May 26, 2014

U.S. life and times of a Japanese portrait artist

Today only a few art aficionados will recognize the name Kyohei Inukai, a New York society portrait artist who married or loved several American women during a period of rising racial prejudice against the Japanese.

Apr 28, 2014

Lest we forget LBJ's amazing side

Watching Robert Schenkkan's new Broadway play, "All the Way," is likely to remind people of how their views of U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson changed during the Vietnam War era.

Mar 31, 2014

A Korean who cherished her Japanese teachers

An 89-year-old Korean in Pennsylvania calls the latest spats between Japan and South Korea "infantile and lamentable." She remembers her Japanese teachers as loving people who "poured their heart and soul into making good human beings out of us."

A wistful note on a triumphant battle

Mar 29, 2014

A wistful note on a triumphant battle

When I was a boy, my father told me and my kid brother stories from the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) and taught us how to sing some of the threnodies that Gen. Maresuke Nogi composed in classical Chinese on the battlefield. My father was born ...

Feb 24, 2014

Shinzo Abe isn't a nationalist in the traditionalist mold

Japan is still a country where its conservative leaders can't survive without showing glimpses of nationalism even as they advocate international cooperation. No way is Prime Minister Shinzo Abe nationalistic in the "traditional" mold.

For the love of haiku

Dec 21, 2013

For the love of haiku

“Haiku,” edited by haiku practitioner David Cobb, and “Haiku Love,” edited by Japanese language scholar Alan Cummings, are both fun books. Originally published by the British Museum, they are sumptuously illustrated with nihonga (Japanese-style painting) and ukiyo-e (woodblock prints) from the museum’s collections, each ...

Nov 24, 2013

The immigration question

Despite Japan's low birthrate and rapidly graying population, only one in seven Japanese support the idea of increased immigration.