| Apr 21, 2013

Fearing the worst if Japan joins the TPP

by Michael Hoffman

Here is Shukan Josei magazine’s nightmare scenario of a typical Japanese salaryman’s TPP future, if in fact Japan joins the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement currently being negotiated among 12 countries. After a genetically-engineered, chemical-drenched breakfast, he hops into his American-made car, drives to his ...

Tabloids sharpen claws for North Korea's 'X-Day'

| Apr 14, 2013

Tabloids sharpen claws for North Korea's 'X-Day'

by Mark Schreiber

Three months before the present crisis on the Korean peninsula, Shukan Jitsuwa (Jan. 24) ran an uncharacteristically astute article predicting that in addition to potential for armed conflict with China over the disputed Senkaku Islands, North Korea, under its inexperienced young leader Kim Jong ...

| Apr 7, 2013

Men cry discrimination as women's status rises

by Michael Hoffman

Japan, it seems, is forever discriminating against someone. Women, ethnic minorities, sexual minorities, lifestyle minorities, the disabled, part-time workers — all have made claims against a state and a national psychology that define acceptability very narrowly relative to most other developed societies. Who in ...

| Feb 17, 2013

Hiding from strangers in the global village

by Michael Hoffman

In his 1993 novel “Hanauzumi,” Junichi Watanabe pictures a prosperous farming village in Saitama. The year is 1868. The Meiji Restoration has just occurred. The shogun has been overthrown. The teenage Emperor Meiji has been conveyed from the ancient imperial capital of Kyoto and ...