Chapter 293 - Fantasy Sensei


Gensō Sensei = 幻想先生
Based on the title of the short story "肝臓先生 (Kanzō Sensei)" by 坂口安吾 (Sakaguchi Ango) [b.10/20/1906 d. 2/17/1955]

First published March 21, 2012.

Title Page

Flying Cash

Banknote Issuing Country Portrait Notes
10,000 ¥ note (C edition) Japan Prince Shotoku (front) Chinese firebird (reverse) Appears four times with front and reverse twice each
$100 bill America Benjamin Franklin
5000 drachma note Greece Theodoros Kolokotronis Upper left of the page has the right half of the bill, left half is to the right of Sensei's head
2000 rand note South Africa Leopards
100 rupee note India Mahatma Ghandi
20 franc note (Series 8) Switzerland Arthur Honegger
1000 baht note Thailand Rama IX The number 1000 in Thai numerals looks like '9000'
200 won note (former bill) North Korea Magnolia

Page 1,2

Counterfeit Kafuka bill

Appeared in the previous chapter (292).

Page 3

P5 Shared Fantasy

"Shared fantasies" means illusions shared by multiple people. This was an idea proposed by writer and philosopher 吉本隆明 (Takaaki Yoshimoto), who died on March 16th, 2012 shortly before the publication of this chapter, and published as The Common Illusion which originated during the security treaty struggles of the 1960s.

P4 Gallery Fake

Appeared as "Gallery Phony" in the previous chapter.

Page 4

P1 Picasso's "The Kiss"

From his later work (1969).

P6 Land prices

The Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (国土交通省 kokudo koutsuu shou) usually publishes real estate prices as of the first of the year near the end of March. In 2012, this happened on March 23rd, 2 days after publication of this chapter.

P7 Stock certificates

The stock certificates are shown as being for one share of "Corinpas, Inc." Reference to the Olympus Corporation accounting scandal of 2011.
"In late 2011, the company fired its newly appointed British president, precipitating a scandal that wiped 75% off the company's stock market valuation. The scandal culminated in admission by the company that some of its board members had engaged in one of the biggest and most durable loss-concealing scams in the history of corporate Japan." [Wikipedia]

P8 Religion

Shout-out to Kumeta's one-time stablemate at Shogakukan, Naoki Urasawa. The character is "The Friend" from his manga 20th Century Boys.

P10 The safety of nuclear power

In case it isn't obvious, it's a drawing of one of the shattered reactor buildings at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant. Ironically, Unit 4 was shut down and defueled at the time of the March 2011 tsunami disaster, the hydrogen explosion that damaged the building may have come from gases from neighboring Unit 3.

P11 Female Beauty

It's model/singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, "Japan's Lady Gaga".

Page 5

P5 Nozomu Kiss Tickets

From Chapter 200.

Page 6

P1 Kim Jong-un

The North Korean Supreme Leader.

P8 80's fashion

Bubble-era fashion as epitomized by the brand "DC", which featured loud colors, heavily padded shoulders, and double-breasted suits on men, and skintight body-revealing styles on women.

P9 Techno-cut

Hairstyle made popular by the techno/electro pop band Yellow Magic Orchestra.

Page 7

P2 "Home Security Guard" file

NEET euphemism for unemployment, i.e. their job is guarding their own house.

P3 If I work, I lose

A quote from NEET "D-chan" from the Fuji TV talk show "Tokudane!" Also referenced in chapter 115, Zoku SZS episode 8, SZBS 5 & 174, & the Katte ni Kaizō OVA vol. 2.

Page 8

P1 Sign on telephone pole

The sign says "most recent mistress". These kanji for 'mistress/lover' read literally as "mattress woman". On a completely unrelated note, former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir was supposedly nicknamed "The Mattress" in her younger days for her many affairs. Think on that, and truly despair…

P7 Despair List

  • "Phimosis…"

Pretty sure we've covered this one before; this seems to be a uniquely Japanese male hang-up.

  • "There is peace…"

Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution is the clause forbidding the Japanese state from establishing and maintaining an "offensive" military capability. Hence the official designation of the Japanese military as a "Self-Defense" force.

ARTICLE 9. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. (2) To accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

In recent years, the Japanese have deployed military forces as part of peacekeeping missions under the auspices of the UN. This has been controversial in some quarters in Japan as some feel that the deployment of JSDF forces outside of the territory of Japan is a violation of Article 9. Ironically, the US, which imposed this clause on the Japanese after their defeat in WWII, has pressured Japan to participate more directly to various conflicts around the globe as the world's 3rd largest economy.

  • "Central's popularity"

The Japanese baseball Central League. This includes the most popular teams such as the Hanshin Tigers and Yomiuri Giants, but in recent years the upstart Pacific League teams have outperformed them.

  • "Accident faker numbers"

1980's hoax about a mysterious document that warned people to watch out for a list of specific license numbers of cars that were supposedly part of a scam in which they would bump other cars and then demand money to settle the supposed "accident".

  • "World revolution"

Reference to Chapter 291.

  • "Pensions"

With Japan's aging and shrinking population, there are the same concerns as in many countries with public pension systems regarding the eventual solvency of such programs.

  • "Real and fake psychics"

Reference to the rent payment troubles of actress Tomoko Nakajima, half of the comedy duo Othello. Nakajima was being sued by a real estate company for more than 6.5 million rent in arrears for her Tokyo apartment and office. It was said that Nakajima’s flatmate was a mystic woman who had gained control over her mind, who was denounced as a "fake psychic" by another self-proclaimed "genuine" psychic…

  • "300,000 people"

Reference to the number of people the Chinese claim were massacred by the Japanese during their occupation of Nanjing. There is a certain segment of Japanese revisionists that claim that this event was either completely made up or exaggerated … whether it was 300 or 300,000 it is difficult to excuse the actions of the Japanese Imperial Army during their aggression in China in the 1930s.

  • "Friendship, effort, victory"

The ingredients of a manga that you want to get serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump.

  • "Get rich selling detergent"

Reference to Amway and similar MLMs.

  • "Pachinko…"

If you've read this much SZS, you are already familiar with this uniquely Japanese interpretation of the pinball machine; as implemented in Japan, it's a form of slot machine with a highly annoying payout mechanism. In order to foster the idea that the machines are not gambling devices, balls from the machines are exchanged for prizes at a separate facility that happens to be right next to the pachinko parlor; these prizes then can be exchanged for cash at a separate facility that happens to be right next to the second one.

  • "Was it great?"

Shouted out at meetings of the new religious sect "Hō no Hana" (Flower of Dharma); this apparently is actually a scam that gets members to pay grossly inflated prices for items that will supposedly bring good luck.

  • "Gray zone rates"

Refers to the inflated interest rates on payday loans. Previously appeared in Chapter 93.

  • "Cool Japan"

The government marketing plan to promote Japan's creative cultural properties like anime and manga. Topic of Chapter 291.

  • "TV is the King"

In Japan as elsewhere, TV as the major entertainment medium is now seriously challenged by the Internet and its availability on mobile devices like smartphones.

  • "Lifetime employment"

There has been something of a permanent sea change in Japanese society with the seemingly endless stagnation of the 90's and 00's, which combined with the rise of China has caused the decline of many corporate icons like Sony and Panasonic, which have resorted to the once "dishonorable" tactic of bulk layoffs to survive. In addition, restricted hiring created the population of "freeters" in their 20s working dead-end part-time jobs for lack of better career prospects. The once ironclad social compact between a company and its employees of extreme (even abusive) workloads in exchange for guaranteed lifetime employment is now becoming as much of a thing of the past as it became in America 20 years earlier, for many of the same reasons.

  • Sukutsu & Fuinki"

The examples given are the words soukutsu "den, hangout" and funiki "atmosphere, ambiance". These are often mispronounced sukutsu and fuinki, which when typed into an IME style interface to convert them to kanji fails to produce the desired result which mystifies the user. A similar issue occurs with autocorrecting spellcheckers in English apps, of course, but not quite the same. Translator fail here, suimasen.

Page 10

P1 The Little Old Man

Another urban legend of a little man anywhere from 3 inches to a foot high seen in various odd contexts that has apparently become popular in Japan since 2009. A number of celebrities have claimed to have seen this apparition, in some cases as schoolchildren.

P7 The Kappa of Toono

Kappa legend handed down in Iwate Prefecture.

P8 The Angel of the Thames

Sightings of an angelic figure in London that were popularly reported in 2006; supposedly dating back to the Great London Fire of 1666.

P10 Nessie & Friends

UMA = Unidentified Mysterious Animal; the flying saucer is labeled "Area 51". Nessie previously appeared in Chapter 165.

Page 12

P9 Little Renhou

Murata Renhō. The file under her arm is labeled "2nd place", and is a reference to remarks she made in questioning government ministers before a special fiscal committee meetings of the Diet in September 2009.

Page 13

P1 8 more?

Number of remaining chapters until the end of serialization as of the blackboard date.

Papercraft Project

It's customary at Japanese funerals to provide monetary condolence gifts in a special envelope to the family of the deceased.

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