Women warriors of Japan

Oct 9, 2011

Women warriors of Japan

“Ah, for some bold warrior to match with, that Kiso might see how fine a death I can die!” Tomoe Gozen was the prototypical Japanese female warrior. She had “long black hair and a fair complexion, and her face was very lovely; moreover she ...

| Oct 3, 2011

A short history of big gaffes by Japanese politicians

“Kokoro kara owabi mōshi-agemasu” (「心からお詫び申し上げます」 “I apologize from my heart”). The hearts of Japanese politicians must be bottomless indeed, for all the apologies that seem to ferment there. Their mouths, meanwhile, are on automatic pilot, sowing shitsugen (失言, gaffe, slip of the tongue) after ...

Praise, where it's due, for Japanese fascism

Sep 25, 2011

Praise, where it's due, for Japanese fascism

Once upon a time men were proud to call themselves fascist. “I am convinced,” wrote a leading Japanese reformist bureaucrat in the early 1930s, “that from now on the spirit of the civilization and politics of mankind is fascist ideology … Before the iron ...

| Sep 18, 2011

Is permanent connectedness really something we all need?

An Associated Press report of Apple Inc.’s CEO Steve Jobs’ resignation last month stated, “Jobs helped change computers from a geeky hobbyist’s obsession to a necessity of modern life at work and home.” This testifies to Jobs’ genius but fails to raise what seems ...

| Sep 5, 2011

National child allowance threatened by rebuilding cost

Kodomo teate (子供手当て, child allowance) is a benign, beneficent social policy rooted in horror, having first seen the light of day in certain European countries that had been dangerously depopulated by World War I. World War II and its carnage helped spread the idea, ...

Forgotten atrocity of the atomic age

Aug 28, 2011

Forgotten atrocity of the atomic age

Hiroshima was nothing. Nine years later on March 1, 1954, there occurred at Bikini atoll in the Marshall Islands an atomic blast equivalent to 1,000 Hiroshimas. THE DAY THE SUN ROSE IN THE WEST: Bikini, The Lucky Dragon, and I, by Matashichi Oishi. University ...

| Aug 21, 2011

Now it's Japan's turn to shout 'Yes, we can!'

Two thousand eight was a dreadful year. Long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were going badly. The U.S. “subprime crisis” was strangling the global economy. Rising food prices were causing concern at best, riots at worst. The worse things got, the more helpless the ...

| Aug 7, 2011

Man convicted of murder may soon be proved innocent

“Can you imagine how it feels for an innocent man to be kept in prison for years?” demanded Govinda Prasad Mainali during a Japan Times interview in November 2003. He’d been in prison six years then. He’s still there. Perhaps not for much longer. ...

| Aug 1, 2011

Japan finally seems to be shifting from nuclear power

Post-nuclear Japan? Probably not any time soon, but Naoto Kan last month became Japan’s first prime minister ever to take a step in that direction. He said: “Genpatsu ni izon shinai shakai wo mezasubeki da” (“原発に依存しない社会を目指すべきだ, We should aim to be a society that ...