| Dec 30, 2012

This year's highlights and lowlights

Media figures of the year: The “Right Brothers” Conservatives supposedly made a comeback in 2012, but if you believe Japan’s social outlook is basically conservative to begin with, you have to wonder what they were coming back from. The country’s fiscal policy is anything ...

Endure New Year's on TV with the rest of Japan

Dec 28, 2012

Endure New Year's on TV with the rest of Japan

Last year, NHK’s annual New Year’s Eve song contest, “Kohaku Uta Gassen” (7:15-11:45 p.m.), enjoyed its first ratings boost in more than a decade. As the most hallowed tradition in Japanese broadcasting, the program offered some needed end-of-year holiday solace for a nation still ...

| Dec 16, 2012

An aging country learning to adapt

Occasionally in this space I refer to a financial writer called “Gucci-san” who contributes a weekly column to Aera. Apparently, he works for an investment consulting firm that does a lot of work in mergers and acquisitions. In a recent piece he said that ...

Liberals left behind in turn to the right

| Dec 9, 2012

Liberals left behind in turn to the right

The Latin morpheme liber (free) has a lot to answer for. Take the word “liberal,” which represented a fairly clear political position until American “conservatives” demonized it. But liberals are not “libertarians.” The former are seen to favor government schemes that guarantee the welfare ...

| Dec 2, 2012

Koreeda's daring TV drama stands alone

Once upon a time television was considered much less prestigious than the movies, and then cable and other forms of pay TV showed up. Producers no longer had to think mainly about sponsors and family sensitivities because they could target programs at specific demographics. ...