Back now from Dublin, where I’ve been at the Irish Film Institute Anime Weekend. Festivities kicked off for me before I was even off the plane, when my neighbour turned out to be a man from Ghana who wanted to know about intellectual property rights. On Saturday morning, I taught a workshop on the way that anime are constructed, with special reference to the Introduction to Anime Screenwriting by Jinzo Toriumi. This is just one of several books by old-school anime writers that are used to teach the next generation in Japan how it all works — they make for very illuminating discussions with an audience of marketers, curators and students curious about what makes anime tick.
The rest of the weekend was taken up with screenings, including the European premiere of Gundam Unicorn, and the Irish premieres of Summer Wars and Evangelion 2.0. I found myself on panels talking about, among other things, the career of Yusaku Matsuda, the uses of a naginata, the corporate structure of the Yomiuri Group, and the history of “breast dynamics” at Studio Gainax. And I found myself signing copies of the Anime Encyclopedia, Schoolgirl Milky Crisis, and even Beijing: The Biography of a City. In a very 21st century touch, I also got to sit in the bar and watch the Manga UK Twitter feed as Jerome Mazandarani explored Tokyo for the first time. Me in an Irish bar, reading live about the adventures of an Australian man on a Japanese toilet.
Meanwhile, Dublin was full of people who had come to watch rugby, which is apparently one of those mainstream situations where cosplay is considered acceptable, so although a number of anime fans had dressed up as cartoon characters, if I walked out of the cinema, I would find a street full of men in kilts and/or painted blue, to the extent that Temple Bar often looked like a low-budget sequel to Avatar.
Meanwhile in another part of the world, namely the Faux-Japanese shopping distict of Epcot in Florida where you can have a meal chopped and prepared in front of you by a chef, I was buying a ‘One Piece’ Tee. I also visited the ‘Ripley’s believe it or not’ Museum on Saturday because I had to find something to do between checking out of my hotel and Plane Departure. In there I saw an article about Liu Ch’ung, a chinese emperor who supposedly had twin pupils in each eye, naturally I figured this to be bogus, I was wondering if you had ever came across or heard of this man during your historic research?
Liu Ch’ung was a Chinese minister in 995 AD, and described as having these twin pupils. But surely what was meant in the original accounts was a coloboma like that to be found in the eye of Madeleine McCann. It seems fanciful to parley it into the twin irises of the Ripleys statue, but such is the nature of the Believe it or Not beast.
Liu Ch’ung wasn’t the only person in history to have “twin pupils”. Witness this famous character from Japanese history, as described in A Brief History of the Samurai by Jonathan Clements: “Already in death, Masakado had acquired a legendary status. He was seven feet tall (supposedly); he had two pupils in his left eye (possibly). His mother, it was suddenly alleged, had been a serpent, who had licked him all over soon after his birth, imparting an iron-hard invulnerability to his whole body, with the fatal exception of one weak spot – variously his forehead, the top of his head, his right eye or his temple, depending on the account.”
You forgot to mention I also asked you to sign a copy of Casshan at the IFI. OH! and thanks for induluging my fan boy tendencies , Yeah looking back Temple Bar really did look like a low-budget Avatar pity I missed the work shop . Sorry for taking so long to post my thanks