5 Reasons Why Japan Doesn’t Like Zombies — 12 Comments

  1. Tokyo Zombie and Stacies were both some pretty entertaining Japanese zombie movies. Versus is supposed to be pretty good too.
    Some Japanese friends and I went to go check out the local zombie walk last week. I asked if they would ever have one in Japan and they just laughed and said no.

  2. I’m with Kei, I know lots of Japanese people that love zombies and are fans of stuff like “The Walking Dead”. I think it’s just bigger in the USA because the US is bigger and actually alot of people here are sick of zombies now.

    As for the grave aspect, an entire generation has been raised on the virus outbreak zombie, I can’t even think of a movie where they rise from the grave other than the original Night of the Living dead and I don’t even remember that happening, although I suppose it does. AND finally I’d like to mention that the entire zombie genre started with it being an infection “outbreak”, the rising from the grave/supernatural element was actually added later, then abandoned (of course I’m talking about the movie genre not the haitian legends etc). I guess you aren’t that big of a zombie fan ;)

  3. What about 桐島、部活をやめるってよ, that’s fairly recent and won a lot of awards. Though, that movie doesn’t actually have zombies in it. Rather, it’s about a high schooler making a zombie film.

  4. I must say I was a bit puzzled by this post as I always figured that Japan loved zombies. After seeing the halloween trend this year to zombify every costume imaginable it certainly feels like zombies are just as popular here as they currently are in the US.

    I can’t really refute any of the points you made, but zombies were definitely massively more popular than ghosts last night!

    • Maybe zombies are going through a sudden Japanese renaissance I’m not aware of?

      Maybe someone has some new info that shows a very recent change in trends in Japan?

      • This is hardly conclusive, but Google provides tools to let people explore trends in searches. Here are some quick comparisons. From this it looks like zombies are currently more popular in the US than Japan, although they’re slowly gaining in popularity. There doesn’t seem to be any sudden recent increase, at least not in number of searches. Twitter would give a better view of what people are actually talking about, but twitter doesn’t make that kind of data available.

        (I compared against 幽霊 and 悪魔, but I’m not sure if those are really the right things to compare against, and in particular I don’t know if this is the right word for “ghost” in this context).

      • I think me using the wording “as popular as they currently are in the US” is probably terribly wrong. The Walking Dead is out here but obviously not some massive hit being advertised everywhere and people are not organizing random zombie events that aren’t based around Halloween.

        However, I did see a guy dressed up in an amazing STARS costume this year and Biohazard has been a popular video game and film here since the PS1 version released in the mid-90s. I think in some ways that counts more than just a TV show just because of the differences in media consumption here.

        (@Octonion so I don’t have to double post.)

        I think twitter is much better than google to measure the pulse of the Japanese pop culture. If you search for #ゾンビ you will find endless pictures like this:

        It’s my only counter point, but I feel like if you ask your average 20-something girl in Japan she would tell you that zombies are way cooler than any other monster archetype. Of course next year that might all be different. :)

        • You also bring up a good point about age demographic. For example, maybe the younger generation of Japanese 15-25 is reaching peak zombie popularity, but older generations 30+ still don’t care. As opposed to America, where zombies seem to remain popular for the 15-45+ demographic?

  5. Now that I started reading アイアムアヒーロー (which is great, thanks for the recommendation), I started looking at some of the comments on the series on 読書メーター and it’s quite amusing to see reactions.

    The guys that really like it, reaaaallllyyyy like it. Then you have those who hate it and decided to stop reading it. Some also thought the introduction was way too slow and long not realizing that zombie stuff loves to go slowly then all of a sudden mass chaos. Then there are those in the middle who are really confused and don’t know what’s going on.

    Despite the first volume dropping all these hints about people biting each other (as a foreigner you know that immediately means zombie pretty much) and then seeing the final images, people still were wondering what the “monster” was. Ghosts? Even in volume 2 some people are questioning if these are zombies. I laughed a bit and felt bad for those who thought this was a 日常 series. In any case, seems that zombie is still a foreign territory for many.

    • Interesting about the ︎mixed reactions from readers.

      It definitely does start with a slow pace, as the first real zombie encounter doesn’t happen till the end of volume 1 if I remember correctly. I wonder how this pace compares with the walking dead comic book.

      As you said, there is an even more intense “what’s a zombie?!” feel to the characters than your typical Western counterpart which is fairly quick acceptance.

      The thing that puzzles me the most is why it hasn’t been made into an anime yet. It already has something like 16+ volumes and is somewhat popular. Seems strange.

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