National Topics

Cultural differences shade reactions to robots

| Dec 6, 2014

Cultural differences shade reactions to robots

by Philip Brasor

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 ...

Debating milk, names and workplace blues

| Nov 29, 2014

Debating milk, names and workplace blues

by Michael Hoffman

Milk — liquid innocence. If milk lets you down, what won’t? It looks healthy, tastes healthy — surely it is healthy? Appearances, we know, are deceiving; still, this particular illusion dies hard. Whose earliest childhood memories do not include a parent admonishing, “Drink your ...

Newspapers take sides on 'Abenomics'

| Nov 29, 2014

Newspapers take sides on 'Abenomics'

by Philip Brasor

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 ...

Creative crooks stay one step ahead

| Nov 15, 2014

Creative crooks stay one step ahead

by Mark Schreiber

The “Ore, ore” (“It’s me”) fraudsters and their ilk, who telephone elderly people and pretend to be a relative in need of money to help them out of a jam, keep coming up with new scams. One might say Japan is a target-rich environment. ...

Determining good and evil, with the kids

| Nov 8, 2014

Determining good and evil, with the kids

by Michael Hoffman

What is “moral education”? Assuming we more or less know what education is, try defining “moral.” The education ministry’s website takes a stab at it: “A heart-and-mind (kokoro) that values life, a heart-and-mind that is considerate toward others…” That’s unimpeachable as far as it ...