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 ...