Failing to rebuild communities in Tohoku

/ | Mar 14, 2015

Failing to rebuild communities in Tohoku

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The NHK travel program “Tsurube no Kazoku ni Kampai” (“Tsurube Toasts Families”) recently aired a two-parter about the town of Watari in Miyagi Prefecture, which was devastated in the March 11, 2011, tsunami. In the series, rakugo storyteller Shofukutei Tsurube and a celebrity guest ...

Shibuya's same-sex move kicks off debate

/ | Feb 28, 2015

Shibuya's same-sex move kicks off debate

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On Feb. 13, Asahi Shimbun’s daily Vox Populi, Vox Dei column mentioned Morizo and Kiccoro, the official mascots of the 2005 World Expo held in Aichi Prefecture. These two “woodland fairies” supposedly hailed from Seto, which issued them the same resident cards (jūminhyō) held ...

Cowed news media has forgotten its role

/ | Feb 21, 2015

Cowed news media has forgotten its role

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In his Tokyo Shimbun column about weekly magazines, Hiroyuki Shinoda recently lauded Shukan Asahi for accusing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of exploiting the murder of journalist Kenji Goto by the Islamic State group for political purposes. Shinoda points out that the magazine had been ...

/ | Jan 10, 2015

Dull and authentic beats out polished TV

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Another New Year’s break, another two-week onslaught of inconsequential television programs based on the variety show model of comedians talking about themselves, watching videos of other people doing supposedly interesting things and playing games whose main entertainment function is humiliation. The resilience of this ...