U.S. sea patrols fuel war of words in print

| Oct 31, 2015

U.S. sea patrols fuel war of words in print

As this column went to press, the Japanese media had their collective attention focused on a potential hot-spot in the disputed South China Sea, where the destroyer USS Lassen, in a modern-day show of “gunboat diplomacy,” took an in-your-face drive-by (or sail-by if you ...

Councilors get loud on library revamps

| Oct 17, 2015

Councilors get loud on library revamps

As testimony to their characteristically low profile, Japan’s public libraries seldom make the news, although two recent exceptions come to mind. In 2013, a number of school and public libraries in Shimane and Tottori prefectures attracted coverage when they removed Hiroshima bomb survivor Keiji ...

Japan's elderly can't live off happy memories

| Oct 3, 2015

Japan's elderly can't live off happy memories

Around the first week in December, lifelong-learning company U-Can sponsors an event that designates the top buzzwords of the year. Almost certain to be in the running for first place this year is “karyū rōjin” (low-class elderly people), a term that has been spreading ...

Yakuza infighting puts nation on edge

| Sep 19, 2015

Yakuza infighting puts nation on edge

Around the start of this year, the weekly magazines — Shukan Taishu, Asahi Geino and Shukan Jitsuwa in particular — were brimming with articles feting the centennial anniversary of the Yamaguchi-gumi, which had gone from being a small group of tough guys on the ...

Death? War? What's next for the games?

| Sep 5, 2015

Death? War? What's next for the games?

Two years to the week that Tokyo won its bid over Istanbul and Madrid to host the 2020 Olympic Games, major stumbles in planning and preparation have caused the shining promise to take a nosedive. The upward-creeping costs projected for the National Stadium took ...