From the Editor

Back to Contents of Issue: August 2003

The Editor's page

by The Editor

WHEN FOREIGN VISITORS FIRST arrive in Japan, there are plenty of things that take them by surprise. After a little time in the country -- and a little analysis -- some of those oddities seem considerably less strange. But pachinko, its culture and its capacity to create obsessions, has always remained firmly locked in the land of mystery. Why do people spend so much time watching a repetitive motion? Where does the money go? Why do the cops turn a blind eye?

In this issue of J@pan Inc we finally unveil this secretive industry and explore some of the other ways that the Japanese feed their insatiable appetite for gambling.

But we also discover that pachinko does not hold the monopoly on obsessive behavior. Bandai, the toy company that brought the world Gundam, Tamagotchi and Power Rangers, has a history of creating kiddy crazes and mile-long lines. In an exclusive interview with the company's president, we get an inside view of what the company has in store -- and in the stores -- for all of us this Christmas.

For toyshops, December is a matter of life and death, but if you share our view that it is probably a little early in the year to be thinking seriously about Christmas, consider this: If your body has to suffer through the steamy Tokyo summer, at least your mind can spend a little while dreaming of a white Christmas on a cold winter's night.

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