Escaped-animal antics are good for ratings

| Jun 24, 2012

Escaped-animal antics are good for ratings

by Philip Brasor

One of the interesting factoids accompanying the escaped-penguin story that delighted the media for the last three months is that Japan has more penguins in captivity than any other country. Tokyo Sea Life Park, the facility from which the male Humboldt penguin in question ...

| Jun 17, 2012

Watami under scrutiny after karōshi

by Philip Brasor

Osaka mayor Toru Hashimoto has been compared to Adolf Hitler in the media for his authoritarian governing style, but on a realistic level he seems more like an overbearing boss. The famous tattoo controversy comes down to the notion that, as mayor, he employs ...

The public shame of crying poor

| Jun 10, 2012

The public shame of crying poor

by Philip Brasor

Public acts of contrition don’t get any more dramatic than comedian Junichi Komoto’s May 25 press conference, where he apologized for allowing his mother to collect government welfare payments even though he’s made good money himself as a TV personality. Josei Seven, the women’s ...

Homophobic joke goes awry for Beat

| Jun 3, 2012

Homophobic joke goes awry for Beat

by Philip Brasor

On the May 12 edition of the TBS current affairs variety show “Newscaster” comedian “Beat” Takeshi Kitano made a joke about homosexual unions during a discussion of U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent comment in support of same-sex marriage. Kitano’s mission as the program’s resident ...

TV: no longer the drug of the people

| May 20, 2012

TV: no longer the drug of the people

by Philip Brasor

Last week, Japan’s fifth largest discount electronics retailer, Bic Camera, announced it would soon obtain a 50 percent share of Japan’s sixth-largest discount electronics retailer, Kojima, thus making the combined companies Japan’s second-largest electronics retailer. Bic operates 34 stores in large cities while Kojima ...

Road-death stats hide the truth

| May 13, 2012

Road-death stats hide the truth

by Philip Brasor

The media likes to report on victims of accidents, disasters and crimes, and while it’s natural to feel sympathy for unfortunate individuals, the only imaginable benefit this sort of coverage provides to viewers and readers is catharsis, which is better served by the popular ...

| Apr 29, 2012

Death sentences prove difficult for lay judges

by Philip Brasor

However one feels about the death penalty, it’s difficult to argue that its application in Japan isn’t arbitrary. Last week, former Justice Minister Hideo Hiraoka publicly denounced his successor Toshio Ogawa’s decision to have three death row inmates hanged on March 29, saying that ...