National Topics

Magazines fixate on the roots of poverty

| Apr 4, 2015

Magazines fixate on the roots of poverty

by Mark Schreiber

The oft-seen expression ichioku sō-chūryū translates roughly as “the perception of ‘the 100 million,’ i.e., the entire nation, as belonging to the middle class.” This perception was never meant to be all-inclusive — certainly Japan has individuals with extreme wealth and others who suffer ...

Political obstacles stymie energy autonomy

| Mar 28, 2015

Political obstacles stymie energy autonomy

by Philip Brasor

When German Chancellor Angela Merkel was in Japan earlier this month, local coverage focused on a joint German-Japanese statement about the Ukraine crisis and her comment that Japan should forthrightly address its actions during World War II. She said nothing about how Japan and ...

Failing to rebuild communities in Tohoku

| Mar 14, 2015

Failing to rebuild communities in Tohoku

by Philip Brasor

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 ...

Okinawa's story told differently in Tokyo

| Mar 7, 2015

Okinawa's story told differently in Tokyo

by Philip Brasor

Last week, at the end of a report on the TBS newsmagazine show “Hodo Tokushu” about protests against the proposed U.S. Marine Corps base at Henoko in Okinawa, the show’s host mentioned that in response to charges from local press that it had violently ...

Shibuya's same-sex move kicks off debate

| Feb 28, 2015

Shibuya's same-sex move kicks off debate

by Philip Brasor

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 ...