in there to connect to her debut work, PGSM.

And thirdly, it seems that Keiko was involved in yet another scandalous mishap! Last week, she appeared on Tunnels: Food Prejudice King, a variety show in Japan. Tunnels features a campy quiz show for the first 20 minutes, and then the other 40 are devoted to celebrity food tasting, and then everyone has to guess the food that the other one hated. Alongside Keiko was a South Korean actor named Jung Woo-sung. Unfortunately, at the end of the show, he spelled Kimchi wrong (writing Kimuchi instead of Kimchi), and many South Koreans got offended. This led him to issue a huge apology out to his fans. We have a couple clips from the show for you all!

First: The Introductions, and Wine Tasting! Keiko doesn’t like the wine and seems a little shy…

Second: Kimchi/Kimuchi confusion! Keiko finds Kimchi spicy!

For those of you who want to know about Korean romanization and why “Kimuchi” causes a bit of an uproar, hit the jump for a very special explanation from our seasonal writer, Starcat!

Here’s Starcat’s explanation!

(please note that for this article I don’t use a standard romanization system — I simply write out how I think things are best phonetically pronounced to American English speakers, with hyphens to indicate between syllables. If you are from another country or have another accent you might not sound “Korean” when you pronounce things this way, but I think it works the best to my eyes and ears! I’m also calling it the “English” alphabet rather than Latin because romanization tends to follow the English way of pronouncing each letter.)

The Korean language, 한국어 (han-guk-oh), and Korean alphabet, 한글 (han-guhl), don’t really match the typical sounds given to English letters, so there can be a lot of variation for one word. It can get somewhat closer to most English words than Japanese due to the use of final consonants other than n (as in kim-bap, kal-bi, ta-sot, and an-nyohng–yes, the ng is one letter in Korean!) Some words are really easy to romanize into English — kimchi is written very much as it is in Hangul: ㄱㅣ ㅁ (김) ㅊ ㅣ (치), 김치. it can be spelt gimchi as well (and some people/places write kimchee or other variations on the same pronunciation) because the first consonant, ㄱ, falls slightly between these two English letters. (There are two more variations on this letter that produce a more distinct k-sound or a short gg/kk sound, as well, further complicating romanization into English, but since we’re only concerned with a simple word, kimchi, it’s not our problem.) The -chi part is slightly less complicated, because the ch, ㅊ, is already what’s called an “aspirated” consonant, which means it’s pronounced almost exactly like “ch” is in English. The letter it’s based on, ㅈ, is more of a j/ch combination–again, causing romanization problems in a different way.

Japanese, though, does not have these ending consonants. To write “kimchi” in Japanese, you must write ki-mu-chi, or キムチ. The u sound is usually dropped or only briefly pronounced so it ends up sounding very close to kimchi in Korean. It’s not a problem, right?

Well, to the Korean people, it is. The Japanese occupied Korea for a long time, and there is still a bit of jealousy and tension between the two countries. Japan has tried to get Korea’s national dish standardized in English as “kimuchi”. While I am not a Korean national or even Korean by heritage, my guess is that this misspelling was so offensive because of two reasons: for one, it’s the Japanese way, not the Korean way; for two, an unknowing English speaker would pronounce kimuchi different than kimchi. In short, the romanization directly from Korean is the best way and to do it otherwise is weird and insulting, particularly for such a high-profile dish! Even though this K-Pop star was in Japan, he should have been representing Korea and spelling it the Korean way.

I’m still a learning Korean student–if anyone knows if “kimuchi” is a real word in Korean (the basic hangul spellings I tried in Google Translate produced nothing) please write in and let us know!

sources/references:

For more information on how to pronounce Korean consonants: http://www.wright-house.com/korean/korean-consonants.pdf

The English article about this scandal from All K-Pop.com: http://www.allkpop.com/index.php/full_story/jung_woo_sung_apologizes_for_spelling_kimchi_as_kimuchi/

More on kimchi as a food: http://www.kimchi.or.kr/eng/index.html

ANIMAX to Broadcast Anime-Reviving Special Marathon!


And Morning Musume Member Reveals Secret Cosplay Fantasy?

It wasn’t too long ago that Yasuo Yamaguchi (legendary anime producer), spoke out on turmoils in the anime industry. Japanese network ANIMAX, will be broadcasting a 24-hour anime marathon beginning on August 22nd at 7 PM. The special, entitled “We Like Anime” is meant to energize Japan about anime again. And, it has quite a bit of star power to help out for this special! Yesterday, a promotional event was held to announce the project, and some of Japan’s most loved idols were there to talk about their involvement in the special, and which anime they liked! These idols were (from left to right) Natsuki Kato (she was in Battle Royale II), Chiaki Kuriyama (who many of you must know from Battle Royale and Kill Bill), Mari Yaguchi (former leader of Morning Musume), and Toshiki Kashu (Kamen Rider Agito). They all shared their stories of how they began to watch anime from kindergarten and of all of the series that had a special place in their hearts (such as Dragon Ball, Evangelion, Rozen Maiden, Detective Conan, and Fist of the North Star). But the really interesting part was when Mari talked about who she wanted to cosplay as! When she was little, she loved Sailor Moon and used to watch anime all day. She still dreams of cosplaying as Usagi Tuskino/Sailor Moon with her long blonde hair! OF course, the news outlets made her seem a little silly for this, but if Shoko Nakagawa can do it, why can’t Mari? We look forward to hearing more about this special and maybe we’ll even see Mari cosplay as our favorite superhero! We think a marathon like this is a step in the right direction to get Japanese people excited about anime again. While as of this moment we are unsure if Sailor Moon will be included, if this is the case, then this will be the first time the show has been on the air ANYWHERE in the world since the end of PGSM. ANIMAX, if you are reading this, please bring back Sailor Moon! It’s long overdue for a return, and if Japan could for a moment, remember this show, many people would be excited to watch anime again as it was one of the biggest hits in the early nineties!!

Many news sites are talking about this event – let’s hope that this marathon helps the anime industry!

Articles Returning Really Soon, But In The Meantime…

We’ve Got a Heartwarming Shokotan Story!

Hey readers – I’ve been talking with The Me and we are both aware how much you are missing reading articles and seeing commercials – believe me, we’re having a tough time trying to find time to get these things done. For most of the year now I’ve been taking on a few computer consultant/web development jobs and the latter has kept me busy (and stressed beyond my mind, as anyone who has had to do anything for a less-than-ideal boss can understand). The good news is that it appears that most of the stars in Japan haven’t been up to a lot lately so look forward to seeing a News From The Other Side of the Pond in a few days that will not be split up by Sailor Moon production (though it’s sad that the actors are up to little, it actually makes our lives easier when we bing the stories to you!). We’ve also got some exciting Flashpoint news from around the world to share with you this upcoming week, and an exhibit in Japan with features Sailor Moon.

In the meantime though, we read this really heartwarming and charming story about Shoko “Shokotan” Nakagawa on Kotaku, one of the best blogs for geek culture. We all try to hit this one a few times a week when we have time to kill. Tokyo Game Show (like E3 but some of it is open to the public) just ended, and Shoko appeared at the con to sing at a concert and from the picture here, it looks like she was there for some Pokemon promotion as well. We’re not sure if the story in this post is true about the editor’s son wanting to marry Shoko because she is pretty and knows lots about Pokemon, but we would not be surprised if it was! Shoko is one of the few idols who is always candid about the anime, manga, and games that she loves, even if the tabloids make fun of her for it. Hey, if you were a little kid and had an idol like this to look up to, chances are you’d want to spend the rest of your life with this person☻! Shoko once again ruffled the feathers of the tabloids when she posed for pictures in Sailor Moon cosplay with popular “newhalf” model , Ayana Tsubaki. Ayana is one of Japan’s most popular transexual models, so of course while some parts of culture accept her, others don’t. The article did say that Ayana looked impressive in her Sailor Mars cosplay – and we think so too. Aside from her boots, we thought she did a good job! Shoko remarked on her post that it’s good to make lots of friends and that it was nice to cosplay with a friend as Sailor Moon characters since it’s a story that her generation really enjoyed. She ended the post with an ascii character hugging “⊂二二(^ω^)二二つ”. We don’t care what anyone says about her, but she is probably the coolest of all the idols in our opinion because of her love of cosplay and anime! We’ve posted the picture here for you all to see.

Shoko Nakagawa on Sailor Moon

Hey Moonies – quick update! Go check out ANN’s interview with Shoko Nakagawa! It’s GIZA subtitled and around 4 minutes she starts to talk about how much she loves Sailor Moon. The interview was conducted last month when she appeared at Anime Expo! Later she talks about how much she likes to cosplay as Sailor Moon and how she was influenced by the manga. Some of her blog entries are also translated in English and they are now posted here! For her original blog, click here.

News From The Other Side Of the Pond 16 (Part 2)

Hey Moonies: in our best efforts to keep up with everyone, there’s been too many sightings as of late. So we are going to only mention a few this time around with the actors of Sera Myu and the anime. There’s close to 50 sightings and we can’t possibly report on them all right now. Once Fall rolls around we think it will get a little easier to keep up with everyone.
Ooyama Takayo Has New DVD!

Ooyama Takayo (Sailor Neptune in Sera Myu) has become an idol of both stage and film in Japan. On June 17th, she released a cosplay idol DVD entitled Profile ‘08. She dresses up in various different roles, including a housemaid, teacher, policewoman, and even in chinese traditional dress. She also appears as a cheerleader who is full of energy! On July 24th, she will make an appearance in the play Osaero. Her hobbies include music and dance, and many fans may be surprised to learn that Ooyama is an accomplished Taiko drummer!

Kasumi Suzuki in New Movie!

Kasumi Suzuki (Manna in Sera Myu) has a leading role in a Japanese movie just released in Japan called Compassion Ren based on the light novel of the same name. This one is a drama about a mysterious girl who appears in a classroom after a boy gets out of the hospital. He is intrigued by this girl, who is very dark and emotional. The boy shows her compassion and love, and the story goes from there. She plays Tomoka Uehara, another student in the class and a friend of the main character.

Kaori Moriwaka to Reunite With Old Band!

Kaori Moriwaka (Ikuko Tsukino in PGSM, pictured in the middle) used to be a rocker. She was the lead singer with a band called the Go Bang’s from 1986-1994. They had a punk-influenced bubblegum pop sound, and though they faded, many bands today cite the Go Bang’s as a major influence. After 14 years of being apart, the band announced a reunion on popular variety show SMAP x SMAP! Two weeks ago, The Go Bang’s Best Collection 1988-1991 was released featuring great hits like Invincible Venus and Come To See Me, I Need You! along with some remixes. On October 4th, the band will reunite on stage at Kaolyrics 08′ Electric Style, held at the Omotesanbo FAB club in Tokyo.

Kappei Yamaguchi Appears at Rumiko Takahashi Exhibit!

Rumiko Takahashi just opened an exhibit of her work in the Matsuya Ginza department store branch in Ginza. It’s a Rumic World is being put on to celebrate the end (finally!) of the Inu-Yasha manga. Kappei Yamaguchi (Artemis in PGSM, 2nd from left) appeared at the official ribbon cutting and he said he didn’t expect to see so many people come out! Kappei will be appearing at next month’s Otakon, for all our readers planning on attending!

Toru Furuya is Everywhere!


Toru Furuya (Tuxedo Kamen) is the one seiyuu who keeps us on our feet. We find so many news stories about everything and anything that he is up to that often we get sad when we see all the things we have to write about. In the last three months alone, Toru scored a role in World Masterpiece Theater: Porphy’s Long Journey as Jack Barubattsa, voiced Toppi Topuran in World Destruction for the Nintendo DS, and appeared at a Toy Fair for a new Gundam Beam Sword toy. But wait, there’s so much more. So much more, that in fact we have decided to give this energetic Seiyuu a nickname. When you take the first two letters of his first and last name, what do you get? ToFu! Pudgy, cute, full of energy, and found almost everywhere! Oh wait, our ToFu needs a picture. There we go, Tuxedo ToFu!

ToFu is currently promoting Intel’s new line of 45nm processors in Japan at the Intel in Akiba 2008 Summer conference. He will be speaking there on August 2nd. A few days ago, he demonstrated the PND MAPLUS E-100MP GPS Navagation System for cars. ToFu has done a lot of promotional engagements for gadgets, and we’ve always wondered why he has taken a special interest in computers. He just gave an interview with PC Online about how he can’t live without his PC. And, it all goes back to an injury. In 1984, he was helping pack up the drums at Yomiuri Hall after finishing a concert with Slapstick. Unfortunately, he broke a rib when a drum fell off a stand 3 meters high, and had to rest for a whole month while it healed. While he was resting, he read about the Yamaha CX5 music computer. Toru got one, and played with it while he was recuperating. He became so interested in it that very quickly he learned basic programming skills. He taught himself BASIC on his gigantic computer in those days, and wrote programs such as easy games and tax calculators. He took pride in his work, and still uses a synthesizer to create music and create neat effects with his voice to this day. He doesn’t program very much these days as it is a lot harder now with windows for him, but likes to use free, open-source software when he can. Hey, maybe his technophilia isn’t such a bad thing! He maintains and updates his own webpage almost every day, and uses his computer for word processing, email, and digital photography (he edits them too). He likes HTML because it is very easy and there is a lot he can do with it. At the end of this year he wants to build his own PC, with the new Intel Quad Core processor, a Blu-Ray drive, and attachments so he can digitize music from his guitar. He wants to make music for his homepage!

But wait, we have even MORE ToFu news. And we have a really big exclusive for you all after the jump!

Toru Furuya Releases Album!

Last March (but unbeknownst to many until early last month) ToFu released an album called Heroes ~ to my Treasure ~. He sings songs in the perspectives of some of his most famous characters, including Ray Amuro from Gundam, Pegasus Seiya from Saint Seiya, Kyosuke from Kimagure Orange Road, and Tuxedo Kamen from Sailor Moon. He wrote a song called Lalah’s Nocturne, about a character in Gundam. Japanese Rocker Gackt also worked with him on that track. Unfortunately, the booklet had errors, and here are the corrections for those of you fans with the wrong copies. We heard the album and it’s a little cheezy. Courtesy of Evolusean, we have a translation of the song he wrote for Sailor Moon called Everlasting My Love. He wrote this song as a tribute to the love eternal between Mamoru and Usagi. We’ve posted the translation below. Fans wanting to read an English interview he did in April, click here!

Everlasting My Love
Lyrics: Toru Furuya
Translation: Evolusean

On a blue-moon night, my heart is restless for no reason.
Walking alone, my shadow sways in the moonlight.

Our meeting was by chance–a destiny that pierced
Straight through to the core of my body.

Even though I don’t know why a single tear streamed
Down your wounded cheek as I held you without thinking,

I love you. From the heart. With all of my being
I feel, throughout my body, your past–even your future.
I love you. More than anyone. With my life
I will protect you. Everlasting my love.

On a red-starred night, unable to sleep, I think of you.
My song is a siren that painfully echoes through the city.

Our meeting was in a past life–a passionate emotion
That nestled close from beyond time and space.

Without hesitation, I placed mine on your dainty lips.
The moonlight illuminated your closed eyelids.

I love you. From the heart. With all of my being.
So much that my throbbing body wilts–a rose.
I love you. More than anyone. By my life
I vow to God. Everlasting my love.

Your slender shoulders shake as you laugh.
I will eagerly unlock the door to your heart.

I love you. From the heart. With all of my being.
I feel, throughout my body, your past–even your future.
I love you. More than anyone. With all of my life.
I will protect you. Everlasting my love.
Together forever. Everlasting my love.