Dec 4, 2011

No safe haven for modern-day assassins

MAXIMUM TARGET, by Martin Gower. NoirEast Publishing, 2011, 360 pp., $26 (hardcover) THE DETACHMENT, by Barry Eisler. Thomas & Mercer, 2011, 324 pp., $14.95 (paperback) Some time ago, it became clear that thriller fiction set in Asia that featured Caucasian superheroes like James Bond ...

| Dec 4, 2011

Occupy Wall Street resonates within Japan

While Japan’s vernacular media has regularly reported on the Occupy Wall Street movement that has swept the United States over the past several months, coverage regarding the movement and its aims has been somewhat bland. There have been exceptions, however. Weekly magazine Aera (Nov. ...

Is Aum's guru finally headed for the gallows?

| Nov 20, 2011

Is Aum's guru finally headed for the gallows?

Tomorrow, Nov. 21, the Supreme Court is expected to hand down its ruling on the appeal filed by Seiichi Endo, a former member of the Aum Shinrikyo (Supreme Truth) cult. Endo, now 51, was sentenced to death in 2002 (upheld in 2007) for his ...

| Oct 30, 2011

Less acclaim, more fun for Japan's Ig Nobel Prize winners

Since Hideki Yukawa in 1949, a total of 16 Japanese nationals have been named recipients of Nobel Prizes. In 2010, when the most recent Japanese winners were announced to receive prizes for chemistry, NHK interrupted its scheduled programming with a nyuusu sokuho (breaking news) ...

| Oct 2, 2011

Bikes keep the wheels of progress rolling

With the onslaught of super typhoon No. 15 on Sept. 21-22, for the second time in a little over six months Tokyo’s public transport network was snarled by a natural disaster. Several hundreds of thousands of hapless commuters found themselves stranded for hours as ...

| Sep 25, 2011

Japan's noisy neighbors keep-a knocking

Sanshoku, the word for “encroachment” in Japanese, is written with characters meaning “silkworm” and “to eat.” Imagine a mulberry leaf, being slowly consumed from the outer edges, nibble by nibble, by writhing white worms. Then overlay this leaf on a map of the Japanese ...

Print ad featuring MacArthur sends  muddled message

| Sep 11, 2011

Print ad featuring MacArthur sends muddled message

On Sept. 2, a controversial newspaper advertisement placed by Takarajima-sha, a mid-tier publisher, went viral on Japanese blogs and Web news sites. The two-page ad — widely described as nazo no kōkoku (a mystifying advertisement) — appeared in six nationally circulated newspapers: Asahi, Mainichi, ...

Sep 11, 2011

The Russians are coming!

SATORI, by Don Winslow. Grand Central Publishing, 2011, 548 pp., $7.99 (paper) 9 GOLD BULLETS, by Christopher G. Moore. Heaven Lake Press, 2011, 365 pp., $14.95 (paper) Readers of mystery and thriller fiction can be extremely loyal and publishers, knowing this, sometimes arrange to ...