Japanese-Americans: life after the war and internment

Aug 19, 2012

Japanese-Americans: life after the war and internment

AFTER CAMP: Portraits in Midcentury Japanese American Life and Politics, by Greg Robinson. University of California Press, 2012, 328 pp., $27.95 (paperback) “A Jap is a Jap.” Franklin Roosevelt didn’t say that — West Coast Defense commander General John Dewitt did. But Roosevelt acted ...

Seeking eternal youth in an aging society

| Aug 12, 2012

Seeking eternal youth in an aging society

Here’s an idea: we all retire at 40. Not “retire” exactly, in the current sense of the word. Let’s say at 40, we withdraw temporarily from the salaried grind and — fantastic thought! — go back to school, upgrade or deepen our knowledge and ...

The Taisho Era: When modernity ruled Japan's masses

Jul 29, 2012

The Taisho Era: When modernity ruled Japan's masses

“Democracy is so popular these days!” — “The Democracy Song,” 1919 One hundred years ago this week — on July 30, 1912 — Emperor Meiji passed away and Japan, traveling blind and hardly knowing where it was going, entered a new age. The Taisho ...

| Jul 29, 2012

Who can we vote for to avoid the worst-case scenario?

“Japan’s Worst-Case Scenarios” — that’s the title of the lead feature in the July issue of the monthly Takarajima. No one writing on such a theme need fear a shortage of material. The magazine easily fills 40 pages analyzing catastrophes and catastrophes-in-waiting: Tokyo leveled ...

'Taisho Democracy' pays the ultimate price

Jul 29, 2012

'Taisho Democracy' pays the ultimate price

Party politics seems as natural to many of us today as government itself, but imagine how it looked to the uninitiated 150 years ago. “A perplexing institution was representative government,” wrote Yukichi Fukuzawa (1835-1901), Japan’s great popularizer of Western civilization. In England in 1862 ...

| Jul 15, 2012

Aging Village shows the way with switch to solar

Eighty kilometers from Oi, Fukui Prefecture, is the village of Sanno, Hyogo Prefecture — 11 households, population 42, average age 60 plus. There’s nothing special about Oi except for its nuclear reactors, one of which earlier this month became the first to be reactivated ...

After 15 years, Mainali is a free man

| Jul 2, 2012

After 15 years, Mainali is a free man

Freed June 7 from 15 years’ imprisonment for a murder he apparently never committed, Govinda Prasad Mainali declared himself full of gratitude. Speaking through his lawyer, he said, “Mujitsu, shinjitsu wo shinjite kureta saibankan ni deaete yokatta. Kansha no kimochi de ippai desu,” (「無実、真実を信じてくれた裁判官に出会ってよかった。感謝の気持ちでいっぱいです”」”It’s ...

| Jul 1, 2012

The land where sex fears to tread

No love, no sex, no marriage, no kids — such, in glum outline, is Japan today. It’s too bleak a picture, it can’t be true! But it can’t be false either. If it were, people would be marrying, making babies and having love affairs. ...