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:

Western culture and the end of Japanese 'harmony'

/ | Dec 17, 2016

Western culture and the end of Japanese 'harmony'

Japan grew up with wa (harmony). Conflict and competition are the creative engines of Western civilization; Japan traveled a different route to the tumultuous present. Wa breathes the sanctity of ancient roots. It is enshrined in a “constitution” dating back to A.D. 604, attributed ...

What shape will populism take in modern Japan?

/ | Dec 3, 2016

What shape will populism take in modern Japan?

Populism isn’t new. A wave of it generated democracy in ancient Greece, circa 500 B.C. Its modern form, born in America in the early 19th century, was a revolt against the planter aristocracy that had governed since independence in 1776. Andrew Jackson — said ...

Will Trump join forces with Abe or push him toward Putin?

/ | Nov 19, 2016

Will Trump join forces with Abe or push him toward Putin?

What do intellectuals know? Nothing. U.S. President-elect Donald Trump proved it. Pre-election, the only intelligent forecast seemed to be that his manifold defects would undo him: his boorishness, prejudice, intellectual vacuity, political inexperience, etc., etc. It’s all been replayed so often over the past ...

The unbearable burden of 24/7 work

/ | Nov 5, 2016

The unbearable burden of 24/7 work

There was no nonsense about the 1990s in Japan. The economy had crashed, the bubble had burst. “The age of human relationships is over,” declared a corporate executive to Aera magazine in 1996, defending the cost-cutting layoffs then gathering speed. “This is the era ...