Shaun McKenna




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.
For Shaun McKenna's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
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.
The incoming and outgoing presidents of Johnny & Associates, Noriyuki Higashiyama and Julie Keiko Fujishima, bow at a press conference on Sept. 7.
PODCAST / deep dive
Sep 14, 2023
Johnny’s talent agency has admitted to a past of abuse. What next?
Karin Kaneko joins the show to update us on how the story is unfolding.
An activist in Seoul protests Japan’s plan to release treated wastewater from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
PODCAST / deep dive
Sep 7, 2023
Anger at Fukushima’s wastewater; hope in its renewables
Good news and bad news out of Fukushima.
A child stands in front of the Hibiya Music Hall, which collapsed during the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake.
PODCAST / deep dive
Aug 31, 2023
The earthquake that turned Tokyo to ash
This week we commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the Great Kanto Earthquake.
A woman stands on one side of the wall texting in front of a nightclub while, on the other side of the wall, a man works in an izakaya.
PODCAST / deep dive
Aug 24, 2023
One night out in Tokyo
As the last trains leave the central hubs of Shinjuku and Shibuya for the suburbs, much of the city heads home. However, Tokyo never sleeps.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (right) sits next to digital minister Taro Kono while speaking at a government review meeting on the My Number national identification cards.
PODCAST / deep dive
Aug 10, 2023
Why is modernizing Japan so darn tough?
Reporter Gabriele Ninivaggi joins us to break down how Japan’s digitalization hiccups risk exposing how backward things are.
Photo: Mount Fuji is shot from above so that you can see the trails leading to its summit.
PODCAST / deep dive
Jul 26, 2023
A tale of two Fujis: Bullet climbs, crowds and Lizzo
With the borders fully open, Mount Fuji is all booked up and Fuji Rock is back in full force. Drew Damron and Patrick St. Michel join us on the podcast to discuss Japan’s two favorite Fujis.
A man stands atop a float holding a portable shrine at this year’s Sanja Festival in Tokyo.
PODCAST / deep dive
Jul 20, 2023
Why 2023 will be a deciding year for Japan’s iconic summer festivals
As the population gets older do we risk losing the summer festivals that make Japan unique?
Japan Times
PODCAST / deep dive
Jul 12, 2023
Japan is about to release 1.3 million tons of Fukushima wastewater. Should we be concerned?
Environmental journalist Mara Budgen joins the podcast to discuss Japan’s plan to discharge millions of tons of wastewater from the Fukushima No. 1 power plant into the ocean.
Japan Times
PODCAST / deep dive
Jul 5, 2023
Would you spend the night in a coffin … for art?
Want to know what it’s like to spend the night in a coffin? Culture critic Thu-Huong Ha joins us to discuss her night in artist Marina Abramovic’s nightmare-inducing Dream House.
Japan Times
PODCAST / deep dive
Jun 21, 2023
Things just got a bit tougher for asylum-seekers in Japan
Japan passes a controversial new law that changes the rules for which people can apply for asylum in an effort to solve issues like overcrowding at detention centers.
Japan Times
PODCAST / deep dive
Jun 14, 2023
How the climate crisis is supercharging Japan’s rainy season
When you think of natural disasters do you think of guerrilla rainstorms, landslides and heatwaves? You should, since that’s in the forecast for Japan’s climate-crisis-charged rainy seasons.
Japan Times
PODCAST / deep dive
May 31, 2023
G7 '23: Kishida's pumped from a Zelenskyy bump
Another year, another G7 summit done and dusted. How did Prime Minister Fumio Kishida do? Well, he’s thinking of an early election if that’s any indication.


Tokyo Healthcare University professor Takayuki Mifune explains how he is trying to re-create bonito broth from 1,300 years ago.
The quest to re-create what the Japanese ate 1,300 years ago