Friday 28 April 2017

Crayon Shin-Chan: The Bad Boy of Japanese Manga

A green Tokyo subway train plastered with pictures of Crayon Shin-Chan to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the anime
A Tokyo subway train celebrating 25 years of Crayon Shin-Chan
Japan is world famous for its cartoons (manga) and animated cartoons (anime) and one of the longest running of these, in the same league as Doraemon and Detective Conan, is Crayon Shin-chan. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the anime, some Tokyo subway trains were decorated with the little guy's face (picture right).

Shin is a five-year old kindergartner who drives his parents mad by breaking all sorts of social rules, misbehaving, and generally acting inappropriately. He is definiitely more kimo-kawa (creepy-cute) than kawaii cute; he can be rather disgusting and even sexist, something which saw Japanese PTAs label the programme as unsuitable for children. Indeed, not a few Japanese parents have banned the programme in their house: it is more South Park than Tom and Jerry! Even abroad, despite being aired in 45 countries in 30 languages, Shin-chan has been controversial; in Spain, for example, there was a campaign to move it to a later time-slot, in Indonesia it was labelled as "porn," while in India it was reportedly banned outright.

Click to preview on amazon
Nevertheless, for the student of Japanese, Shin-chan can be a useful learning experience, since he often plays with language, much to the consternation of his parents, such as switching around the set-phrase pairs which form the glue of Japanese social interaction. For example, his reversal of "I'm home!" (tadaima) and "Welcome back!" (okaeri-nasai) makes for highly amusing viewing - and the phrases themselves will stick in the mind. The trailer for the new film can be seen here and the comic previewed on amazon by clicking left.