| Jul 27, 2013

Tight budgets, food safety and eel inflation

by Mark Schreiber

The future promise of Abenomics notwithstanding, Japan’s white-collar office workers are still being squeezed in terms of their discretionary spending. Results of the annual survey of salaryman kozukai (allowance), released June 28 by Shinsei Bank, noted that this year the average monthly spending money ...

| Jul 20, 2013

Japan's weeklies debate modern man's burden

by Michael Hoffman

Pity the declining male in an age of expanding female empowerment! True, he has only himself to blame. For centuries, millennia, man lorded over woman, subjecting her to every indignity, reducing her to servitude, denying her full membership in the community of human beings. ...

| Jun 23, 2013

'Hate speech' in the media, but not the legal code

by Mark Schreiber

This writer, on previous occasions, has expressed irritation over the recent tendency for the vernacular media to rely heavily on English borrowings for neologisms with socially negative connotations, such as sexual harassment, stalking and domestic violence — to name three examples. As a case ...

| Jun 16, 2013

Occasionally Japan's glass ceiling is smashed

by Michael Hoffman

Someday people will look back in astonishment at the way society treated women. Women haven’t always been regarded as an inferior species. In prehistoric, preagricultural Japan, archaeologists tell us, an instinctive reverence for procreation cast an aura of awe upon the bearers and nurturers ...

| Jun 2, 2013

Society no longer shuns solitary pursuits

by Michael Hoffman

“A solitary cloud wafted by the wind.” Thus the 17th-century wandering haiku poet Matsuo Basho described himself. Not an ordained priest, he nonetheless wore priestly garb on his journeys and was steeped in the principles of Zen Buddhism, among which solitude ranks high. Japan’s ...

| May 19, 2013

Trimming the fat from Japan's problems

by Michael Hoffman

Why do people disagree? It seems a stupid question. Maybe it is. Or maybe not. Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that we are all rational beings. We possess average intelligence, adequate and more or less similar education, and copious exposure to ...