Pop Culture and Japan

What is A Kika Sai Mentality?

Talking about mental health is important. Whether you’re feeling down or suffer from a mental health disorder like anxiety, talk about it openly with someone you trust. Every culture has their own way of addressing mental health, and Japan has many kinds of wellness concepts. Ikigai, wabi sabi and kintsugi are some of the most well-known examples.

A Japanese concept that I like to apply towards my own mental health is kika sai. Far from being some revolutionary new form of mindfulness, it’s just something I’ve made up. But I think the principles can be applied to all forms of mental health positivity. Continue reading “What is A Kika Sai Mentality?”

The Otaku Armoury

The Otaku Armoury: Wolverine’s Muramasa Blade

The Otaku Armoury showcases intriguing Japan-inspired weapons that are found throughout popular culture. Many weapons can trace their roots back to legends and mythical figures, such as Sengo Muramasa. An infamous Japanese sword maker, Muramasa’s blades were said to be cursed and caused their wielders to go mad with blood lust. It’s the kind of reputation that makes an engrossing story.

 So, it’s no wonder that Muramasa swords have found their way into mediums like comics. For example, the Marvel superhero Wolverine has wielded a sword that Muramasa created especially for him. Continue reading “The Otaku Armoury: Wolverine’s Muramasa Blade”

The Kokoro Files

The Kokoro Files: Mike Garley

The Kokoro Files is a segment that tells the everyday stories of people who are connected to Japan. The Land of the Rising Sun has served as an inspiration for many writers, and EMMY-nominated author Mike Garley counts himself among that list.

The creator of horror comic Samurai Slasher, Garley took the time to chat with Yamato Magazine about why he chose to tell a story of an unkillable zombie samurai and what it means to mix horror and comedy together during the writing process. Continue reading “The Kokoro Files: Mike Garley”

Book Reviews · Pop Culture and Japan

Samurai Slasher: Volume 1 Review: A Darkly Entertaining Graphic Novel

Samurai were known for their deadly skill in combat and over the years they have been reimagined in various forms of media. But few stories have reframed the legend of Japan’s greatest warriors quite like the Samurai Slasher graphic novel series. Created by Mike Garley, the Samurai Slasher comic is based on an idea for an ‘80s movie that never came into being. Pulpy, violent and darkly entertaining, Samurai Slasher: Volume 1 follows the birth of a terrifying new monster. Continue reading “Samurai Slasher: Volume 1 Review: A Darkly Entertaining Graphic Novel”

Pop Culture and Japan

The Way Of The Ronin: Yukio And Overcoming Disability

There’s a great variety of Asian characters in comics, and one of the most underrated is Yukio. Best known for her connection with Wolverine, Yukio was born in Japan and operated as a thief and rōnin, a masterless samurai.

She worked as an assassin for the Yashida family, but was eventually crippled and became wheelchair bound. This didn’t stop her from living her life, which demonstrated how strong Yukio is. Most people will be familiar with the character because of 2013’s The Wolverine, where she was played by Rila Fukushima. Although the film did her justice, there’s far more depth to her. Continue reading “The Way Of The Ronin: Yukio And Overcoming Disability”

Pop Culture and Japan

Batman: Ninja Review: An Entertaining Blend Of Comic And Japanese Themes


When it comes to superheroes, Batman is one of the most popular comic characters of all-time. The Dark Knight’s story has been told across multiple platforms, constantly reinterpreted to entertain new audiences. With the popularity of anime and Japanese culture, it seemed inevitable that Batman would find his way into a Japanese style setting, and that’s exactly what happened with Batman: Ninja. Here’s my review of a film that takes the best of the Caped Crusader’s world and mashes it together with Japanese culture. Continue reading “Batman: Ninja Review: An Entertaining Blend Of Comic And Japanese Themes”

Pop Culture and Japan

The Physical Power Of Memory: Armour And The Value Of Family

In Japanese culture, family is an important part of daily ritual. Japanese families are considered multigenerational, linked by a respect for ancestors. Ancestry is a powerful force within society and a comic character that highlights the importance of family is Armour. A member of the X-Men, Hisako Ichiki has the power to create a shield made out of memory. Through Armour, I’m going to explore the concept of memory and how it can hold families together.

Continue reading “The Physical Power Of Memory: Armour And The Value Of Family”