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:

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, ...

There's no escape from big data's eye

/ | May 14, 2016

There's no escape from big data's eye

I am being watched. I am under surveillance. So are you. There are eyes on us, or maybe it’s just one eye. Singular or plural, it is/they are ubiquitous, all-seeing. It/they never sleep(s). So much the better, for at least two reasons: 1) We ...

Human primacy is go-ing, go-ing, gone

/ | Apr 30, 2016

Human primacy is go-ing, go-ing, gone

It is said of the ancient Chinese game go that the number of possible positions on its board exceeds the number of atoms in the known universe. This is old news, presumably, to masters of go and master mathematicians. To the rest of us ...

Can Japan make itself great again by 2050?

/ | Apr 16, 2016

Can Japan make itself great again by 2050?

The bad news is, Japan is beset by seemingly insoluble problems. The good news is the word “seemingly.” No nation whose rise to economic superpowerdom began a bare decade after being bombed to rubble in history’s most destructive war will ever find anything truly ...

Japan is as happy as it feels — miserable

/ | Apr 9, 2016

Japan is as happy as it feels — miserable

Who are the unhappiest people, asks Spa — the married, the single or the divorced? The negative question is characteristic of this chronically depressed magazine, which could as easily have asked who are the happiest. Or perhaps not. Japan, with so much going for ...

Beneath the chaos, an old new order

/ | Mar 12, 2016

Beneath the chaos, an old new order

We are all going to die. Most of us will die miserably — it’s in the nature of things. Hopefully none of us, infirm in body and mind, will die falling from an upper story of a nursing care home, pushed to our deaths ...