| 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 ...

| Feb 3, 2013

Constitutional revision may bring less freedom

by Michael Hoffman

Article 18 of Japan’s Constitution states, “No person shall be held in bondage of any kind. Involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime, is prohibited.” And Article 97 declares, “The fundamental human rights by this Constitution guaranteed to the people of Japan are fruits ...

| Jan 6, 2013

Additives: Let's hope we are not what we eat

by Michael Hoffman

Four-legged chickens In a book published last year titled “Shoku wo Kangaeru” (“Thinking about Food”), plant geneticist Yoichiro Sato describes his surprise when told by an elementary school teacher that many children nowadays draw chickens with four legs. Impossible, he thought. On second thought, ...

| Dec 23, 2012

Abe is a hawk, the public merely conservative

by Michael Hoffman

Commenting acidly on November’s U.S. presidential election, American columnist George Will said all it showed was “whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney has the smaller gigantic number of Americans not wanting him to be president.” Substitute the names of Prime Minister-elect Shinzo Abe and ...