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
JAPAN / Society
Feb 16, 2019
Embracing a buraku heritage: Examining changing attitudes toward a social minority
When Chie Takaiwa struck up the courage to reveal a family secret to her colleague some years ago, she was met by an unexpected response.
Japan Times
JAPAN / History / Heisei Icons
Feb 7, 2019
Masayoshi Son: Betting big and winning
There's a well-known anecdote about Masayoshi Son, the maverick billionaire founder and chief executive of SoftBank Group Corp. and the man behind the world's largest technology investment fund.
Japan Times
JAPAN / History
Jan 22, 2019
The Todai Riots: 1968-69
A photographer who documented the occupation of the University of Tokyo from inside the barricades half a century ago remembers the final days of resistance
Japan Times
JAPAN / History
Jan 19, 2019
The University of Tokyo riots of 1968-69: A photographer remembers the final days of resistance
Riot police at the University of Tokyo haul off a man wearing a white helmet, cuffed hands clasped above his bowed head. His expression is a mixture of resignation and defiance, but the fine details are hard to discern, obscured by the dark shades of the monochrome photograph he is depicted in — where he remains frozen in time. In the foreground, an officer is speaking into his transceiver, perhaps reporting back to the tactical unit in charge of operations or answering a query from other troops conducting a sweep of the campus.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink
Jan 12, 2019
A rare glimpse into the world of Japan's cozy snack bars
Cigarette smoke wafts across rows of whisky and shōchū bottles with dedicated name tags draped around the necks as an elderly man, microphone in hand, belts out a Showa Era enka tune playing on the karaoke machine.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink
Jan 4, 2019
U.S. sensation known as kombucha makes a return trip to Japan
Brewer Yuji Shimada carefully holds the stem of a short wine glass and pours a clear, golden liquid from one of the taps mounted on the commercial refrigerator, the light fizz from natural carbonation creating a thin layer of foam reminiscent of beer head.
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
JAPAN / Society
Dec 3, 2018
Japanese volunteers spring to action after fatal child abuse case
Five-year old Yua Funato was found unconscious at a Tokyo apartment in March, her feet severely frostbitten and her face and body covered with bruises that were inflicted by her 33-year-old stepfather. She was later pronounced dead at a hospital from pneumonia-induced sepsis caused by malnutrition.
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
JAPAN / History / Defining the Heisei Era
Nov 24, 2018
Defining the Heisei Era: Examining the rise of otaku culture
With the number of children shrinking, popular entertainment naturally began targeting the otaku population that didn't hesitate to open their wallets for material many considered juvenile.
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
Oct 13, 2018
Eternal saints: The art of self-preservation
Examining the extreme ritual behind the monks who spent years turning themselves into mummies while they were alive
Japan Times
Oct 1, 2018
A creative force in a concrete jungle: Architect's Tokyo project draws on love and improvisation
Sandwiched between old residential apartments in the capital's central Minato Ward is the Arimaston Building, an eccentric collage of individually patterned concrete slabs piled upon each other as if by happenstance.
Japan Times
Sep 29, 2018
Mixing music genres into something magic
Curator of the Live Magic! festival shares experiences of DJ-ing in Japan and reveals some of his favorite tunes.
Japan Times
Sep 25, 2018
Hokusai: Examining the enduring allure of a Japanese icon
Hokusai's thirst for new forms of expression and willingness to abandon established techniques continues to intrigue the world today.
Japan Times
Sep 20, 2018
Yusaku Maezawa: Japan's corporate enfant terrible with the world's first ticket to the moon
Call it a flashy billionaire's whimsy or a stroke of PR genius.
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 29, 2018
The sky is the canvas: Tokyo startup looks to launch world's first artificial meteor shower
It was literally an out-of-this-world idea that seemed unfeasible when it struck her nearly two decades ago: Made-to-order shooting stars. But Lena Okajima's audacious project to reproduce nature's fireworks for mass entertainment is getting ready for takeoff.


Later this month, author Shogo Imamura will open Honmaru, a bookstore that allows other businesses to rent its shelves. It's part of a wave of ideas Japanese booksellers are trying to compete with online spaces.
The story isn't over for Japan's bookstores