Dec 19

Roland Kelts column in Daily Yomiuri: Our hybrid future is here


Violinist Diana Yukawa


Here’s the latest SOFT POWER/HARD TRUTHS column in the Daily Yomiuri by Roland Kelts (Osaka-shi, 1998-99), author of Japanamerica, this one about hybrid people, hybrid music and hybridization as a trend.


Diana Yukawa age 8



Dec 16

Roland Kelts’ Japanamerica reviewed by Fan-to-Pro blog

japanamericaHere’s a nice review of Japanamerica (by Roland Kelts (Osaka-shi, 1998-99) on the blog Fan-to-Pro:  The Blog of Professional Geekery, which describes itself as “a blog about jobs, career and economics for ambitious fans, progeeks, Otariimen and other members of the Modern Literati.”

Just in time for the holidays, in case you’re looking for that special gift for that special JET friend or Friend of JET!

Dec 11

Roland Kelts article in PaperSky–in Japanese–on hybridization and travel

Here’s a column by Roland Kelts (Osaka-shi, 1998-99), author of Japanamerica, in the Japanese-language travel magazine, PaperSky (  It’s a “mediation on hybridization and travel” and includes photos of the Tokyo, Sydney and NYC skylines.




Dec 7

Roland Kelts article in “Psychology Today”

Roland Kelts (Osaka-shi, 1998-99), author of Japanamerica, wrote this story about Japan’s unique generation gap for Psychology Today.  According to Roland, “things keep changing, but the fundamentals remain the same.  Japanese youth are enacting a kind of Bartelby Rebeillion–checking out, passively, to check in.”

Here’s the link to the post:

Dec 4



The JET alumni community already has a great reputation for writers such as Bruce Feiler, Roland Kelts and James Kennedy among others.  And now we’re starting to make our mark on the world of film as well.

JET alum Aaron Woolfolks film The Harimaya Bridge, starring starring Ben Guillory, Saki Takaoka, Misa Shimizu, and Danny Glover (who is also the Executive Producer), is making its New York debut on Sunday December 6 (with Q&A and cocktail reception to follow) and Sunday December 13 as part of the African Diaspora Film Festival.

(Editor’s Note: I already bought my ticket for the Dec 6 date!)

The film had a nationwide theatrical release in Japan beginning in June, and the response from audiences and critics was fantastic.  (There was also a showing in Los Angeles back in June that a number of JETAA Southern California JET alums attended.)

The film will be showing in New York:

  • Sunday, December 6 @ 5:30PM – Thalia Cinema, Symphony Space (95th & Bway) – GALA SCREENING. Followed by a Q&A with director and catered reception
  • Sunday, Dec. 13 @ 7:30PM- Thalia Cinema, Symphony Space (95th & Bway)

This looks to be a big event for the JET alum community, so get your tickets now and hope to see you there.

Here’s the trailer for the film:

Dec 2

Here are two videos of Roland Kelts (Osaka-shi, 1998-99), author of Japanamerica, from a keynote speech he gave at the University of Missouri in St. Louis back in October.

In the first, he talks about the connection between manga and anime and traditional Japanese line-based aesthetics–or what Takashi Murakami now calls “Superflat”:

And in the second video, he discusses the fundamental differences between American visual iconography and Japanese sensibilities, with a reference to Pokemon in America and McDonald’s in Japan:

Nov 21

Roland Kelts Daily Yomiuri column: Soft power evolution from Perry’s day to Obama’s


Here’s the latest SOFT POWER/HARD TRUTHS column in the Daily Yomiuri by Roland Kelts (Osaka-shi, 1998-99), author of Japanamerica, this one about Obama’s recent visit, Perry and the new Asia.

FYI, images below are 1) Commodore Perry’s bow, 2) Obama’s bow and 3) Political commentary from Perry’s day.





Nov 16

Roland Kelts radio interview with Tyler Brule of Monocle Magazine on manga and Japanamerica


Here’s a radio interview Roland Kelts (Osaka-shi, 1998-99), author of Japanamerica, did in Tokyo this past weekend with Tyler Brule, founder and editor of the UK-based Monocle magazine, about manga in Japan and overseas, and Japanamerica:

The Japanamerica segment is introduced at 1:00 and starts at 22:00

Nov 10


Roland Kelts (Osaka-shi, 1998-99), author of Japanamerica, was interviewed by Japan Society of New York at the New York Anime Festival 2009 which was held September 25-27 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center.  Let’s go to the video tape:

Part 1 of the interview:

Part 2 of the interview:

Nov 6



A story just published in the new December issue of VANITY FAIR chronicles the way Japanese kawaii, or super-cuteness, has conquered America:

Roland Kelts (Osaka-shi, 1998-99), author of Japanamerica, is quoted fairly liberally via an interview with Vanity Fair writer Jim Windolf.  Here’s a sample:

“There’s no doubt that cuteness has been a part of the Japanese aesthetic since the postwar years,” says Roland Kelts, the author of the 2006 book Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U.S. “One theory, which has been proposed by a lot of Japanese artists and academics, is that, after the humiliation and emasculation of Japan in the postwar years, Japan developed this quasi-queer position of ‘little brother’ or ‘little boy.’ If you become ‘little brother’ or ‘little boy,’ the only way you can get big brother’s or fat man’s attention is by being so cute or puppy-like that he has to take care of you.”

Roland also recently returned to Japan from a book promotion tour in Korea.

Oct 26

Roland Kelts on Japanese pop music in Daily Yomiuri column

cibomattoRoland Kelts (Osaka-shi, 1998-99), author of Japanamerica, has another SOFT POWER/HARD TRUTHS column in The Daily Yomiuri (and also re-printed in 3:AM Magazine) about J-Pop music in America, featuring interviews with Miho Hatori, formerly of Cibo Mato, and Reni-chan, a recent NYC transplant from Tokyo, plus reflections on AKB48.

  1. Daily Yomiuri SOFT POWER/HARD TRUTHS:  Japan’s Music Makers in America
  2. Link to 3:AM Magazine post of the column:

Oct 20

Roland Kelts article in Adbusters: Private Worlds

Roland Kelts (Osaka-shi, 1998-99), author of Japanamerica, has a good article out in Adbusters magazine.

Private Worlds:  Lives spent lurking too long in the shadows of the virtual

Also, Roland is traveling to Korea soon to do give some talks there.  If you’re a JET alum living in Korea and you go, make sure to go up and introduce yourself and invite him out for some sho-chu.

Oct 2

Roland Kelts to speak at anime event in St. Louis – Sat, 10/3

Roland Kelts (Osaka-shi, 1998-99), author of Japanamerica, will be giving a talk in St. Louis tomorrow as part of the Anime at UMSL event featuring renowned translator of anime and manga, Frederik L. Schodt, as well as a screening of the film PAPRIKA.  The event is being run by the University of Missouri at St. Louis’ Center for International Studies.

All you Missouri JET alums out there, make sure to introduce yourself and say hi if you happen to attend.

Click here for full details:


Sep 24

Roland Kelts column in Daily Yomiuri and appearances at the NY Anime Festival this weekend


Here’s the latest Daily Yomiuri column from Roland Kelts (Osaka-shi, 1998-99), author of Japanamerica, from his “Soft Power, Hard Truths” series for the Daily YomiuriThis one about the giant robot Gundam and AKB48 girl-power at this year’s New York Anime Festival, kicking off tomorrow:

Also, Roland will be at the New York Anime Festival at the Javits Center all weekend and says to JET alums, “Please swing by and say hello if you can.”  Here’s his schedule for the weekend:

  • Friday, 5:15 to 6:15 pm — Yoshiyuki Tomino (GUNDAM)
  • Saturday, 12:15 to 1:15 pm — AKB48
  • Sunday,  11:15 am to 12:15 pm — Yui Makino




Sep 15

Roland Kelts appearances at upcoming New York Anime Festival starting Sept 25



The New York Anime Festival has announced its bookings for Roland Kelts (Osaka-shi, 1998-99), author of Japanamerica, for this year’s event, which commences at the Javits Center on September 25.

Roland will be on with Yoshiyuki Tomino (GUNDAM creator) on Friday, pop sensations AKB48 Saturday, and Yui Makino (voice of TSUBASA) on Sunday.

Here’s the official announcement:

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