Other Japanese cultural imports?

The roughly mid-90's and earlier (generally pre-Toonami, pre-anime boom) era of anime & manga fandom: early cons, clubs, tape trading, Nth Generation VHS fansubs, old magazines & fanzines, fandubs, ancient merchandise, rec.arts.anime, and more!
Fireminer
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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

Post by Fireminer »

Speaking of Pac Man fever, weren't there video games at the arcades before Pac Man? You know, Space Invader, Battlezone, etc.? I wonder if Pac Man was the same deal as with modern-day "streaming-friendly" games like Among Us and Fall Guys--being just as fun to watch as to play?

Also, does anyone here have any memories of seeing any Japanese theatrical art or Japanese plays at American theaters? And, how well known was Japanese pro wrestling in the States in the 1980s? I know that back then there were exhibition matches between WWE and Japanese wrestlers. And some American wrestlers actually moved to Japan after leaving WWE, right?

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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

Post by davemerrill »

DKop wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 6:00 pm

In terms of the car market, anime series like Initial D have driven up the value and market for its series iconic Toyota AE86. What was once a beater 3 door hatchback in the 90's and 2000's are now highly sought after sports cars for its full customizable aftermarket upgrades. The thing is Toyota has this label of being a nearly indestructible vehicle, which i'll throw my hat to that label based on how ive seen them run since I started driving.
I can personally vouch for the reliability of Japanese cars: I've got better than 200,000 miles on my Toyota right now, and before that I had a Honda with more than 300,000 miles on it, and before that another high-mileage Honda, and before that, another high-mileage Chevy-badged Toyota... in the mid-1980s Accords and Civics were everywhere, easy to maintain, parts were cheap, great starter cars for high school kids.

Part of the success of Japanese cars in America in the 70s and 80s has a lot to do with the absolute terrible cars Detroit was making in those years. Just an appalling parade of ugly, underpowered, shoddy, noisy, weirdly cramped lemons that turned into junk in six months. There was a lot of big talk about "buying American..." but American cars were plain lousy in those years.

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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

Post by davemerrill »

Fireminer wrote:
Tue Jan 05, 2021 5:48 am
Speaking of Pac Man fever, weren't there video games at the arcades before Pac Man? You know, Space Invader, Battlezone, etc.? I wonder if Pac Man was the same deal as with modern-day "streaming-friendly" games like Among Us and Fall Guys--being just as fun to watch as to play?

Also, does anyone here have any memories of seeing any Japanese theatrical art or Japanese plays at American theaters? And, how well known was Japanese pro wrestling in the States in the 1980s? I know that back then there were exhibition matches between WWE and Japanese wrestlers. And some American wrestlers actually moved to Japan after leaving WWE, right?
Arcades before video games were a mix of pinball, Skee-Ball type games, "strength testers," pinball, mechanical target games, pinball, mechanical driving games, and various attempts at using movie footage in game play like Wild Gunman. And lots of pinball. Not to mention one or two coin-op pool tables and air-hockey tables. When commercial video games were introduced you'd see Pong (1972), Gun Fight (1975) and Super Bug (1977) alongside the older mechanical games. Video games came to dominate the arcades but in recent years pinball and mechanical redemption games have made a big comeback. Pac-Man was big, but I remember Space Invaders (1978) as being the game that really got people into the habit of regular arcade visits. Before Space Invaders nobody ever cared what anybody's high score was. After Space Invaders that all changed.

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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

Post by Drew_Sutton »

Fireminer wrote:
Tue Jan 05, 2021 5:48 am
Speaking of Pac Man fever, weren't there video games at the arcades before Pac Man? You know, Space Invader, Battlezone, etc.? I wonder if Pac Man was the same deal as with modern-day "streaming-friendly" games like Among Us and Fall Guys--being just as fun to watch as to play?

Also, does anyone here have any memories of seeing any Japanese theatrical art or Japanese plays at American theaters? And, how well known was Japanese pro wrestling in the States in the 1980s? I know that back then there were exhibition matches between WWE and Japanese wrestlers. And some American wrestlers actually moved to Japan after leaving WWE, right?
Fireminer wrote:
Tue Jan 05, 2021 5:48 am
And, how well known was Japanese pro wrestling in the States in the 1980s? I know that back then there were exhibition matches between WWE and Japanese wrestlers. And some American wrestlers actually moved to Japan after leaving WWE, right?
Not well known at all but I think a lot has to do with how the pro-wrestling industry was set up into the 1980s. Pro-wrestling, in North America, operated under or otherwise aligned with, a psuedo-cartel called the National Wrestling Alliance. The Alliance basically carved up the US and Canada into "territories" that a single member company/promotion worked within and the Alliance would have a tier of champions from a member territory that would travel to different territories for matches with "local" wrestlers. WWE (and all it's former names) was once a member, then left, but worked alongside the NWA until the early 80s. Two wrestling companies in Japan, New Japan Pro Wrestling and All Japan Pro Wrestling, were each members of the NWA as well. Due to the regional territory system, there were few national stars, let alone international stars.

With the expansion of national cable TV, wrestling programs that could get on a station carried on cable, that program could/would be seen all across the country and started breaking down the old territory system. In addition to cable, some companies (WWE was a leader, but there were others) started making television programs for independent syndication across the country, too. Local territories that couldn't compete with "national territories" had their talent raided or their talent left for better money of a larger territory and the cycle feeds itself as territories close and other promotions went (or tried to) go national.

As some of those promotions would work with Japanese promotions, you'd get talent from Japan working in the US and even if they were figured in high on the card, they weren't "household names" like Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Randy Savage or Ric Flair or even Sgt. Slaughter, Steve Austin or Bill Goldberg. As much as I loved them when I was younger, when Jushin Thunder Liger, Great Muta and Masahiro Chono stopped wrestling in America, I pretty much lost access to watching them (and none of them were huge names).

Now - that's the general population. Among hardcore wrestling fans, if you were in the newsletter and tape trading scenes, Japanese wrestling was better represented. Either from big names like Antonio Inoki, Giant Baba or Jumbo Tsuruta, workhorses like Tiger Mask I & II (Sayama and Misawa), or psychopaths like Atsushi Onita, but the tape trading community was incredibly small. While there are lots of similarities to the anime tape trading scene, I don't know that the wrestling tape trading scene was really that extensive.
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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

Post by Fireminer »

Drew_Sutton wrote:
Tue Jan 05, 2021 12:43 pm
Not well known at all but I think a lot has to do with how the pro-wrestling industry was set up into the 1980s. Pro-wrestling, in North America, operated under or otherwise aligned with, a psuedo-cartel called the National Wrestling Alliance. The Alliance basically carved up the US and Canada into "territories" that a single member company/promotion worked within and the Alliance would have a tier of champions from a member territory that would travel to different territories for matches with "local" wrestlers. WWE (and all it's former names) was once a member, then left, but worked alongside the NWA until the early 80s. Two wrestling companies in Japan, New Japan Pro Wrestling and All Japan Pro Wrestling, were each members of the NWA as well. Due to the regional territory system, there were few national stars, let alone international stars.

With the expansion of national cable TV, wrestling programs that could get on a station carried on cable, that program could/would be seen all across the country and started breaking down the old territory system. In addition to cable, some companies (WWE was a leader, but there were others) started making television programs for independent syndication across the country, too. Local territories that couldn't compete with "national territories" had their talent raided or their talent left for better money of a larger territory and the cycle feeds itself as territories close and other promotions went (or tried to) go national.

As some of those promotions would work with Japanese promotions, you'd get talent from Japan working in the US and even if they were figured in high on the card, they weren't "household names" like Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Randy Savage or Ric Flair or even Sgt. Slaughter, Steve Austin or Bill Goldberg. As much as I loved them when I was younger, when Jushin Thunder Liger, Great Muta and Masahiro Chono stopped wrestling in America, I pretty much lost access to watching them (and none of them were huge names).

Now - that's the general population. Among hardcore wrestling fans, if you were in the newsletter and tape trading scenes, Japanese wrestling was better represented. Either from big names like Antonio Inoki, Giant Baba or Jumbo Tsuruta, workhorses like Tiger Mask I & II (Sayama and Misawa), or psychopaths like Atsushi Onita, but the tape trading community was incredibly small. While there are lots of similarities to the anime tape trading scene, I don't know that the wrestling tape trading scene was really that extensive.
Thanks for the info! I coincidentally have a friend who are both into anime and pro wresting. Always wonder what he meant when talking about things like "regional", "national" and "world" titles. Also, he also said that wrestlers like Tiger Mask found works in America around that time because pro wrestling were marketed at children--wasn't Hulk Hogan popular among 80s children?
davemerrill wrote:
Tue Jan 05, 2021 7:20 am
Arcades before video games were a mix of pinball, Skee-Ball type games, "strength testers," pinball, mechanical target games, pinball, mechanical driving games, and various attempts at using movie footage in game play like Wild Gunman. And lots of pinball. Not to mention one or two coin-op pool tables and air-hockey tables. When commercial video games were introduced you'd see Pong (1972), Gun Fight (1975) and Super Bug (1977) alongside the older mechanical games. Video games came to dominate the arcades but in recent years pinball and mechanical redemption games have made a big comeback. Pac-Man was big, but I remember Space Invaders (1978) as being the game that really got people into the habit of regular arcade visits. Before Space Invaders nobody ever cared what anybody's high score was. After Space Invaders that all changed.
Say, how were arcades seen in the public eyes in the later 70s? Were they considered unscrupulous places? I recently read an article about how different states successfully banned pinball after the Depression, and it mention the negative perception surrounding arcades.

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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

Post by davemerrill »

Fireminer wrote:
Wed Jan 06, 2021 7:54 am
davemerrill wrote:
Tue Jan 05, 2021 7:20 am
Arcades before video games were a mix of pinball, Skee-Ball type games, "strength testers," pinball, mechanical target games, pinball, mechanical driving games, and various attempts at using movie footage in game play like Wild Gunman. And lots of pinball. Not to mention one or two coin-op pool tables and air-hockey tables. When commercial video games were introduced you'd see Pong (1972), Gun Fight (1975) and Super Bug (1977) alongside the older mechanical games. Video games came to dominate the arcades but in recent years pinball and mechanical redemption games have made a big comeback. Pac-Man was big, but I remember Space Invaders (1978) as being the game that really got people into the habit of regular arcade visits. Before Space Invaders nobody ever cared what anybody's high score was. After Space Invaders that all changed.
Say, how were arcades seen in the public eyes in the later 70s? Were they considered unscrupulous places? I recently read an article about how different states successfully banned pinball after the Depression, and it mention the negative perception surrounding arcades.
Arcades were always a little sleazy and unscrupulous. Pinball in its early days was more like pachinko is now in Japan, with prizes or cash awarded for game play. In the 1970s you'd see arcades in urban centers near the bus station, there'd always be creeps loitering around wanting to bet on games, pick your pocket, sell you weed or pills, or introduce you to a new girlfriend. The arcades in tourist areas weren't quite as sleazy, but still a little sketchy. When video games became big, arcades worked hard to clean up their act and they became fairly respectable. New 1980s video game arcades were almost nothing like the old pinball arcades, and franchises like Chuck E. Cheese and Showbiz Pizza were opened specifically for the family and young children.

It was common in the 80s for parents to drop teenage and pre-teen kids off at the arcade for two or three unsupervised hours on a weekend, or kids would just ride their bikes to the nearest arcade. At the peak of video game popularity there were three arcades within bike distance of my house; that's a Saturday afternoon right there.

I do miss the great arcades in seaside resorts like Myrtle Beach SC, though. Old games, new games, 10 tokens for a dollar, noise and lights and music and people until the wee hours of the morning, just sleazy enough to be exciting.

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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

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davemerrill wrote:
Thu Jan 07, 2021 10:41 am


I do miss the great arcades in seaside resorts like Myrtle Beach SC, though. Old games, new games, 10 tokens for a dollar, noise and lights and music and people until the wee hours of the morning, just sleazy enough to be exciting.
They still got a seaside arcade next to the Gay Dolphin along the strip in the dirty Myrtle, or it was there last I checked. Tons of skeeball places and a few new stuff in there. It's mostly redemption games but it keeps people interested in going there.

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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

Post by davemerrill »

DKop wrote:
Thu Jan 07, 2021 1:41 pm
davemerrill wrote:
Thu Jan 07, 2021 10:41 am


I do miss the great arcades in seaside resorts like Myrtle Beach SC, though. Old games, new games, 10 tokens for a dollar, noise and lights and music and people until the wee hours of the morning, just sleazy enough to be exciting.
They still got a seaside arcade next to the Gay Dolphin along the strip in the dirty Myrtle, or it was there last I checked. Tons of skeeball places and a few new stuff in there. It's mostly redemption games but it keeps people interested in going there.
It's nothing like it was back in its glory days, before they knocked the Pavilion down; there was a time you could walk a solid twenty blocks of Ocean Blvd and there'd be an arcade cabinet in every block, if just a Ms. Pac Man in a motel lobby or a beat-up Galaxian next to the ticket booth of Dracula's Castle Wax Museum. Actually I wanna say Hurricane Hugo is what destroyed much of the rustic tacky Myrtle Beach, after Hugo it was all Broadway On The Beach this and Barefoot Landing that and outlet malls all over the place. I'm glad the Gay Dolphin is still in business - speaking of Japanese merchandise making its way to America without benefit of licensing, the Gay Dolphin Gift Cove was and still is a massive importer of whatever cheap nonsense will fit in a shipping container and be shipped cheaply from Asia.

Why, yes, I did spent a week or so every summer in Myrtle Beach. Yes I did. I have cousins (and their kids) still fishing off the dock of their Garden City house, and last I checked that arcade by the Garden City pier is still doing good business!

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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

Post by DKop »

davemerrill wrote:
Thu Jan 07, 2021 2:34 pm


It's nothing like it was back in its glory days, before they knocked the Pavilion down; there was a time you could walk a solid twenty blocks of Ocean Blvd and there'd be an arcade cabinet in every block, if just a Ms. Pac Man in a motel lobby or a beat-up Galaxian next to the ticket booth of Dracula's Castle Wax Museum. Actually I wanna say Hurricane Hugo is what destroyed much of the rustic tacky Myrtle Beach, after Hugo it was all Broadway On The Beach this and Barefoot Landing that and outlet malls all over the place. I'm glad the Gay Dolphin is still in business - speaking of Japanese merchandise making its way to America without benefit of licensing, the Gay Dolphin Gift Cove was and still is a massive importer of whatever cheap nonsense will fit in a shipping container and be shipped cheaply from Asia.

Why, yes, I did spent a week or so every summer in Myrtle Beach. Yes I did. I have cousins (and their kids) still fishing off the dock of their Garden City house, and last I checked that arcade by the Garden City pier is still doing good business!
It was a main destination at one point. I've heard Daytona Beach was like that and someone quoted that "10 hurricanes came through and someone just gave up in trying to improve it after the last one" hahaha. Broadway on the Beach is just a fancy outlet mall a mile or two from the coast, nothing that impressive other than an 80's store with over priced t shirts. The only place that is a major nerd store is at the North Myrtle Beach mall, which is already a desolate place, but they got arcade games and tons of retro comics/games and anime too. I bought KOR on VHS in the discount bin the last time I was there, plan on going through those at some point. Theres a group around Myrtle called Arcade Impact that goes to cons with their machines, and at one point had their stuff in a place before that got shut down before I made it there a month or so later. I was pretty bummed. They might've set up shop somewhere by now, maybe.

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Re: Other Japanese cultural imports?

Post by davemerrill »

I went and checked Google and that store ("Players Choice?") in the North Myrtle Beach Mall is still there, and I think a new arcade opened up there as well? That's a pretty good store, lots of everything. Interesting in how a shop like that shows how Japanese animation has become such a part of American popular culture- Sailor Moon, Dragonball, Naruto, Gundam, lots of properties were on display like it was no big deal. Seeing a place like that when I was a kid in Myrtle Beach would have blown my mind.

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