Keiko Hisano

| Nov 28, 2006

Keiko Hisano

by Judit Kawaguchi

Keiko Hisano, 25, is a production controller for Nakabo Japan Co. Ltd., an Osaka-based knitwear manufacturer that produces clothing for many famous brands. Hoping to eventually become a designer, she is happy now just to be at the base of the design pyramid, whether ...

Masatoshi Uchiumi

| Nov 14, 2006

Masatoshi Uchiumi

by Judit Kawaguchi

Masatoshi Uchiumi, 64, is a landlord in Tokyo’s trendy Jiyugaoka area. Divorced and living alone, six years ago he lost most of his eyesight due to a hormone imbalance. Although despondent at first, he soon focused on enriching his life, through lessons in karaoke, ...

Kumiko Taguchi

| Oct 24, 2006

Kumiko Taguchi

by Yoko Hani

Kumiko Taguchi, 59, is deputy manager of Junkudo book shop in Ikebukuro in Tokyo, which boasts the largest floor space (nine-stories) of any bookstore in Japan. Before moving to Junkudo in 1997, she worked at another bookselling giant, Libro, located opposite Junkudo. After a ...

Kazuaki Ohashi

| Aug 22, 2006

Kazuaki Ohashi

by Judit Kawaguchi

Kazuaki Ohashi, 37, is a philosopher whose love of a challenge has propelled him from studying the fear of death to a life of business and parties. CEO of Web design firm Koo & Co., and EN, an English language school, he is also ...

Setsuko Hashimoto

| Aug 8, 2006

Setsuko Hashimoto

by Judit Kawaguchi

Setsuko Hashimoto, PhD, 52, is Director of Marketing at Biacore K.K., a global supplier of instruments for academic, pharmaceutical and biotechnology research. A top class scientist with keen business sense, she formed the Swedish company’s Japanese subsidiary, and has been the driving force behind ...

Mariko Sakaida

| Jul 25, 2006

Mariko Sakaida

by Judit Kawaguchi

Mariko Sakaida, 33, is a supermarket cashier in Tokyo and the 2003 Best Checker Concours champion, a title she competed for with about 2,000 of the Kanto region’s other checkout aces. She won hands-down with polished greetings, flawless scanning, speedy and accurate cashing, and ...

Yoshiko Sakurai

| Jul 11, 2006

Yoshiko Sakurai

by Judit Kawaguchi

Yoshiko Sakurai, 60, is known as Japan’s bravest and most responsible journalist. Her in-depth investigations have unnerved members of the establishment for decades. After 16 years as the nation’s top newscaster, she quit television in 1996 to dedicate herself to writing. Sakurai has published ...

Tadanobu Tsunoda

| Jun 27, 2006

Tadanobu Tsunoda

by Judit Kawaguchi

Tadanobu Tsunoda, MD, 79, is the author of “The Japanese Brain” (now in its 38th Japanese edition), and the inventor of the Tsunoda Key Tapping Machine. He developed this simple analog system in the 1960s, and claims it is still the most accurate machine ...

Suzue Akashi

| Jun 13, 2006

Suzue Akashi

by Judit Kawaguchi

Suzue Akashi, 74, is a folk musician who plays traditional Japanese songs on shamisen with taiko drum accompaniment. Her insatiable desire to learn took her from a Tokyo dairy to the education center at Haneda Air Force Base, to university in Tennessee and work ...

Yoshimasa Saito

| May 23, 2006

Yoshimasa Saito

by Judit Kawaguchi

Chef Yoshimasa Saito, 85, is the founder of Kitchen Country, a Hungarian restaurant in Tokyo’s Jiyugaoka area. His goulash was once so famous that even celebrities were happy to stand in line for a place at one of his tables. Saito is a true ...

Kae Wakita

| May 9, 2006

Kae Wakita

by Judit Kawaguchi

Kae Wakita, 35, is a dermatologist and owner of Skin Solution Clinic in Shintomicho, not far from Tokyo’s Ginza area. A confessed workaholic, she is perfectly happy with her life but not with the state of the Japanese medical system. She does, however, have ...

Toshie Kobayashi

| Apr 25, 2006

Toshie Kobayashi

by Judit Kawaguchi

Toshie Kobayashi, 76, has been working six days a week, since she was 14 years old. As a highly skilled typesetter, she made a good living until the 1980s, when digital systems replaced her and analog typesetting machines. At 54, she registered with a ...