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 Shaun McKenna

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Shaun McKenna
Shaun McKenna joined The Japan Times in 2007. He was the Music and Entertainment editor until 2019 when he became the Senior Commissioning Editor at the newspaper. He now also hosts and produces the Deep Dive podcast.
A person walks among the giant columns supporting the Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel in Saitama Prefecture.
PODCAST / deep dive
Jun 20, 2024
Tokyo underground: The city beneath our feet
Join us this week on Deep Dive as we discuss with Alex K.T. Martin the expansive subterranean world of Tokyo’s ever-changing underground.
Yayoi Kusama’s “Pumpkin,” once the victim of high waves that dragged it into the sea, sits at the end of a pier on the south side of Naoshima.
PODCAST / deep dive
Jun 6, 2024
The sweaty pleasure of Japan’s inconvenient art
This week, writer Thu-Huong Ha is our tour guide into the world of Japan’s inconvenient art movement.
Toshihiro Kinjo (center), a research support technician at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, inspects an audio recording device in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, on April 3 as Masako Ogasawara, a research support specialist at OIST, looks on.
PODCAST / deep dive
May 23, 2024
What does climate change sound like in Okinawa?
This week, Japan Times climate editor Chris Russell joins us to discuss what researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology are listening to.
From easily navigable train stations to the helpfulness of its municipal staff, Tokyo has earned high praise for its commitment to accessibility for disabled travelers.
PODCAST / deep dive
Apr 16, 2024
[Rebroadcast] Japan is doing better on accessibility than you may think
We discuss everything from accessibility in Tokyo to dealing with trains and the country’s shifting attitudes.
Two people try to take a selfie under the illuminated cherry blossoms in Kyoto’s Gion district last year.
PODCAST / deep dive
Mar 25, 2024
Sakura stories revisited: Getting in the mood for hanami
We are revisiting some past content on the science, economics and culture of cherry blossom season.
Aoi Suzuki’s son runs past a home in Taketomi on Iriomote Island (not to be confused with Taketomi Island, which lies to the east of Iriomote). The Suzukis run the Takemori Inn, one of the few hotels on Iriomote.
PODCAST / deep dive
Feb 29, 2024
[Rebroadcast] Traveling Okinawa with a broken heart
This week on Deep Dive we get contributing writer and photographer Lance Henderstein to read us his article on traveling Okinawa during the rainy season.
Naoko Motooka began hunting 10 years ago. Her hobby is one way Hokkaido hopes to curb a current boom in the deer population.
PODCAST / deep dive
Feb 15, 2024
Hunting in Hokkaido; Taylor Swift comes to Tokyo
You probably don’t think of guns when you think of Japan, but Hokkaido’s hunters do.
In the quest for immortality, some researchers believe mind uploading will be our ticket to an eternal existence.
PODCAST / deep dive
Feb 8, 2024
Japan’s take on immortality; problems in Palworld
As scientists and technologists attempt to tackle the problem of aging and death, we discuss Japanese ideas about immortality.
The Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) is seen on the surface of the moon in an image released Jan. 25.
PODCAST / deep dive
Feb 2, 2024
Japan’s historic moon landing was right on target
Japan made history last month when it became the fifth nation to soft land on the moon.
Cars drive past a damaged road, in the aftermath of an earthquake, in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture.
PODCAST / deep dive
Jan 18, 2024
Japan rings in 2024 with an unwelcome disaster
Join us for the first episode of 2024 as we recap the massive New Year’s Day earthquake and its impact on the people of Ishikawa Prefecture.
A still from The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
PODCAST / deep dive
Dec 14, 2023
Big in Japan 2023: Anime, Murakami and The Legend of Zelda
Our guests tell us why anime dominated in 2023, which books stood out among a lackluster crowd and why the Zelda franchise is experiencing a renaissance.
The Climate Action Network holds an event at the venue of the U.N. climate change conferences in Dubai on Sunday to give its 'fossil' award to countries including Japan.
PODCAST / deep dive
Dec 7, 2023
Feeling anxious? Wastewater, heat and Japan’s year in climate
In a year that saw Japan release 24,000 tons of wastewater (so far) from Fukushima No. 1 as the planet smashed heat records, it’s no wonder climate anxiety is on the rise. Mara Budgen joins us to break down the year in environment news, where we could see hope, and what we should be worried about.
Pages from a new Otaku Dictionary catalog the lexicons of Japan’s various subcultures.
PODCAST / deep dive
Nov 30, 2023
A problematic otaku dictionary and the Japanese approach to sitting
An “Otaku Dictionary” has Japan’s subcultures upset at an attempt to define them.
An official shot for this year’s lineup for NHK’s annual “Kohaku Uta Gassen.”
PODCAST / deep dive
Nov 22, 2023
Things get warmer with Xi; Johnny’s get the cold shoulder
While Japan and China look to ease tensions, NHK makes things tense with a Johnny’s-less “Kohaku” announcement.
Bears doing yoga? If you’re in the city, why not?
PODCAST / deep dive
Nov 16, 2023
Bear goes the neighborhood? Japanese wildlife is on the move.
This week, Alex K.T. Martin joins us to discuss why people are encountering bears, boars and other wildlife in the most unlikely of places.
A man dressed as Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Colonel Sanders jumps into the Dotonbori River in Osaka after the Hanshin Tigers won the Japan Series.
PODCAST / deep dive
Nov 9, 2023
Japan’s 'four-eyed tax hiker' and the curse of Colonel Sanders
Baseball writer Jason Coskrey and editor Joel Tansey discuss the Hanshin Tigers’ Japan Series victory; Gabriele Ninivaggi explains how the prime minister hopes to get a home run with his tax plan.
A woman takes her meal alone in Tokyo's Yanaka neighborhood. As the country ages, Japan's average caloric intake has been shrinking.
PODCAST / deep dive
Oct 20, 2023
Table for one? What depopulation in Japan means for dinner.
As Japan’s population ages and more people find themselves isolated, solving their dietary needs is shaping the way the country feeds itself.
The classic Japanese ghost story often features a vengeful female ghost.
PODCAST / deep dive
Oct 12, 2023
[Rebroadcast] Japan’s got ghosts
This week we discuss a few horror movies before “Uncanny Japan” podcast host Thersa Matsuura tells a classic Japanese ghost story.
Aoi Suzuki and her two sons head back down to a barbecue after watching the sun set.
PODCAST / deep dive
Sep 28, 2023
Traveling Okinawa with a broken heart
Writer and photographer Lance Henderstein reads us his article on traveling Okinawa during the rainy season.
Leaves of marijuana plants from which hemp fibers are extracted at Japan's largest legal marijuana farm in Kanuma, Tochigi Prefecture, on July 5, 2016
PODCAST / deep dive
Sep 21, 2023
Does a university cannabis scandal point to a larger trend?
A drugs scandal at Japan’s biggest university draws attention to a troubling statistic: Cannabis use among young people is on the rise.

Longform

Tokashiki Beach acts as a sanctuary for sea turtles and offers ideal snorkeling waters. It was also the site of the U.S. Army’s preliminary invasion that led to the 1945 Battle of Okinawa, which resulted in the deaths of nearly 150,000 people.
On Okinawa's Tokashiki Island, life's a beach — one of the best in the world