• Local Heroes Born From Love of Home Towns

    [From April Issue 2015]

    Heroic characters that come to the aid of the weak and slay evil are well-liked in Japan. Many Japanese grow up watching TV programs about such heroes. Each region has its local mascot and the number of heroic characters, too, is increasing. These are called local heroes.
    Local mascots are created to promote local produce or to revitalize their region. However, most local heroes come into being because of the locals’ affection for their region or from their longing for a heroic character. It’s said that as many as 700 heroic characters exist in Japan. They are popular not only with children, but also with grownups.
    On Tanegashima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture, “Rito Shentai Tanegashiman” is popular. This team of heroes were created 17 years ago by a local youth club. Speaking the local dialect, rather than fighting like heroes, their role is to inspire the people of Tanegashima. The Tanegashiman team is already renowned not only in Kagoshima but in other prefectures. “I’d like everyone in the country to know about Tanegashima and Tanegashiman,” says KUKIHARA Kiyotaka of the PR department of Tanegashima Action Club.
    Tanegashiman get a lot of requests to appear at long-distance relay races and, being well-received by the elderly, at local class reunions for 60-year-olds. To the surprise of the youth club’s members, their villainous enemies, the Jabatche, have also become popular. The Jabatche speak the Tanegashima dialect and make people laugh with jokes about audience members. Their amusing banter with the audience is the talk of the town.


    Chojin Neiger

    The local hero of Akita Prefecture, too, is also massively popular. Super God Neiger was inspired by the well-known cry of Akita’s local deity Namahage “Warui ko wa ‘ineiger’/inai ka.” (Are there any naughty children here?) His true identity is AKITA Ken., a young man from an ordinary family of farmers. He protects the peace from baddies. When he transforms into Neiger his rallying cry is “Super God Neiger, protector of the sea, the mountains and Akita!”
    EBINA Tamotsu, who was instrumental in the creation of Super God Neiger, has loved heroic characters since his childhood. He believes Neiger’s popularity is in the way that the hero embraces the Akita world. A TV program about Neiger was broadcast not only in Akita, but also in Tokyo. “Nothing makes me happier than hearing children cheering,” says Ebina.
    Local heroes might utilize regional products as weapons or have a signature pose. TAKAMOTO Shintaro is a fan of local heroes and even travels to distant locations for meet-and-greet events and shows. “I find it particularly interesting that they speak in dialects. It’s also fun to compare regional idiosyncrasies,” he says.
    Most heroes fight their enemies in order to keep the peace and protect the environment in their regions. They therefore set a good example to children. Some adults are nostalgic for the heroes they once looked up to. Local heroes will continue to serve locals’ affection for their region.

    Text: TSUCHIYA Emi[2015年4月号掲載記事]




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  • In Oman it’s also Customary to Remove Shoes in the Home

    [From April Issue 2015]

    After sustaining damage in the Great East Japan Earthquake and going through the disaster of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, in March 2011 a manufacturer in Fukushima Prefecture received an order worth 2.6 billion yen for water purifiers. The order came with a message: “You can use the water purifiers in areas affected by the disaster before delivery.” “It was the least support our country could offer to our friends in Japan,” says Abeer A. AISHA, wife of the Ambassador of Oman, modestly.
    Mrs. Aisha arrived in Japan in January 2008. “My husband visited Japan in 1994 and had a homestay experience with a Japanese family. He was treated very well by his host family, almost like a real son. I’d also heard from my acquaintances that Japanese people were very kind. Our daughter got very ill during the flight to Japan, so she went straight to a hospital upon arrival. She was very well taken care of, so well that it made me understand just how good Japanese people are.”
    Japan is the first country she’d been posted to as an ambassador’s wife. “I like casual socializing; formal situations aren’t my cup of tea. So I was very nervous when we paid a visit to the Imperial Palace,” she says. “When the Empress spoke to us, she was quite friendly even though the meeting was rather formal. I was anxious, but she made me relax.”
    Mrs. Aisha attends official ceremonies and is required to socialize and take part in activities not only with Japanese, but also with diplomats and ambassadors’ wives from other countries. “At first, I felt under pressure when people paid attention to me, my dress and my speech,” says Mrs. Aisha. “I got homesick because back home I always spend a lot of time with my parents and sisters.”

    City of Nizwa

    “It was thanks to my work experience for a bank in Oman that I got over my homesickness,” says Mrs. Aisha. “I dealt with so many types of people, including fishermen, merchants and businessmen, that I became open as a person. We have many foreigners that work in our country, so the culture is international. That’s why I’ve learned to deal with people from different countries in a friendly and polite manner, I think. My husband and children and the friends I made in Japan cured my homesickness, and I ended up becoming a stronger person, as I kept saying to myself that it was all for my family and country.”
    “My first concern about living in Japan was our children,” says Mrs. Aisha. “Before coming to Japan, we were posted in the UK for six months. Our children were 15, 13 and eight years old. We moved twice in such a short time that it must have been hard for them to get used to their new schools and make new friends. I was relieved they were fortunately transferred to good schools here in Japan and they adapted quite well.”
    She had a hard time with the language and with food. As a Muslim, she consumes neither pork nor alcohol. “There were few expatriates in the area where we first lived. So supermarkets there had very few products with English labels. I didn’t know which ones to buy from those that didn’t have English on. My daughter and I once gave up and went home without buying anything,” she says.
    “My daughter loved potato chips sold at the convenience stores, but once she learned enough Japanese at school to read the ingredients, she was disappointed to find out that some pork-derived ingredients were used. That said, Islam is a flexible religion, so it’s not a problem if you ate something without knowing,” says Mrs. Aisha. “We have no more problems now as our chef cooks for us at home and we have a few international stores with English labels near to the embassy. I myself have learned some Japanese phrases such as ‘I can’t eat pork,’” she laughs.


    Bahla Citadel

    The punctuality of the Japanese and the fact that things are planned several months in advance were pleasant surprises for her. “Whenever we go home to Oman during summer holidays, our relatives suggest we stay longer. Everyone’s surprised when I tell them we have to return because we already have plans for September. I suppose Japanese punctuality comes from the fact that they were raised to respect and value the importance of time. The Japanese way of doing things is good for living comfortably,” she says.
    Located in the southeastern part of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman is a country that has prospered from maritime trade since ancient times. A member of Oman’s royal family has Japanese blood and the country is well known for its friendliness towards Japanese. Historical buildings such as the Bahla and Nizwa Forts, the Royal Palace, and mosques are popular with tourists. Although the Middle East is a region unfamiliar to most Japanese, its resorts are well-known in Europe. Oman’s beaches are teeming with foreign tourists enjoying their vacations.
    “Most Japanese must think Oman is a desert country,” says Mrs. Aisha. “Of course, our desert is enormous, but we also have beautiful beaches and oases. The climate in the mountains is good throughout the year and marvelous resorts are everywhere. It’s a stable and safe country security-wise, so please do come for sightseeing. Cherry trees presented by Japan blossom every February in Oman’s Jabal Akhdar. We also have Japanese gardens.”
    “You can enjoy wonderful cuisine in Oman. As many traditional dishes use rice and fish, Japanese people will feel at home, I think. Besides, Oman is a country with lots of international influences. From Lebanese food, to Indian, to Southeast Asian, to Western, and to fast food, we have all kinds of restaurants where you can taste delicacies from both the sea and the land.”



    “Oman produces a fragrant resin called frankincense. The quality of Oman’s frankincense is the highest in the world and its trade has a very long history. Omanis not only burn it, but also chew it like chewing gum, drink it in liquid form and use it for skin care. Nowadays perfumes, body creams, and lotions are made from frankincense. Oman’s dates are also of very high quality.”
    “The Omanis and the Japanese have a lot in common: our hospitality, respect for elders, and the way we take off our shoes before entering the home and sit on the floor. What’s more, Japanese wash their hands at the entrance when they go to a Shinto shrine, don’t they? That’s like us, too; we Muslims also wash our hands before praying,” says Mrs. Aisha. “Oman is a wonderful country. I’m sure tourists would return to visit again.”
    Oman Embassy
    Text: SAZAKI Ryo
    Photos courtesy by KOSUGI Yurika[2015年4月号掲載記事]





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  • If Manga is Engaging, it’s Welcomed by Readers Worldwide

    [From April Issue 2015]
    In February 2015, the awards ceremony for the Eighth International Manga Awards was held in Minato City, Tokyo Prefecture. It’s an open contest for manga created outside Japan. It’s organized by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Japan Foundation – a cultural organization specializing in international cultural exchanges and Japanese language education. The Japan Cartoonists’ Association and publishers of manga magazines are also involved. This time, 317 works from 46 countries/regions were submitted and 15 of them won awards. The award winning works from Asia, the West, the Middle East and Africa reflected the continuing expansion and development of manga culture.
    Gold and Silver Award winners are invited to Japan to meet Japanese cartoonists and to visit publishers and other manga-related sites. This year’s Gold Award was given to Nambaral ERDENEBAYAR from Mongolia. Luo mu from China, Ben WONG from Malaysia, and 61Chi from Taiwan were selected for the Silver Award. Though 61Chi had a prior engagement, the other three winners came to Japan.
    “Bumbardai,” Erdenebayar’s award winning work, depicts the close relationship of a nomadic mother and child. “I want to continue depicting the traditional life of nomads. I’d also like to explore the subject of Mongolian folklore,” says Erdenebayar. “I loved Doraemon as a child. I went to the Fujiko・F・Fujio Museum during this stay in Japan and it was like a dream come true.”
    Luo mu, who won her award for “Mr. Bear,” a story about a boy in a bear costume, has been drawing manga for only a year or two. “I’m still quite inexperienced when it comes to drawing manga and constructing stories, so I was both surprised and delighted when I learned about the award,” she says. “I’ll continue to do my best now that I’ve been commissioned to do a series. I’d like to create heart-warming works in the future.”
    Ben Wong who won his award for “Atan,” a story about a boy and a water buffalo, is a talented cartoonist who’d already won an award at the first International Manga Awards. “I became a manga writer because I thought it was a good business opportunity. My entrepreneurial spirit was stimulated by the possibility of success and by the risks involved,” he says. “From now on, I’d like to expand into educational manga,” he said about his ambitions for the future.
    “There was a time when it was said that Japanese manga wasn’t up to world standards. Japanese cartoonists, however, instead of trying to adapt to this, only depicted what would please readers,” said cartoonist SATONAKA Machiko, chief judge. “In whichever country manga is drawn, readers will welcome it as long as it’s fun. And by sharing stories, we get to know about each other’s cultures,” she said, giving words of encouragement to the winners.
    “The level of the art work was so high and the stories were so well constructed that these works might as well have been published in Japan,” says SAITO Yuko from the Cultural Affairs and Overseas Public Relations Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “I hope these awards will one day be loved by cartoonists and readers throughout the whole world.” The application period for the next International Manga Award is expected to be from mid-April to late May.
    International Manga Award
    Text: SAZAKI Ryo[2015年4月号掲載記事]


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  • Yoshimi-Hyakuana

    [From April Issue 2015]

    This unique and ancient burial mound consists of numerous caves dug into the rocky hillside. It’s thought that many caves are horizontal burial pits dating from the late Kofun era (6-7th centuries) and at the time of writing 219 have been counted as such. It’s possible to enter some of the caves, while others with their naturally-occurring luminous moss – designated as a protected species – can be viewed and photographed from behind a fence. In the springtime cherry blossoms can be enjoyed on the Hyakuana burial grounds and its environs. There is also a cave built to house a munitions factory during World War II that is often used as a location for television dramas.
    Directions: Take the Tobu line to Higashi-Matsuyama Station. Then take the Kawagoe Kanko Bus heading towards Konosu License Center and get off at the “Hyakuana Iriguchi (entrance)” stop. From there it is only a five minute walk. Or you can take the JR Takasaki Line to Konosu Station, then take the Kawagoe Kanko bus bound for Higashi-Matsuyama Station and get off at the “Hyakuana Iriguchi” stop. From there it is only a five minute walk.
    Hours of Operation: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Entrance fees: 300 yen for adults and children of junior high school age or over, 200 yen for elementary students and free to children not yet in elementary school.
    Open 365 days a year
    Text: KAWARATANI Tokiko[2015年4月号掲載記事]

    交通:東武東松山駅下車。川越観光バス鴻巣免許センター行き「百穴入口」下車、徒歩5分、または、JR高崎線鴻巣駅下車 川越観光バス東松山駅行き「百穴入口」下車、徒歩約5分
    入園料:中学生以上300円 小学生200円 小学生未満無料

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  • Origin Bento

    [From April Issue 2015]

    Origin Bento, a shop that sells side dishes and obento (pack lunches) to go, has a total of 566 stores in the Kanto and Kansai areas. There are more than 30 varieties of obento box available. The company prides itself on preparing dishes in store with healthy seasonal ingredients rich in nutrients that contain no artificial colorings or preservatives. Side dishes are arranged on a large platter in a glass display case at the counter and can be bought for 183 yen per 100 grams. The menu is altered according to the season.

    [No. 1] Nori (Seaweed) Bento 299 yen

    Okaka (bonito flakes), nori, and deep fried fish are served on a bed of rice. This standard bento dish is popular with people of all ages.

    [No. 2] Nori Deep Fried Chicken Bento 399 yen

    Deep fried chicken with a side serving of cabbage served on a bed of rice topped with okaka and nori.

    [No. 3] Half a Serving of the Recommended Daily Vegetable Intake
    Six Stir-fried Vegetables Bento 504 yen

    Cabbage, bell peppers, onions, carrots, komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach), and moyashi (bean sprouts) stir-fried in soy sauce. A flavor you’ll never tire of. Only available in the Kanto area.
    Origin Bento[2015年4月号掲載記事]


    【No.1】のり弁当 299円


    【No.2】のりチキン竜田弁当 399円


    【No.3】一日に必要な野菜の半分使用 6品目の野菜炒め弁当 504円



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  • Art Brings Out People’s Real Feelings

    [From April Issue 2015]

    CHO Hikaru / ZHAO Ye
    “I think the phrase ‘it’s beautiful’ is a phrase people formulate in their minds when they’ve seen something that has made an impression on them. So, when I receive such a compliment, I’m not happy because I don’t know if my artwork has really touched that person’s heart,” artist CHO Hikaru says. “If someone who sees my painting frowns involuntarily and says, ‘Yuck,’ it makes me happy because I feel like I’ve heard their true opinion.”
    Cho mainly paints. Although she is still in her junior year in the Visual Communication Design department of Musashino Art University, she’s already known for working in a variety of fields, including painting, producing videos, and designing characters. Having entered into a contract with an apparel manufacturer, she also designs clothes and tights.
    Cho became famous for her body painting, by painting realistic-looking art onto people’s skin. “When I was preparing for my entrance exams for art school, I had to paint still lifes every day. Then, I got fed up and wanted to make pictures of humans, so I tried painting an eye. I did it on the back of my hand because the art supplies I was using back then were expensive and only available at an inconveniently located store, which made it troublesome to go buy them,” she says with a laugh.
    She loved the eye she had painted on her hand so much that she posted a picture of it on Twitter. Then, it was retweeted more than a thousand times. Cho says: “In those days, ‘Parasyte,’ a manga series about creatures living inside human bodies, was becoming popular; people thought my eye painting resembled one of these parasites and found it funny. I suppose they were also drawn to the fact that this weird painting had been done by a young woman.”
    Knowing that trends quickly come and go in the world of the Internet, Cho thought her post would soon be forgotten. But even after six months, it was still getting retweeted. But the positive feedback didn’t stop there and before long she was being asked to perform on TV programs. When she exhibited her work requests came in from people who wanted to collaborate with her.
    “I became famous before I had completed my artistic training, so I was criticized by some people who said that any artist could easily paint that kind of picture,” Cho says. “When I come across remarks badmouthing me or my works on the web, I take screenshots of them to reread later. I find them both instructive and funny. I’m the kind of person who can put things in perspective,” she says with a wry smile.
    “I think the reason I turned out this way is partly because I was born in Japan to Chinese parents,” says Cho. “I’m treated as a Chinese person in Japan, and have to have my fingerprints and picture recorded when I enter the country, as if I were a potential criminal. In China, I’m viewed as more of a Japanese person because of my poor Chinese.”
    “But because of this upbringing, I learned to look objectively at the way countries tend to strengthen unity by looking down on other countries,” says Cho. “It’s not what it seems” is a picture of a banana painted to look like a cucumber and is Cho’s favorite of her works to date. “I wanted to ask, ‘What can you tell about who someone is on the inside, just by looking at their skin color, nationality and other external aspects?’”
    CHO Hikaru
    Text: SAZAKI Ryo[2015年4月号掲載記事]

    趙 燁 さん
    「でもこの生まれ育ちのおかげで、他国をおとしめて自分たちの団結を強めようとする動きを、距離を置いて見ることができるようになりました」と趙さん。趙さんはお気に入りとして、バナナに色を塗ってキュウリに見せかけた作品「It’s not what it seems」を挙げます。「人間の肌の色や国籍といった外側だけを見て、その人の内面の何がわかるの?と言いたかったのです」。
    趙 燁 さん

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  • Manufacturer of Ready-made Foods Invented “Ochazuke Nori”

    [From April Issue 2015]

    Tea in its many forms is deeply connected to Japanese history and culture. One of the most popular teas consumed today is sencha; a green tea invented by NAGATANI Soshichiro – founder of what was to become Nagatanien Co., Ltd. – in the Edo era (17-19th centuries). That is to say that originally the Nagatani family ran a tea production business. Sencha was eventually exported to Western countries and, along with raw silk thread, became one of Japan’s major exports.
    In 1952, NAGATANI Yoshio, the tenth Nagatani to run the family business, developed “Ochazuke Nori” with his father Takezo so that people could easily consume delicious ochazuke (a dish of rice and tea) at home. At that time ochazuke nori was powdered shredded seaweed, seasoning, and arare (rice crackers) mixed together by hand. As neither aluminum foil nor polyethylene was available in those days, to prevent humidity from spoiling the seaweed, 100 bags of double the usual thickness were stored in a bottle that had a layer of lime placed inside its base.
    Sales of Ochazuke Nori steadily increased and it eventually became a hit product nationwide. In 1953, a year after the product was launched, Yoshio established Nagatanien Honpo Co., Ltd. He subsequently created a series of long selling products such as “Matsutake no Aji Osuimono,” “Sake Chazuke,” “Asage” and “Sushi Taro,” all of which can still be found in stores today.
    In 1979, a man, who was in charge of the production department, was chosen to be the company’s first “idle employee.” Yoshio told him, “You don’t have to come to work. You can spend as much as you want. You don’t need to report back. Eat whatever you want and come up with something in two years.” Having created a series of hit products, Yoshio knew that “good ideas don’t only surface when you’re sitting at a desk.”
    The man from the production department followed his orders and, searching for ideas for new products, traveled extensively sampling food both in and outside of Japan. Two years later, he ended up launching “Mabo Harusame,” a combination of “Chinese soup” and “harusame” (thin noodles). Mabo Harusame, the world’s first instant Chinese food, was a big hit. Along with this product, the dish itself became popular nationwide.
    In 2003, the A-Label range for people with food allergies was created. During the developmental stage, some employees voiced concerns that it would be hard to maintain quality without eggs, milk and flour, but these difficulties were overcome with the launch of a curry in a sealed plastic pouch and furikake (dried seasoning for rice). In response to an unexpected influx of positive comments from mothers – such as “I’ve been waiting for a product like this” and “Please create more products like this in the future” – more resources are being allocated to product development and the marketing of this range.
    At the time of writing, the “What are you going to put on Japan?” project, to get consumers to suggest new ways of eating Ochazuke Nori, is underway. Ochazuke, made of typical ingredients used in Japanese cuisine such as rice, tea and seaweed, is likened to Japan itself. “Ochazuke cars” are now traveling around Japan showcasing recipes that incorporate local delicacies.
    Nagatanien Co., Ltd.
    Text: ITO Koichi[2015年4月号掲載記事]


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  • Utilizing Japanese Language Proficiency to Secure a Dream Job

    [From April Issue 2015]

    “The other day when I went to a business networking event for various companies and made a presentation in Japanese, so many people rushed up to me to exchange business cards that I ran out,” says Nate SHURILLA in fluent Japanese. “Also, when I was job hunting, a broader range of options opened up to me because I could speak Japanese; this resulted in a job offer from one of Japan’s main mega banks. The ability to speak the native language gives you a huge advantage when it comes to securing a job in a foreign country.”
    Shurilla hails from the state of Wisconsin in America. “Before he got married, my father lived in Japan doing volunteer work for his church, and used to discuss his memories of this experience with me and taught me simple Japanese. Through this, I became interested in Japan, too, and elected to learn the Japanese language in my middle and high school years.” When it came time for him to enter secondary education, Shurilla applied to do volunteer work for his church and went to Japan, just like his father.
    At first, Shurilla was shocked because it was so difficult for him to understand spoken Japanese. “My first placement was in Yamagata Prefecture where I couldn’t understand a word the old people spoke. Later I understood that they had a unique dialect. However, the experience had a huge impact on me at the time and it made me think I had to study more Japanese. At the same time, though, I understood that the conversation would continue even when I did not understand the words, if I just smiled and said, ‘I see, I see,’” he jokes.
    Shurilla decided to study ten new words, two new grammar rules, and five new kanji every day. “I used store-bought flashcards and also read books. The first book I read had about 200 pages. It began to make sense at around page 150,” he says.
    When his two years of volunteer work came to a close Shurilla returned home and went to college. There he chose to take classes in Japanese where he studied grammar and the cultural background of Japanese expressions. “Thanks to the grammar lessons, I could systemize knowledge I acquired during my stay in Japan. Also, understanding Japanese culture is very important. For instance, I think the greeting ‘otsukaresama desu’ (thank you for your work) is uniquely Japanese. Bearing in mind that it comes from appreciating other people’s hard work and being considerate of their fatigue, you would know in which situations to use the expression.”
    When he was a college senior, Shurilla sat for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) N1 and passed. He then applied for the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme and returned to Japan. “I returned to Japan because the earnestness and diligence of the Japanese people had made a big impact on me during my previous stay and I had begun to love Japan,” he says. “While working in Japan, there was a period when I was bothered by the interference of my direct supervisor, but I overcame that by talking to another boss at a higher level.”
    Now, Shurilla is working for a marketing company in Tokyo. “If you speak your native language and Japanese and have some kind of skill, like programming, you can find many job opportunities in Tokyo,” he says. “I am now involved in ‘Around Akiba,’ a project to promote the appeal of Akihabara to the world. I feel it’s an advantage to be able to speak Japanese, particularly when doing interviews.”

    Text: SAZAKI Ryo[2015年4月号掲載記事]

    今、シュリラさんは東京のマーケティング会社で働いています。「自国語と日本語、そして何かのスキル、例えばプログラミングができるなどの技能があれば、今の東京には仕事を得る機会がたくさんありますよ」と言います。「私は今、秋葉原の魅力を海外へ発信するプロジェクト『Around Akiba』に携わっています。特に取材のとき、日本語ができてよかったと感じますね」。


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  • The Unfortunate Fate of a Young Man Who Tried to Play God

    [From April Issue 2015]

    Death Note
    This story portrays the fate of a young man who comes into possession of “Death Note,” a notebook that enables him to control death itself. The tale was serialized in “Weekly Shonen Jump” from December 2003 to May 2006. In Japan alone 30 million copies of the entire series have been printed, and it has also been translated into a number of different languages around the world. It’s hugely popular both at home and abroad.
    One day YAGAMI Light picks up a black notebook with the words “DEATH NOTE” written on it. Instructions written on the back of the front cover state that simply by writing a person’s name in the book it’s possible to kill them. Some days after, the notebook’s owner, the death god Ryuk, appears before him. But Light is not astonished because having already used the notebook to indiscriminately kill criminals, he has come to believe that the notebook possesses a mysterious power.
    There are various restrictions on using the Death Note. Most important being that the name and the face of the victim must match. Light kills a succession of brutal criminals, whose names and faces appear on the news. When this series of suspicious deaths occurs, it’s not long before a rumor begins to circulate that a righteous killer named “Kira” is going around executing bad guys. This has been Light’s intention all along.
    By playing the part of Kira and executing criminals, Light carries out his plan to control people through fear and thereby create a world free of crime. “I will become the God of my new world,” Light declares to Ryuk. At the same time, at the request of Interpol, the mysterious master detective “L” begins looking into the case. By having information on brutal criminals released at different times in different countries, L measures the timing of executions. From this he determines that Kira is in the Kanto region of Japan.
    Light schemes to completely wipe out all the FBI agents sent to investigate the case. Before long L himself comes to Japan. L joins a team heading up the investigation into Kira – a team that includes Light’s own father YAGAMI Soichiro. L eventually comes, on the basis of internal information leaks, into contact with Light and begins to suspect that Light is in fact Kira. Aware he is attracting suspicion, Light also approaches L and offers to help out with the investigation.
    As the battle of wits between the two unfolds the investigation is thrown into chaos when AMANE Misa, a second person suspected of being Kira, arrives on the scene. By manipulating Misa, who adores Kira, Light successfully eliminates L before he’s able to prove that Light is Kira. L’s death, however, is never made public, and Light takes over as a second L, making it seem as if the investigation is still progressing. Behind the scenes, a new world is on its way to being realized.
    A few years later, devotees, who worship Kira as a god, spread throughout the world, and the armies and police agencies of other countries can no longer oppose him. Just when Light is only one step away from dominating the world, two successors to L, Mello and Near, stand in his way. And the three are embroiled in one final showdown. The fate and ultimate demise of Light, who is obsessed with his mission to dispense justice, touches on the universal theme of the “perils of justice.”
    Text: HATTA Emiko




    ある日、夜神月は「DEATH NOTE」と書かれた黒いノートを拾います。表紙の裏には、名前を書き込むだけで人を殺すことができるという説明が書かれていました。数日後、ノートの持ち主である死神リュークが現れますが、月は驚きません。ノートが不思議な力を持つ本物だと確信していたからです。月はすでにノートを使って、何人もの犯罪者を殺していました。







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