Pop star gaffes no sweat to Cool Japan

| May 3, 2014

Pop star gaffes no sweat to Cool Japan

Whatever you want to say about Justin Bieber’s lack of common sense, as either a pop star or a mortal, you have to admit he has incredible timing. He managed to capture the attention of the world with his impromptu visit to Yasukuni Shrine ...

'Patriot wives' put country before gender

| Apr 26, 2014

'Patriot wives' put country before gender

In a 1989 essay, “Coming Down Again: After the Age of Excess,” from a newly edited collection of her writings, the late American critic Ellen Willis discussed a dilemma the women’s movement faced in the ’70s. With the advent of the ’60s counterculture came ...

Can a solo career help a mascot stand out?

| Apr 19, 2014

Can a solo career help a mascot stand out?

Several weeks ago Fuji TV’s morning news show sent a reporter to the Gunma Prefecture “antenna shop” located across the street from the Kabukiza theater in Tokyo’s Ginza district. The store, which sells products made in Gunma, pays ¥64 million a year in rent ...

Fallout from the tax rise may hit in surprising ways

| Apr 5, 2014

Fallout from the tax rise may hit in surprising ways

Prior to the consumption tax increase last Tuesday, from 5 percent to 8 percent, Japanese consumers were spending to beat the band. The local business magazine Economist (not to be confused with the English language newsweekly) reports that ¥4 trillion was spent on goods ...

Fashion takes a baby step in right direction

| Mar 29, 2014

Fashion takes a baby step in right direction

The fashion industry has been criticized for promoting impossible body images by pressuring models, directly or indirectly, to remain as skinny as possible. Nevertheless, so-called plus-size models have become well-represented in the industry over the past 30 years. In the beginning, it was a ...