A place of refuge for exiles and foreign wayfarers

Apr 24, 2011

A place of refuge for exiles and foreign wayfarers

by Tomoko Otake

The 21-sq.-km island of Mikura has a distinctive history remembered and shared well by villagers. While some archeological evidence shows that the island was inhabited as far back as 6,000 years ago, modern-day villagers say the oldest written records that link them to their ...

Bags of fun recycling old JTs

| Apr 17, 2011

Bags of fun recycling old JTs

by Eriko Arita

In Japan, English-language newspapers are great sources of news and views and such (some more than others, of course). But a new use for them has lately arisen, with patrons of mini-trucks selling baked yaki-imo (sweet potatoes) in upscale Tokyo office districts thinking it ...

Art in aid of the March 11 quake survivors

Mar 27, 2011

Art in aid of the March 11 quake survivors

The Japan Times is offering readers the chance to own a limited-edition poster inspired by the disaster in Tohoku and created by illustrator Chris Mackenzie, with all proceeds going to The Japan Times Readers’ Fund. The money received (excluding postage costs) will be used ...

'Nothing can prepare you to witness this'

| Mar 20, 2011

'Nothing can prepare you to witness this'

by Rob Gilhooly

ISHINOMAKI, Miyagi Pref. — It’s a relatively minor incident that gets me. I’m at a gymnasium in central Ishinomaki photographing members of Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) as they unload dozens of corpses from a truck. Each is wrapped in blankets, some with flowery ...

The Bronze Bonze

Mar 20, 2011

The Bronze Bonze

by Steve McClure

Yoshiyuki Yoneda had a problem. As chief priest of a temple in Kyoto, he ministered to the spiritual and ritual needs of his local community. But like many other clerics in Japan’s ancient capital, he also wanted to attract fee-paying tourists to his temple. ...

Traditional paddies are great ecosystems

Mar 13, 2011

Traditional paddies are great ecosystems

by Winifred Bird

Japan’s rice-farming areas face two broad trends: field abandonment and farm modernization. Both impact the environment as well as the economy. “When rice fields disappear, species such as tadpoles and dragonflies that live in them decrease. Paddies also store water and help prevent floods. ...

Nationalism and its discontents

Feb 27, 2011

Nationalism and its discontents

by Jeff Kingston

In this wide-ranging feature following a recent visit to Chengdu, China, Jeff Kingston examines Sino-Japanese relations and challenges facing the government in Beijing Last December when I visited Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province in southwest China, people there were still agitated about Japan ...

History museum takes no prisoners

Feb 27, 2011

History museum takes no prisoners

by Jeff Kingston

A powerful earthquake devastated Sichuan Province in 2008 and recovery is still ongoing, but this prosperous and fertile region of southwest China has also suffered a series of man-made disasters. During the Great Leap Forward (1958-61), when as many as 45 million Chinese died ...

Minding the gaps

Feb 27, 2011

Minding the gaps

by Jeff Kingston

During the Senkaku/Diaoyu imbroglio following the Sept. 7, 2010 collision between a Chinese trawler and a Japan Coast Guard patrol vessel off disputed islands of those names in the East China Sea, some NHK and Asahi reporters emphasized that the anti-Japanese demonstrations in China ...