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Talking Japanese Culture, Season 1, Lesson 21 – Top 5 Japanese Pop Culture Icons
Hello, and welcome to JapanesePod101.com. I’m Eric.
In this lesson we will talk about the ​"Top 5 Japanese Pop Culture Icons”.
The first one (on the list) is the world-famous “Hello Kitty” which is known in Japan as (J: Kitī-chan).
A true icon of Japanese cute “Kawaii” culture, Hello Kitty is a white bobtail cat who wears a red bow over her left ear. The character was first created in 1974 by Sanrio (J: Sanrio). After four decades, the white cat still holds sway at home and overseas, and hard core fans are called “Kittylar” (J: Kitirā).
Famous celebrities including Paris Hilton, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga are known to be enthusiastic Kitty fans.
The next topic (on the list) is the Japanese idol girl group (J: AKB fōtī eito / AKB48). The group was created by songwriter Yasushi Akimoto (J: Akimoto Yasushi), who wanted to form a girl band with its own theater.
AKB is the first girl idol group in Japan to use a general election system to choose the key members. The group also has unique but controversial sales strategies in which they sell CDs with handshake tickets or member election ballots.
The next topic (on the list) is about an animated pop star (J: Hatsune Miku).
Hatsune Miku, with long turquoise twin ponytails, is recognized as one of the most famous virtual idols in the world. But she was originally a synthetic vocal application with a female persona, created by Crypton Future Media.
Since this vocal application hit the market in 2007, the android diva quickly gained popularity because the program allows anyone to easily write songs using Miku’s voice.
The next topic (on the list) is about a charismatic fashion icon, (J: Kyarī Pamyu Pamyu).
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, now the figurehead of all things kawaii, has also been appointed as (J: Harajuku kawaii taishi) the “Kawaii Ambassador” for the Harajuku district of Tokyo, which is the epicenter of street fashion and pop culture.
Although she originally started her career as a fashion model, she has also become a charismatic singer since her first single (J: Tsukema tsukeru) made it big.
She is now popular also outside Japan, and attracted fans in 11 different countries to her 2014 World Tour.
The last topic (on the list) is Pokemon (J: Pokemon).
(J: Pokemon), or (J: Poketto Monsutā) “Pocket Monsters”, is a game involving picture cards featuring different monsters, abilities, and powers.
But initially, it was all started in 1996 by Nintendo Game Boy game software. When they play the game, players make their team stronger by capturing Pokemon, raising them, and making them fight against other Pokemon.
All the monsters such as (J: Pikachū) and (J: Nyāsu) are called “Pokemon” altogether, and these colorful characters have grabbed children’s hearts around the world.
That’s all we have for this lesson. The Japanese “kawaii” pop culture is also becoming an influential phenomenon outside Japan. But why do you think they are so successful? Feel free to leave us a comment and let us know what you think. Thanks for listening everyone and we’ll see you next time. Bye!


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