Oishinbo

We examine, sort thousands of grains of rice to test manga-approved cooking method 【Video】

Preparing a delicious bowl of rice is an absolutely essential part of Japanese cuisine, and fortunately for most amateur cooks today’s modern rice cookers have made that task as simple as pressing as button.

While these handy machines can whip up a tasty bowl of rice with little to no effort, we wanted to try out a time-consuming cooking method we learned from the popular food-themed manga Oishinbo. In it, one of the main characters painstakingly examines and sorts each grain of rice to prepare what is described as “a taste you won’t forget in 15 years.” But is all that hard work worth it?

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Nosebleeds, food, and fear: How a popular manga became the centre of a debate about Fukushima

In the West, comics are often considered predominantly for younger audiences, and adults who spend more time scrutinising the contents of speech bubbles than printed paragraphs might be looked down on by some. But in Japan, comics are considered a perfectly acceptable pastime whatever one’s age.

More often than not, comics, or manga to use the Japanese term, provide their readers with a break from reality, much like a TV drama or soap, and allow readers to peek into the kinds of worlds that they might not ordinarily be able. But there are times when fiction and reality come together, and real-world events become fodder for a writer’s imagination or in some case the main focus of a story. In the case of popular manga series Oishinbo (美味しんぼ), one particular plotline has raised not just eyebrows but objections on a national level, and what was once just a comic about food has become the centre of a debate about health, radiation, and whether the Japanese government is telling the truth about Fukushima.

Today, we delve a little deeper into the “Oishinbo Nosebleed Problem”, as it has become known, and consider whether, after the resulting backlash, this controversial topic is one that the manga’s writer perhaps ought to have left well alone.

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Oishinbo manga’s depiction of Fukushima’s radiation effects criticized

A chapter of Tetsu Kariya‘s Oishinbo manga series is garnering public outcry after being published in Shogakukan‘s Big Comic Spirits magazine on Monday. The manga chapter follows a group of newspaper journalists who are exposed to nuclear radiation within a plant in Fukushima. After the character’s exposure, they complain of nosebleeds and exhaustion, ailments that are reaffirmed by a character named Katsutaka Idogawa, based on a real-life former mayor of the town of Futaba in Fukushima Prefecture. The reporters also complain of censorship, an issue possibly inspired by Tokyo Electric Power Company’s real-life actions.

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