Fight or flight: Narita's history of conflict

| Dec 13, 2014

Fight or flight: Narita's history of conflict

by Philip Brasor

The recent increase in international flights in and out of Haneda Airport has clearly pleased Tokyo residents, who, since the late 1970s, have had to trek out to Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture when they wanted to go overseas. This inconvenience is exacerbated ...

Cultural differences shade reactions to robots

| Dec 6, 2014

Cultural differences shade reactions to robots

by Philip Brasor

It was only right that Disney’s new animated feature, “Big Hero 6,” opened this year’s Tokyo International Film Festival, and that Disney animation head John Lasseter was on hand to introduce it. Lasseter has often said that his career has been greatly influenced by ...

Newspapers take sides on 'Abenomics'

| Nov 29, 2014

Newspapers take sides on 'Abenomics'

by Philip Brasor

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s dissolution of the Diet has become another point of contention between right- and left-leaning entities in Japan. One of the more revealing responses involved a website set up by a member of a nonprofit organization called Bokura no Ippo ga ...

Debating the merits of lifetime employment

| Nov 1, 2014

Debating the merits of lifetime employment

by Philip Brasor

Some years ago I worked for a language-teaching service that offered in-house classes for companies. One client was a major electronics manufacturer, and many of the students were trained engineers assigned to the sales division. This human resources tactic always struck me as counter-productive, ...

A dark force targets youth at their jobs

| Oct 18, 2014

A dark force targets youth at their jobs

by Philip Brasor

In the ongoing discussion about workplace abuse, the media has advanced yet another new term. “Black baito” modifies the already popular phrase “black kigyō,” which are companies that manipulate or ignore labor standards in order to get employees to work overtime without pay. “Baito” ...

In-debt idols send wrong message to girls

| Oct 11, 2014

In-debt idols send wrong message to girls

by Philip Brasor

Two weeks ago a female pop group called The Margarines debuted via a Tokyo news conference. Since Japanese show business has no shortage of young women who want to sing and dance in order to “fulfill their dreams,” the new ensemble needed a gimmick. ...

Tourists may not warm to Japan's welcome

| Oct 4, 2014

Tourists may not warm to Japan's welcome

by Philip Brasor

A former colleague of mine always made it a point to tell people coming to Japan for a visit to bring lots of handkerchiefs because the public restrooms didn’t have towel dispensers. I always took a more positive view and emphasized that public restrooms ...