Illustration for article titled The Year That Was In iKotaku/i East
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There are only a handful of days left before the year draws to a close. There were triumphs and tragedies. Let’s take a second to look back at the year that was in Kotaku East.

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Ariana Grande’s New Kanji Tattoo Is An Unfortunate Mistake

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To celebrate her newest single “7 Rings,” pop star Ariana Grande got a kanji tattoo. Unfortunately, it’s wrong.


Pro Gamer Lied About Being In Elementary School

Fortnite pro RizArt made a splash last fall when he set a new record for solo kills. Besides his gameplay, one thing that made the pro stand out was that he claimed to be in sixth grade. That was a lie.


After Cocaine Arrest, Sega Halts Sales of New PS4 Game

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Image: Sega
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Actor and musician Pierre Taki, who voices yakuza Kyohei Hamura in Judgment, has been arrested for alleged illegal drug use.


Japanese Pop Idol Apologizes After Being Allegedly Attacked

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Screenshot: 2ch
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Maho Yamaguchi is a member of Niigata-based idol group NGT48, a sister group of AKB48. Two men have been arrested for allegedly assaulting her. Yet it was Yamaguchi who apologized.


Japan Says Goodbye To The Heisei Era

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Screenshot: ANNnewsCH
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The current Japanese imperial era ended when Emperor Akihito abdicated the Chrysanthemum Throne.


How Hollywood Didn’t Screw Up The Detective Pikachu Movie

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Image: Warner Bros.
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It seemed like a miracle. As a rule of thumb, Hollywood’s video game adaptations have been subpar. But Pokémon Detective Pikachu was the exception to the rule. The movie is good.


Why Katamari Damacy’s Creator Left Japan

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Photo: Brian Ashcraft (Kotaku)
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On March 18, 2004, Katamari Damacy was released on the PlayStation 2. The game was unlike anything else, and a sequel soon followed a year later. In 2009, Katamari’s creator Keita Takahashi released Noby Noby Boy. A year later, he left Bandai Namco and shortly after that, Japan as well.


Tourists In Kyoto Are Making Geishas’ Lives Difficult

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Photo: Shizuo Kambayashi (AP for Kansai Promotional Council)
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If you are visiting Kyoto, you probably want to take lots and lots of photos. But when you do, there are some things to keep in mind, especially when you see geisha.


Hideo Kojima Explains How Spider-Man Is Similar To Japanese Superheroes

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Image: Sony Pictures
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Out of all American superheroes, there is one that many in Japan seem to like best: Spider-Man. But why? In a 2019 interview, Hideo Kojima explained how Spider-Man is like Japanese heroes, which might explain the character’s appeal to local audiences.


Alleged Manga Pirate Arrested After Japan Launches Global Manhunt

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Screenshot: ANN
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Romi Hoshino, the manager of now-shuttered site Manga-Mura, was arrested in Manila. The site, which was taken offline last April, was frequented by around 100 million people each month and made around 60,000 manga available free of charge, reported AFP. The Japanese government created a special task force to find Hoshino, a Japanese citizen, and launched a manhunt to track him down.


Weathering With You Is A Good, But Flawed Follow Up To Your Name

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Screenshot: All images 東宝
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When originally released in 2016, the acclaimed Your Name became the highest-grossing anime in Japan ever. Its follow-up, Weathering With You, was released in Japan in 2019. The movie shares many thematic and stylistic themes with Your Name. The result is good but flawed.


36 Confirmed Dead After Fire At Kyoto Animation, Suspected Arsonist In Custody

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A fire, suspected to be arson, at a Kyoto, Japan animation studio left at least 36 people dead and hospitalized more with injuries. A 41-year-old man, allegedly seen pouring a flammable liquid at the site and setting it on fire, was taken into police custody.


Glitch Reveals Popular Young Streamer Is A Middle-Aged Woman

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Screenshot: DouYu
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Qiaobiluo Dianxia, also known as “Your Highness Qiaobiluo,” was racking up followers and donations on DouYu, a Chinese live-streaming platform. The photos she uploaded and the short clips she posted showed a young woman, leading her growing number of fans to think this was her. It was not.


Smash Bros. Creator Just Made “Xbox” Trend On Twitter In Japan

Here is the moment that Sakurai recommended that people play Banjo-Kazooie on Microsoft’s hardware.
Here is the moment that Sakurai recommended that people play Banjo-Kazooie on Microsoft’s hardware.
Screenshot: All screenshots: Nintendo 公式チャンネル
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During a special Nintendo Direct for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Masahiro Sakurai introduced the Banjo-Kazooie DLC. Not only does he want you to get that, but he would also like you to play the original game on Xbox.


In Post-Game Interview, Hearthstone Player Calls For The Liberation Of Hong Kong

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During the Hearthstone Grandmasters, Hong Kong player Ng “Blitzchung” Wai-chung appeared on an official Taiwanese Hearthstone stream in a gas mask and called for the liberation of his city.


Ash Just Won A Pokémon League In The Anime

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Perennial loser Ash Ketchum is now a winner. In an episode of the Pokémon Sun Moon anime this year, Ash broke his losing streak with a championship trophy.


Overwatch’s Mei Is Becoming A Symbol Of The Hong Kong Resistance

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After Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai called for the liberation of Hong Kong, Blizzard suspended the Hearthstone player and withheld his prize money. The decision has been widely criticized. Fans started posting images of Overwatch hero Mei supporting the Hong Kong protests as a show of solidarity.


Street Fighter Pro And Model Found True Love At An Arcade

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Pro-gamer Fuudo is a world-class Street Fighter player. Yuka Kuramochi is a very popular pin-up model. The couple announced their marriage in 2019. The two became friends in an arcade and thanks to a Street Fighter IV tournament.


Adult Game Billboard Removed In Akihabara For Being Too Lewd

Image edited by Kotaku.
Image edited by Kotaku.
Image: m1d0r1_lineat, wowwowudon
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On November 1, a billboard went up in Tokyo’s Akihabara near the station. The advertisement featured about ten anime-style young women in revealing clothing. Besides the complaints, the billboard did not conform to regulations regarding public advertisements.


Man Spends $1.4 Million On Game Character, Which His Friend Then Accidentally Sold For Only $552

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Screenshot: NetEase
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Whoops! According to South China Morning Post, a man in China spent an eye-watering $1.4 million on his character in MMORPG Justice Online. His buddy accidentally sold said character for a mere $552. The man filed a lawsuit against game company NetEase and his friend. Well, former friend, I guess.

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored six books, including most recently, The Japanese Sake Bible.

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