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Sawako Obara
For Sawako Obara's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
JAPAN / Society
May 27, 2014
Baby boomers becoming gray gang
As the last of Japan's baby boomers turn 65 this year and retire, many are taking low-paid or voluntary work to get them out of the house — a trend that could have broad-reaching effects.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Apr 10, 2014
Senile seniors challenge Japan Inc.
As businesses grapple with the social changes being brought about by the rapidly graying population, dealing with senility has become a fact of life at shops and banks.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Feb 12, 2014
Japan's elderly reach for the joys of romance
On her first date with her stoop-shouldered "prince," Tae, a 77-year-old widow, felt her heart flutter in her chest as she gazed with him toward brightly lit Tokyo Tower.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Nov 20, 2013
Elder care with a human touch
Humanitude, a caregiving method developed in France that emphasizes eye contact, touch and verbal communication to convey respect for the patient as a human being, is gaining attention in Japan for treating patients with dementia.
JAPAN / Society
Oct 11, 2013
Sexual minorities expand mutual support amid lack of legal backing
Sexual minorities are stepping up mutual support for when their partners die and their relationship is not legally recognized.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Sep 5, 2013
Babies comfort the elderly, and moms benefit as well
The moment the babies, cradled in their mothers' arms, entered the room, a round of cheerful "oohs" and "aahs" gushed from the elderly whose faces until then had been expressionless.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Sep 2, 2013
Schools now teach boys about home skills
For many young Japanese men, homemaking has become a necessary skill as they redefine their roles as husbands and fathers.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Jul 2, 2013
Elderly homeowners and needy lodgers could be a perfect match
The practice of young people becoming lodgers in the homes of elderly people is undergoing a revival, thanks to the rapid aging of the population.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Jun 5, 2013
Firms find single moms make good managers
Raising a family as a single, working mother is a challenging task. But the qualities of determination and motivation that these mothers develop as they juggle family life and work have drawn the attention of many small and medium-size firms and foreign companies in Japan seeking candidates to fill management posts.
JAPAN
Sep 8, 2011
Outlooks on work and life altered by quake
The March earthquake and tsunami devastated the landscape as well as the lives and livelihoods of people in the northeast.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Jun 2, 2011
Post-3/11, women seek matrimonial bonds
In the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, some people scrambled to stock up on emergency supplies. Others flocked to buy energy-saving devices as power outages loomed.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Feb 17, 2011
More men turning to homemaking
As public perceptions of traditional gender roles shift, more Japanese men are willing to take on homemaking. Some opinion polls show most males in their 20s and 30s have no negative notions of men serving as househusbands.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Dec 21, 2010
More firms let staff take leave to chase their dreams
While it is not uncommon for Japanese firms to let workers take leave to start a family or care for an ailing relative, a growing number of firms are instituting measures to assist employee efforts to pursue personal aspirations.
JAPAN
Jul 22, 2010
Mayor champions paternity leave
Months before a legal change to promote paternity leave takes effect, one local authority stunned the public by taking about two weeks off work in April to look after his newborn son.
JAPAN
Jan 30, 2010
Abuse of elderly up, said often unintended
Abuse of elderly people has been increasing physically, psychologically, economically and in neglect of required nursing care.
JAPAN
Aug 27, 2008
Indonesia caregivers land contracts
The 205 Indonesian caregivers who arrived in Japan this month have contracted with 98 institutions, including hospitals and nursing facilities in 34 prefectures, and plan to begin work in January or February after undergoing six months of language training.
JAPAN
Jul 11, 2003
Nonpayment of pension premiums puts agency in a bind
With the public pension system slated for revision next year, the Social Insurance Agency is desperate to restore people's trust in it.
JAPAN
Apr 16, 2003
Welfare facilities creak under rising tide of abused kids
Facilities providing shelter to children unable to live at home are in crisis, with an influx of abused youngsters pushing occupancy rates to the limit and caregivers walking out due to the unbearable workload.

Longform

Historically, kabuki was considered the entertainment of the merchant and peasant classes, a far cry from how it is regarded today.
For Japan's oldest kabuki theater, the show must go on