TW Pop Culture Weekly: Abenomasks Can’t Stop Face Mask Shopping Riots

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Face masks aren’t a magic bullet for the coronavirus, but they may curb the spread of COVID-19 somewhat. This has resulted in there being an actual shortage of masks in Japan, as opposed to the completely fictious toilet paper one. The government tried sending each household reusable cloth masks (dubbed “Abenomasks” after PM Shinzo Abe) but they did little to alleviate the problem after reports of them being soiled by “mold, stains, and bugs.” So it was only a matter of time before things got… ugly.

https://twitter.com/ronken04/status/1250678894270660608

Customers Attack a Shipment of Masks at Chiba Costco

Most stores these days have stopped the direct sales of masks, instead only taking online orders in order to avoid the exact same thing that happened in a Chiba Costco on April 15. Captured by Twitter user @ronken04, the posted video shows a swarm of people around a toppled-over shipment of masks, pushing each other over and clawing their way towards boxes that frankly looked as if they have been ripped open.

If there is a bigger irony than trying to get something that you really believe will protect you from the coronavirus while also breaking all social distancing guidelines possible, we have yet to hear about it.

Kumiko Okae Dies from Coronavirus Complications

Sadly, a sense of decorum wasn’t the coronavirus’ only victim this week.

The March 29 death of comedian Ken Shimura from the coronavirus shook Japan and resulted in tributes to the TV mainstay, as you would expect from a man that some called the Robin Williams of Japan. Actress Kumiko Okae enjoyed basically the same level of recognition in her home country. Though mainly known to Western audiences from her small role in The Cat Returns (2002), for the longest time, Japanese audiences could not picture a world where Okae wasn’t on TV. But now they’ll have to after the actress passed away on April 23 from coronavirus-related pneumonia. She was 63.

Kumiko Okae’s career spanned more than 43 years and included roles on such popular shows as Maria (TBS), Lucky Seven (Fuji TV) or My Lover’s Secret (NTV). It’s believed her sudden death was partially the result of the extensive radiation therapy she received earlier this year, following a recent breast cancer operation. She will be widely missed.

Ainu My Voice Sheds Light on the Struggles of Japan’s Indigenous Population

Japan’s indigenous Ainu people have a history and culture that are very different to the ones found and taught throughout the country, but they are unequivocally Japanese. Their roots go back nearly 17,000 years, making the Ainu Japan’s first civilized people. Unfortunately, only a few Ainu communities remain in Japan today, and their members often struggle to find a balance between modern life and upholding their cultural traditions. The new documentary Ainu My Voice focuses on those challenges.

Produced by 3MINUTE Inc and the fashion magazine MINE, Ainu My Voice follows modern Ainu woman Rie Kayano as she recalls her own moments of sorrow and happiness related to her indigenous identity. Through her and her interaction with other Ainu, we get to see a part of Japan that is rarely talked about, but which deserves all of the attention it can get.

How to Make a Proper Rock Band

It’s easy for a TV show about the music business to be a take-down of the music business and the exaltation of bright-eyed idealists who just want to make music, dammit. That’s what makes the new NTV show Tadashii Rock Band no Tsukurikata (How to Make a Proper Rock Band) so interesting.

Premiering on April 21, the show focuses on a band of young musicians who possibly aren’t making music for the noblest reasons. One is sort of drifting through life, one seems to be mainly doing it for the fame, etc. But as they try to get booked for one of the biggest rock festivals in Japan, they seem to start on a path that’ll remind them why they fell in love with music in the first place and help them discover that there’s more depth to them than even they thought.

Sho Hirano and Yuta Kishi Go Topless

Two members of the popular King & Prince idol group have recently appeared topless on the covers of FINEBOYS+plus BEAUTY and Tarzan. While undoubtedly a treat for many fans out there, for others, their perfectly sculpted physiques will remain a sad reminder of the types of bodies none of us are going to get during the coronavirus quarantine.

https://twitter.com/J_King_info/status/1250628612069326849

https://twitter.com/0129Hirahira/status/1251703118087073792

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