Social media aids rehashing of historical hate

| Sep 13, 2014

Social media aids rehashing of historical hate

by Philip Brasor

After rain caused deadly mudslides in Hiroshima Prefecture last month, rumors spread over the Internet about burglaries of evacuated homes by “foreigners,” including Zainichi (ethnic Korean residents of Japan). Such rumors tend to accompany disasters, so Tokyo Shimbun talked directly to police in the ...

Push for casinos runs into headwinds

| Sep 6, 2014

Push for casinos runs into headwinds

by Philip Brasor

Until a few months ago, it seemed a sure thing that casinos would be open in Tokyo by the time the Olympics rolled around in 2020. For years now, a group of lawmakers have been working to legalize gambling resorts in Japan, and Tokyo ...

Criminal notoriety for the sake of fame

| Aug 23, 2014

Criminal notoriety for the sake of fame

by Philip Brasor

Hirofumi Watanabe, the man convicted Thursday of threatening publishers, stores, universities and basically anyone or anything that had something to do with the popular manga “Kuroko no Basuke (Kuroko’s Basketball),” has enjoyed a peculiar sort of celebrity since he was arrested in December. Prior ...

Home is where the hard work is

| Aug 16, 2014

Home is where the hard work is

by Philip Brasor

Earlier this year, house builder Asahi Kasei Homes produced a video “white paper” based on a survey of 1,371 “double-income families” with children. Seventy percent of the husbands surveyed said they had been subjected to kaji-hara, or “housework harassment,” by their wives. AKH defined ...

Critics get frank when it comes to Godzilla

| Aug 9, 2014

Critics get frank when it comes to Godzilla

by Philip Brasor

Because Japanese media are incestuous in their inter-corporate dealings, those writers referred to as hyōronka (critics) tend to be less critical about popular culture than their counterparts in North America and Europe. They are more likely to engage in punditry or public relations, because ...

Is the next stop 'brokesville' for the maglev?

| Aug 2, 2014

Is the next stop 'brokesville' for the maglev?

by Philip Brasor

Robert Moses, the civil servant who built the great park-expressway-bridge network in New York state during the middle of the last century, succeeded by gaming the system. Understanding how politics would make it difficult for him to fulfill his vision, he often started a ...

Art vs. morals debate plays out in the press

| Jul 26, 2014

Art vs. morals debate plays out in the press

by Philip Brasor

In her semiautobiographical feature film “Who’s Afraid of Vagina Wolf?,” Anna Margarita Albelo plays a struggling film director who makes ends meet by screening her movies in art galleries where she shows up dressed as a vagina. Though the story is mainly about relationships, ...

Health care system needs a new diagnosis

| Jul 12, 2014

Health care system needs a new diagnosis

by Philip Brasor

In March 2007, the city of Yubari in Hokkaido became the first Japanese municipality to declare bankruptcy, letting loose a flood of media coverage characterized by expressions of sympathy for residents. Yubari’s debt had reached ¥63 billion, the result, according to national press reports, ...

Fiery Shinjuku protest goes global without NHK

| Jul 5, 2014

Fiery Shinjuku protest goes global without NHK

by Philip Brasor

Until the Great East Japan Earthquake, social media didn’t have much purchase on Japanese social life. But disasters are transformative, and in a country where the mass media is cautious about its role vis-a-vis the authorities, social media came into its own after the ...