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 ...

In Japan, all that is true melts into hot air

| Jun 11, 2016

In Japan, all that is true melts into hot air

‘Is it because the truth is so boring,” asked the 14th-century monk Yoshida no Kenko in a classic collection of musings known as the “The Grasses of Idleness,” “that most stories one hears are false?” Boring, unbearable or merely inconvenient? A nuisance, however you ...

Poverty and boredom gnaw at Japan

| May 28, 2016

Poverty and boredom gnaw at Japan

Boredom, poverty and war: three themes you’d think (wrongly) would be extinct by now — war because humankind as a whole is more peaceably inclined than ever before, poverty because of an abundance of riches and boredom because … doesn’t it go without saying, ...