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Pop Culture in Japan: Focus, Friday Flash

The death of Diana, Princess of Wales, saw Japanese media rip into foreign paparazzi, somewhat rich considering the weekly, high-gloss scandal-mongering and intrusive behaviour of the best-selling magazines Focus, Friday and Flash. A combination of News of the World and Life, these magazines are the antithesis of Hello, but equally addictive, offering a regular menu of candid shots of the famous and not so famous.

Although they kowtow to Japan's strict laws when it comes to photographs of naked bodies, masking over pubic hair, other shots generally leave nothing to the imagination. There's certainly no squeamishness about shots of dead bodies, or parts of them, as one famous photograph of a railway employee carrying the head of a suicide victim away from the tracks showed. Flash claimed its own victim in 1997 when film director Itami Juzo committed suicide when he heard the magazine was planning an exposé of his love life.

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