Health care system needs a new diagnosis

| Jul 12, 2014

Health care system needs a new diagnosis

In March 2007, the city of Yubari in Hokkaido became the first Japanese municipality to declare bankruptcy, letting loose a flood of media coverage characterized by expressions of sympathy for residents. Yubari’s debt had reached ¥63 billion, the result, according to national press reports, ...

Fiery Shinjuku protest goes global without NHK

| Jul 5, 2014

Fiery Shinjuku protest goes global without NHK

Until the Great East Japan Earthquake, social media didn’t have much purchase on Japanese social life. But disasters are transformative, and in a country where the mass media is cautious about its role vis-a-vis the authorities, social media came into its own after the ...

When should we make noise about loud neighbors?

| Jul 4, 2014

When should we make noise about loud neighbors?

In August 1974, a 46-year-old man living on the fourth floor of a public apartment building in Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, forced his way into the unit below him and killed two little girls and their mother. After attempting suicide he was arrested, and he ...

Sexist remarks seen through a clouded lens

| Jun 28, 2014

Sexist remarks seen through a clouded lens

It’s assumed that the heckling of Tokyo assembly member Ayaka Shiomura by some of her male colleagues on June 18 became a major news story in Japan only after the foreign press picked it up as an example of intractable Japanese sexism. The situation ...

Any publicity is good news for beer firms

| Jun 21, 2014

Any publicity is good news for beer firms

At a Tokyo news conference on June 4, Sapporo Beer President Masaki Oga announced his company would halt sales of its Goku Zero alcoholic beverage after current inventory was shipped. The parent company, Sapporo Holdings, had been contacted by the National Tax Agency in ...

The thrill of the job won't pay the rent

| Jun 14, 2014

The thrill of the job won't pay the rent

“If your work isn’t what you love, then something isn’t right.” — Talking Heads Last January, NHK’s nightly in-depth news series, “Closeup Gendai,” ran a feature about the practice of “poeticizing” (poemu-ka) the harsher aspects of life. It’s not a trend that’s easy to ...

Media minds manners in royal reportage

| Jun 7, 2014

Media minds manners in royal reportage

As much as we all love them, the Imperial family doesn’t make for exciting reading. Last week, the European press was beside itself with news of the abdication of Spain’s King Juan Carlos, who has been hit by several public support-sapping scandals in recent ...

Generation gaps filled by brick and mortar

| Jun 2, 2014

Generation gaps filled by brick and mortar

Though their numbers have dwindled in the developed world over the past century, multi-generation households are still common, and in fact may become even more common in countries where income gaps are increasing. In Japan, multi-generation households have social relevance owing to cultural norms, ...