Yeah But Have You Heard Of… Kendo?

Jack Richardson (Yamagata)

OK, so you probably have heard of it. Or, at least, you’ve probably heard of it. Kendo is not renowned as the quietest or calmest of pursuits. But deep down below all that screaming and hitting and stamping lies a practice that is meditative, disciplined and suited to just about everyone.

It isn’t too difficult to work out where kendo has its roots. Swords have been used in Japan since the fourth century, and the training with them is known as kenjustu. That’s ‘sword art’ or ‘sword technique’ rather than kendo’s ‘way of the sword,’ but kendo isn’t on the scene just yet. The first kenjutsu schools still in existence were founded in the Muromachi Period, from 1336-1773. These are the ancestors of kendo, and focus specifically on using swords in war and combat.

Kendo, on the other hand, is, and has always been, a sport that’s strongly influenced by its martial art heritage. It’s similar to Western fencing in that regard — it has similar techniques, vocabulary and history, but no-one practices fencing so they can learn to skewer opposing noblemen with rapiers. As such, kendo adds formality and rules on top of already very formalised samurai duelling, as well as armour and swords that won’t slice you in half.

There are two sides to kendo as it’s practiced today. One is kata (‘forms’). Kata are common in many martial arts, and in kendo are practiced without full armour using solid wooden swords called bokken, which are meant to imitate katana. It’s based on kenjutsu techniques, and as such has a wider range of movements and techniques that simply aren’t used in regular kendo. Kata are always practiced in pairs, with a person each taking the student and teacher roles. Plot twist: the teacher always loses, but this is so the student can learn. As with other martial arts, the 12 kata are strictly defined, and are graded on how well students follow the form. It’s something to be practiced over and over again until it enters muscle memory.

‘Regular’ kendo — in my club we called it shiai (‘match’) practice — is still practiced in pairs, but using the armour that you can probably picture even if you don’t know it as kendo bōgu. It’s the stuff that makes you look like a terrifying samurai Darth Vader until you trip and then you turn into an adorable robot thing in a dress and mittens.

Instead of solid wooden bokken, which can and do break ribs, kendoka use shinai — straight swords made of four bamboo slats that are designed to absorb the impact, and leave only bruises if your opponent misses their target. Both of these are attributed to Naganuma Shirōzaemon Kunisato who developed them in the early 18th Century, but the last three hundred years have seen a great deal of development in both. For example, after about 20 years someone decided it might be a good idea to have a grille covering the person’s face, rather than just a piece of stiffened cloth for a helmet.

Where does all this practice come out, then? Well, in the absence of early-modern warfare in which to participate, kendo as a sport is played in matches between two people in a square arena, judged by three referees. The first to two points (or with the most points when time runs out) is the winner, and matches tend to last up to five minutes. You can score points in four areas: men (head), kote (wrists),  (body) and tsuki (throat). There’s a whole shopping list of things that must be done to actually score a point, but the important ones are stamping with the cut, shouting where you’re hitting as you hit, and running past the opponent to create space after your cut. This last one, called zanshin, comes from the idea that, if your cut failed to kill your opponent, it’s far safer to be ten feet away from them when they try to counterattack than standing right in front of them with a blank look on your face.

Kendo is a sport that’s both dynamic and repetitive. You train for hours and hours, slowly making your movements more and more efficient just so you can shave an extra millisecond off your strike when the moment comes. Adapting to this mindset and realising that you’re here to perfect a few simple techniques rather than build a vast repertoire of ways to hurt people can be tough. It forces you to stay (relatively) humble, especially when you’re being demolished by a tiny old lady in her 70s. But you can come for the shouting, too, I suppose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cool Japan Wonderland-What’s New at Universal Studios’ Cool Japan 2018 

Sabrina Zirakzadeh (Osaka)

It’s that time of year again: the moment that puts the “Japan” in Universal Studios Japan. While USJ’s limited-time event attractions are well-known, in 2015 the theme park decided to launch an event to fill the awkward time between its holiday illuminations and the summer extravaganzas, one with a decidedly regional spin. Every year since, Universal Cool Japan has been a major attraction, one so successful that its initial January-March run was expanded to January-June, yet the crowds are still overwhelming. Universal Cool Japan puts the spotlight on four key pieces of Japanese pop culture every year in the form of rides, 4D attractions, escape games, and more, and 2018 looks to be just as exciting as the previous three years. In fact, USJ has some special surprises in store!

The History of Universal Cool Japan

Universal Cool Japan 2018 logo In 2015, the first Universal Cool Japan event focused on four major pieces of Japanese popular culture: the Monster Hunter and Biohazard (Resident Evil in the West) video game franchises, the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, and the then-new media juggernaut of Attack on Titan. Each had a single unique attraction with some themed merchandise available, with the Attack on Titan area even having a themed food truck. Monster Hunter used a 4D adventure ride format, Evangelion received a 4D movie experience, Biohazard debuted its first puzzle-themed escape game, and Attack on Titan had — well, a let-down. While the first three attractions were popular and enjoyed by many, the walk-through, big-screen recap of key scenes from the anime coupled with a few live action set pieces and a chance for photos with life-sized statues of some of the lead characters was generally seen to be far from worth the average three hour wait time just to get tickets. Luckily, the free photos that fans could take with the giant Titans set up around the Cool Japan area had much shorter waits, and were a big enough hit that they were brought back in 2016 as well.

The second year was much the same as the first, but with the addition of a fifth attraction, the Kyary Pamyu-Pamyu XD Ride. In addition, the Attack on Titan experience was upgraded to a virtual adventure ride, which was still less popular than the other three attractions but got much better reviews. 2017 saw a major overhaul with: Attack on Titan finally giving fans a chance to fight (and get Promotional image for Monster Hunter: The Realeaten by) Titans in a virtual 4D adventure ride, new photo spots and statues going up; Monster Hunter getting an upgrade to build hype for the new Nintendo Switch games; Kyary Pamyu-Pamyu being replaced with a 4D rollercoaster for Godzilla; and Biohazard bowing out to debut an incredibly successful Detective Conan escape room, complete with minor interaction with cast members in the mystery and a new themed food truck.

However, in 2017 the numbers for Cool Japan dropped a bit compared with previous years. This may have been due to the opening of the new Minions park at USJ, but this year, Cool Japan is taking no chances and is ready to strike a chord with all new fans of Japanese pop culture!

The 2018 Attractions

Promotional Image for Detective Conan: The WorldWhile numbers may have declined overall in 2017, the attendance for the Detective Conan experience surpassed that of the Biohazard escape. Perhaps it was due to being more family-friendly, or maybe being a detective lends itself to more immersive puzzles than Raccoon City Studios. Whatever the reason, the Detective Conan escape will be back with new puzzles, new story, expanded challenges, and a full themed restaurant this year. Whether you know the story or not, this is a must-see for mystery fans and adrenaline junkies alike.

For video game fans, Monster Hunter: The Real will continue to run, but with new graphics and layouts related to the Monster Hunter World game and a Promotional image for Final Fantasy XR Ridestreamlined waiting system to combat increasing crowd congestion. In addition, this year will see Cool Japan’s first-ever Final Fantasy event, using USJ’s popular XR virtual roller coaster to immerse fans in the world of Midgar and Final Fantasy VII. This is probably the main attraction for this year’s Cool Japan event, so be sure to get advance timed tickets or be prepared for long lines to get in.

Promotional image for Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: The Miracle 4DThe biggest change will be the fourth focus. All previous Cool Japan events catered heavily toward shounen fandoms. This year, however, Cool Japan is debuting its first shoujo attraction — and halfway through the event! Beginning on March 16th, the Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: The Miracle 4D attraction will open, giving magical girl fans of all ages the chance to join the Sailor Senshi in their battles against evil. Having an event themed around a “girl” series, especially one premiering partway through Cool Japan, may seem risky, but USJ cut back on additional attractions to make sure this 4D event (and the other Cool Japan features) get all of the focus and skill of the park’s designers and performers to give guests the best experience possible.

So, what are you waiting for? If you’ve never been to Universal Studios Japan, now is the perfect time to go, and even if you’ve been before, this limited, revamped event is still worth checking out. Get your geek on, join other Japanophiles from around the world, and head over to Universal Cool Japan while you can!

Universal Cool Japan is held in Osaka from January 19th-June 24th, 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come On Over to Comic-Con

Chad Grover (Tokyo)

The second ever Tokyo Comic-Con took place from December 1st-3rd, 2017, at Chiba’s Makuhari Messe convention center. Japanese fans and expats alike from across the country arrived in droves to celebrate their love of Western comics, science-fiction, and fantasy series.

Stan Lee on the main stage at Tokyo Comic Con 2017

Special guest appearances included the legendary Stan Lee, creator of Marvel Comics’ X-Men and Spider-Man, who is largely credited for his role in helping bring Comic-Con to Japan in the first place. Not one to be outdone, DC Comics also arrived in full force to promote their newest film Justice League, released in Japan on November 20th last year. Both studios brought incredible exhibits for fans to gawk at as well (including the real Batman suit from The Dark Knight). The event was a rousing success, with staff proclaiming that the attendee list exceeded 50,000 people over the span of three days. While this is certainly an impressive turnout, the hall never felt overcrowded and navigation was a breeze, which was an added benefit.

To generate excitement for the latest Star Wars film, The Last Jedi,  which opened worldwide on December 15th, 2017, much of the show floor during the exhibition was dedicated to Star Wars memorabilia (including a life-size model of the famous Millennium Falcon). A wide variety of hobby shops and retailers also set up booths offering goods and merchandise that are unavailable elsewhere. Star Wars has been a global phenomenon since its inception in 1977 and Japan has always made up a significant chunk of its fandom. Creator George Lucas admitted that he was heavily inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s classic samurai films when he first penned his story, helping the film evoke familiar themes and ideas a Japanese audience could easily relate to. Fans were also encouraged to dress up as their favorite characters for the Star Wars Cosplay Showcase held on the second day of the event.

Spiderman cosplay invasion!

Cosplay remained the central focus of the show throughout the weekend. While Japan’s other major fan conventions such as Comiket or Tokyo Game Show typically feature costumed characters from Japan-made anime, manga and video games, Tokyo Comic-Con was almost entirely dominated by cosplay from Western properties. In turn, this gave the event more of an international appeal. Attendees were also treated to a cosplay fashion show and group photo sessions, where they could witness the best and brightest costumes the venue had to offer.

Guests of honor from around the world

In addition to cosplay events, several guests of honor from overseas were invited to partake in the show’s programming on the main stage. Those who were patient enough to brave the long line also had the chance to meet each celebrity and receive their autograph. Special guests included actors Karl Urban, of Lord of the Rings and Star Trek fame, and Nathan Fillion from the cult-classic television series Firefly. Mads Mikkelsen, who garnered critical acclaim for his role as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in television’s Hannibal, was also present. Mikkelsen recently landed a lead role in legendary Japanese video game designer Hideo Kojima’s upcoming title Death Stranding, giving fans another reason to be excited. Actor Michael Rooker, who played Yondu in Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy franchise, was greeted by a number of fans in attendance cosplaying as the colorful outlaw.

One slight drawback: most of the event’s programming was conducted in Japanese; in other words, if you weren’t proficient in the language, understanding what presenters were saying might have posed a challenge, dampening accessibility for foreigners somewhat. Also, compared to its Western counterparts, Tokyo Comic-Con is not as eventful a convention as the others. Most people who attend Comic-Con in San Diego, California have a variety of options for how to spend their time. Whether you enjoy a particular niche show or are looking forward to the next big summer blockbuster, you can attend a panel of your favorite celebrities to ask them funny questions, hear embarrassing stories and so on; however, this is not yet the case for Tokyo Comic-Con. A great way for the convention to address this next year would be to fly more special guests out to create panels filled with people who share a common thread, beyond autograph sessions and main stage programming.

Back to the Future’s famous Delorean on display in the exhibition room

Despite this, Tokyo Comic-Con enjoyed considerable success for a convention still in its infancy. The number of attendees increased by sixty percent over its inaugural year in 2016, and its celebrities list was similarly bolstered. Is it worth making a trip across the country to attend? Not yet — but given the show’s rapid growth in one year, there may come a time when it’s worth every penny. Tokyo Comic-Con 2018 is currently scheduled for November 30th through December 2nd. If you are a diehard fan of comics and science fiction (or just really enjoy cosplay), and are within the Greater Tokyo Area, you owe it to yourself to check out Tokyo Comic-Con when it returns at the end of the year.

Chad Grover is a 4th Year JET rockin’ the suburbs in Tokyo. He thought Star Wars: The Last Jedi was one of the best movies released in 2017. You can argue with him over this claim on his Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back and There Again

Jack Richardson (Yamagata)

Christmas and New Year have come and gone, while many JETs have done the opposite. Here, five such people share their experience of returning to Japan after a well-deserved break back home, and what they thought of the culture the second (or higher) time around.

Georgia Latham, Yamagata Prefecture

Going home for a holiday is wonderful. You can fill your days with all the things you can’t find in Japan — pints of cider (alcoholic obviously), pubs, edible bread, actual cheese and the non-pixelated real-life versions of family and friends. Yet it is also disorientating. I found that my life in Japan seemed very far away, like I had just returned from a long holiday and now I was home for good. In some ways I found leaving a second time more difficult than the first.

So, on that note, here are some words of wisdom from an (in)experienced JET.

First, plan some things to look forward to in Japan on your return. Going from a busy holiday where I was almost never alone, to a rather chilly one-person apartment, was a culture shock in and of itself. You may need to remind yourself that the future in Japan is as bright as the places you left behind. Second, as efficient as it might seem to arrive back in Japan the day before work starts, take heed. If you are anything like me, next morning you will spend a good half an hour frantically attacking two weeks’ worth of snow on your car, wearing the (unironed) suit you think you could possibly need for an opening ceremony and racing into the staffroom 1 minute before morning meeting. There will be no food in the house so you will spend the rest of the day in a half-starved, bleary-eyed daze as you desperately try to concentrate on all the lesson planning that you haven’t done for that week and avoid eating the omiyage you bought. Which brings us me to my final message. Omiyage is a great tradition and your teachers will love you for it but my God is it heavy. Pack light on the way out or be prepared to woo some airline attendants on your way back.

Max Turner, Hokkaido Prefecture

Returning to Japan after 10 days of fish and chips, sausage sarnies with lashings of HP sauce and real, sour-sweet, cloudy cider in a beamy Essex country pub, my hungers and thirsts for British grub were well and truly satisfied. They say you are what you eat. It’s true. I landed in Narita airport, a crispy roast potato dripping in beef gravy.

It felt like an odyssey of a journey from London, and with an extra bag of Christmas goodies from family in hand, I was fearful that I was going to have to sell a kidney to afford the additional luggage I hadn’t declared when booking my domestic plane ticket. I’ve heard horror stories about the same predicament with EasyJet and Ryanair at home. You can imagine the gobsmacked look on my face when the kind human being behind the counter checked it in without me having to pay a penny to get it back to my home from home in Hokkaido. I was greeted back to Japan by grinning staff and overwhelmingly helpful people, something the British customer service industry isn’t exactly world renowned for.

Melissa Jackson, Nagano Prefecture

After living in Japan for 5 months I thought it would be easy to return after only 10 days out of  country. However there were little annoyances that suddenly got to me which either hadn’t bothered me or I hadn’t noticed before the trip. The big ones of not speaking the language and struggling as a vegetarian were obviously still there, but now hordes of elderly people seemed to be jumping the queue at the station and everyone was being particularly unhelpful in general. The cherry on top was having to pay for the pleasure of having a stick shoved up my nose during a hospital visit to determine if the flu symptoms were indeed that. I missed not just being able to make a whiny phone call to the boss for a few days recovery from the mystery virus. To be honest, once the effects of the 20 hour journey and sickness had worn off, it was a huge relief to be back in the country of extreme politeness and procedure.

Erica Horan, Tochigi Prefecture

Japan is the latest in a long-ish line of ‘homes away from home’ I’ve had over the years, and it’s definitely the furthest — twelve hours in the sky from London to Tokyo, not to mention the airport journeys on either end. Whether you’re in your first year or your fifth, it’s probably always a surprise to realise how well you’re acclimatising to this beautiful, quirky and unique country — how you already know what you want at the convenience store before you even go in, or how easily you can rattle off an arigatou gozaimasu with a quick dip of your head as you leave with the chime echoing in your head. If you’re in the inaka like me, chances are the workers at your local convenience store will already know you and greet you like an old friend. Funnily enough, that’s something I had to consciously stop myself from doing at home — after being away for a year, there were things that made me feel like I’d never left, and other things that felt almost strange. There’s ups and downs — for example, I can’t get hot food or spare tights in my local corner shop back home, but I can get Walkers Prawn Cocktail crisps and flavoured instant coffee. As overwhelming as Japan can be on your first visit — I still remember vaguely panicking in my sleep-deprived state as the convenience store cashier in Keio Plaza asked if I wanted my bento heated up or not — when you’re returning from the holidays on JET, there’s often a certain sense of familiarity and accomplishment at feeling like you’ve adopted this topsy-turvy place where they serve red wine chilled as my second home. And when I’m still in that same sleep-deprived state, every time without fail on my return, I can’t help thinking that it’s good to be back.

Timothy Nerozzi, Niigata Prefecture

It is only after leaving Japan and coming back that I have been able to articulate my feelings as an American expat effectively. This is because I have found it is near impossible to get an international perspective on life until I have not only lived in a foreign country, but also returned home and cycled back again.

Unlike some JETs, arriving here as an ALT was the first experience I had setting foot on the nation’s soil, and I still find myself stopping in the middle of a sidewalk, looking around at the neon kanji and Eastern architecture with my mouth agape. In those moments I can’t help but scream silently in my mind, “I’m in Japan!” It almost feels fake or temporary, as if I am on a short vacation and will be returning home any day now with photos of my holiday. Because of this disbelief, returning back to America made the last five months on this island feel like a fever dream or fantasy that never actually happened. It was a subconscious affirmation that I had never actually left the United States.

I returned to my same loving family, drank at the same bars, and ate at the same restaurants I’ve eaten at since I was a child. Life as an American had returned to normal. For two weeks, Japan was once again a hypothetical country somewhere on the other side of the world that had nothing to do with me. That feeling persisted all the way to the airport. Then, after just fifteen hours on a plane, my life was completely overturned once again, like an hourglass being flipped right-side up after running out. The country that felt like a fever dream returned to concrete reality, while my home country faded back into obscurity and became foggy in my mind.

This is the situation many ALTs find themselves in. We are split into two countries so removed from one another that it’s impossible to keep them both concrete in your mind.

Traveling between homes on holiday feels like traveling between dimensions, and returning to the Japan feels like rediscovering the island all over again.

Indigo Dyeing Studio Kosoen: Japanese Textiles Just Outside of Tokyo

Jessica Craven (Saitama)

Some of Japan’s oldest surviving textiles, dating from the 8th century in the Nara period, are contained at Tokyo National Museum’s Gallery of Horyuji Treasures. The collection primarily contains ban, or Buddhist ritual banners, from this era. Even though these early designs are rather simple, if you look closely you can discern the intricate attention to detail and craftsmanship that is characteristic of other Japanese products, such as its renowned stationary. While the designs consist of only one color, very delicate and complex textural patterns have been skillfully woven into the fabric.

Until now, I had admittedly never really thought much about Japanese textiles. Like most foreigners (and perhaps even some Japanese people), I only ever really thought of kimono when I thought of traditional Japanese textiles. And while many pieces of kimono-inspired contemporary clothing are made today, they are scarcely designed with the same level of craftsmanship and elegance that the traditional kimono are. For the most part, even clothing inspired by traditional Japanese fashion is today made in a factory. This led me to wonder… aside from kimono, are there any traditional textile techniques that are being preserved in Japan today, and are they being modernized to suit contemporary taste and practical wear?

Although some unique weaving practices are still thriving in Japan, what really continues to flourish and evolve in the textile industry is a variety of dyeing techniques with long histories. One of the most significant of these is indigo dyeing. Indigo dyeing is literally everywhere — even in blue jeans (although these are practically all chemically and mechanically dyed now) — and yet we practically never think about it. One of the most accomplished traditional indigo dyeing studios still in existence today is Hiroshi Murata’s Indigo Dyeing Studio, Kosoen.

Mr. Murata was kind enough to let me interview him and take a tour of his studio in Ome City, a beautiful place with dedicated craftsmen at work and the sunlight dappling in. I was able to ask him many questions about the history of indigo dyeing, or aozome, its process, and its future.

Jessica Craven: What is Ome City’s history with aozome?

Hiroshi Murata: Textile production has prospered in this area since the 13th century, including the introduction of traditional indigo dyeing during the Edo period (when the process first began in Japan). Demand for textiles, such as bedding, skyrocketed in the post-war period, and Ome City provided close to 50% of the national demand. This studio, which was established in 1919, greatly contributed to that. I inherited the family business in its third generation, and still continue the tradition of indigo dyeing today. Since inexpensive textile imports have increased dramatically, hundreds of companies have abandoned this practice, so Kosoen is one of the only studios of its kind today, and the only one left in Ome that still uses a completely traditional process. Kosoen uses indigo leaves that are grown and fermented traditionally in Kochi prefecture.

JC: So indigo dyeing began in India and spread to many other countries, right? What sets Japanese indigo dyeing apart?

HM: My studio utilizes more thin lines and delicate patterns. Also, the exact fermentation process has evolved differently in Japan, and this results in a unique shade of blue. It involves two different and separate fermentation processes. The first is the process of making indigo leaves into sukumo, which is the raw material that is made into dye. The second fermentation transforms sukumo into indigo dye. Then the actual fabrics are dyed using many techniques similar to the ones in ukiyo-e. The process from start to finish takes several years, but the dyeing itself takes much less time, although careful attention to detail is required.

JC: What inspired you to continue the indigo dyeing tradition?

HM: As I said, I inherited my family business, but actually I changed it dramatically in 1989. I was convinced that only a return to the quality of Edo-period indigo dyeing would allow our business to continue to prosper under fierce competition from cheap imports. So, we went to Tokushima prefecture to learn traditional indigo dyeing techniques. I wanted to revive these refined techniques and make them known to the rest of the world.

JC: What are you doing to modernize indigo dyeing and make it appealing to people today?

HM: One appeal is our use of only natural techniques. Our products are completely devoid of harmful chemicals, so they are good for the environment and the people who wear them. There has also been renewed interest in the revival of traditional craftsmanship in Japan. When we first revitalized our business in 1989, our sales were small, so we only made small things like table centers, coasters, and other interior household items. However, about ten years ago we gained more popularity have begun dyeing and designing clothing, so that gives us ample opportunity to both continue traditional designs and modernize them by dyeing more contemporary style clothing.

Mr. Murata’s indigo Dyeing Studio Kosoen has certainly gained commercial success, receiving a significant number of overseas orders and more foreign visitors than ever before. He has even received invitations to exhibit in Germany and Canada, as well as to sell products at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In spite of this, his studio was featured in “The Wonder 500,” a list of certified products selected to be “local products that are the pride and joy of Japan but not yet known outside of Japan.” Let’s change that! Mr. Murata’s passion for his craft allows him to create astonishingly beautiful works of art, so please check them out online, if only to gain a deeper appreciate for the art of indigo dyeing!

 

Jessica Craven is an ALT in Saitama prefecture. She has degrees in both visual art and Japanese, so she enjoys exploring the contemporary art scene in Japan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February Releases

Sabrina Zirakzadeh (Osaka)

In need of entertainment? Each month, CONNECT brings you the latest information on upcoming releases and events in Japan. Here is the most anticipated entertainment for February!

Movies

1 Feb. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Crime Drama): Starring Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, and Sam Rockwell

16 Feb. The Greatest Showman (Musical Biography): Starring Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, and Zac Efron

23 Feb. The Big Sick (Romantic Comedy): Written by Kumail Nanjiani, starring Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, and Holly Hunter

Music

7 Feb. Candy Pop, TWICE (K-Pop)

10 Feb. The 69th Sapporo Snow Festival 10th K-POP FESTIVAL — Sapporo City, Hokkaido (K-Pop)

13-14, 27 Feb. UVERworld Live—Sapporo City, Hokkaido, and Tokyo (Pop/Rock)

21 Feb. Find The Answer, Arashi (Idol Pop)

26-27 Feb. Mogwai Japan National Tour — Tokyo and Osaka City, Osaka (Indie Rock)

Other Events

7 Feb.-April 8. Cirque du Soleil Presents Kurios — Tokyo (Circus)

10 Feb. Fuji Xerox Super Cup 2018 — Saitama City, Saitama (Soccer Tournament Cup)

16 Feb.-25 March The Poe Clan — Tokyo (Gothic Musical)

Games

1 Feb. Dragon Ball Fighter Z on Playstation 4, XBox One, and PC (Fighting)

8 Feb. Dynasty Warriors 9 on Playstation 4 (Fighting Platformer)

21 Feb. Metal Gear Survive on Playstation 4, XBox One, and PC (Action-Adventure Survival)