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:

Will the bullies inherit Japan's top jobs?

/ | Sep 12, 2015

Will the bullies inherit Japan's top jobs?

Why aren’t people nice, good and kind? It sounds like a stupid question, and probably is. Still, you’d think that, having outgrown the feral competition of our “nasty, brutish and short” phase, we’d have evolved in a kinder, gentler direction — as we have, ...

Only a teenager, yet an expert on war

/ | Aug 29, 2015

Only a teenager, yet an expert on war

‘The last war was the worst.” She’s 15 and has already been through four wars: 2006, 2008-09, 2012, 2014. She’s qualified to make comparisons — this war worse than that one, the latest one worst of all. She’s a Palestinian growing up in the ...

Add looming poverty to list of seniors' woes

/ | Aug 15, 2015

Add looming poverty to list of seniors' woes

What a sad country this is. Granted, Spa! magazine paints in primary colors. Maybe it’s missing a nuance or two? Maybe things aren’t really so bad? Maybe. Hopefully. On the other hand, some of the statistics presented are hard to argue with — Japan’s ...

A political turning point for Japan's youth

/ | Aug 1, 2015

A political turning point for Japan's youth

July 15, 2015, will go down in Japanese history. As what, though? The day democracy’s decline became irreversible? Or the day democracy’s decline was reversed? The Wall Street Journal covered the core event of the drama in these terms: “Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made ...

Growing up to the idea of fighting back

/ | Jul 25, 2015

Growing up to the idea of fighting back

Psychologist Toshio Kawai has an interesting hypothesis. We may, he says in an article written for the Asahi Shimbun’s Globe, be entering an age when “becoming an adult will not be necessary.” What makes an adult an adult? Autonomy, the ability to stand on ...

Dark humor won't shield us for much longer

/ | Jul 11, 2015

Dark humor won't shield us for much longer

‘I hope,” read an email from a colleague boarding an Osaka-bound shinkansen in Tokyo last week, “nobody sets himself on fire.” Black humor. There’s nothing funny about a man immolating himself on a crowded train, killing himself and another and injuring 26 — but ...