| Sep 22, 2014

A peculiar perspective on the capricious word hen

One major event in Japan’s 16th-century civil war — which is the focus of “Gunshi Kanbei (Strategist Kanbei),” NHK’s current Sunday-night drama series — involves the duplicitous warlord Akechi Mitsuhide. Probably moved by personal jealousy, Mitsuhide betrayed his lord and ally, Oda Nobunaga, by ...

Tabloids voice alarm over dengue surge

| Sep 20, 2014

Tabloids voice alarm over dengue surge

The first case of dengue fever was reported on Aug. 27. As of Friday, the number had increased to 141 people in 17 prefectures — not one of whom had traveled abroad. If the asymptotic or unreported cases are included, it’s quite possible that ...

Line fends off fury ahead of lucrative IPO

| Sep 6, 2014

Line fends off fury ahead of lucrative IPO

“What’s so exasperating for the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry … is the current situation in that platforms, terminals and apps have become dominated by foreign entities,” remarked an unnamed writer for a trade publication. ...

Veteran Tokyo editor turns his mind to crime

Sep 6, 2014

Veteran Tokyo editor turns his mind to crime

“Japan has her secrets, as you well know,” a Kyoto art dealer named Takahashi tells American Jim Brodie. “Many are open secrets. We Japanese are aware of them, are ashamed of them, and don’t speak of them often, if ever. Our embarrassing moments remain, ...

Grisly Sasebo murder defies explanation

| Aug 16, 2014

Grisly Sasebo murder defies explanation

Homicides involving dismemberment, referred to in Japanese as bara-bara jiken (scattered incidents), fall into a wider category known as ryōki hanzai (bizarre crimes) — written with kanji meaning “hunting the strange.” Typically when minors were involved in such cases they tended to be victims, ...

The Crane Pavilion

Aug 9, 2014

The Crane Pavilion

The 12th full-length novel by German-born author I.J. Parker to feature crime-solving government official Sugawara Akitada, “The Crane Pavilion” takes place in Kyoto in the latter part of the Heian Period (794-1185). The Crane Pavilion, by I.J. Parker.I-J-P Books, Fiction. While posted to Kyushu ...

Scanning headlines for business clues

| Aug 4, 2014

Scanning headlines for business clues

Before we had the Internet, much of the work that has now been taken over by Google and other search engines was done, the old-fashioned way, by poring over secondary sources such as newspapers and magazines. In the 1980s, while working as an analyst ...

Fast-food follies have media in a frenzy

| Aug 2, 2014

Fast-food follies have media in a frenzy

Almost exactly a year ago (on July 27, 2013), this column reported on how the print media was inundated with concerns over the safety of foods from abroad. Among the sources cited was Takarajima magazine, which quoted a foodstuffs importer as saying, “The decline ...