The School Lunch World of Bento

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In many of the food posts I’ve done over the years, I always seem to include a few bento lunches here and there. In Japan, a bento is a single-portion take out or home-cooked meal. Traditional bento may hold rice or noodles, fish or meat, and cooked vegetable in a box. In addition, they’ve been around since the Kamakura period during the Middle Ages. Nowadays, these bento boxes can range from disposable mass-produced to hand-crafted lacquerware. And they’re available everywhere in Japan from convenience stores, railway stations, and department stores. Nonetheless, it’s common for Japanese mothers to make these bentos for their husbands and children that some may prepare the ingredients the night before then pack everything for the morning. Yet, some of these meals can be elaborately arranged into a style called kyaraben, which are typically decorated to resemble from anime, manga, or video games. Another picture style is oekakiben that’s decorated to look like people, animals, buildings and monuments, or items like flowers or plants. And they even have contests for the most aesthetically pleasing arrangements. Recently, bento boxes have captured the western imagination since I’ve seen plenty of them on Pinterest boards and Google Images, especially if it pertains to school lunches for parents. So for your reading pleasure, I give you an assortment of elaborately decorated bento lunches.

  1. Give your little raptor a lunch he’ll remember for 65 million years.

Consists of a spotted egg in a nest along with 2 dinosaur sandwiches. One of which has spines.

2. Perhaps you’d like your cars hard-boiled.

They’re also attached with hotdog slice windows for wheels. Also, have cherry tomatoes on top.

3. A lunchtime mermaid should have ramen hair.

She even has a shrimp tail. But she’s not made out of chicken of the sea.

4. There’s something fruity about this monkey bento.

Well, it mostly consists of monkey sandwich. And those small corn cobs are used as bananas.

5. This bento lunch will satisfy any sleepy bear.

As you can see the bear is made out of rice. Though I’m not quite sure about the blankets.

6. Nobody could resist this rice puppy.

Yes, it’s a little dog made out of rice. And I’m sure some kids will find it good enough to eat.

7. Anyone would be pleased with smiling sushi rolls.

While they may be made out of blue rice, they nonetheless brighten your day. Wonder if they’re made to resemble mountains.

8. A big cat sandwich can satisfy any monstrous appetite.

Even has whiskers along with pepper nose and ears. So adorable.

9. A bento like this can be straight out of the Hundred Acre Wood.

He even has a bee for honey. Yet, nobody could resist Winnie the Pooh’s sweet face.

10. These rice kitties will surely melt your heart.

These rice kitties come in so many colors and patterns. But they’re each cute in their own way.

11. There’s something fishy about these legs.

Well, the legs are made out of fish. While peppers comprise of the skirt and high heels.

12. Among the noodles, the mice get the cheese.

Each of these are made out of hardboiled eggs and hotdog slices. And yes, the cheese is full of holes.

13. With this lunch, your kid will moo until the cows come home.

Wonder if the girls are supposed to be milkmaids. Still, kids will enjoy either the cow sandwich or pizza.

14. Hope you can put your tip on this school lunch.

This back to school lunch comes with a great big pencil sandwich. Yet, the cheese is on top in this case.

15. You’ll find this froggy lunch quite hopping.

Yes, this is a lunch filled with frogs. And yes, the grapes and sandwich have frog eyes.

16. These plastic animals are happy to get on board the sandwich choo-choo train.

And yes, the train’s wheels are decorated with carrot slices. Though you can’t eat the animals.

17. Care to rub this cat’s belly?

Well, the cat is mostly made out of rice and tofu. Yet, I’m sure it took a hell of a time to make.

18. A Snow White lunch is fit for any Disney princess.

Though I wouldn’t eat the apple if I were you. Since its skull makes it seem especially poisonous.

19. These 3 little piggies seem quite eager to feast.

These pigs are made out of rice balls. Yet, they appear sniffing around for, well, anything.

20. There’s nothing more pleasing than a unicorn lunch.

This unicorn is over a background of red cabbage. But it nonetheless stands out.

21. Three little bears come out of their dens.

I’m sure they’re made out of hard-boiled eggs sticking out of rice. But they’re quite adorable.

22. Seems like pandas prefer a warm stew.

Sure the pandas are sushi rolls. But you have to like how they’re munching on the stew. So cute.

23. A nautical lunch is perfect for your little sailor’s voyage.

Consists of a ship sandwich to keep your kid in ship shape. And yes, fruit make up the seas.

24. No little girl could resist this sweet sandwich.

This has a girl made out of cheese in a pink dress. Includes a couple of flowers.

25. No kid could ever go without a bento lunch with Shaun the Sheep.

Shaun the Sheep is a kid’s show in Britain by Aardman. Nonetheless, the Nick Park sheep are quite distinctive.

26. This bento lunch is happy to greet you.

After all, the Japanese tend to be suckers for cuteness. Even in their food for some reason.

27. To celebrate Shark Week, your little shark will love this bento lunch.

Includes a lifesaver and blue dip with a shark in it. Also, don’t forget Goldfish crackers and Sea Snax.

28. The Force is strong in these bento lunches.

Includes Luke Skywalker, Yoda, Princess Leia, and Darth Vader. And yes, they’re all on sandwiches.

29. Behold, the Pusheenosaurus.

It’s a combination between a dinosaur and a cat. Includes eggs and bones.

30. Nobody could resist a panda lunch.

Well, the panda is mostly made out of rice. But it doesn’t hesitate to show a smile.

31. Any kid would be nuts to skip this lunch.

Yes, this lunch is covered with squirrels. Even in the orange slices.

32. At times, a bento can be turned into a work of art.

I don’t see this as a kid’s lunch. Seems more like the work of a repressed art major.

33. Anyone would moo over these rice cows.

These cows seem quite peaceful in the pasture. Though they can also easily put you in the emergency room.

34. You’ll find a treasure map on top of this sandwich.

Yet, keep in mind that real pirates never had treasure maps. Mostly because they’d usually spend whatever gold they find like sailors. Since they know they wouldn’t last very long.

35. Best not bother the sleeping fox.

Or is that a dog? At any rate it’s quite adorable to look at.

36. A sandwich like this is out of this world.

Since it’s a rocket sandwich. And its in several layers for lift off.

37. Little Nintendo fans would adore this Mario bento lunch.

Though it doesn’t seem to have many mushrooms for some reason. Then again, safe mushrooms are hard to identify.

38. What’s that frog looking at?

This frog sandwich is made from green tortilla. And it even has a pasta noodle for a tongue.

39. A penguin bento lunch can always make you smile.

Each of these penguins has cute little plastic hats. Nonetheless, these little penguin rice balls will melt your heart.

40. Anyone would fall in love with this lovely water lily lunch.

The flower is made out of Japanese leaves. Includes a Japanese flag on a stick.

41. Your prehistoric pal would love this triceratops sandwich.

And the horns are made out of cheese. While the egg is a bit cracked.

42. Treat your Star Lord to this Guardians of the Galaxy bento lunch.

Includes a Star Lord sandwich, a cupcake, and a bar of Awesome Music. And yes, any kid would love this.

43. This little dog wants to greet you.

Got to love the paws on the edge and ears. So cute you can’t help but love it.

44. You’d find a lot of cheesy faces on this bento.

The faces are made out of cheese. Each of them also come with little attributes like hair and bows.

45. For peaceful picnics give this flowery lunch a try.

Mostly consists of a flower garden path. I’m sure this was made by someone with too much time on their hands.

46. Seems like someone doesn’t want to get eaten.

Too bad they were made for just that. Now who’ll be next for the chopsticks, I don’t know.

47. A budding Dred Pirate Roberts should always have a lunch like this.

Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You stole my lunch box, prepare to die.

48. This cat and mouse bento is a mid-day delight.

It has a cat sandwich and a cheesy mouse. Nonetheless, the cat seems happy.

49. Perhaps your little fish might want an under the sea lunch.

Consists of a fruity squid and an octopus sandwich. Don’t forget the goldfish crackers.

50. Any kid would go all buggy over this lunch.

I bet these mostly consist of ladybugs. And they both have cheesy spots.

51. No bento post should be complete without an appearance by Hello Kitty.

This one has her in a dress with hearts. And yes, it’s adorable.

52. You’d want to take a bite out of this rice panda.

This one even has bamboo in the background. Or a vegetable resembling bamboo at least.

53. Once in a while every little robot needs to refuel.

And what do you know, it has a robot sandwich. Yet, this one wears a bow.

54. Want your mouse hard-boiled?

This mouse even has a hotdog flag. Includes a chick and apple cherry tomatoes.

55. Like Angry Birds? Try this lunch.

Well, it doesn’t seem like a big lunch. But I think boys would find it a delight.

56. A lunch like this is perfect for a kid’s first day of school.

Includes applesauce and a math problem sandwich. The cheese has a 4 on it, too.

57. There’s nothing to resist about this koala bento.

Well, it’s a koala made out of rice and veggies. But it’s nonetheless. cute. Also, is that other small rice ball supposed to be a lion?

58. This lunch will sustain your little Ewok in a galaxy far, far, away.

Even includes Chewbacca and Imperial fighters. Yet, the rice seems a bit on the Dark Side.

59. Treat your kid to this lunch when they make the grade.

Of course, this is for preschool graduation. Since you don’t want to give this to an 18 or 22 year old.

60. An owl lunch like this is quite a hoot.

Includes an owl sandwich and hard-boiled eggs. Still, you can’t help but love it.

61. Care for a ramen ocean dish?

Includes a fish sandwich and fruit stars. And yes, the ramen is dyed.

62. You’d swear this bento came all the way from Paris.

The sky and background is made out of rice. But the Eiffel Tower is made of cheese.

63. Care for a couple of fish sandwiches?

Includes rice water, carrot sand, and green seaweed. Nonetheless, seems easy to make.

64. Perhaps you might treat yourself to a lovely maiden.

I’m sure this bento is another artistic piece. Since it doesn’t seem like it’s made for a kid’s school lunch.

65. This guy seems like he’s floating in rice.

After all, he’s in a boat rowing with an asparagus stick. All in a Mickey Mouse bento box.

66. For the solar eclipse, treat your kid to this bento lunch.

Okay, the solar eclipse was last year. Includes a darkened sun and cheese glasses.

67. Don’t send your kid to class without this notebook bento.

Has a notebook sandwich and a cheesy pencil. Wonder what the eraser is though.

68. Perhaps you might want to try some goldfish sushi.

Actually, the fish just cover the rice balls. But they nonetheless give the meal character.

69. Let your little sheriff satisfy his appetite with this Woody lunch.

Yet, this is for Toy Story 3. You know the one when Andy goes to college that makes people cry.

70. Nobody could resist these flowery dogs.

Well, these dogs have flowers on them in a garden. So cute.

71. Perhaps you might want a penguin dish.

The penguin here is mostly made of rice with pepper beak and feet. So cute.

72. Sometimes it helps to bring in a little sunshine.

The sun consists of orange slices and cheese. While there are 2 moon sandwiches.

73. A minion in the garden always brings smiles.

Well, this minion is made out of rice. And it’s surrounded by colorful mushrooms.

74. This bento has an egg sunny side up.

And lo, and behold, it’s a sun. In addition, it’s on rice in a star-shaped box.

75. Care for a cupcake?

Actually it’s a cupcake sandwich with a cherry on top. And yes, it has sprinkles.

76. Seems like some little bear wants to say hello.

This one has a bear greeting from a house of cheese. So cute.

77. With this bento, the eagle has landed.

This lunch depicts the moon landing. One small step for man, indeed.

78. You’ll get a wave out of this lunch.

This is from a famous Japanese painting. And yes, that place can get terrible tsunamis.

79. Every kid should have a cupcake sandwich on their special day.

The sandwich is covered with cheese. Also has sprinkles.

80. If you like Calvin and Hobbes, then this bento is for you.

Well, Calvin and Hobbes was a comic strip from the early 1990s. Yet, it’s nonetheless a classic.

81. Nobody can resist a Pikachu in rice.

And here’s Pikachu with a flower. Fittingly, they made the Pokemon the mascot for the Japanese soccer team.

82. All what these animals need are hats.

I’m sure the hats are made from paper and aren’t edible. And they have all kinds of cute animals on here.

83. Seems like this bento has gone to the dogs.

Yes, they’re made out of rice. But they seem happy. Includes bone.

84. This bento will come in handy in an emergency.

It’s an ambulance bento with the vehicle made of rice. Though it won’t help much with First Aid.

85. An American burger is always a happy burger.

Even has little cheese hands. Not sure what to think of this.

86. Every lunch lion should have a ramen mane.

Well, it’s a lion sandwich. But the mane is all noodles.

87. This bear loves to soak up in a soup.

Indeed, people do find a hot tub relaxing. Yet, this guy soaks up in autumn from what I can tell by the leaves.

88. Xbox fans will adore this bento lunch.

Though you can’t play with the controls. Since they’re made out of rice.

89. Perhaps your kid might want a lunch like this for a rainy day.

Includes a rainbow pasta and a cucumber umbrella. Also don’t forget the goldfish crackers.

90. If you like Sony, you might want to do with a Play Station lunch.

The controller mostly comprises of rice wrapped with seaweed. And no, you can’t play a game with it.

91. A bento like this would inspire envy on Endor.

The Ewok is made out of rice. And yes, it’s adorable.

92. This Peanuts bento will melt your heart.

It has Snoopy and his doghouse in the center. And yes, you’ll find some of the Peanuts kids there.

93. A unicorn sandwich offers a magical lunch.

This one even ahs a rainbow behind it. And it’s made out of veggies.

94. With LEGO, your lunch will just be bricks.

Well, the veggies are carved into Legos. But that doesn’t mean you can play with them.

95. This bento is a feast for little minions.

Well, this one is full of minions. And yes, many will find them adorable.

96. This pig family feels at home in their sty.

Well, these 3 pigs always seem quite happy near the mushrooms. One of them even winks.

97. Even Pac-Man seems hungry for ghosts these days.

Except that Pac Man doesn’t eat ghosts. Since ghosts usually go after him.

98. It’s always a small world with fans.

Bet this is for the World Cup given the international presence. Still, these are cute.

99. The Force is strong with this little pony.

This is a cross between Star Wars and My Little Pony. And yes, one of them wields a lightsaber.

100. Every brave princess should have this Merida bento lunch.

She has hair made out of orange noodles. Even has her brothers as cute bear cubs, too.

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Chindogu Made in Japan

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Whenever I do posts on strange gifts or other products for certain things and occasions, I’ll always find weird stuff from Japan. After all, this is a country known for its innovation, especially in fields you really can’t imagine or didn’t think were necessary. Not to mention, it’s a very crazy place. Since you’ll find plenty of outrageous stuff pertaining to this Asian island nation called “the land of the rising sun.” There are articles pertaining to its strange food combinations that would make you barf. There are some stuff on an annual phallus ceremony that you wouldn’t want to take your kids to. Sure, I’m positive every country has some degree of weirdness as I’ve talked about Russia’s playgrounds that seem straight our of horror movies to their clearly photo-shopped wedding photos. But Japan seems more associated with craziness than most countries since they’re quite wealthy, known for innovation and technology, and have some bonkers ideas on how to apply it. Not to mention, they have a penchant for cuteness and bright colors. Sometimes this can go well since the country doesn’t have a lot of landmass and densely populated cities. But sometimes it doesn’t. In fact, the Japanese have a word called Chindogou, which is the Japanese art of inventing gadgets that are seemingly useful but too absurd to use. So for your reading pleasure, I give you a treasury of crazy products from Japan.

  1. When it pours, best to go out with an umbrella dome.

Now you don’t have to worry about coming in soaking wet again. Though you might receive a lot of attention from onlookers.

2. This Kenzan scalp massager will provide you with sweet relief.

Not sure if I’d want to put that on my head. Those spikes might just mess up my hair if I use it.

3. Take your produce with you in this Wondrous Bra.

Look, there’s no harm in making farming sexy. But I’m not sure if you can easily pull this off.

4. With this zebra crosswalk, you can stop traffic wherever you go.

Though I’m not sure if that’s even necessary. Besides, you can just look both ways to cross. Then again, this might be for city dwellers.

5. Now you can apply lip gloss with these toilet key chain dispensers.

Well, it might serve a practical purpose. But why would you want to get lip gloss from a toilet? That seems gross.

6. These training heels will ease your way to adult footwear.

So they’re just high heels with wheels. I don’t know about you. But I don’t see how walking in high heels is like riding a bike.

7. You will always stun with this Japanese makeup mask.

And by “stun” I mean turn men into granite a la Medusa style. Or receive compliments for your Stepford Wife Halloween costume.

8. Let your kitty relax in this cooling cat bowl.

From Trend Hunter: “The cooling pet product looks like any other bowl, but it’s equipped with refrigerant-like equipment that makes sitting in it far more refreshing than the average pet container. It’s designed to be extremely comfortable and with the recent heatwaves hitting Japan, it’s hardly a surprise that this cooling cat pot is already selling out fast.” Not sure if that’s even necessary.

9. Tone your boobs with this Breast Gymnastics Hand Massager.

Okay, this is kind of disturbing. Not sure if I’d want to use a grabby hand to massage my breasts.

10. These smartphone umbrellas will keep your iPhone dry at the beach.

Well, I guess this could be quite useful. After all, people use their smartphones all the time.

11. Don your fingers with these adorable hedgehog rings.

Hey, I told you about the Japanese obsession with cuteness. Though I’m sure to gag at the opossum ones since they’re ugly.

12. Smooth eye wrinkles with this Eye Recovery Anti-Aging Heating Cooling Gadget.

Yes, I know we all get wrinkles when we live past a certain age. But come on, an eye wrinkle gadget is just a rip off.

13. With this inflatable smartphone holder, you never need to set yours down for a bath.

Man, Japan is really cashing in people’s smartphone addictions. Yet, at least this one goes with a pillow. Though I’m not sure how many people take baths these days.

14. Exercise your lungs with these horns.

You know those horns from birthday parties. Well, Japan has a long one to exercise your lungs. So go ahead and blow your heart out.

15. Keep your skin fresh at to monster mash with these monster masks.

If I want a Halloween mask, I’ll just buy one at a party store. It’s cheaper. Not slather one on my face to keep out black heads and pimples.

16. Anyone could adore these hamburger monster lamps.

Turn it on in the dark, you can see its eyes and teeth. Not sure if it was tested to frighten babies.

17. Smell like a whopper with some Burger King perfume.

I don’t know if I’m like most women. But I don’t find the smell of cheeseburgers sexy. Quite the contrary.

18. Have hours of fun with this Tutti Bako finger game box.

From Incredible Things: “Each stage features something you interact with by poking it. Stick your finger in the box and a digital representation appears on the screen mimicking your motions. From what we can tell the various stages of the game include terrorizing a tiny stick man, poking a girl in the face and flicking a tiny panda.”

19. Nothing spells fun like Hex Bug Robot Cockroaches.

Available in an array of bright colors. Guess this was in an attempt to make these disgusting creatures cute. Not sure if it works.

20. Want to know what’s inside a horse or a fish? Get these Gotichi Dissection animal toys.

From Incredible Things: “The Gotochi Dissection animals display a diagram of the muscles and organs inside of a variety of animals including fish, pigs, cows and even a panda. All the parts are labeled, in Japanese of course. We suppose they could be used as tiny “cheat sheets” in Japanese biology classes, but we can’t figure out any other possible reasons to want one.”

21. Keep your kid’s soul in line with this God Jesus robot.

From Incredible Things: “Because literally everything in Japan is actually a robot… This strange all knowing Japanese toy debuted in the 80’s and answered your questions in a magic 8-ball style. God-Jesus robot only knows what the designers of this toy were thinking when they made it.”

22. Help your little one go to the bathroom with a Shimajiro Toilet Training Tiger.

From Incredible Things: “Maybe it’s us… maybe the way we approach potty training in the US is a bit conservative, but on the other hand Japan seems to have the weirdest approach we could possibly imagine, complete with animated poop and talking toilets. The Shimajiro videos feature an animated tiger struggling with potty training and his animated personified waste. The accompanying toy attaches to the toilet paper roll holder and yells out encouraging phrases while you go.”

23. Keep your skin dewy and healthy with the Panasonic Beauty Premium Booster Mask EH-XM10.

So you can kick back and relax as this mask does the work. Still reminds me of something from a sci-fi movie.

24. Now men can slim their faces with this Germanium Kogao Sauna Mask to avoid plastic surgery.

You mean they have these Hannibal Lecter masks for men? Great for any beauty conscious psychopath with a penchant to serve man. And I don’t mean in the brotherly sense.

25. Your chests will change color when you wear these Frozen bras against each other.

Okay, this is just messed up. Frozen lingerie that changes color when people bump against each other? That’s crazy.

26. Now you can rest your eyes and head while traveling with this King Eye Pillow Mask.

Because when you travel, you got to have a pillow over your eyes. Though I normally don’t have one when I’m sleeping.

27. Make bath time fun with the Chat Tororin Bathing Toy.

From Neatorama: “Do you find yourself wishing you had someone to talk to while you bathe? Now your bath time can be blather time with the Chat Tororin Bathing Toy, a talking buddy for your tub.” Not I’d think that would enhance the bath time experience. But whatever.

28. Show your kids how to brush their teeth with this  Jaws-Kun Puppet for Toothpaste Guidance.

From Neatorama: “Teaching kids how to properly brush their teeth is hard since we don’t have flip top heads, and that set of plastic choppers sitting on your dentist’s desk is downright creepy, so a puppet with a full set of teeth makes sense. But did the final product have to be so creep-tastically adorable? I don’t know if I want to brush its teeth or burn it with fire!”

29. Let your child spend hours of fun at Russian Roulette with Kappa Kick.

Gives your child all the fun of Russia Roulette without the mess and lethality. Yes, it seems to make this kind of deadly action you might see from The Deer Hunter like fun and games.

30. Love cats and got cat allergies? Get this The Yume Neko Venus Robotic Cat.

From Digital Trends: “For those who have cat hair allergies, and don’t mind the cold dead stare of a machine, you’re in luck. The Yume Neko Venus Robotic Cat will give you the sensation of petting a tuft of moving, purring fur with none of the added benefits of owning a real cat whatsoever. No shots required.”

31. Now you can bring a baby doll to tears.

From Digital Trends: “Can’t you imagine the enthusiastic commercial voice over for this toy: ‘Arm puncturing action! Cries real tears! Satisfies your child’s deeply disturbing desire to inflict pain on another being!'”

32. Keep cool at work in this air-conditioned shirt.

Though to be fair, most workplaces already use air conditioning. Though it’s great for wearing when you’re working outdoors.

33. Keep track of your kids with Docotch.

From Lifebuzz: “Docotch – a smart watch specifically for your kids to wear that lets you know where they are at all times along with what condition they may be in.” Whether you’re a free range or helicopter parent, this is for you.

34. Help your feet to a nice hot spring sauna bath with this wooden box.

You can take it anywhere where there’s an outlet. You can even use it near the bed or in the living room.

35. Everyone can use a hand rest now and then.

This is especially the case since the Japanese are known to take naps at work. Yet, this guy seems like he’s relaxing.

36. Finally, you can now print stuff from your iPhone.

I’m sure you didn’t know you need this. Still, you wonder why they don’t make these all the time. Oh, wait, this one only prints in black and white.

37. Keep quiet during shut eye with some snoring tape.

Yes, this is snoring tape which you put on your mouth. Not sure how that works.

38. Know when an earthquake’s coming with this home seismograph.

To be fair, Japan gets a lot of earthquakes, some of which are devastating. Still, if you live in California, this is for you. If I have the money, perhaps I might want to send some of these to my favorite celebrities.

39. With these glasses, you can capture HD camera photos.

So these glasses have tiny cameras on them. Wonder if spies use them or not.

40. Friend Zone tent is the perfect one for a couple who’s not quite willing to cross second base.

From PC Mag: “The Friend Zone Tent is billed as ‘the perfect outdoor accommodation for a couple who might not have reached that intimate stage yet.’ It is said to be super easy to put up and then take down, unlike the actual friend zone.”

41. See the words of your favorite song float with Lyrical Gangster.

From PC Mag: “You might know all the words by heart, but it’s still something to see them float by on the LCD of the Lyric Speaker. You have to be making rock-star money to afford it, though, since it’s $4,000.” Okay, seemed great while it lasted.

42. Hide the sweat in your pits with this Thanko Electric Armpit Clip-On Cooling Fan.

From PC Mag: “If tensions or temperatures get too high, consider the Thanko Electric Armpit Clip-on Cooler Fan, which will save you from unsightly sweat stains.” Still, I’m sure it doesn’t come cheap.

43. Ward off mites with this special futon dryer.

From PC Mag: “Did you know that in Japan people use special futon dryers to ward off mites? WHY DID NO ONE TELL US? How long have you had that futon? Throw it out! Buy a new one. And 1,000 futon dryers. Buy all the futon dryers.”

44. Turn the beat down with a silent karaoke machine.

From PC Mag: “Do you love to karaoke but don’t want anyone to hear you? Wait, what? With the Noiseless Karaoke Mute Mic 2, only you are subjected to your rendition of ‘Natural Woman.'” Still, isn’t the part about having everyone hear your rendition part of the point of karaoke?

45. Tired of hard butter destroying your toast? Try the butter grater.

Since why do you need to grate butter? It’s soft enough to use on bread for God’s sake.

46. If you’re not sure whether it’ll rain or not, take this tie umbrella.

For when you have to walk to the office and keep in mind about the weather. And yes, you can wear it around your neck.

47. Keep your eyes moist with these eye drop funnels.

That way, you won’t have to worry about missing your eyes again. And yes, it looks incredibly ridiculous.

48. If hearing aids can’t do the trick, try these hearing enhancers.

Because how else are you going to hear anything and look like a moron. Seriously, I don’t think anyone would want to be caught dead in these. Still, you can pick up satellite signals from space while phone reception is great, too. Though yelling would make your ears bleed.

49. Keep yourself dry with this rain-proof umbrella.

For those rainy days when you have a nice business suit that you don’t want to get wet. Because if rain isn’t what you need to worry about, it’s those pesky cars running through puddles.

50. Want to know what your ear looks like inside? Try this Ear Explorer.

Of course, you don’t want the inside of your ear to resemble a nativity scene. Cue Radar from M*A*S*H.

51. Relieve stress with this bubble wrap keychain.

That way, you won’t have to worry about popping all the bubble wrap. Fits into any purse for your convenience.

52. This 360 degree camera gives you panoramic shots.

Though you just have to put it on your head and use the controls. I know it’s ridiculous. Seriously, if you want a panoramic shot, there’s software for that.

53. Protect your shoes with a pair of shoe umbrellas.

Because you can’t have your shoes dirty by cars running into puddles. Still, you can always wear galoshes or wear different shoes on the street.

54. Need a friend to scratch your back? This T-Shirt should help.

Just use the card to point to where it hurts. And then have your friend scratch at that spot on your shirt.

55. A mobile toilet paper roll is always there when you need it.

Did I say it goes on your head? Sorry about that. Though this girl uses hers to blow her nose.

56. Fallen asleep on the subway while standing up? Use this chin strap.

Not sure if that’s practical on the subway. But then again, it seems to work for her.

57. With this sound catching pillow, may you always hear the TV when you lie down on the floor.

That way, you don’t have to worry about missing a thing. Still, I don’t think lying down in front of the TV is a big deal, hearingwise.

58. Know when your noodles are hot with Cupmen.

As it cooks, part of it turns white and eventually falls down. I’ve seen a diagram. Still, cup guy kind of reminds me of a pose from Flashdance for some reason.

59. Go green with your smoking with this solar energy cigarette lighter.

It’s just a magnifying glass you hold to the sun to light your cigarette. So you can get all the goodness of a cardiac and respiratory diseases along with an early death.

60. Fall asleep on the subway? Use this public transportation helmet.

Contains a sign telling everyone when they should wake her up. So she doesn’t miss her stop. Includes suction cup for window.

61. If you’re a man and you’re too tired to pee standing up, this knee rest is right for you.

Whether you need to go on the toilet or the urinal, this rest will help you. Yet, they don’t have a similar one for women, I have no idea. Oh, wait, we pee sitting down.

62. With this splash protector, you won’t have to worry about food getting in your hair again.

You wear it around your face to keep your food from splashing. Guess this happens when you’re eating with chopsticks. Not sure about eating with a fork. Though a pony tail holder is just as handy.

63. Count down to the big day with this pre-wedding lingerie.

Not sure why anyone would need this. I mean it’s lingerie. It’s not like anyone would see it. Guess it goes with an Everlast chastity belt.

64. Wear this dress, you won’t need to worry about stranger rape.

Knowing that you’re more likely to be raped by someone you know, I don’t think this disguise will protect you from rape. But the vending machine get up is clever.

65. Why keep a shed when you can have a Swiss Gardening Tool.

Yes, it’s a Japanese invention. But it’s inspired by the Swiss Army knife with garden implements. So hence the name.

66. Cutting your toenails is a breeze with this device.

From Picuno: “How much time have you wasted clipping one toenail at a time? You’ll never get those minutes of your life back. But you don’t have to waste any more. Have you ever clipped your toenails too far and they hurt for like forever? That’s going to happen a lot more now. You may even lose some toe meat. It will be worth it though. You’ll be able to take one more cat nap with the minutes you’ll save over a lifetime.”

67. Wash while you walk with these shoes.

From Picuno: “Wish that your washing machine wasn’t so stationary? Now you can take your laundry on the go. All jokes aside, why on earth would you need this? We’ve all forgotten to do Sunday-night laundry. But what would be the point of washing on your way to work? And how would you dry them? We’re not even going to talk about the fact that there’s only room for underwear in there. These give a whole new meaning to the walk of shame.”

68. You don’t want to mess with these tacked gloves.

From Picuno: “It’s universally human. When we’re bored at work, we put our chins on our fists. This device will make sure you never do that again. If you forget, you’ll get a few friendly spikes to the face. That seems reasonable. We’re actually thinking of giving this to our employees. We’ll definitely make them mandatory. They’ll never doze off during our meetings again. And anyone who does will wear facial scars of shame.”

69. Now they have those denim jean shorts for men.

From Picuno: “We didn’t know there were never-nudes in Japan. This is great news. No one should have to resort to jorts in the shower.
These blue jean underpants promise to chafe like the real thing. You don’t even have to butcher your favorite pair of jeans. Has any one told Dr. Funke about this? We think he’ll be excited. We’re going to wear ours while watching Arrested Development re-runs.”

70. Stretch out those wrinkles with this mouth exerciser.

From Picuno: “No, this is not a photo from a ransom note. It’s a mouth exerciser. It’s for those pesky wrinkles around your mouth. You just cram it in your gob and fight the urge to panic. And then you squeeze on the tube to tighten your…mouth muscles. Try not to think about the fact that you look like a blow-up doll. Laughing with this in your mouth can be dangerous. And you do not want to have to explain yourself to the EMTs.”

71. Want to sleep and make people think you’re awake, try these eyes.

From Picuno: “These are stickers for sleeping at work. On the bright side, your boss won’t think you’re asleep. On the other hand, he may think that you’re a dangerous sociopath. Could you imagine walking by this guy’s desk? “John? John?!” If John’s not careful, he’s going to wake up to a security detail at his desk. Or an EMT. These belong firmly in the bad idea box. Unless you’re going to use them at home. That’ll teach them to wake you up in the morning.”

72. Keep yourself warm with this huggable microwaveable pug.

From List 25: “The super umbrella may protect you from the rain but what are you going to do when it gets cold? Forget blankets, Japan has this adorable pug to heat you up. Stick in the microwave and Voila! Out comes a toasty hot dog.”

73. Don’t go to the bathroom without these toilet shoes.

From List 25: “Japanese are famous for their strict hygiene habits and sanitary precautions so it should come as no surprise they have something like toilet slippers which are used to minimize contact between the unclean toilet floor and the clean floor of rest of the house.”

74. Keep your ass clean with Washlets.

From List 25: “Washlets or, as many people tend to say, “crazy Japanese super toilets” are electric toilet seats with a water spray feature that cleans your bum hole and genitalia. While the Japanese are totally used to this zesty feeling, foreigners getting a shot of water up their butts are usually startled to say the least.”

75. This Barack Obama action figure came with his samurai store.

Man, I miss this guy as our President so much. Luckily he has a katana to slice the Cadet Bone Spurs one apart.

76. Look stylish and block out noise with these ear plug earrings.

From Web Urbanist: “Wearing these earrings might just serve as a warning to those around you that if they start to bore you with their irritating stories or demands that you file those TPS reports right away, you can block them out within seconds.”

77. Reach out for more food with this Extendo Spoon.

From Web Urbanist: “Here’s an invention that’s truly almost useful – can’t you imagine needing something like this when camping, for example? The spoon extends so you can reach the bottom of a tall jar.”

78. Like to wipe off food from your pants. Get napkin pants.

From Web Urbanist: “Since you’re too lazy to use a real napkin anyway, you might as well spare your pants the grease marks and get yourself a pair of classy Napkin Pants.”

79. Get a thumb on things with an Extra Nail.

From Web Urbanist: “You can almost hear an infomercial excitedly telling you that you’ll never break another nail. Need to peel an orange? Open a letter? Pierce someone’s jugular? Why carry around ice picks or letter openers when you can wear a Halloween prop?”

80. Keep your runny nose in check with Booger Keepers.

From Web Urbanist: “Perhaps this is the alternative to the Toilet Roll Hat: plugs for your nostrils.” Kind of resembles a couple of screws inside to me.

81. Keep your hands out of harm’s way with this handy chopper.

From Web Urbanist: “Don’t cut your own fingertips off when you could sacrifice someone else’s.” Let’s hope it’s not from a strangler or a serial killer.

82.  Color Me Shave allows you to shave with any color of cream you want.

Though I’m not sure if a guy would want to shave with hot pink shaving cream. Seems more appropriate on women’s legs.

83. Bleach your asshole with Pinky Wink Butthole Bleach.

From Topick Craze: “Butthole bleach MyPinkWink – This product does not need any explanations. But ‘MyPinkWink’? Seriously, Japan?”

84. Cool yourself outside with a pair of air-conditioned pants.

The kind of pants worn by construction workers. Comes with an air-conditioned jacket.

85. Wear fan glasses so you won’t have to cry when cutting onions.

This pair has fans on it. Sure it might help you cut onions. But will make you seem ridiculous in the kitchen.

86. Save energy with this foot hairdryer.

Unfortunately, you probably won’t get your hair dried in time for work. So you’ll be wearing this thing on the street for onlookers to laugh at.

87. Record your baby’s sound with this womb monitor.

Look, I understand that parents want to record special moments in their kids’ lives. But this is a bit too soon so to speak.

88. Brush your teeth with this finger brush.

So how does brushing your teeth with your finger work exactly? Because I don’t get it.

89. Wake up to a pair of alarm earphones.

You can program it to vibrate whenever you want. Though you’d be hitting the snooze every 5 minutes when it does.

90. It always helps to have a pillow on you at all times.

Sure she might seem like she’s straight from your nightmares. But at least she’ll be comfy.

91. Know what you’ve burned when you need a cab with a Taxi Walker.

From Kick Vick which says it’s, “A device that not only tells you how many calories you burned at the end of your walk but also how much money your journey would have cost in a taxi.”

92. Keep your office supplies in one place in this tie.

That way, you’ll have everything on you. Literally. Still, might weigh you down.

93. This will collect all the rainwater you need.

Consists of a pipe, upside down umbrella, and a large water bottle. Now you can collect water as you walk.

94. Snap a picture in the rain with this camera umbrella.

Seems like the Japanese have an umbrella for everything. Even for cameras and iPhones.

95. Look far in the sun with these long-range sunglasses.

Comes with telescopes you can look through. And yes, people will think you’re crazy wearing these. But you can watch your neighbors in the shower and don’t have to worry about the sunlight blaring.

96. Keep your feet cool with these air-conditioned shoes.

With all these air-conditioned clothing stuff, you’d think the Japanese live in their outfits. Yet, this guy seems happy.

97. Don’t have room to sit on the subway or bus? Use this stool.

Well, you have to sit somewhere. And I can see where a stool like that comes in handy.

98. Guys, keep your money safe in your wallet tie.

That way, nobody will steal your wallet. But you’ll have to change it sometimes.

99. Work out a sweat in this water walker.

I’m sure this doesn’t come cheap. It’s basically a combination between a treadmill and a swimming pool.

100. Use your pee for these urine batteries.

Yes, these are a thing. And no, I’m not making this up. Because this wouldn’t be something I could come up with. And yes, it’s disgusting.

History of the World According to the Movies: Part 66 – World War II: The Pacific

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The 1970 Tora! Tora! Tora! was a retelling of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor by a collaboration of American and Japanese filmmakers. This film tells the story of the events leading up to the attack through the perspectives of both sides as well as put the story of Pearl Harbor as the story instead of it being a backdrop of some fictional tale. Though a flop at the US box office and critics (it was more successful in Japan), this film has gained great stature in later years, especially compared to the 2001 Michael Bay craptackular disasterpiece, which was a retelling of the attack through the eyes of a video game addict who flunked American history in high school. Still, even if this film doesn’t use CGI visual effects, Tora! Tora! Tora! is still top notch when it comes to the Pearl Harbor attack.

Though World War II Eastern Europe was a certified shit hole, the war in the Pacific wasn’t much of a picnic either mostly because East Asia had fallen prey to the imperial ambitions of the militaristic Japanese. And between 1930 and 1945, the Japanese military was one of the most horrifying to their enemies as well as to their own people (well, they’re up there). The Japanese had invaded China in the 1930s in a conflict known as the Second Sino-Japanese War which was the largest war in Asia and perhaps one of the costliest in human history. But by 1941, Japan had joined the Axis Powers while China had joined the Allies (well, it’s more complicated since the Chinese were a factious bunch). The conflict is still a topic of fierce controversy to this day in East Asia. Still, in the movies, it’s treated as a conflict chiefly between the Japan and the United States as well as begins with the Japanese surprise attack at Pearl Harbor and ends with the US dropping two atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki that resulted in the Japanese surrender. The War in the Pacific is shown with big naval battles, jungles, starving civilians, and the inconsistent mistreatment of non-combatants. Let’s just say if the Japanese don’t get you, then the exotic diseases and wildlife will. Except if you’re on a cargo ship in Mister Roberts, which in this case it would probably consist of spending your days on a ship in boredom thinking that your comrades on active combat duty are having a much better time in the war than you. Nevertheless, movies set in this theater do have their share of inaccuracies which I shall list accordingly.

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto:

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto said this in regards to Japan’s chances of war with America, “If we must, we can raise havoc with them for a year… after that, I can guarantee nothing.” (He actually said, “I can run wild for six months… after that, I have no expectation of success.”)

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto said after Pearl Harbor, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” (There’s no record he actually said this but he’s quoted as such.)

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was a brilliant strategist who opposed war with the United States because he thought it was a great mistake to underestimate US fighting potential. (Yamamoto knew these consequences {after all, he went to Harvard}, but unlike in Tora! Tora! Tora!, he wouldn’t have overly admitted this. He just dutifully worked out the Pearl Harbor attack plan throughout 1941 and he was ready to execute the plan by late November when the order was confirmed.)

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was killed in 1942. (He died in 1943.)

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto had all his digits by 1941. (Contrary to most of his movie portrayals, Yamamoto actually lost two fingers on his left hand during his service in the Russo-Japanese War.)

General Douglas MacArthur:

General Douglas MacArthur was adored by his men during his time in the Philippines. (Yes, MacArthur did bid an emotional farewell to his men when he left the Philippines. However, by the time he left, his men were actually fed up with him. For one, out of the 142 communiques he issued during the first period of his war service there, 109 failed to mention the bravery of any soldiers apart from himself. There was also a fuss about him accepting $500,000 as a personal reward from the Philippine president which was technically legal but ethically dubious. Yet, the 1977 MacArthur biopic can be forgiven for mentioning this since the story came out in 1979. Still, MacArthur’s patchy reputation was no secret.)

General Douglas MacArthur was ignorant of Philippine geography and proposed the attack as “Land at Leyte beach on Luzon, and then carry the fight to Manila.” (As is shown in the Gregory Peck portrayal. MacArthur may have been accused of many things, but ignorance of Philippine geography wasn’t one of them. As for his attack proposal, he did fight to retake both Leyte and Luzon but not at the same time because it would’ve been physically impossible since the islands are 500 miles apart. And MacArthur would know this.)

General Douglas MacArthur was a liberal who thought Japanese workers should’ve had a voice in the means of production. (For God’s sake, MacArthur was a Republican and wouldn’t have believed in the ideas of stripping landowners and expunging industrialists. Also, he didn’t personally direct the Japanese development after World War II since multiple documents prove that Washington set the goals and policy of the American occupation of Japan, not MacArthur.)

General Douglas MacArthur was a down to earth folksy man. (He was an ostentatious intellectual who once barged in on a subordinate catching him in a clinch with a lady. He ordered the guy, “Eject that strumpet forthwith.” Yeah, he said it like you’d expect someone from some Steampunk novel would. He was known to call his words, “those immortal heralds of thought which at the touch of genius become radiant.” And while Gregory Peck’s MacArthur says, “It’s my destiny to defeat communism, and only God or those Washington politicians will keep me from doing it,” the actual MacArthur said, “Only God or the government of the United States can keep me from the fulfillment of my mission.” In other words, he talked more like Martin Luther King Jr. than Woody Guthrie.)

General Douglas MacArthur said, “We shall return.” (He said, “I shall return” though the White House would’ve wished he did. Still, MacArthur was an arrogant blowhard.)

General Douglas MacArthur was perfectly at ease with meeting Emperor Hirohito. (Contrary to Emperor, MacArthur couldn’t stand being in the same room with him even after Hirohito apologized for Pearl Harbor. To be fair, MacArthur was a racist, even by the standards of his day.)

Admiral William Halsey Jr.:

William Halsey Jr. became a Fleet Admiral in 1942 and retired in 1945. (Contrary to his portrayal in the 1960’s The Gallant Hours, he became a Fleet Admiral in 1945 and retired in 1947. Nevertheless, due to his final rank, he remained on active duty status in the Navy until his death.)

The Second Sino-Japanese War:

Whatever the Japanese military did in Nanking was for no good reason. (It may seem so in City of Life and Death yet the military culture in Imperial Japan was particularly brutal as TTI claims: “consider that many of who were conscripted who were raised in a militarist culture who were abused or “punished” by their superior officers by being slapped or beaten or whatnot, many of which are in their late teens and early 20s, who just fought a brutal battle in and around Shanghai for months and won by a relatively close margin, who were pissed and came upon a city full of goods and people.” Yes, shit will happen.)

American Volunteer Group pilots were recruited from active or reserve US military forces in the United States. (They were actually recruited in Asia with full knowledge and approval from the White House. However, unlike the movie Flying Tigers, they were still in training by the time of Pearl Harbor. Also, until that time, they were just mercenaries but they did help FDR get around neutrality for awhile. Still, they weren’t integrated into the USAAF until late 1942. But thanks to Flying Tigers and God Is My Co-Pilot, most people don’t remember the AVG that way.)

The Chinese Communists ultimately won the Sino-Japanese War. (This is according to Chinese Communist propaganda films. In reality, the Communists actually played a small part in it. The Chinese Nationalists and their allies actually did most of the fighting though switching sides among the Chinese was common. TTI explains it best, “The Nationalists, Communists, and various warlords would alternately be fighting Japan (and getting slaughtered), fighting each other, doing nothing and hoping their enemies got taken out first, and siding with Japan.” As for weapons, the Chinese basically used anything they could get at the moment.)

Pearl Harbor:

The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor without warning. (They actually gave the US a warning several hours before the attack. However, the US military did drastically underestimate the Japanese war machine and never thought it could conduct a surprise attack so successfully. Not only that, they also doubted that Japan even had the technology or the engineering to create such an effective assault force. Even after the attack, many prominent men in the US military thought Germany was behind it {it wasn’t}.)

The Japanese fighter planes fired down and killed civilians during Pearl Harbor. (The Japanese were specifically ordered not to do this and they didn’t deliberately target a hospital either {though one medical staff member was killed}. Nevertheless, any damage done by Japanese planes on civilians or civilian buildings were just accidental. Yet, the US planes were firing on and killing civilians in the Doolittle raid such as in Tokyo and three other industrial Japanese cities but Michael Bay doesn’t show this.)

Two American fighter planes took off to fight the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. (Contrary to some films, 6 actually did.)

Theodore Wilkinson was a Captain during the attack at Pearl Harbor. (He was a rear admiral.)

The USS Antares was a tugboat. (It was a 12,000 ton cargo ship, yet it did tow a 500 ton bridge around Pearl Harbor.)

General Short received the report of an enemy midget submarine being attacked as well as the Pearl Harbor attack as it was going on. (He didn’t receive the report about the enemy midget submarine until the bombs started falling. Also, he didn’t receive the first notification about the Pearl Harbor attack until several hours after it ended.)

Civilian aviation instructor Cornelia Fort was around 50 at the time of Pearl Harbor. (Unlike what Tora! Tora! Tora! depicts, she was actually 22 but she’s played by a middle aged actress in the film. I mean having a 22 year old female flight instructor around just wouldn’t be believable. Oh, and she flew a monoplane, not a biplane as depicted.)

The Japanese flagship at Pearl Harbor was an aircraft carrier. (It was a battleship.)

The Japanese Zero aircraft at Pearl Harbor were green. (They were gray. Green Japanese Zeros didn’t exist until 1943 and they were Japanese Army planes.)

American naval ships like the Maryland, Nevada, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania were sunk and rendered irreparable during the attack on Pearl Harbor. (These ships survived the attack without much damage though the Tennessee was trapped while the Nevada was bleached. Furthermore, the Nevada was used in Tora! Tora! Tora!.)

Admiral Husband E. Kimmel:

Admiral Husband E. Kimmel was playing golf the morning of the Pearl Harbor attack despite being notified before the attack that the Japanese embassy staff was leaving Washington D. C. (He had been planning to play golf that day but cancelled when news of the attack came in. Also, he didn’t know the Japanese embassy staff left Washington D. C. until perhaps the attack itself. Still, I’m not sure why Admiral Kimmel had the unfortunate first name.)

Admiral Husband E. Kimmel was a vigilant leader certain of an imminent attack on his base as well as did everything he could in his power to convince Washington of its inevitability. (Most historians say that he received several warnings about a possible attack on Pearl Harbor, but he felt they were too vague and tried to dismiss them. Furthermore, when he heard about the USS Ward sinking a midget Japanese sub {an hour before the attack began}, he chose not to go to general quarters due to the fact that there had been a number of false sub sightings in recent months. He also wanted to confirm the Ward’s report before acting on it.)

Dorie Miller:

Third Petty Officer Doris “Dorie” Miller served aboard the USS Arizona when it was destroyed by a bomb. (He served in the USS West Virginia, contrary to Tora! Tora! Tora!. Still, he probably would’ve never gotten the chance to act heroically enough to be the first African American to receive the Navy Cross if he was aboard the Arizona because the boat sunk immediately.)

Third Class Petty Officer Dorie Miller was carrying a tray of coffee service during the attack at Pearl Harbor. (He was carrying laundry.)

Second Class Petty Officer Dorie Miller comforted the mortally wounded Captain Mervyn S. Miller after a torpedo struck the USS West Virginia. After his death, Miller delivered the man’s last orders to the ship’s executive officer then manned a twin .50 caliber Browning anti-aircraft machine gun. (This is how the scene is set in Pearl Harbor but it’s wrong. For one, Miller was a Third Class Petty Officer as well as a ship’s cook and he was first ordered to carry injured sailors to places of greater safety and then assist the Captain. Second, the Captain refused to leave his post continuing to direct the battle until he died of his wounds just before the ship was abandoned. Third, it was Ensign Victor Delano who comforted the Captain in his final moments. Fourth, Miller was actually then ordered to help load a machine gun but assumed control of an unmanned weapon instead that Delano had to show him how to fire it, saying later that Miller “did not know how to fire a gun.” Still, pretty heroic for a black guy named Doris {I just think it’s funny such a badass guy like him had such a girly name}. Nevertheless, Pearl Harbor screwed Ensign Delano royally.)

Doolittle Raid:

Colonel Doolittle recruited single-engine fighters to fly on bombers for his famous raid in Japan. (Actually, Doolittle would’ve never taken a sniff at the two main guys in Pearl Harbor because single-engine pilots weren’t qualified to fly multi-engine bombers. Instead, he’d recruit guys who were participants from qualified bombardment squadrons. From the historical record, Doolittle actually recruited guys from the 34th Bombardment Squadron and the 17th Bombardment Group popularly known as “The Thunderbirds.”)

The Doolittle raid killed off several American fighters, including one from a Japanese anti-aircraft gun. (No American Doolittle Raiders were killed during the actual raid. There was however, one raider who died in a plane crash afterwards as well as two others who died from crash related injuries, and five perished in Japanese captivity {4 executed, 1 by malnutrition}.)

The Doolittle raid was carried out in calm weather. (It was launched on stormy seas.)

The Guadalcanal Campaign:

US Marines during the Guadalcanal Campaign wore camouflage covers on their helmets. (They wore bare M1 helmets though a few used burlap.)

Guadalcanal was a tropical paradise. (Contrary to The Thin Red Line, it was kind of the opposite, it was a jungle with dangerous animals, annoying insects, and extremely high temperatures. Yet, no soldier in that movie was seen sweating.)

Most US deaths during the Guadalcanal Campaign were combat-related. (Most of the deaths at Guadalcanal were due to poor living conditions than actual combat. But you wouldn’t know it from The Thin Red Line.)

Midway:

Kamikazes were used during the Battle of Midway. (The Battle of Midway took place in 1942 while Kamikaze pilots were never used as official policy in Japan until toward the end and would’ve been fairly rare by that time. Still, remember that the film Midway was filmed in color with a zero special effects budget in 1976. Most of the stock footage used for this battle was from Iwo Jima and Okinawa since most color footage was filmed late in the war. Also, it wasn’t unusual for planes from both sides to crash into enemy ships. Nevertheless, despite the lack of special effects and plenty of technical details later found to be inaccurate due to later findings of the ship wreckage from the battle, Midway is considered a much better film than the Michael Bay craptastrophic retelling of Pearl Harbor {which was attacked by the people who survived it}.)

Okinawa:

The Americans used tear gas during the Battle of Okinawa. (They never used tear gas in any battle during the war.)

Iwo Jima:

Japanese General Kuribayashi committed suicide. (We know he didn’t survive the battle but we don’t know how he died since no surviving witnesses ever came forward. Yet, his death in Letters from Iwo Jima is plausible.)

Lt. Colonel Nishi took his own life after being blinded during the battle. (This is based on rumor but it has never been confirmed.)

Lt. Colonel Takeichi Nishi was close friends with General Tadamichi Kuribayashi. (Contrary to Letters from Iwo Jima, it’s said their relationship was rather antagonistic.)

The Burma Railway:

During the Burma Railway’s construction, unruly POW officers were sent to a metal punishment box without water until they complied. (In real life, Col. Saito would just have Nicholson and his officers executed if they didn’t obey. In Bridge on the River Kwai, this doesn’t occur to him. Then again, the real Saito was said to be a rather benevolent prison warden.)

Only British POWs were sent to work on the Burma Railway. (Most of the people who worked on the railway were civilians, rather forced labor from Burma, the East Indies, Thailand, and Malaysia. As with POWs, they weren’t all exclusively British as Bridge on the River Kwai implies. By the way, the Burma Railway construction resulted in the deaths of 13,000 Allied POWs and 80,000 to 100,000 civilians.)

Kanchanaburi POW camp was captured by American paratroopers. (It was liberated by British and Indian infantry troops after Japan had surrendered. So unlike The Railway Man, Colin Firth had to stay longer.)

Bridge on the River Kwai:

British Lt. Col. Philip Toosey took charge of building the Bridge on the River Kwai and forced his own men to build it in order to increase their morale. (Toosey took charge of the construction in order to keep his men alive. He thought this was the better alternative to keep his soldiers safe while not giving aid to the enemy and never felt any obligation to work with the Japanese. Not to mention, he encouraged sabotage and chaos during the construction as well. He also has an honorable reputation and it was said that many of his soldiers greatly objected to the Alec Guinness expy portrayal in The Bridge on the River Kwai. Then again, Toosey wasn’t the only inspiration for Col. Nicholson. As for the William Holden character, he was actually invented for the movie to provide more action and a part for a bankable American actor.)

Col. Saito was a ruthless commandant at the POW camp during the construction of the Kwai Bridge. (He was actually a very benevolent warden and he and Toosey would become friends after the war for the rest of their lives. Oh, and he was a sergeant and second in command of the camp. Still, unlike in The Bridge on the Rive Kwai, the real Saito actually survived the war and attended Toosey’s funeral.)

The Bridge on the River Kwai was destroyed in a commando raid right after its construction. (The original wooden bridge was destroyed in a bombing raid. Yet, it was supposed to be a temporary bridge anyway. The second steel bridge was bombed as well but it was later repaired and still stands in use today. Still, both bridges had a service of two years before they were destroyed by aerial bombing raids.)

The Japanese engineers for the Kwai Bridge were terrible. (Contrary to Bridge on the Rive Kwai, the many of the Japanese engineers for the Kwai Bridge were actually graduates from the best engineering schools including American and British universities. Oddly enough despite this film being sort of denigrating to the Japanese, it was popular in Japan during its original run. Then again, conditions during the Burma Railway’s construction were much worse than depicted in the David Lean epic.)

Liberation of Burma:

The Liberation of Burma was conducted entirely by American forces. (This is the premise of Objective, Burma!. However, the majority of the Allied forces that actually liberated Burma from the Japanese were British, South African, Indian, and Chinese. The British 14th Army played a major role and was known as “The Forgotten Army” because of the part they played there. Still, at least the Americans did play a part and Merrill’s Marauders did exist. Nevertheless, Objective, Burma! Caused massive offense in Britain and among the troops of many nationalities in the China-India-Burma theater since their role was written out. During its release in 1945, Warner Bros. had to withdraw the film from British theaters after a week and re-released it in 1952 with extra documentary footage that included a fleeting hat-tip by General Wingate.)

The 503rd Parachute Regiment served in Burma. (They served in New Guinea.)

The Sullivan Brothers:

George Sullivan was in sick bay while the USS Juneau was sinking. (Contrary to The Fighting Sullivans, he and his brother Al survived the sinking. Al drowned the next day while George died 4-5 days later of dementia when he took off his uniform and swam off in search of his brothers.)

PT 109:

The crew of PT 109 rescued a group of US Marines trapped on a Japanese occupied island called Choiseul before the ramming incident. (Contrary to PT 109, this happened after the ramming incident. And it wasn’t the only boat to rescue the trapped Marines either but part of a small flotilla.)

The survival of PT 109 wasn’t anything special except that its commander was John F. Kennedy. (Well, yes, as far as the historic memory goes today, especially since it was the reason that PT 109 was made and why people today still remember it. However, back in the day, the survival of Kennedy and his crew was special enough that correspondents from the Associated Press and the United Press International hopped on the rescue PTs before they found out PT 109’s maroon skipper was Lieutenant John F. Kennedy {then known as Ambassador Joe Kennedy’s son}. That just made the story pass into national legend, especially since Kennedy would later become president.)

Miscellaneous:

World War II in the Pacific was primarily a Japanese vs. Americans ordeal. (Actually it was more like the Japanese vs. practically everyone who happened to be there and allies at this time {though there were those who collaborated with the Japanese in Asian countries particularly a few Chinese warlords}. In fact, World War II in that region may have begun as early as 1931 with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria.)

The Japanese military was exceptionally brutal since Japan had culture of cruelty. (The Imperial Japanese military was indeed this during the 1930s and in World War II. However, Japanese civilization was not always this cruel in its history, despite the myth that Japanese brutality during World War II was derived by their warrior culture is still taught in American schools. A few decades earlier, the Japanese military had troops led by gentlemen officers and treated their prisoners just as humane or better than many Western countries did. Yet, in the 1930s, Japanese society was seized by a mass frenzy of militarism that resulted in Japan being taken over by a military dictatorship that had imperialistic ambitions. Still, since most people don’t know much about Japan, it’s assumed that Japanese conduct during World War II was related to their samurai culture or the notion of fighting to the last man. However, the reality had more do with the Japanese High command’s distorted and very selective interpretation of either as well as the climate of militaristic fascist imperialism in the Japanese government {since the values that Bushido actually promotes aren’t really that different from the code of chivalry or from similar systems in other cultures}. Yes, historical Japan was a militaristic society to some degree but it also highly valued the principle of self-restraint except between 1930 and 1945 of course. Oh, and even at the height of the Japanese military junta and the cruelties committed as well as its status as an Axis power, Japan was one of the friendliest nations for Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust.)

Japanese soldiers valued their lives less than Americans, and that they were particularly eager to die in service to their Emperor. (Between the 1930s to the end of World War II, most Japanese soldiers were conscripted into the military consisting of people the Japanese government would view as potential troublemakers like the dispossessed, poor, unemployed, criminals, and rootless younger sons. Still, the Imperial Japanese military was no fun place to be with torture being used on a regular basis {so they could abuse others} and it was filled by people who definitely didn’t want to fight for their Emperor but did so because they had no other choice. Yet, there were patriotic Japanese soldiers who willingly fought for their country but many of them were American {20,000 Japanese Americans fought for the US in World War II and despite being targets of racism and being sent to internment camps, they were still treated better than Imperial Japanese soldiers. One Japanese American combat unit was among the most decorated}.)

Navajo code talkers were employed in the Pacific during World War II. (Yes, but while movies imply that the US had only used Native American code talkers in the Pacific, this wasn’t the first time. The US also had used Native American code talkers during World War I in Europe. But by the time World War II rolled around, Hitler already knew about the use of code talkers and sent cover agents to study Native American dialects before the US entered the war. No Indian code talkers were used in Europe because of this.)

Navajo codetalkers had bodyguards whose job was to kill them to prevent them from getting into enemy hands. (Actually the bodyguards were used to protect the Navajo code talkers from other US soldiers who’d mistake them for being Japanese. There’s no evidence that they were order to kill them to prevent their capture, yet tell that to Windtalkers.)

American P-40s and Japanese Zeros fought at wave top heights with aircraft darting various obstacles. (No, Michael Bay, they wouldn’t have because such tactics would’ve been suicidal for both participants.)

Japan was forced to enter World War II against the United States in the Pacific. (This is implied in Tora! Tora! Tora! But it’s actually wrong. Individual Japanese military personnel, yes, but Japan as a country, no. It was actually the United States that was forced to go to war with Japan in the Pacific. Part of what led to Pearl Harbor was American outrage over Japanese aggression in China and its much publicized atrocities during occupation, especially the Rape of Nanking. What led to this kind of aggression was a combination of economic problems during the Great Depression {it had been hit hard}, the rise of right wing extremists in their government that paved way for a military dictatorship, increasing militarization fueled by imperial ambitions, and radical modernization. Nevertheless, the Japanese public is still uncomfortable about acknowledging their country’s horrifying atrocities during that time. Japan hasn’t formally apologized to the nations it had formerly invaded {this doesn’t mean that it condones its past behavior. In fact, just the opposite. Rather, it’s just that the Japanese may just be too ashamed to admit their crimes in World War II}. Still, it’s said that Japanese occupation in Asia was filled with widespread cruelty, exploitation, racism, sex slavery, and genocide with millions dead, mostly consisting of civilians.)

Prior to Pearl Harbor, there was an US oil embargo against Japan. (No, there wasn’t at least in the formal sense, just a de facto prohibition of oil shipments through the denial of export licenses.)

The Japanese sought an aggressive alliance with Germany despite naval opposition for some reason. (Tora! Tora! Tora! doesn’t really get into this. However, the Japanese sought an alliance with Germany thinking that it would keep the US out of the war it would be forced to fight on two fronts {didn’t work}. Some officers in the Japanese Navy opposed a German alliance because they thought it would increase the chances of war with the United States {for which the navy wasn’t prepared for [they were right]}. Others thought that continuing the war in China would mean more money for the army and severe cutbacks for their own service. Still, Germany and Japan didn’t make good allies with each other.)

Japan sent troops to Australia. (They never set foot in it. The only attack it launched was in 1942 when the Japanese bombed Darwin and left. But they did have sub crews to go to shore on remote locations for fresh water.)

Japanese Zeros were faster than American Warhawks. (They were very maneuverable planes which got off the ground easily but were considerably slower than most American fighters.)

Japanese Zero guns had had terrible accuracy record. (They actually could decently hit American planes except in Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor disasterpiece.)

There wasn’t much airplane fighting in the Pacific as there was in Europe. (Actually in the Pacific theater, air warfare played a bigger role than it did in Europe. I mean the Americans bombed the living shit out of Japan, even before they dropped two atomic bombs on them. Still, air warfare in the Pacific isn’t covered as much because it’s difficult to portray massive fire raids against civilians in a heroic light. And Hollywood always has to portray the Americans as good guys.)

Japanese soldiers and civilians would rather commit suicide than accept defeat. (Yes, there were a high number of suicides on the Japanese side and there could be no doubt. However, while the Japanese Imperial military establishment had a reputation for not surrendering, it didn’t always mean that all Japanese soldiers and civilians were willing to do so. However, Wikipedia does have sourced stats on the Japanese who did surrender to the Americans under its Imperial Japanese Army article. Japanese POWs did exist {estimated 19,500 to 50,000} and there are Japanese veterans from the war who are still around. Still, much of the mass suicides had more to do with Japanese propaganda showing Americans as a cruel and merciless bunch who’d rape all captured women as well as kill or torture the men.)

Japanese POW camps were subject to the rules of the Geneva Convention. (Japan wasn’t a signatory of the Geneva Convention until 1953 so Allied prisoners had no expectation of being treated in accordance with them. In fact, the Japanese treatment of POWs led to a review and update of the conventions in 1949. Still, you wouldn’t know it from Bridge on the River Kwai when Lt. Col. Nicholson gets all up in Saito’s ass about it. He also didn’t realize that under the Geneva Convention enlisted POWs can be compelled to work, but only in specific industries that don’t help the enemy’s war effort. Then again, Japan wasn’t a signatory of the Geneva Convention at the time so it’s not like Alec Guinness’ character would be court-martialed for anything worse than treason. Still, it’s amazing he lasted so long in the movie without getting fragged, which probably would’ve more likely happened to him once he tried dragging sick men out of the hospital to work on the bridge.)

Emperor Hirohito was a powerless figurehead who didn’t want war with the United States. (Well, we’re not sure what his role in World War II was and it’s been hotly debated to this day. However, for hundreds of years, while the Emperor has had a special place in a ceremonial and religious aspects, his post didn’t always grant him real power, even if tradition said otherwise. Still, he wasn’t really against the war or technically powerless but he wasn’t exactly the guy running the place either. Responsible or not, to try him for war crimes would’ve been a big mistake, though he did have to renounce his divinity and cooperate with the US.)

Being a US Merchant Marine was one of the worst jobs in the Pacific. (Sure Merchant Marines didn’t get much recognition for their actions and they spent their days doing mundane tasks and languishing in boredom on a cargo ship which isn’t a glamorous job. However, serving on a cargo ship wasn’t the worst thing that could happen to someone in the US Navy in the Pacific Ocean during World War II. Being a POW in a Japanese prison camp was.)

The Japanese military actually had an air force. (The Imperial Japanese Air Force never existed. Both the Japanese Army and Navy used planes.)

Geisha communities were still in business during this time. (They were shut down by the Japanese government during WWII.)

History of the World According to the Movies: Part 13 – Japan

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No movie could be more appropriate in capturing the spirit of historical Japan than Akira Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai. Sure it’s not as colorful as Memoirs of a Geisha but at least it was made in Japan with Japanese actors as well as gets a lot more things right about Japanese culture. Of course, in this case, it’s all about samurai. However, Toshiro Mifune’s character technically is just pretending to be one which is considered a capital offense. Nevertheless, this inspired movies like The Magnificent Seven and The Three Amigos.

Believe it or not, Japanese civilization as we know it is actually a late comer in world history. I mean the Mayans were actually a flourishing civilization while Tokyo was still a backwater fishing village. Nevertheless, it is the culture we associate with samurai, kimonos, ninja, geishas, and Pearl Harbor. For much of its history, Japan has always been ruled by an emperor seen as a living god in the eyes of the people, but was really nothing more than a figurehead and real power was usually held by an entity like the Fujiwara clan of the Heian period, the shoguns, or other government infrastructure. Of course, many Japanese movies tend to be structured like westerns usually set in the time of the samurai, especially in the films of Akira Kurosawa since he was from a samurai family. Still, it’s also a culture known for producing one of the world’s first novels called The Tale of Genji written by a lady in waiting named Murasaki Shikibu, one of history’s early female authors. Nevertheless, there are plenty of aspects of Japan that are greatly mythologized in movies with aspects not really stack up to what it was really like. Whether pertaining to samurai and ninja, geishas, or modern times, here are some things that movies pertaining to Japanese history tend to get wrong.

Medieval and Shogun Eras:

Okita Soji was a youthful looking leader of the badass samurai group called the Shinsengumi. (He was seen as a tall, dark, and thin man with high cheekbones, wide mouth, and flat face. Also though the Shinsengumi once started as shogun bodyguards, they soon transformed into a ruthless secret police force with an extremely strict code of conduct and an unflinching readiness to kill. Though they were charged with keeping the peace, they could be occasionally seen as a threat with inter-factional violence and assassinations being frequent. Yet, these guys are heroes in Japanese media.)

Odo Nobunaga was a ruthless and brutal warlord. (Yes, he was, which is why he’s been the bad guy in many Japanese films ever since even though he’s also more like a Japanese Otto von Bismarck known for his genius and cunning. However, unlike Japan’s other leaders at the time as well as the xenophobic tendencies, he was a patron of Western culture and food as well as very lenient toward Catholic Christians and gave missionaries living space to set up churches. Of course, this might’ve contributed to his reputation. Still, he also tried to modernize the Japanese military, opened borders {perhaps to hire foreign mercenaries and buy rifles from Christians}, and attempted to start a Japanese Renaissance.)

Samurai and Ninjas:

Anyone in Japan could become a samurai. (Samurai were born from samurai families, not made. However, anyone could be a ninja.)

Ronin were traveling swordsmen and mercenaries. (Some might’ve been but they were mostly bandits and pirates.)

Ronin were usually nice to peasants and willingly defended them. (Though ronin occupied one of the lowest rungs of society, they mostly treated everyone beneath them like crap and refused to work like normal people).

Being a samurai was cool in any era. (Well, maybe at a time when Japanese nobles were at each other’s throats, yet it basically sucked during the Edo of peace and prosperity since they couldn’t change jobs or earn money {especially if they were ronin with no master, but many ended up becoming bureaucrats} and could only make a living with their martial powers. Also, the possibility of death was very high. And if they were daimyos, they had to spend six months away from their families in Tokyo, who were required to live there.)

During the events of the 47 Ronin in 1701, Lord Asano Naganori was a wizened old man while Lord Kira Yoshiniaka was a young upstart power hungry noble. (It was the other way around since the power-hungry Kira was 60 and the Confucian Asano was 34.)

It was perfectly fine for a commoner to don Samurai armor and pretending to be one. (Commoners who did this were executed. Even touching a samurai was a death penalty offense.)

A half-white Japanese man participated with the 47 ronin. (Sorry Keanu Reeves, but this wouldn’t be a realistic possibility since it’s very likely his dad wouldn’t be a samurai. Oh, and there’s no way in hell he’d have a romantic interest in Asano’s daughter because he died at 34.)

Samurai wives were usually of noble birth. (Any woman in Japan could be a samurai wife which mostly consists of being a sexually available maid 24/7. But a common woman wanting to marry one had to pay.)

Ninjas dressed in black. (Ninjas did not dress in black outfits. They were spies, assassins, contract killers, and covert agents. The last thing they’d want to do is to walk around in something that reveals them instantly. Instead, they dressed up as normal people of the time- anything that’d help them blend in. On occasions when they did need to move around during the night undetected, they wore dark blue, not black, which blends better with the darkness.)

The samurai were brave and noble warriors who followed the bushido serving loyalty to one’s master, self-discipline, respect, and ethical behavior. (Many of them were brutal thugs who used their higher power and social status to oppress the weak. Also, samurai adhering to the bushido varied considerably like how European knights obeyed chivalry {and European codes also had room for honorable suicide}. Basically it was a nebulous code of rules samurai kind of followed when they felt like it. Oh, and some of them practiced “shudo” or pederasty viewed as a very high and noble form of love {in their mind anyway}. Still, Bushido as we know it might’ve originated as a mistake made by a Japanese historian Nitobe Inazo in his 1905 book and it was used as a method of social control when Japan was placed under a military dictatorship between the 1920s and WWII.)

Samurai didn’t just kill anyone. (Actually they’d kill anyone under their domain for simply insulting them or meeting them in traffic as long as they could get away with it.)

Samurai were willing to die a honorable death and happy to die in battle than surrender. (While many samurai did commit suicide, most of the time they were forced to due to disgrace. Also, many of them were willing to surrender and be taken prisoner. Not to mention, apart from the samurai, most Japanese soldiers in general were conscripted by their warlords. Sort of like medieval Europe.)

Samurai would never betray each other. (Treachery and backstabbing among samurai was commonplace even it was over money or being sore losers.)

The katana was the standard weapon of the samurai. (The weapon didn’t come out until the late Middle Ages, and before then, samurai usually used the tachi or the uchigata. Also, for the greater part of Japanese feudal society, using a sword was usually a last chance weapon for the samurai and they didn’t start carrying swords around until after the fighting was over and usually used it as a fashion accessory to show off their status. Not only that, before the sword became the symbol of the samurai, the samurai were more or less identified as mounted archers and their symbols were a sword and a bow but during the Warring states period, most samurai couldn’t afford a steed. Also, for melee, their first weapon was usually a spear or a naginata. However, to us it would be impossible to imagine a samurai without his long badass sword, even in Japan. Actually as far as weapons go, samurai used just about everything at their disposal. One was known to kill a guy with a homemade wooden oar.)

Samurai thought using firearms was dishonorable. (Samurai were more than willing to use firearms and the Satsuma rebellion was so dangerous because the place was a manufacturing center for cannons. Paintings show Takamori had plenty of guns while the Imperial forces only had swords. Also, he even had a school including weapons training and artillery {which they had since the 16th century}. Not to mention, it’s said the Japanese were designing better guns than the Europeans by the 1870s.)

Samurai and ninjas roamed Japan chopping each other with katanas and shuriken at the slightest provocation. (They were much more disciplined than that. Katana duels were rare and even frowned upon. However, didn’t stop them from fighting butcherfest battles or publicly lopping off peasant heads.)

Ninjas were members of elite government special forces. (They’re more like invisible assassins, spies, contract killers, and covert agents. Think snipers.)

Ninjas got their reputation for invisibility and infiltration because they were very good at hiding as well as possessing mysterious powers like ninjitsu. (They obtained their reputation because they were willing to dress as members of a lower class when no one else in Japan would do such a thing. Peasants were ignored, dismissed, or noticed at all by the upper classes even though they had fierce travel restrictions. Thus, the “invisibility” was psychological. They also had to be expert in survival skills, actual stealth, poisons, assassination techniques, and unorthodox tactics. Not to mention, they used anything they could get their hands on as weapons. Still, many ninjas encouraged rumors of them having magical powers.)

Ninjas originated in Japan. (They may have originated in China. And Japanese ninjas called themselves “shinobi.”)

Ninjas could catch arrows in flight. (No they couldn’t. But they could lie in carp pools all night breathing with a blowpipe before shooting their victims with a poison darts the next morning {though this probably would be in a last ditch effort} and use their sword to deflect arrows shot 30 yards away.)

Ninjas came from the lower classes and were often hired to do dirty deeds honorable samurai wouldn’t do. (Most were actually samurai or mercenaries who worked for them so apparently they would fight in any way they could. And no, they weren’t born in hidden villages and trained to obey nindo.)

Anyone in Japan could own a sword between the 16th and 19th centuries. (Only the samurai were.)

Samurai wives did not have to kill themselves if their husbands royally messed up. (They were expected to commit seppuku.)

Ninjas would jump around on rooftops in ridiculous clothing. (Real ninja would more likely infiltrate the household staff and poison a meal.)

Daimyo lords had court jesters. (Contrary to Ran, they didn’t. But Ran is a feudal Japanese version of King Lear so it’s forgivable.)

Mori Motonari’s two oldest sons were real jerks. (Well, while Ran is somewhat based on the Motonari legend, his three sons were loyal and talented in their own way. And all were unable to break the 3 arrows together. Still, Motonari was a real guy and daimyo family disputes like in Ran did happen. So Akira Kurosawa didn’t need to stray too much from historical accuracy to set Shakespeare in Japanese history.)

Ninja fighters used nunchuku as well as hidden blades and clawlike weapons. (They never used nunchucks. They only used a clawlike Neko-te but only for climbing. And no, they probably didn’t use swords taller and wider than a grown man.)

The Ninjas outlasted the samurai. (Ninjas faded away in the 1600s after existing for 200 years while the samurai were abolished in 1868.)

Ninjas fought the shogun. (The shogun was their #1 customer.)

Ninjas were a single group. (There were various clans who had their signature techniques.)

Ninjas used suriken and swords. (Samurai used the former. However, historians believe ninjas used a standard wakizashi or chokuto type swords of the period.)

By the 19th century, samurai had been “protectors of Japan” for 900 to a 1,000 years. (They originally started out as rent collectors and estate protectors for the Kyoto nobility and later evolved into an aristocracy in its own right. Also, they were only considered protectors of Japan during the two thwarted Mongol invasions. Oh, and they only became prevalent in Japanese society in the 11th century.)

Japanese people were still frightened of samurai by the 1870s and bowed to them en masse. (Urban Japanese had gotten over treating common samurai as lords for a long time.)

Modern:

In the late 19th century, the Japanese government hired American advisers to modernize their army and these consisted of Civil War veterans. (The Japanese in the late 19th century did hire foreign advisers to modernize their army, but they were mostly French and German, not American. That is because they looked to France and Prussia as their military models {though other countries did have American military advisers after the American Civil War}. Oh, and five chose to stay and participate in the Satsuma Rebellion and the inspiration of the Tom Cruise character actually didn’t surrender to the Emperor {though the Japanese government would unsuccessfully demand extradition to punish him for 12 years}.)

Saigo Takamori died from Gatling gunfire. (He committed seppuku which was ritual suicide or hari kari.)

During WWII, Japanese kamikaze pilots were ordered to use their planes as missiles because it was disgraceful to face defeat. (Actually the kamikaze pilots were ordered to run their planes into American ships during WWII because it was the first time that Japan ever used planes in war and the training the pilots received was hardly adequate. In other words, running a plane into something was just an effective way to use the plane.)

The Japanese samurai sword was easy for Americans to master. (It’s doubtful that a 40-something alcoholic Civil War vet, even one with great hair, would master chopsticks much less the samurai sword. And I’ve tried chopsticks which are very hard to master.)

The geisha coming of age in Pre-War Japan was much more of a makeover, it also involved her getting intimate with a client and wowing patrons with dancing prowess using platform shoes, fake snow, and strobe lights. (From Moviefone: “The geisha coming-of-age, called “mizuage,” was really more of a makeover, where she changed her hairstyle and clothes. It didn’t involve her getting… intimate with a client. In the climactic scene where Sayuri wows Gion patrons with her dancing prowess, her routine – which involves some platform shoes, fake snow, and a strobe light – seems more like a Studio 54 drag show than anything in pre-war Kyoto.”)

Commodore Matthew Perry was given a sword by the shogun which was stolen by Japanese isolationists. (Not a likely story.)

Samurai fought the Meiji modernization out of noble goals. (From Wikipedia: According to History professor Cathy Schultz, “Many samurai fought Meiji modernization not for altruistic reasons but because it challenged their status as the privileged warrior caste. Meiji reformers proposed the radical idea that all men essentially being equal … The film {The Last Samurai} also misses the historical reality that lots and lots of Meiji policy advisers were former samurai, who had voluntarily given up their traditional privileges to follow a course they believed would strengthen Japan.”)

The Meiji Emperor was referred as Emperor Meiji in his lifetime. (He wasn’t called Meiji until after his death. While living, he would’ve been called Emperor Mutsuhito.)

General Omura Masujiro was still alive by the 1870s. (Sure he developed a Western-style army during the Meiji Restoration, but he was killed by a conservative samurai in 1869.)

The Americans agreed to sell their guns to open trade with Japan. (This is utter fiction.)

Rebelling samurai during the Meiji Restoration would be perfectly willing to wear their own traditional armor. (They’d actually be wearing more modern style garments like western-style uniforms.)

General Bonner Fellers had to convince General Douglas MacArthur to exonerate Emperor Hiriohito. (Exonerating Hirohito and the Imperial family was originally MacArthur’s idea though it was a far more complex issue than portrayed in Emperor. Oh, and the process to investigate him took five months instead of 10 measly days.)

General Bonner Fellers had an affinity for Japanese culture and was in love with a Japanese foreign exchange student during his college years. (He was actually a commie-fearing member of the ultra-right John Birch society. There’s no evidence whether he had a romantic relationship with any foreign exchange student in college {the Japanese exchange student he met at Earlham was only a mere friend and probably a guy} but he was more of a psychological expert who designed MacArthur’s strategy to demoralize the Japanese people. Oh, and his wife accompanied him on some of his visits {who he’d been married to since 1925}. Also, his effectiveness as an intelligence officer was questioned during the American Occupation of Japan.)

Emperor Hirohito and his family were exonerated from being tried as war criminals because they were innocent. (Their exoneration had more to do with American post-war planners fearing that executing him would cause cultural and political chaos across Japan.)

General Douglas MacArthur had his photo taken with Emperor Hirohito as a diplomatic expression of Japanese-American cooperation. (It was also used as American propaganda to convince the Japanese people that the Emperor was a very small man {who many considered a god}. He also convinced Hirohito to renounce his status as a god-on-earth.)

The Meiji Emperor spoke English, had people see him without invitation, and made important political decisions at the spur of the moment. (Only the most senior advisers were allowed to see Emperor Meiji without invitation, everyone else no way. Also, he didn’t speak English nor make any important spur of the moment decisions.)

Japanese industrialists had the Emperor’s ear and Imperial advisers conducted job interviews in other countries. (Imperial advisers did no such thing. Also, industrialists had no need of the Emperor’s support since they had close ties to samurai oligarchs anyway.)

Miscellaneous:

Kimonos were easy to remove. (Modern kimonos, yes. However, many Pre-modern Japanese aristocrats would wear layers upon them. A stripper in a Heian period court kimono style would have a long time taking the whole outfit off.)

Geishas fully painted their lips in historical Japan. (They’d either paint only the top, bottom, or center of both. Fully painting of lips didn’t come into Japan until after WWII.)

Geishas were prostitutes. (Sort of but not anymore, they were primarily entertainers, hostesses, and conversationalists at teahouses where men went to unwind after a day at the office, though love affairs and sex trades did occur. Still, until Japan banned prostitution in the 1950s, it was only just one of their many services but they spent most of their working time playing music, dancing, storytelling, and reciting poetry.)

Geishas wore a beehive as their traditional hairdo. (The wrapped their hair in a bun and wore a large wig over it. Maiko wear it in a very different fashion.)

Only women were geisha. (The earliest were men.)

Carrying weapons in the Emperor’s presence was perfectly all right. (No one was allowed to bear weapons in the Emperor’s presence in historical Japan.)

Seppuku was completely voluntary and common in historical Japan. (Sometimes samurai were ordered to commit ritual suicide if  one failed miserably and brought disorder to the clan. Still, it was very rare.)

Japanese men didn’t do any housework. (Many did a great deal around the house and rarely referred themselves as a collective, particularly on cultural matters.)

Most Japanese ate fluffy white rice. (This was only a regular grain staple for the most wealthy. Rural samurai and commoners probably would’ve eaten rice gruel and other grains such as barley, millet, and buckwheat, either as porridge or noodles.)

Tokyo had its name in the 17th century. (Tokyo wouldn’t be referred by its present name until 1868. At that time, it was called Edo.)