Interview with Danny Choo of Culture:Japan
Japan-based geek culture blogger Danny Choo is living proof that a niche personal blog can become a thriving multimedia empire. With DannyChoo.com as his primary platform, he’s branched out into everything from anime production to book publishing to toy manufacturing. His blog’s mascot is one of the top-selling figurines on Amazon Japan.
Danny even hosts a zany documentary series on Japanese pop culture entitled Culture:Japan. With one whole season aired so far on Tokyo MX TV, Culture:Japan is now set to conquer Southeast Asia through Animax.
I recently got to chat with Danny about Culture:Japan’s content direction as it debuts to non-Japanese audiences. From cosplay girls to ninja training, here’s what Japan’s king of geeks has in store for international viewers.
Mike: What aspects of Japanese culture do you plan to cover on Culture:Japan?
Danny: At the moment, we’re featuring lots of otaku culture, but I want to do more traditional culture as well. For example: introducing more of Japanese history, more places around Japan like Kyoto, Osaka, and Fukuoka, and so on. I really want to show more of this country.
Mike: You’ve mentioned that you’ll be tuning the content of Culture:Japan for countries outside Japan. Does that mean the Animax version will be different from the one aired on Tokyo MX TV?
Danny: No, it will be exactly the same. What I mean by tuning the content is that I need to create a balance, so that the content is interesting for people inside Japan and outside Japan.
Mike: What’s your most memorable Culture:Japan segment so far?
Danny: I think my favorite one so far was in episode two, which was a trip to Edo Wonderland. It’s a few hours’ drive north of Tokyo. It’s a place called Nikko, and it’s like a ninja theme park.
Mike: That’s where you trained as a ninja, right?
Danny: That’s right. I got lots of ninja training. Lots of tradition there, as well.
Mike: As you know, cosplay is a unique part of Japanese culture, and it’s on the rise across Southeast Asia. Are you planning to feature cosplayers on Culture:Japan?
Mike: Are there any particular cosplay stars you’d like to interview on Culture:Japan?
Danny: Through the publication of Otacool, which I worked with, I got to meet lots of Japanese cosplayers like Aira. Soon, we’ll be getting together to work on things in the future.
Mike: Do you have any message for your Filipino fans?
Danny: I’ve been looking for an opportunity to come over to the Philippines. Hopefully next year, there will be an opportunity where I can come and meet many comrades.
Any show that puts cosplayers and ninjas alongside anime cars and traditional Japanese culture definitely deserves a spot on your watch list — especially when it’s hosted by a multimedia supergeek entrepreneur. Watch the first episode Culture:Japan, embedded below.
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