Nov 4, 2012

Finding the Way in art of war

THE DAO OF THE MILITARY: Liu An’s Art of War, translated by Andrew Seth Meyer. Columbia University Press, 2012, 157 pp., $19.50 (paperback) There are two ancient Chinese texts titled “The Art of War.” Liu An’s, the one under review, newly translated by historian ...

| Oct 28, 2012

You can't choose your (invisible) neighbors

Some animals are solitary. Others live in flocks or herds. Human beings are somewhere in between. Our sociability and our economic needs force us into communities, where our misanthropy, meanness and selfishness — or maybe it’s an instinctive craving for solitude — can make ...

| Oct 14, 2012

Women in their 40s have it better than men

It was a shock and a disappointment to learn, courtesy of a survey released in August by the Dai-ichi Life Research Institute, that men in their 40s are the unhappiest people in Japan. Who are the happiest? This is even more surprising: men in ...

The unneighborly side of nationalism

| Oct 1, 2012

The unneighborly side of nationalism

It’s out in the open now: Japan is not well liked in its neighborhood, and it doesn’t take much to dissolve the surface civilities. In Washington in April, Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara sprung his Senkaku surprise. Metro Tokyo, he announced, would purchase three of ...

| Sep 23, 2012

No trusting those who descend from heaven

Just for fun, try this whimsical little experiment: search the Japan Times website for “regain trust.” It’s an expression that recurs so often, and has such a long history, you’d almost think it meant something. “[Prime Minister Yasuo] Fukuda vows to regain public trust” ...

| Sep 9, 2012

Joy among the clouds and shadows

Yoko Sakata was an ordinary “office lady,” not earning much and not aspiring to much, when she began suspecting her boyfriend of having an affair. She hired a private detective, who confirmed her fears and then paid her a compliment: “You have good intuition.” ...

Imagine a better Olympics for Japan

| Sep 3, 2012

Imagine a better Olympics for Japan

“Sekai wa itsuka hitotsu ni naru” (「世界はいつかひとつになる」) — that’s what “And the world will be as one,” from John Lennon’s “Imagine,” sounds like in Japanese, at least according to the Asahi Shimbun. The matter arises in connection with the dai sanjukkai orinpikku kyogitaikai (第三十回オリンピック競技大会, ...

Japanese-Americans: life after the war and internment

Aug 19, 2012

Japanese-Americans: life after the war and internment

AFTER CAMP: Portraits in Midcentury Japanese American Life and Politics, by Greg Robinson. University of California Press, 2012, 328 pp., $27.95 (paperback) “A Jap is a Jap.” Franklin Roosevelt didn’t say that — West Coast Defense commander General John Dewitt did. But Roosevelt acted ...