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:

The rise of a toxic machine named fascism

| Sep 17, 2016

The rise of a toxic machine named fascism

Why not fascism? Japan was sinking into chaos. “Officer …” An old woman enters the police station. Would the officers kindly help her find her lost daughter? Foster-daughter, actually. With gruff sympathy, the constables hear her out. They are moved by how far she ...

Building a stairway to the singularity

| Sep 3, 2016

Building a stairway to the singularity

A computer’s victory over a human go master this past March reminds us of the pending “singularity” — the rapidly approaching moment in time when artificial intelligence overtakes human intelligence. Machines will learn, and we won’t be their teachers. Are we prepared for it? ...

An awakening gives birth to modern medicine

| Aug 20, 2016

An awakening gives birth to modern medicine

Illness we share with our ancestors. Diagnosis and remedies set us and them apart. Imagine yourself a Kyoto noble 1,000-odd years ago. You’re feeling unwell. “One of two things,” you muse to yourself, “either my yin-yang balance is upset, or …” The second possibility ...

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 ...