<em>Furigana</em>: read the fine print, decode the hidden meanings

| Jul 14, 2013

Furigana: read the fine print, decode the hidden meanings

Years ago, a colleague at a company where I worked had a surname written using a character so obscure, that when handing out his business card he used to joke apologetically, 名前の漢字、ほとんど誰も読めない (namae no kanji, hotondo dare mo yomenai, hardly anybody can read the ...

'Black' business tales cast shadow on candidate

| Jul 13, 2013

'Black' business tales cast shadow on candidate

Elections for the House of Councillors will be held a week from today. The election is being billed as historic in that candidates are permitted to appeal to voters via the Internet. To the near-exclusion of the other 120 seats in contention, however, the ...

| Jun 23, 2013

'Hate speech' in the media, but not the legal code

This writer, on previous occasions, has expressed irritation over the recent tendency for the vernacular media to rely heavily on English borrowings for neologisms with socially negative connotations, such as sexual harassment, stalking and domestic violence — to name three examples. As a case ...

Xenophobia stretches from the street to the dinner table

| May 26, 2013

Xenophobia stretches from the street to the dinner table

The territorial disputes between Japan and its nearest neighbors over the islands of Takeshima (Dokdo in Korean) and the Senkakus (Diaoyu in Chinese) have gradually faded from the front pages; but this does not necessarily mean there have been no repercussions. Accumulated resentment on ...

Surviving dangerous encounters

May 19, 2013

Surviving dangerous encounters

In “The Lion’s Game” (2000) and “The Lion” (2010), Nelson DeMille’s character NYPD Detective John Corey battles and defeats Asad Khalil, a brilliant Libyan terrorist who infiltrates the U.S. to extract revenge for the deaths of family members killed in a U.S. air raid ...

An avian flu outbreak in Japan could kill 'Abenomics'

| Apr 28, 2013

An avian flu outbreak in Japan could kill 'Abenomics'

No one has ever fully explained why, in 2002-3, the virulent pathogen known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) ran rampant in mainland China (5,328 cases, 349 deaths) but only infected four people in South Korea, with no fatalities, and none in Japan. Unlike ...