For HIKARI HIDA's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Yuuki Matsumoto, formerly Yuni, at his residence in Yokohama on Aug. 24. Japanese children with unconventional names can face societal and practical challenges unique to their country and its written language. Matsumoto, 24, was bullied over his name to the extent he dropped out of school, and had it legally  changed this year.
JAPAN / Society
Dec 3, 2023
Unusual names can complicate life in Japan. Now parents are being reined in.
As such names have increased, so has attention to cases of people unhappy with them. But critics say new rules may infringe on the right to be creative.
Alpha Tauri's Yuki Tsunoda is the first Japanese driver in Formula One since 2014.
MORE SPORTS / Auto Racing
Sep 30, 2023
Foul-mouthed Yuki Tsunoda becoming cult star in Formula One
Tsunoda's foul mouth and devil-may-care attitude have inspired a cult following and an international appeal.
Japan Times
May 18, 2023
The religious right’s hidden sway as Japan trails allies on gay rights
As a G7 summit nears in Hiroshima, Japan is under pressure to show greater support for equality. A national Shinto group has spread a more hostile message.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Apr 22, 2023
A Japanese island where the wild things are
From badgering nuisances to downright evil forces, yōkai fill some of the most colorful corners of Japanese folklore. These artists are dreaming up even more.
Japan Times
Feb 2, 2023
Asia is loosening rules on masks. Here’s why people still wear them.
Many other countries dropped pandemic mask requirements months ago. But in places like South Korea, which got rid of its rule this week, masks remain common.
Japan Times
Jan 8, 2023
As Asian societies age, ‘retirement’ just means more work
Across East Asia, populations are graying faster than anywhere else in the world, and while younger generations shrink, older workers are often toiling well into their 70s and beyond.
Japan Times
Nov 28, 2022
Beauty over brains: Japan’s skin-deep university pageants
The contests perpetuate a culture that often places women in rigid gender roles, and have seen some contestants face abuse and harassment from organizers.
Japan Times
Oct 9, 2022
A tiny Tokyo apartment: ‘I wouldn’t live anywhere else’
Meet the young Japanese who have decided to live in a shoe box.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Crime & Legal
Aug 14, 2022
Rushdie attack recalls 1991 killing of his Japanese translator
Hitoshi Igarashi was stabbed to death at Tsukuba University, where he taught comparative Islamic culture u2014 the crime remains unsolved.
Japan Times
May 5, 2022
Japan says it needs nuclear power. Can host towns ever trust it again?
The decision to restart plants is fraught with emotions, not to mention the gargantuan technical task of fortifying the stations against future disasters in an earthquake-prone nation.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Apr 25, 2022
Discreetly, the young in Japan chip away at a taboo on tattoos
Exposed to body art on social media, more young Japanese are getting tattoos, even if that means hiding them at work.
Japan Times
PARALYMPICS / Summer Paralympics
Sep 4, 2021
Disabled Japanese are often invisible. Will Paralympics bring lasting light?
Tokyo improved its infrastructure before the Games, but activists wonder how long the focus will continue in a country with a long history of excluding people with disabilities.
Japan Times
Aug 7, 2021
Tokyo was promised glory and riches. It got an Olympics in a bubble.
The Games failed to live up to their economic promise and cast a harsh light on Japanu2019s political culture. Some feel u201ca hunger for a new system.u201d
Japan Times
Jul 28, 2021
The Olympic mascots aren’t winning any medals
Before the pandemic, the Japanese designer who created the Olympic and Paralympic mascots predicted that they would become the "face of the Games.u201d It hasnu2019t quite turned out that way.
Japan Times
LIFE / Digital
Jul 10, 2021
A digital calico is melting hearts (and napping a lot)
The cat has drawn crowds and sparked joy on social media.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Society
Jun 6, 2021
Olympics gave hope to Japan’s LGBTQ activists. But old prejudices die hard.
Even a modest goal of labeling discrimination "unacceptableu201d has proved too much for conservative lawmakers, who have blocked consideration of a bill by the Diet.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Society
Mar 2, 2021
Anime is booming. So why are animators living in poverty?
The workers who make the Japanese shows the world is binge-watching can earn as little as $200 a month. Many wonder how much longer they can endure it.
Japan Times
Feb 25, 2021
Deaths in Japan fall for the first time in more than a decade
The health ministry reported that the number of deaths across the nation dropped by more than 9,300 in 2020 to around 1.4 million.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Society
Feb 24, 2021
As pandemic took hold, suicide rose among Japanese women
In Japan, 6,976 women took their lives last year, nearly 15% more than in 2019. It was the first year-over-year increase in more than a decade.
Japan Times
Oct 9, 2020
The pressure to be perfect turns deadly for celebrities in Japan
Yuko Takeuchi is the latest in a succession of suicides that has shown the burdens of a society where many feel that they must conceal their personal struggles.


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