Writing about wrongs at home and abroad

| Feb 6, 2011

Writing about wrongs at home and abroad

by Eriko Arita

Yang Sok Gil is renowned for his novels describing, with remarkable humanity and humor, people’s wanton desires and the problems they cause, often from the viewpoint of minorities in Japan or elsewhere. As a second-generation Korean resident of Japan, Yang was born in 1936 ...

A lifetime of kabuki

| Dec 5, 2010

A lifetime of kabuki

by Edan Corkill

“Koraiya!” shouts someone in the audience, acclaiming the actor center stage. Feeding off the adulation, he launches into his next line. “What a useless fellow you are,” he yells, berating the servant at his side. “You shall pay dearly!” “Koraiya!” someone else yells from ...

| Nov 7, 2010

Scholar brings economics to life

by Tomoko Otake

Clouds of gloom have been shrouding Japan and its economy for quite some time. The bursting of the asset- inflated economic bubble in the early 1990s, and the failures of banks, insurers and other big corporations later in that decade, has put a huge ...

Pitching for change

| Sep 5, 2010

Pitching for change

by Tomoko Otake

Masumi Kuwata has spent most of his life in the spotlight of stardom and publicity. As one of Japan’s all-time outstanding baseball stars, with a 23-year professional career behind him, this 42-year-old from Osaka Prefecture began capturing headlines at the tender age of 15 ...

Korean at the forefront of Japan's modern art

| Aug 1, 2010

Korean at the forefront of Japan's modern art

by Edan Corkill

For the last several years, Benesse Art Site on the island of Naoshima in the Seto Inland Sea has featured prominently in rankings of Japan’s best tourist destinations. The publisher Rough Guides, for example, ranks the Kagawa Prefecture island’s hotel and two art museums ...

Manga's Cinderella story

| Jul 4, 2010

Manga's Cinderella story

by Tomoko Otake

“I want to tell you a real love story,” whispers a pen-wielding Misako, a graphic-novel version of comic artist Misako Takashima, on the first page of the 2007 book, “Rock and Roll Love.” “It was my first love story,” she adds coyly. So begins ...

Japan's fiscal firebrand

| May 2, 2010

Japan's fiscal firebrand

by Tomoko Otake

Renho, a first-term Upper House member from the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, shot to stardom in Japan last November when, as a member of a government committee tasked with screening ministries’ budget requests, she had several fierce, face-to-face battles with bureaucrats. While the ...

Spotlight on the States

| Apr 4, 2010

Spotlight on the States

by Eriko Arita

Mika Tsutsumi is a spirited journalist and writer whose work turns a spotlight on the widespread hardships and poverty caused by official policies and the behavior of businesses in the United States. Her best-selling book “Rupo Hinkon Taikoku Amerika” (“America, the Poverty Superpower”) exposed ...

'Mr. Shiseido' blends beauty and business

| Mar 7, 2010

'Mr. Shiseido' blends beauty and business

by Edan Corkill

In July 1942, seven months after the attack on Pearl Harbor that started the Pacific War, Tokyo hosted one of the most ambitious exhibitions of art the world had ever seen. “Leonardo da Vinci,” staged in an exhibition hall in the central district of ...

Brushing with authority

| Feb 7, 2010

Brushing with authority

by Nobuko Tanaka

I will never forget the day I went to a show titled “Embracing Asia: Taeko Tomiyama Retrospective 1950-2009,” which was one of 370 art exhibits by creators from 40 countries comprising the fourth Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial staged over 50 days last autumn at locations ...

Insider reaching out

| Jan 3, 2010

Insider reaching out

by Mark Schreiber

Author Joshua “Jake” Adelstein supposes that if he’d stayed home in rural Missouri and had never come to Japan, he’d probably have become a small-town lawyer or a very happy detective on the local police force. “I was always attracted to the law, probably ...