Hugh Cortazzi


Hugh Cortazzi
Hugh Cortazzi was posted to British Commonwealth Air Forces in Japan in 1946, and he joined the British Foreign (later diplomatic) service in 1949. After retiring, he worked in the city of London and was an adviser to a number of Japanese companies. He was chairman of the council of the Japan Society from 1985-1995. Since 1983 he has researched and written a number of books about Japanese culture and history and has edited and compiled a series of books on personalities active in Anglo-Japanese relations.
For Hugh Cortazzi's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Jul 7, 2014
Let dinosaur aspirations die
British and Japanese politicians need to recognize that the power and influence of their countries are no longer what they used to be and that their governments must 'cut their cloth.'
Jun 12, 2014
Challenges of 1944 remain
Many of the challenges facing the world in June 1944 have still to be fully met. Occasions such as the recent memorial ceremonies at Normandy evoke sad memories as well as valuable self-reflection.
Jun 2, 2014
EU shock may spur reforms
The political gains made by right-wing parties in the European parliamentary election may prompt centrists to make the positive case for immigration more forcibly as well as reforms in how the EU is governed.
May 26, 2014
Are disasters inherent risks?
Clearly current measures worldwide to cope with disasters and threats to human life are considered inadequate, yet some people in Britain think that overbearing health and safety regulations are curbing the spirt of adventure in the young.
May 13, 2014
Human rights and religion
The kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by the extremist Islamic sect Boko Haram, which condemns Western education for women, spotlights the question of whether religious beliefs can ever be allowed to override 'accepted norms' and human rights.
Apr 21, 2014
Is Japan a 'normal' country simply trying to stick out?
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's apparent aspirations for Japan to become a 'normal' country again are undermined by the government's attempts to impose conformity and limit freedoms.
Mar 18, 2014
Combating climate change
Britain's former ambassador to Japan urges public pressure on governments to stop their shilly-shalling over unresolved questions about whether human activity is contributing the most to climate change and to get on with concluding effective agreements on curbing carbon emissions.
Mar 9, 2014
Abe's right wing threatens to cause a flap for business
One danger from Japan's nationalist rhetoric of late is that it may incite extreme nationalist reactions in China and South Korea that further damage Japanese business interests.
Feb 18, 2014
NHK's neutrality is essential
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's expression of right-wing extremism has not aroused much attention in British media so far, but if the risks of a confrontation with China escalate, memories of the maltreatment of British POWs during the Pacific War are certain to be revived.
Feb 4, 2014
Abe's reactionary leadership
The Japanese government has so far failed to give meaningful reassurances about how the reactionary and potentially dangerous state secrets law, rammed through the Japanese Diet in December, will operate.
Jan 24, 2014
Playing with fire is dangerous
Any moves that Japanese leaders make at this time to start the process of amending the Constitution would arouse strong feelings in Japan and abroad, against the nation's interests.
Jan 13, 2014
Abe should end Yasukuni visits
Ever since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Yasukuni Shrine last month, a former British ambassador to Japan has been trying to guess what Abe's motives for such an act could have been.
Dec 9, 2013
Brits feel squeeze on income
Although the British economy seem at least to be showing signs of recovery, it remains difficult for young people to get on the property ladder despite low interest rates.
Nov 11, 2013
The refugees deserving of tolerance
The belief that 'charity begins at home' is used by many to justify their opposition to immigration and is reinforced by allegations that immigrants to Europe take jobs from locals.
Nov 7, 2013
Good, bad and ugly hacking
The trial of eight journalists and others accused of hacking private phones has begun in London. It is likely to last some six months and cost millions of pounds in fees to lawyers.
Oct 13, 2013
The freedom of belief and religion
Freedom of belief or religion is considered in democratic countries to be a fundamental human right and is enshrined in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Freedom of religion includes the right to change religion or not to have any religion. It also covers the freedom to practice the chosen religion and its various rites.
Oct 1, 2013
Flaws in Britain's health care
A number of recent scandals suggest that there are weaknesses and flaws in Britain's national health care system.
Sep 22, 2013
Balancing freedom, security
The U.K. is not anywhere near George Orwell's 'big brother society,' but we all need to be alert to maintaining a fair balance between security and of freedom.
Sep 6, 2013
U.K.'s response to Syrian crisis
Prime Minister David Cameron badly mishandled the issue of whether Britain should take part in a punitive attack on the Assad government for its alleged use of chemical weapons.
Aug 7, 2013
Gaffe-prone leaders are doing Japan no favors
It is in Japan's long-term interest for its politicians to avoid remarks that could exacerbate ill will toward Japan and thus detract from its goal of economic revival.


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