No loss for words when expressing scale of DPJ's defeat

| Jan 7, 2013

No loss for words when expressing scale of DPJ's defeat

by Michael Hoffman

December’s election aftermath offered a good chance to learn synonyms for “crushing defeat” and “overwhelming victory.” Taihai (大敗, great defeat), kanpai (完敗, total defeat) — not to be confused with kanpai! (乾杯, cheers!) — kaimetsutekina haiboku (壊滅的な敗北, annihilating defeat), zanpai (惨敗, crushing defeat), rekishitekina ...

| Nov 19, 2012

Plan A: Live long and inconspicuously

by Kaori Shoji

Among other things, being Japanese means embracing a distinct and particular weirdness. The Japanese are well aware of this fact, and generations of Nipponjin (日本人, Japanese) have pondered on how hen (変, strange) we are since the country opened its doors to outsiders some ...

Cooperation is needed to solve global economic crisis

| Nov 5, 2012

Cooperation is needed to solve global economic crisis

by Michael Hoffman

Everybody agrees: We need kōdō (行動, action). What 行動, though? And whose? That’s where the unanimity crumbles. The Kokusai Tsuka Kikin (国際通貨基金, International Monetary Fund, IMF) and the Sekai Ginko (世界銀行, World Bank) held their nenji sōkai (年次総会, annual general meetings) over three days ...

The unneighborly side of nationalism

| Oct 1, 2012

The unneighborly side of nationalism

by Michael Hoffman

It’s out in the open now: Japan is not well liked in its neighborhood, and it doesn’t take much to dissolve the surface civilities. In Washington in April, Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara sprung his Senkaku surprise. Metro Tokyo, he announced, would purchase three of ...