Amused to come across two more references to Western fantasy in a
Japanese manga, this time in NEGIMA: MAGISTER NEGI MAGI volume 10.
The main character is a ten-year-old magician who's teaching a very
strange class of Japanese junior high girls that includes a vampire,
a ghost, a ninja, a mad scientist, and a robot, among others. In one
episode, he goes on a kinda/sorta date with one of his students (a
shy librarian) to a bookstore, where among the books they look at and
praise are TOM'S MIDNIGHT GARDEN and A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA (the cover
of which is clearly shown). Apparently, according to the translation
notes in the back of this volume, the literal Japanese title of the
latter translates as "The Battle Against the Shadow" and the series
to which it belongs as "Chronicles of Ged".
And of course closer to home, Steven Colbert revealed his Tolkien
geek credentials on his Wend. June 7th show, when he took CNN to task
for a 6/6/06 broadcast, revealing that what they showed as the face
of Satan in the background on one piece was in fact a blow-up of the
Hildebrandts' Balrog. Never thought I'd hear the name "Thangorodrim",
used correctly, from the lips of a Comedy Central fake news show
host. Live and learn.