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:

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 ...

Who advises Japan's business leaders?

/ | Oct 1, 2016

Who advises Japan's business leaders?

Take a wild guess: Who's the second most influential management guru in Japan, after — it almost goes without saying — Peter Drucker? Hint: He's been dead 2,500 years. He's Chinese. No, not Confucius. (Twenty years ago it might have been.) Give up? Sun Tzu ...

The rise of a toxic machine named fascism

/ | Sep 17, 2016

The rise of a toxic machine named fascism

Why not fascism? Japan was sinking into chaos. "Officer ..." An old woman enters the police station. Would the officers kindly help her find her lost daughter? Foster-daughter, actually. With gruff sympathy, the constables hear her out. They are moved by how far she has walked — ...

Building a stairway to the singularity

/ | Sep 3, 2016

Building a stairway to the singularity

A computer's victory over a human go master this past March reminds us of the pending "singularity" — the rapidly approaching moment in time when artificial intelligence overtakes human intelligence. Machines will learn, and we won't be their teachers. Are we prepared for it? ...

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 makes ...