TOPTokyo LifeNews & OpinionTW Pop Culture Update: Shiori Ito Wins Twitter Lawsuit and Kamen Rider Stirs Conversation About Race

TW Pop Culture Update: Shiori Ito Wins Twitter Lawsuit and Kamen Rider Stirs Conversation About Race

We report from the sidelines of the tabloids vs. celebrities battlefield

By Cezary Jan Strusiewicz

How do you prove to someone that you’re real? In the case of journalist Shiori Ito, there are many ways for people to confirm her identity. For example, there are the bylines on her Reuters columns or her bestselling book Black Box detailing her alleged rape by Noriyuki Yamaguchi and how it led to her becoming the face of the MeToo movement in Japan. But even that wasn’t enough for some who were convinced that Shiori Ito wasn’t a real person. Unfortunately for them, she was real enough to take them to court and win.

Shiori Ito sues trolls
Illustration by Aleksandar Pavlov via Shutterstock

Ito Trounces Twitter Troll

After going public with the horrifying story of her sexual assault and the uncooperativeness of the police, Shiori Ito had to deal with a volley of vicious personal attacks and even death threats. But she persevered and successfully won a civil case against her rapist. By the time Shohei Ohsawa accused her of using a fake name and being a “sexual extortionist,” she knew how to handle people like him.

Back in June, the tech company CEO and (former) associate professor at the University of Tokyo tweeted a photo of a newspaper article about a foreign national named “Shiori Ito” declaring bankruptcy. This was, according to Ohsawa, proof that the journalist Ito wasn’t who she claimed to be, even though her name is actually quite common. The tweet was only liked about 1,000 times, but defamation is defamation regardless of the extent. That’s what the very real Ito alleged when she sued Ohsawa. The verdict in Ito’s favor came down earlier this month, awarding her about $3,000. Ohsawa then somehow claimed victory because it wasn’t the full amount that Ito asked for. If that’s a win, we wish Shiori Ito more “losses” like this going forward.

Netflix Will Make a Live-Action Pokémon Show

It’s kind of bizarre that despite being one of the most popular pop-culture franchises on the planet, Pokémon’s only venture into the land of live-action was a movie based on an obscure game. Weirder still was having Pikachu talk with the voice of Deadpool himself, Ryan Reynolds. Detective Pikachu (2019) ended up being a fun movie, but it feels like more should have been done with the pocket monsters in the live-action medium. Netflix thought so too, which is why they are reportedly developing their own Pokémon series.

Joe Henderson, one of the producers of Lucifer, is the writer behind the series. One might think that shows about a devil and a cute Pikachu won’t have much in common. But let’s remember that one of the original Pokémon wears the skull of its dead mother on its head, so it’s not like the series isn’t without its dark moments. The release date has yet to be announced.

The New Kamen Rider Series Divides Fans

Kamen Rider is a popular Japanese franchise about super-powered characters in distinctive fantasy sci-fi armor. It’s been on the air for 50 years now and is still going strong. The reason why people continue to watch it is that the show reboots itself with brand-new characters, settings and themes with each installment. The 32nd incarnation of the show, Kamen Rider Revice, will be no different. It introduces a new character powered by… hanko stamps? That’s new. Or old, depending on how you look at it.

Set to premiere in September, Kamen Rider Revice introduces villains apparently inspired by Spanish and Latino culture with costumes reminiscent of mariachi and flamenco performers. Some fans have a problem with it, believing that it trivializes their culture. Others, however, disagree and call it cultural appreciation rather than appropriation.

This isn’t the first time that Revice started a conversation about sensitive topics. One of the main characters is played by Subaru Kimura, who’s been accused in the past of mocking African culture. There are also photos of him in blackface. They were apparently taken a while back but resurfaced when news of Revice’s release came out. So far, Toei, the owner of the franchise, has not issued a statement.

Kasumi Arimura Denies Dating a Sumo Wrestler

At just 28 years old, Kasumi Arimura has a more impressive filmography than many veteran actors. She starred in the NHK drama Amachan and had a prominent role in the last two Rurouni Kenshin movies. But the ultimate proof that Arimura is on her way to the top is the fact that she’s been caught up in the media’s rumor mill.

Just a few days back, Josei Jishin, a weekly women’s magazine, published an article alleging that Arimura was in a relationship with Meisei Chikara, a professional sumo wrestler. Arimura and her agency immediately denied the claim and are looking into the possibility of taking legal action against the magazine. The life of a celebrity. She’ll no doubt be hoping for one of those “Shiori Ito losses.”


There’s never a quiet month in the world of Japanese pop culture. Check out some of the other recent updates:

Japanese Celebrities Open Up About Mental Health

The Porn-Filled Saga of the “Don Juan” Murder