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Mai Yoshikawa
For Mai Yoshikawa's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
When Fighters interpreter Shinju Sakuma set her mind on becoming a language liaison in sports, she picked a sport she enjoyed watching and an employer who thinks outside the box.
BASEBALL / Japanese Baseball
Feb 26, 2024
Rookie female interpreter provides voice for foreign baseball stars in Japan
Shinju Sakuma, who will graduate from Rikkyo University in Tokyo this spring, is believed to be the first female interpreter in NPB history.
Shiki Nakayama at a snow-covered baseball field in Asahikawa, Hokkaido, last month. Nakayama grew up watching her older brother’s exploits on the diamond and first picked up a bat and ball in elementary school.
BASEBALL
Feb 9, 2024
Meet the Gen Zer in Japan who is forging a path for girls in baseball
For 16-year-old Shiki Nakayama, it's no big deal that she's the only girl on her high school baseball team.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Aug 20, 2022
Japanese intimacy coordinator makes sex scenes sexy and safe
Chiho Asada is one of only two certified intimacy coordinators in the country. Her role involves advocating for actors and creating safe plans for scenes that include sexual content.
Japan Times
OLYMPICS
Feb 15, 2022
Ayumu Hirano’s latest trick: Making tenugui towels trendy
As the 23-year-old gold medalist received global media coverage, eagle-eyed fans spotted the white cotton cloth he wore around his neck in Friday's final and hailed his patriotic spirit.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Dec 19, 2021
Two Japanese LGBTQ rights activists of different faiths find common ground
Homophobia in a country that has yet to legalize gay marriage has not stopped two Tokyo-based religious leaders from doing what they are called to do.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE FOREIGN ELEMENT
Feb 13, 2021
Why a Japanese man proudly took his wife's last name
Shu Matsuo Post calls himself a feminist, but he wasn't born one. For the first 28 years of his life, he says he never tried to understand what it was like to be a girl or woman in a patriarchal society.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Society
Nov 17, 2020
Retired Olympian reshaping conversation around athletes' periods
Swimmer Hanae Ito is setting out to debunk myths and ensure both boys and girls receive proper education about menstruation.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Sep 30, 2020
Meet the Japanese omotenashi consultant selling what money can't buy
Travel has become about priceless experiences, and Luxurique goes the extra mile to fulfill requests, often involving hidden gems not on local radars.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / THE FOREIGN ELEMENT
Aug 19, 2020
Digital nomads opt to ride out the pandemic in Japan
When Viet Nguyen and Liezl Van Riper decided to worldschool their kids they had no idea a global pandemic would come into play.
Japan Times
SOCCER / J. League
Jul 5, 2020
Pandemic helps soccer star strike new balance at home
While soccer has been on hiatus, Yoshito Okubo has embraced the domestic life.
Japan Times
CULTURE
May 8, 2020
Follow the leader: How COVID-19 could unlock Japan's giving potential
As celebrities reveal details about their charitable giving during the COVID-19 pandemic, some feel it could be the start of a new attitude to donating money in Japan.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Apr 19, 2020
Japan's funeral industry scrambles to adapt in anticipation of rise in COVID-19 deaths
While health care providers are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic fight, the funeral industry is bracing for action behind the front lines.
Japan Times
MORE SPORTS
Mar 30, 2020
Wrestler So Sakabe shares tale of struggle to get doping ban overturned
If anyone knows about the complexities of anti-doping rule violations, it's Greco-Roman wrestler So Sakabe.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health
Jan 15, 2020
Japanese 'lactivist' seeks to help young moms overcome breastfeeding hurdles
Midori Ogino champions breastfeeding as a biological gift that helps newborns survive and thrive. Making it a cultural norm and erasing societal taboos over breastfeeding in public is an investment that pays back many times over.
Japan Times
BASEBALL / Japanese Baseball
Dec 25, 2019
Koji Uehara faces future after long career in baseball
Life after baseball has already begun for Koji Uehara, and the former major league pitcher is relishing the calm after his abrupt midseason retirement earlier this year and subsequent media tour.
Japan Times
MORE SPORTS
Dec 11, 2019
'Moving meditation': Tokyo gym owner helping clients kick their lives into gear
Meditation may be one way to care for your mental health, but for those who would rather find their own version of peace and serenity through punches and kicks, a Tokyo gym owner might have the answer.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Nov 16, 2019
Eat, sleep and stay green at one of Japan's eco hotels
Living toxin-free is difficult, but plotting a quick wellness getaway at a hotel with an ecologically conscious approach to delivering services is more than doable at Bio Hotels Japan.
Japan Times
BUSINESS
Oct 2, 2019
Tokyo entrepreneur's advice for parents and kids: It's never too early to teach financial literacy
Some say shortcuts are cheating, but multimillionaire investor, financial educator and bestselling author Sami Mian understands that's the route to riches most high achievers take.
Japan Times
CULTURE
Jul 23, 2019
Miyavi is on a mission to change Japan's tune on refugees
In his lesser-known role as a refugee advocate, Miyavi, aka the samurai guitarist, asks that people look beyond the headline numbers before declaring Japan unwelcoming to asylum-seekers.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Jun 19, 2019
Best-selling author and mom says Japanese parents should let kids fail to succeed
The bizarre and unreasonable rules that schools in Japan enforce upon children are not preparing them for the modern world where technology is changing what it means to be a human, says Agnes Chan, a bestselling author of parenting books.

Longform

Hideo Shimoju points to a possible site that his fellow neighbors may relocate to. Such relocations have happened before, but not preemptively.
In disaster-prone Japan, some communities consider major moves