Assessing Japan's rightward shift at the top

| Oct 24, 2015

Assessing Japan's rightward shift at the top

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is Japan’s most ideological postwar prime minister, pushing right-wing policies on numerous fronts that trample on postwar norms and values. He has been able to do so because he has the Diet in his back pocket, but how did this ...

Japan's public diplomacy of churlish cluelessness

| Oct 17, 2015

Japan's public diplomacy of churlish cluelessness

Enough is enough. How dare UNESCO inscribe primary sources and a wartime video about the Nanking mayhem into global memory? I fully support the Japanese government’s threats to withdraw funding from UNESCO to protest its recent decision to include a dossier submitted by China, ...

Universities fending off attacks on the liberal arts

| Oct 3, 2015

Universities fending off attacks on the liberal arts

As discussed last week, in June the education ministry sent a directive to all 86 national universities in Japan, apparently calling on them to abolish or reorganize their humanities and social sciences departments. I use the word “apparently” because the wording of the letter ...

Abe government targets the liberal arts

| Sep 26, 2015

Abe government targets the liberal arts

Over the past several weeks I have received many emails from all over the world asking me if reports about government plans to pull the plug on humanities and social sciences departments at Japanese national universities are accurate or just a bad joke. At ...

Student protesters want a revitalized democracy

| Sep 12, 2015

Student protesters want a revitalized democracy

The large and loud crowds that regularly gather outside the Diet on Friday evenings are the result of student activists trying to do something constructive to block Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s security legislation. The core activists in Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy (SEALDs) ...

Students oppose Abe's assault on the Constitution

| Sep 5, 2015

Students oppose Abe's assault on the Constitution

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe continues to say he will try to gain the public’s understanding on the government’s controversial security legislation, but there are few signs that he is winning anyone over. The massive demonstration held in front of the Diet on Aug. 30 ...

Trump's 'yellow peril' jibes break with GOP script

| Aug 29, 2015

Trump's 'yellow peril' jibes break with GOP script

In his recent Rolling Stone essay, Matt Taibbi immortalizes the race for the Republican Party presidential nomination, as a freaky spectacle that is “like watching 17 platypuses try to mount the queen of England. You can’t tear your eyes away from it.” Currently, the ...

Abe's revisionism and Japan's divided war memories

| Aug 22, 2015

Abe's revisionism and Japan's divided war memories

The Abe statement, approved by the Cabinet on Aug. 14, has elevated a myopic and exonerating revisionist narrative of history to Japan’s official policy. The vague and ambiguous references to past misdeeds, the inadequate recognition of Japanese aggression and the horrors inflicted, the minimalist ...