Two of Japan's pacifist voices go silent

| Sep 3, 2016

Two of Japan's pacifist voices go silent

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Rokusuke Ei — writer, broadcaster, raconteur — died on July 7 at the age of 83, roughly two decades after publishing a best-seller called “Daiojo,” which means “Dying Peacefully.” Several media outlets reported that Ei passed peacefully. He’d had Parkinson’s disease for a number ...

Sayaka Murata and the art of neutrality

| Jul 30, 2016

Sayaka Murata and the art of neutrality

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When 36-year-old Sayaka Murata recently won the prestigious Akutagawa Prize for literature, the media latched onto the author’s background rather than the novel itself. Murata continues to work part-time as a convenience store clerk, and gains inspiration for characters and plots from her work ...

Why Japanese media still kowtow to Ken Takakura

| Jul 16, 2016

Why Japanese media still kowtow to Ken Takakura

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“Ken San” is a new documentary about late actor Ken Takakura opening in local theaters next month. Described as Japan’s “greatest” and “last” movie star, Takakura was respected by both the Japanese people who worked with him and international film giants such as Martin ...

How long can Japan's old mens' club last?

| Jul 9, 2016

How long can Japan's old mens' club last?

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Media coverage of the House of Councilors election campaign has been even more lacking in substance than usual. On July 2, Tokyo Shimbun noted how “low-key” the coverage has been on TV. After the excitement of the money scandal surrounding former Tokyo Gov. Yoichi ...

Japan dances with the death penalty

| Jul 2, 2016

Japan dances with the death penalty

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Last week, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced his plans to reinstate the death penalty, which was abolished in his country in 2006. Duterte says he believes in retribution: If you kill someone, you deserve to die. Some people are shocked by this rationale, but ...

Can foreign media pressure force changes in Japan?

| Jun 25, 2016

Can foreign media pressure force changes in Japan?

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Former Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara’s first-person “biography” of late Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka, “Tensai” (“Genius”), remains atop best-seller lists. It is interesting to note that when Tanaka was alive Ishihara berated him as a crude opportunist. The years have obviously tempered his view, or ...