Cultural differences shade reactions to robots

| Dec 6, 2014

Cultural differences shade reactions to robots

It was only right that Disney’s new animated feature, “Big Hero 6,” opened this year’s Tokyo International Film Festival, and that Disney animation head John Lasseter was on hand to introduce it. Lasseter has often said that his career has been greatly influenced by ...

What's really behind the drop in home sales?

| Dec 5, 2014

What's really behind the drop in home sales?

Thanks to the upcoming snap election, which is being called a referendum for the government’s economic policies, everyone is aware that Japan’s GDP has worsened since the consumption tax was raised last April. A large portion of this drop is being attributed to declining ...

Newspapers take sides on 'Abenomics'

| Nov 29, 2014

Newspapers take sides on 'Abenomics'

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s dissolution of the Diet has become another point of contention between right- and left-leaning entities in Japan. One of the more revealing responses involved a website set up by a member of a nonprofit organization called Bokura no Ippo ga ...

Debating the merits of lifetime employment

| Nov 1, 2014

Debating the merits of lifetime employment

Some years ago I worked for a language-teaching service that offered in-house classes for companies. One client was a major electronics manufacturer, and many of the students were trained engineers assigned to the sales division. This human resources tactic always struck me as counter-productive, ...

Homeowners resume debate on renewables

| Oct 31, 2014

Homeowners resume debate on renewables

In September, Kyushu Electric Power announced it would stop buying energy from solar-power suppliers due to over-supply and a lack of transmission capacity, setting off a debate about Japan’s dedication to renewable energy. While the decision to halt purchases of solar energy from any ...

Blondes have more fun in NHK's morning drama

| Oct 25, 2014

Blondes have more fun in NHK's morning drama

Two weeks ago I received a message from a reader who asked me to ask NHK why the public broadcaster had changed the name and the hair color of the female protagonist of its new daily 15-minute asa-dora (morning drama series) “Massan,” which is ...

A dark force targets youth at their jobs

| Oct 18, 2014

A dark force targets youth at their jobs

In the ongoing discussion about workplace abuse, the media has advanced yet another new term. “Black baito” modifies the already popular phrase “black kigyō,” which are companies that manipulate or ignore labor standards in order to get employees to work overtime without pay. “Baito” ...