| Jan 18, 2014

In Jomon and Heian, the times weren't a-changin'

“Man the change-maker.” That is one definition of Homo sapiens. Other creatures are changed — by Nature, by evolution — over vast expanses of time measured in hundreds of thousands or millions of years. Humankind consciously generates change. We innovate, build, invent, destroy, build ...

There's a cloud above our silver generation

| Dec 28, 2013

There's a cloud above our silver generation

Travel back with me, reader, 60 years in time. It’s 1953. Two booms are in full swing: one economic, the other reproductive; the first fueled largely by the Korean War, the second, in part, by the first. Among the 2 million babies born in ...

Society struggles to adapt to post-privacy age

| Dec 14, 2013

Society struggles to adapt to post-privacy age

Individuals are visible as never before, and democratic governments, reeling from successive exposures of state secrets, are struggling desperately to withdraw into the shadows. No democracy has gone further in that direction than Japan under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Delving into the dark side of longer life

| Nov 30, 2013

Delving into the dark side of longer life

Longevity is like prosperity — it seems an unalloyed good but on closer examination turns out not to be. Longevity spawns dementia, infirmity, loneliness and a demographic imbalance favoring the very old at the expense of the young.

| Nov 16, 2013

Japan's 'world of peace' sold out to mammon

Suppose Confucianism had prevailed? We’d have “rites and music” instead of law; filial piety instead of democracy and free-market capitalism. The ruler would radiate paternal benevolence and we, his subject-children, would respond with respect and obedience. Would we be worse off? Most people would ...