Magazines fixate on the roots of poverty

| Apr 4, 2015

Magazines fixate on the roots of poverty

The oft-seen expression ichioku sō-chūryū translates roughly as “the perception of ‘the 100 million,’ i.e., the entire nation, as belonging to the middle class.” This perception was never meant to be all-inclusive — certainly Japan has individuals with extreme wealth and others who suffer ...

Don't say you haven't been warned

| Mar 16, 2015

Don't say you haven't been warned

I must confess, I never paid a great deal of attention to the warning messages and disclaimers that adorned packaging in Japan until 1972, when tobacco companies first got around to printing health warnings on packs of cigarettes. This was six years after the ...

Seeking blame in a Kawasaki teen's death

| Mar 14, 2015

Seeking blame in a Kawasaki teen's death

On the morning of Feb. 20, police were summoned to the grassy, elevated bank of the Tama River, which forms the boundary between Tokyo and Kawasaki. They found the naked body of 13-year-old junior high school student Ryota Uemura, dead of multiple stab wounds. ...

| Feb 16, 2015

Exercise your intuition as you untangle chaotic headlines

Being somewhat 背が高い (se ga takai, tall), I shamelessly confess my height advantage — I stand about 188 cm — has facilitated my ability to 盗み読み (nusumi-yomi, literally “theft-read,” meaning to read over other people’s shoulders) on public transport. From this 鳥瞰図 (chōkanzu, bird’s-eye ...

Media total up the targets for terrorist attacks

| Feb 14, 2015

Media total up the targets for terrorist attacks

The 67-second video on YouTube opens with a black slate that reads, “A Message to Japan.” The video then shows a kneeling journalist, Kenji Goto, clad in an orange outfit. Behind him, flaunting a knife, is the masked executioner from the Islamic State group ...

The changing motives behind juvenile crime in Japan

| Jan 31, 2015

The changing motives behind juvenile crime in Japan

In a thought-provoking article in the February issue of Bungei Shunju, veteran journalist Kunio Yanagida ponders changes in the patterns of crimes committed by juveniles that have taken place since the end of World War II. In the postwar years, poverty was the key ...

Mags go big for Kobe gang's 100th

| Jan 17, 2015

Mags go big for Kobe gang's 100th

This year will see the observance of various centennials, including the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign in the Dardanelles; the Second Battle of Ypres; and the sinking of the RMS Lusitania with the loss of 1,198 lives. The war in Europe had a favorable impact on ...