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Japan Travel Guide

Pop Culture in Japan: Zoku and zodiac

Prior to the mid-1980s, Japan's media often reported the latest youth subculture sweeping the country under the tag line of zoku (tribe). The most enduring of these labels is the bosozoku (wild speed tribe) of the 1970s, originally a mild version of the Hell's Angels, greased-hair bikers out for a loud time. Now, the term is more commonly used for rebel teenagers.

Dobutsu Uranai (zoological fortune-telling) is the latest manifestation of Japan's fascination with the zodiac and superstition. This twist on the traditional zodiac symbols consists of twelve cute animal designs by popular cartoonist Kubo Kiriko. His book has sold millions of copies and been translated for markets in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Korea. If you read Japanese, the official Web site (www.animarhythm.com) can tell you which animal you are and tell your fortune.

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