Masami Ito

Masami Ito is a staff writer who has been covering national politics since 2006. She joined The Japan Times in 2001, and she also keeps an eye on issues related to the death penalty, asylum-seekers and international parental kidnapping.

For Masami Ito's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Tokyo Station at 100: all change

Dec 13, 2014

Tokyo Station at 100: all change

More than 500,000 people on average use Tokyo Station every day. Handling express trains to Narita International Airport, bullet trains to destinations around Honshu and myriad regional commuter lines, it is one of the busiest stations in the country based on the number of ...

Bilingirl has plenty to teach you

Dec 5, 2014

Bilingirl has plenty to teach you

Chika Yoshida, aka Bilingirl, wears many hats. She teaches English, sings, dances and makes costumes. She could be dressed up as Malificent with horns sticking out of her head, have her face painted white and talk in a squeaky voice like comedian duo Nippon ...

Seizing the initiative for women at work

Nov 22, 2014

Seizing the initiative for women at work

Faced with a domestic economy that is sputtering, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has in recent months attempted to promote a sector that has long been underutilized in Japan — women. Speaking before the U.N. General Assembly in New York last year, Abe pledged “to ...

The birth of a new kind of personal documentarian

Nov 21, 2014

The birth of a new kind of personal documentarian

A baby who, diagnosed with trisomy 18, is expected to live only one year; a man devastated by the recent death of his wife; and a father and son whose familial bond is as strong as any other, despite not being blood related — ...

Japan helps too few refugees: UNHCR chief

Nov 18, 2014

Japan helps too few refugees: UNHCR chief

The ongoing conflicts in Syria and Iraq have produced more than 12 million refugees and internally displaced people. They are flooding across borders in the region, and some neighboring states have reached their limit. One-third of Lebanon’s population now comprises refugees. Meanwhile, Japan, a ...

Kendama: a whole new ball game

Nov 8, 2014

Kendama: a whole new ball game

Almost every child that has grown up in Japan has seen a kendama, a wooden traditional Japanese toy consisting of a ken (sword) and tama (ball) connected by a length of string. The ken has three cups and a spike that fits into a ...