| Dec 4, 2003

Living on 3 million yen a year

Is there a conspiracy among Japanese politicians, economic experts and elite bureaucrats to destroy Japan’s egalitarian postwar social and economic systems and replace them with an American-style, dog-eat-dog type of capitalism typified by a society of haves and have-nots? In his best-selling “Nenshu 300 ...

| Nov 6, 2003

'Grotesque' cuts too close to the bone

Do the suffocating pressures of Japanese society produce monsters? Does trying to live by men’s rules drive women crazy? These are two of the questions posed by Natsuo Kirino in her powerful new novel, “Grotesque.” In her earlier mystery, titled “Out,” now available in ...

| Aug 14, 2003

Manga culture ignites craze in media markets overseas

American boys can now read popular Japanese manga like “One Piece” in an English-language “Shonen Jump” and German girls can read girl’s manga in the German-language magazine “Daisuki.” Is this a passing fad or the start of a full-scale manga invasion? Fueled by the ...

| Jul 17, 2003

Manga attempt to evolve against multiple threats

Manga and anime from Japan are increasingly popular overseas, with Hayao Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away” receiving an Academy Award earlier this year. In their birthplace, however, manga seem past their glory days when loyal readers eagerly awaited the next installment from their favorite authors, such ...

| Jun 19, 2003

Top-selling authors go abroad

Once again, the Japanese tax office has issued its annual list of top taxpayers for the previous year. Not surprisingly, it reflects the continuing economic slump, with a contraction in the amounts paid. What’s more, six of the top 100 taxpayers are Wall Street ...

| Apr 24, 2003

Challenging English at 65

April is traditionally the time of new beginnings in Japan, at school and at work. Novelist Sae Shuichi, however, makes it a practice to embark on a new project every five years. At 55, for example, he took up kendo. And at 65, as ...

| Mar 27, 2003

Libraries under attack

Are public libraries stealing the livelihoods of Japanese authors? So say writers and publishers as the number of books borrowed climbs while sales of books and magazines steadily decline. The first salvo in this battle was fired by Bungei Shunju in December 2000, with ...