One of the biggest industries is the anime and manga industry. Manga is a Japanese comic which is aimed at people of all ages. For example, terms such as seinen refer to manga aimed at adult men whereas, the term shojo is used to refer to manga aimed at young girls. Anime refers to Japanese animations, which uses an iconic art style. One notable feature of manga and anime art is that characters have large eyes. This style can be seen in famous animes such as Pokemon.
Another aspect of their unique society is the formation of idol groups. These Japanese idols are portrayed with the image of cuteness and innocence. It is considered important for an idol to have a pure image and appear as a good role model to the public. This industry is known to have strict regulations in place to maintain their perfect persona. An example of this is that idols are not allowed to date. In 2013, a famous case involving the idol Minami Minegishi - from the renowned idol group AKB0048 - had been seen leaving her boyfriend’s apartment. Her boyfriend was Alan Shirahama, a dancer in a boy band. The case reached the headlines when she released a video in which she shaved her head as a plea for forgiveness. As a result, she was later demoted to a trainee team.
Japan does not only have real life idols; there has been the emergence of virtual idols. These virtual idols are created by using a voice synthesizer. One of the first virtual idols was Kyoko Date, but that idol failed to gain popularity, unlike more recent virtual idols known as Vocaloids. One of the most popular Vocaloids is Miku Hatsune.
But amongst all the technological and contemporary advances, Japan still has strong traditions. For special occasions, men and women tend to wear kimonos. Wearing kimonos is a complex process as there are a number of rules involved. For example, unmarried women have to wear a kimono with long sleeves and married women wear short sleeves. More extravagant kimonos are worn for special occasions such as a wedding or a coming of age ceremony. Causal kimonos, known as yukata, are lighter and less expensive so they are worn to summer festivals.
One of the early traditions that is still continuing today is the service of geishas. Geishas practise traditional skills such as calligraphy and tea ceremony; as well as learning dances and instruments. Notable features of a geisha include heavy white foundation, covering the neck and face, red lips and a kimono.
Japan is a country which is fortunate to have significant traditional and modern aspects to its culture, allowing people to appreciate the past as well as the present.