10 Things You May Have Missed In Japan Sinks: 2020
Bisma Fida
Masaaki Yuasa's disaster series Japan Sinks: 2020 is an amazing tale of survival. In the anime, Japan continues to be ravaged by a series of disasters triggered by two successive earthquakes. The premise is that Japan will eventually sink into the ocean due to the cataclysmic crisis.
At the heart of Japan Sinks: 2020 is the Mutoh family's resilience of recovering quickly from disasters. Throughout the story, the family meets victims from different backgrounds and embraces them as part of their survival group. Amidst fear and tension, every new character introduction is a breath of fresh air. There are so many interesting things to learn about them and the places they go to.

10 Multiracial Family

The Mutohs are a multi-racial family. The father, Kōichirō Mutoh, is Japanese, whilst the mother, Mari Mutoh, is from Cebu Island in the Philippines. They have two young children, Ayumu and Gō, who, of course, are biracial. The family speaks to each other in Japanese. The youngest, Gō is an online gamer, so he tends to speak in English occasionally. Gō makes friends from all over the world through online gaming.

9 Destinations Of Symbolic Hope

Japan Sinks: 2020 is a fast-paced anime where a renewed sense of optimism follows every tragic scene. The anime focuses particularly on destinations of symbolic hope, and there is a vivid example in the episode "Mom's secret."
Ayumu and Gō find themselves adrift for a considerable period of time. With no food, drinkable water or supplies, the siblings' strength, and resilience keep them alive. They engage in meaningful conversations about survival, the will to live, Starbucks, and the beauty of the ocean.

8 Ayumu's Onitsuka Tiger Sneakers

The lead character, Ayumu Mutoh, is a track and field athlete aiming to represent her country in the next Olympics. When the series begins, Ayumu is seen at track practice. It takes no more than a second to observe the tiger stripes on the side of her sneakers. She's indeed wearing Japan's heritage Onitsuka Tiger running shoes.
The 70-year-old brand was founded in 1949 by Kihachiro Onitsuka. The company started making basketball shoes before diversifying into running and martial arts shoes. Their running shoes have featured in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and the 1968 Mexico Olympics.

7 Kintsugi

Kintsugi is the art of ceramic repair that originates from ancient Japan. It comes from the two Japanese words, Kin (gold) and Tsugi (join). It literally translates to "repairing pottery using gold and lacquer." But, Kintsugi is more than just art. It is the practice-based philosophy of resilience and healing. It is quite endearing to see the optimistic philosophy of Kintsugi referenced in the anime.
The survival group seeks shelter temporarily in The Shan City commune, known to practice Kintsugi. The commune is a symbolic destination of hope amid despair.

6 Bento Box

A real benefit of watching Japan Sinks: 2020 is that it gives viewers an insight into the Japanese way of life. One such example is the Bento box that falls off of Gō Mutoh's dining table.
A bento box is a single-portion, compartmentalized container filled with staples such as carbs, meat, and rice. Gō Mutoh's Bento box is a home-packed meal of broccoli, rice, tomatoes, and a banana. Gō's father, kōichirō, usually prepares the lunch for him.

5 Portable Gaming Console

It'd be hard to see a Japanese kid without a portable gaming console, especially if that kid is a gamer on the run. Mutoh family's youngest, the ten-year-old Gō wants to play video games all day.
Gō holds onto his console while escaping from a series of disasters. The young gamer wants to move to the technologically advanced nation of Estonia. He dreams of competing in the eSports in the Olympics one day. It is pertinent to mention that portability is the key aspect of handheld gaming consoles such as Japan's Nintendo Switch.


As the survivors continue to travel westwards, they run into an Estonian YouTuber KITE, who is filming Mount Fuji. While the group does not know who is he, Gō is excited and starstruck. Having followed KITE for a while, Gō introduces him to his family.
When KITE hears Gō's stomach growl, he offers him an Estonian candy bar. It's a classic gold and purple package that says SOKOLAAD'in bold letters. Gō doesn't eat the chocolate right away but keeps it in his fanny pack for another day.

3 Engacho

Different hand gestures have different meanings for people around the world. In Japan Sinks: 2020, crossing fingers offends the 78-year-old supermarket owner Kunio Hikita. He calls it Engacho and explains it is something one does to ward off dirty things.
Gō Mutoh crosses his fingers for luck as he watches Kunio repair his broken gaming console. The latter is not pleased and strictly asks Gō not to 'Engacho' him.

2 Plankton

The most powerful symbolism in Japan Sinks: 2020 is the incredible starry blue light coming off of plankton. During Ayumu and Gō's time adrift, they witness hundreds of tiny star-like plankton scintillating in the dark. The phenomenon is called bioluminescence, and it is shown at a critical juncture in the anime. The plankton reminds the siblings of the beautiful lights their father would set up in their home.

1 SOS Signal

Survival stories like Japan Sinks: 2020 have a thing or two to teach their viewers. While stuck on a lifeboat with Gō, Ayumu continually seeks help and signals SOS with a flashlight and a whistle.
Ayumu says she knows how to make an SOS signal with a flashlight. She uses the code—three short flashes followed by three long flashes and three short flashes again—in the direction of the sky. Ayumu also blows her whistle thrice to get help. She's sure someone will eventually pick up the signal and arrive with help.