National Topics

Poverty and boredom gnaw at Japan

| May 28, 2016

Poverty and boredom gnaw at Japan

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Boredom, poverty and war: three themes you’d think (wrongly) would be extinct by now — war because humankind as a whole is more peaceably inclined than ever before, poverty because of an abundance of riches and boredom because … doesn’t it go without saying, ...

The second life of Kakuei Tanaka

| May 21, 2016

The second life of Kakuei Tanaka

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In July 1976, the month when 218 million Americans were feting their nation’s 200th birthday, dramatic events were taking place on other continents also. On July 4 — America’s Independence Day — an Israeli commando force staged a dramatic raid on Entebbe airport in ...

Cracks appear in media's view of disasters

| May 14, 2016

Cracks appear in media's view of disasters

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The Great East Japan Earthquake was Japan’s first major natural disaster since the rise of social media, and emergency planning outfits have been studying the data from March 11, 2011, in order better use SNS to save lives and help survivors. Online activities related ...

Japan's resident Koreans endure a climate of hate

| May 7, 2016

Japan's resident Koreans endure a climate of hate

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Later this month, the Diet’s Upper House will pass a bill submitted by the ruling coalition addressing the problem of hate speech, specifically directed at non-Japanese. As sociologist Takehiro Akedo explains in his article for the Web magazine Synodos, the Liberal Democratic Party isn’t ...

Have you read any good mooks lately?

| May 7, 2016

Have you read any good mooks lately?

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The word “mook” is a portmanteau of the words “magazine” and “book.” I had long assumed, mistakenly, that it was one of those examples of wasei-eigo (Japan-made English terms), such as “open car” (a convertible) or “virgin road” (the aisle down which the bride ...

Idols put Band-Aids on fragile male egos

| Apr 30, 2016

Idols put Band-Aids on fragile male egos

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Two cities in Tottori Prefecture have set up a facility called the Tottori Deai Support Center, which is a kind of matchmaking service for young residents. In December it published a pamphlet to help people looking for mates better understand what the opposite sex ...