Okinawa's story told differently in Tokyo

| Mar 7, 2015

Okinawa's story told differently in Tokyo

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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

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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 ...

Cowed news media has forgotten its role

| Feb 21, 2015

Cowed news media has forgotten its role

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In his Tokyo Shimbun column about weekly magazines, Hiroyuki Shinoda recently lauded Shukan Asahi for accusing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of exploiting the murder of journalist Kenji Goto by the Islamic State group for political purposes. Shinoda points out that the magazine had been ...

Snark levels were on full blast for 'Kohaku'

| Jan 17, 2015

Snark levels were on full blast for 'Kohaku'

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The 2014 edition of NHK’s venerated song contest, “Kohaku Uta Gassen,” broadcast on Dec. 31, was remarkable for several reasons, though the performance that generated the most remarks was the one by the equally venerated pop-rock group Southern All Stars, their first on the ...

| Jan 10, 2015

Dull and authentic beats out polished TV

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Another New Year’s break, another two-week onslaught of inconsequential television programs based on the variety show model of comedians talking about themselves, watching videos of other people doing supposedly interesting things and playing games whose main entertainment function is humiliation. The resilience of this ...

The highlights of Japanese media in 2014

| Jan 3, 2015

The highlights of Japanese media in 2014

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My choices for the most significant public phenomena of last year are associated with traditional media rather than the social kind, which isn’t to say these phenomena didn’t impact social media and vice versa, only that TV, newspapers and magazines still affect our perception ...

Abe isn't impressed with media criticism

| Dec 27, 2014

Abe isn't impressed with media criticism

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The most talked-about media moment from the Lower House election on Dec. 14 was the victory interview Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave to Nippon TV. As is the custom, the leader of the winning side, in this case Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, made the ...