A dark age dawns for politics in Japan

| Jul 23, 2016

A dark age dawns for politics in Japan

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“Historic,” that much-overused word, seems almost acceptable as a description of the Upper House elections earlier this month that gave Japan — for the first time in its postwar history — a government strong enough to get serious about rewriting the Constitution. Arguably other ...

A confused, senile future awaits Japan

| Jun 25, 2016

A confused, senile future awaits Japan

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Confucius said: “When your parents are alive, serve them according to ritual. When they die, bury them according to ritual, make sacrifices to them according to ritual.” Ayako Sono said: “Old people are growing more and more selfish. Human beings have an obligation to ...

How Trump fares in Japan's tabloids

| Jun 18, 2016

How Trump fares in Japan's tabloids

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If Japan’s weekly magazines appear to be devoting an inordinate amount of space to coverage of U.S. politics this election year, it’s thanks largely to the flamboyant antics of Donald Trump, who can be counted on for verbal outbursts and surprises. Take weekly magazine ...

The struggles of a local sumo hero

| Jun 4, 2016

The struggles of a local sumo hero

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An oft-repeated question these days, and one not necessarily confined to sports media, is whether 29-year-old wrestler Kisenosato will make it to sumo’s highest rank. Or is he destined to remain a perennial bridesmaid? Clearly at the peak of his career, the ozeki (champion) ...

Poverty and boredom gnaw at Japan

| May 28, 2016

Poverty and boredom gnaw at Japan

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Boredom, poverty and war: three themes you’d think (wrongly) would be extinct by now — war because humankind as a whole is more peaceably inclined than ever before, poverty because of an abundance of riches and boredom because … doesn’t it go without saying, ...

The second life of Kakuei Tanaka

| May 21, 2016

The second life of Kakuei Tanaka

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In July 1976, the month when 218 million Americans were feting their nation’s 200th birthday, dramatic events were taking place on other continents also. On July 4 — America’s Independence Day — an Israeli commando force staged a dramatic raid on Entebbe airport in ...

Have you read any good mooks lately?

| May 7, 2016

Have you read any good mooks lately?

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The word “mook” is a portmanteau of the words “magazine” and “book.” I had long assumed, mistakenly, that it was one of those examples of wasei-eigo (Japan-made English terms), such as “open car” (a convertible) or “virgin road” (the aisle down which the bride ...