Snark levels were on full blast for 'Kohaku'

| Jan 17, 2015

Snark levels were on full blast for 'Kohaku'

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The 2014 edition of NHK’s venerated song contest, “Kohaku Uta Gassen,” broadcast on Dec. 31, was remarkable for several reasons, though the performance that generated the most remarks was the one by the equally venerated pop-rock group Southern All Stars, their first on the ...

| 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 ...

The highlights of Japanese media in 2014

| Jan 3, 2015

The highlights of Japanese media in 2014

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My choices for the most significant public phenomena of last year are associated with traditional media rather than the social kind, which isn’t to say these phenomena didn’t impact social media and vice versa, only that TV, newspapers and magazines still affect our perception ...

Abe isn't impressed with media criticism

| Dec 27, 2014

Abe isn't impressed with media criticism

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The most talked-about media moment from the Lower House election on Dec. 14 was the victory interview Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave to Nippon TV. As is the custom, the leader of the winning side, in this case Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, made the ...

Fight or flight: Narita's history of conflict

| Dec 13, 2014

Fight or flight: Narita's history of conflict

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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

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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'

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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 ...