Alex K.T. Martin


Alex K.T. Martin
Alex K.T. Martin is a Tokyo-based journalist and senior writer at The Japan Times, primarily focusing on feature stories. Previously he was a Tokyo correspondent for The Wall Street Journal.
For Alex K.T. Martin's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
Dec 24, 2018
Unknown overseas, Garigari-kun popsicles year-round best-sellers in Japan
It's Japan's top-selling popsicle — yet still virtually unknown overseas.
Japan Times
PODCAST / deep dive
Nov 28, 2018
Episode 2: The hangover that followed Japan's bubble era
In the 1980s and '90s, Japan saw one of the greatest economic bubbles in history, but after it burst, the hangover that followed was just as massive.
Japan Times
Nov 20, 2018
Japan startup's superflies may hold key to food self-sufficiency — even in space
Houseflies, the Soviet space program and manned missions to Mars — these aren't plot devices for a Cold War space thriller, but key terms to understand the history behind Fukuoka-based startup Musca Inc.'s project to provide a solution to some of the world's most pressing agricultural problems: food and animal waste and dwindling supplies of livestock feed.
Japan Times
Oct 30, 2018
At death's door: The attraction of living in homes with ghastly pasts
Television sets inexplicably turn on and off. Visitors who enter his room complain of sudden migraines. Rapping sounds keep him awake at night, and psychics warn he is being stalked by ghostly apparitions.
Japan Times
Oct 17, 2018
Freeze-dried food guru engages in decades-long quest to take fare to new heights
Apply 140 milliliters of hot water on the brown rectangular block, then stir for 60 seconds and voila, a steaming plate of chicken cutlet curry — that quintessential Japanese comfort food — is resurrected from its mummified state, offering instant gratification with minimal preparation.
Japan Times
Aug 30, 2018
Minyo Crusaders sing a song from every corner of Japan
A muffled bass line is soon matched by Katsumi Tanaka's staccato electric guitar riff loosely emulating a shamisen. Congas and timbales start grooving in the rhythm of cumbia before the horn section dives in, setting the stage for Fredy Tsukamoto to belt out a high-pitched, vibrato-filled rendition of "Kushimoto Bushi," a minyō folk song from western Wakayama Prefecture.
Japan Times
Aug 28, 2018
Startup takes stress out of fed-up workers' exit plans
There was the 24-year-old insurance saleswoman who got sick of being yelled at when she couldn't reach her quota. Then there's the exhausted designer who clocked 160 hours of monthly overtime. And the ramen noodle shop employee who suffered stress to the point of developing depression.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Entertainment news
Aug 15, 2018
Made men: Tokyo-based 'yakuza' talent agency delivers the real deal
They aren't just acting tough; they really are tough.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Aug 11, 2018
Unsolved mysteries: Japanese fans of the occult are engaged in a never-ending search for the truth
Whether it's tales of hauntings, spirits or paranormal phenomena, Yuki Yoshida loves a good scare.
Japan Times
JAPAN / History / Defining the Heisei Era
Jun 23, 2018
Defining the Heisei Era: Japan experiences a hangover
The Japan Times presents the second installment of a monthly 12-part series that looks back at the leading issues of the past three decades.
Japan Times
Apr 29, 2018
Canned chūhai drinks thrive on salaryman buzz
"When life gives us lemons, we make -196˚ C Strong Zero Double Lemon!"
Japan Times
BUSINESS / Companies / Taking the Lead
Apr 1, 2018
Zozotown founder Yusaku Maezawa follows eclectic path
Andy Warhol's iconic Campbell's Soup cans, a painting by Takashi Murakami and a word sculpture by Jack Pierson are some of the pieces decorating the head office of Start Today Co., operator of Japan's largest online fashion mall, Zozotown.
Japan Times
JAPAN / 3/11: Rebuilding Tohoku
Mar 8, 2018
Tohoku communities slow to regroup as tsunami-hit cities rebuild on higher ground
Takashi Ito's family-owned book and stationery store is one of the 20 or so shops occupying a new mall that opened last year in Rikuzentakata, a tsunami-ravaged city in Iwate Prefecture once known for the towering pine trees that lined its scenic coast.
Japan Times
Dec 26, 2017
Japan's glut of abandoned homes: Hard to sell but bargains when opportunity knocks
Realtor Yuken Kon specializes in properties most of his peers steer clear of.
Japan Times
BUSINESS / Companies
Dec 14, 2017
Rakuten announces foray into saturated Japanese cellphone market
The e-commerce giant aims to become nationu2019s fourth mobile carrier, in a move that threatens to disrupt the cellular phone market oligopoly.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Society
Nov 21, 2017
Jobs battle environment on sacred but scarred Mount Buko
Shin Sasakubo grew up listening to blasts of dynamite scar the slopes of Mount Buko and echo across his small town every day at half past noon.
Japan Times
Nov 8, 2017
Small Saitama town embraces sharing economy in bid to battle demographic drain
Yokoze, a quiet, scenic town of around 8,400 in the mountainous Chichibu region in Saitama Prefecture, isn't immune to the sweeping demographic change impacting hundreds of rural municipalities across Japan.
Japan Times
Sep 26, 2017
Japan Airlines announces code-sharing deal with Hawaiian Airlines
Japan Airlines said Tuesday it will enter into a code-sharing deal with Hawaiian Airlines and form a joint venture in the coming months to boost access to one of the most popular overseas destinations for Japanese travelers.
Japan Times
Sep 8, 2017
In Japan's fledgling bike-sharing scene, the race for market share heats up
Bike sharing is shifting into higher gear in Japan as a string of new players and leading Chinese services announce their entry into a nascent but growing domestic market.
Japan Times
Sep 5, 2017
Drive-thru funeral service will let Japanese bid an easy and fast last farewell
In a first for Japan, a funeral home operator in Nagano Prefecture will be offering a drive-thru service allowing the bereaved to give their final farewells without having to get out of their car.


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