| Aug 31, 2013

Married or single, Japan is a desolate country

“The past century is a history of sexual distortion,” social psychologist Hiroyoshi Ishikawa told Time Magazine in 1983. “A small portion of young people in Japan are sexually very, very active,” he added, “while the vast majority are sexually repressed.” What would he say ...

| Aug 24, 2013

Only in Japan could a sword be 'life-giving'

Few countries have broken with their past as sharply as Japan did. That was the price it paid for modernity. Japan in the mid-19th century had a beautiful, deep, highly refined culture that reached far down the social scale — but it was an ...

| Aug 17, 2013

Cyber-kids get a break during Bon holidays

You didn’t need prophetic powers, back in the 1980s when the personal computer was starting to show its potential, to foresee something like Internet addiction. It should have been obvious. It was, to science-fiction writer William Gibson. Reminiscing to Time magazine in 1995, he ...

| Jul 27, 2013

What if Columbus had reached his goal: Japan?

Every school child knows that in 1492 Christopher Columbus discovered America. Every school child knows wrongly. When the Genovese explorer’s three ships sailed westward from Palo de la Frontera, Spain, on Aug. 2, 1492, he was bound, he thought, for “the noble island of ...

| Jul 20, 2013

Japan's weeklies debate modern man's burden

Pity the declining male in an age of expanding female empowerment! True, he has only himself to blame. For centuries, millennia, man lorded over woman, subjecting her to every indignity, reducing her to servitude, denying her full membership in the community of human beings. ...

Gender bending in Japan

Jul 13, 2013

Gender bending in Japan

Do our genitals define us? Increasingly, they do not. Is sexuality more complicated than male/female? Increasingly, it is. Or maybe not increasingly: Maybe the only thing that’s changed over the ages is how much of our true selves society lets us show. The Bible, ...

| Jun 30, 2013

Smartphones are killing the art of conversation

If our age is rich in anything, it is, one would think (wrongly), rich in things to talk about. How can anyone nowadays be at a loss for words? What excuse is there for awkward silence? The merest glance at a newspaper furnishes conversational ...

| Jun 23, 2013

The 'barbarians' were coming — like it or not

‘Sonnō jōi!”: “Revere the Emperor, expel the barbarians!” The writing was on the wall long before the wall crumbled. Japan’s splendid isolation — splendid in its own eyes — would no longer be accepted. The outside world was growing restless. Nations were reaching out, ...