Michael Hoffman

Michael Hoffman is a fiction and nonfiction writer who has lived in Hokkaido by the sea almost as long as he can remember. He has been contributing regularly to The Japan Times for 10 years. His latest novel is “The Naked Ear” (VBW/Blackcover Books, 2012).

For Michael Hoffman's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

A dark age dawns for politics in Japan

| Jul 23, 2016

A dark age dawns for politics in Japan

“Historic,” that much-overused word, seems almost acceptable as a description of the Upper House elections earlier this month that gave Japan — for the first time in its postwar history — a government strong enough to get serious about rewriting the Constitution. Arguably other ...

Cracks are appearing in Japan's 'healthy' image

| Jul 9, 2016

Cracks are appearing in Japan's 'healthy' image

Few people snack on baby carrots. Most prefer the sweet, fat, high-calorie fare colloquially known as junk food. This is strange. Health is so self-evidently wonderful, disease so patently miserable that you’d think we’d all do everything in our power to nurture the former ...

A confused, senile future awaits Japan

| Jun 25, 2016

A confused, senile future awaits Japan

Confucius said: “When your parents are alive, serve them according to ritual. When they die, bury them according to ritual, make sacrifices to them according to ritual.” Ayako Sono said: “Old people are growing more and more selfish. Human beings have an obligation to ...

In Japan, all that is true melts into hot air

| Jun 11, 2016

In Japan, all that is true melts into hot air

‘Is it because the truth is so boring,” asked the 14th-century monk Yoshida no Kenko in a classic collection of musings known as the “The Grasses of Idleness,” “that most stories one hears are false?” Boring, unbearable or merely inconvenient? A nuisance, however you ...

Poverty and boredom gnaw at Japan

| May 28, 2016

Poverty and boredom gnaw at Japan

Boredom, poverty and war: three themes you’d think (wrongly) would be extinct by now — war because humankind as a whole is more peaceably inclined than ever before, poverty because of an abundance of riches and boredom because … doesn’t it go without saying, ...

There's no escape from big data's eye

| May 14, 2016

There's no escape from big data's eye

I am being watched. I am under surveillance. So are you. There are eyes on us, or maybe it’s just one eye. Singular or plural, it is/they are ubiquitous, all-seeing. It/they never sleep(s). So much the better, for at least two reasons: 1) We ...

Human primacy is go-ing, go-ing, gone

| Apr 30, 2016

Human primacy is go-ing, go-ing, gone

It is said of the ancient Chinese game go that the number of possible positions on its board exceeds the number of atoms in the known universe. This is old news, presumably, to masters of go and master mathematicians. To the rest of us ...