Korean youth sleep out in the cold by a statue memorializing sexual slavery

Korean youth sleep out in the cold by a statue memorializing sexual slavery

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SEOUL — Each night on a street of the South Korean capital, college students slide into their sleeping bags and hunker down for the night in subzero temperatures.

They’re not homeless; they are making a statement. For more than a month, they have been sleeping rough to protest the Japanese government’s calls for the removal of a statue that memorializes thousands of Korean “comfort women” forced into prostitution by the Japanese empire.

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A student protesting by the statue.

Image: Douglas Vautour

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Banners put up to appeal to the South Korean government.

Image: Douglas Vautour Read more…

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Korean youth sleep out in the cold by a statue memorializing sexual slavery

5 videos to get you through the devastating breakup of Japanese boyband SMAP

5 videos to get you through the devastating breakup of Japanese boyband SMAP

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Breaking up is hard to do — we all know this to be true.

After 27 years of dominating the J-pop billboards and Asia’s music scene, it looks like the reign of one of Japan’s most popular and long-lived boybands is coming to an end. Speculation on the fate of SMAP — which stands for sport, music, assemble, people — have been rife, following reports from Nikkan Sports newspaper that four of the band’s five members have left their talent agency, Johnny and Associates.

The band — made up of Takuya Kimura, Masahiro Nakai, Goro Inagaki, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and Shingo Katori — are looked upon as the New Kids on the Block of Japan and were the first boyband in the country to successfully transition from singing into hosting their own variety show and acting. Read more…

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5 videos to get you through the devastating breakup of Japanese boyband SMAP

Japan's first girls-only 'otaku' cafe opens in Osaka and boys are strictly not allowed

Japan’s first girls-only ‘otaku’ cafe opens in Osaka and boys are strictly not allowed

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Mention the Japanese term ‘otaku’, and the image of a middle-aged anime fan or manga geek-boy might come to mind.

But a new cafe, Ataraxia Cafe, in Osaka’s Nipponbashi area wants to cater to Japan’s growing number of female otakus instead.

In Japan, ‘otaku’ is used to describe a fan or someone who specialises in a particular topic, theme or hobby. This unique Japanese subculture once had a negative connotation and was previously used to refer to an obsessive, withdrawn loner who had “taken leave of his senses”, according to Wired‘s 1993 debut issue. Read more…

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Japan’s first girls-only ‘otaku’ cafe opens in Osaka and boys are strictly not allowed

North Korea's nuclear test claim provokes swift international backlash

North Korea’s nuclear test claim provokes swift international backlash

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UPDATED Jan. 6, 2016, 2:57 a.m. ET with China and Britain’s reactions.
UPDATED Jan. 6, 2016, 4:35 a.m. ET with Australia and France’s reactions.

While it remains unconfirmed whether North Korea did successfully test an H-bomb Wednesday, world leaders have been swift to strongly condemn the hermit nation’s nuclear tests.

At about 10 a.m. local time, a blast was registered near the North Korean city of Sungjibaegam. It showed up in the United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) trackers as a 5.1 magnitude earthquake.

Hours later, North Korea issued an announcement declaring it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb, otherwise known as a thermonuclear bomb — a nuclear weapon technology that is a significant step up from the less powerful atomic bombs that it has used in three previous tests. Read more…

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North Korea’s nuclear test claim provokes swift international backlash