| 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 ...

| 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 ...