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 Masami Ito

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Masami Ito
Masami is a staff writer for the Life and Culture Division at The Japan Times. She is in charge of the weekly Sunday Timeout, covering various issues related to Japan, from alcohol/drug addiction and juvenile crime to female sushi chefs and kendama. Over her 15-year career, she has written extensively on Japanese politics, foreign policy and social issues.
For Masami Ito's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Oct 4, 2014
Vaccination: a choice between two unknowns
Yoshimi Kawabe's daughter was 2 years old in 2008 when an unusual rash broke out on her hands and feet. Her family doctor at first thought the rash was caused by hand, foot and mouth disease — a contagious viral infection common in young children — but decided to investigate further after her condition took a turn for the worse.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Oct 4, 2014
'It's as if time has stopped since the vaccine'
Cancer is the leading cause of death in Japan. But what if there was a vaccine that could prevent a certain type of cancer? And what if it was free?
Japan Times
CULTURE / Film
Oct 2, 2014
Film festival hopes to present refugees as more than just victims
From Syria to Afghanistan to South Sudan, conflict this year has pushed the number of people seeking refuge around the world to numbers not seen since World War II.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Sep 13, 2014
'No child ever deserves to be abused like this'
Images of Koyuki Higashi's childhood came back to her in flashes. She was almost always in the bathroom; sometimes she caught a glimpse of the stool she used to sit on while taking a shower, other times she saw her father and her, bathing together. For a long time Higashi was unable to make much sense of the flashes. A few years ago, however, she finally began to remember: She had been sexually abused as a child.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Sep 13, 2014
Kodomo no Ie: home away from home
The sound of giggling fills a room at Kodomo no Ie, a children's institution in northern Tokyo, as a group of half a dozen girls work on their homework while waiting for dinner to be served. It's the same situation that is typically played out in homes across the country, except these are no ordinary children. Some of them are lucky to be alive.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Sep 13, 2014
Waking up to child abuse
With reported cases of child abuse topping 70,000 per annum for the first time in August, Masami Ito examines the nation's changing attitudes toward violence at home.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Aug 30, 2014
Dealing with addiction: Japan's drinking problem
We admit we are powerless over alcohol and we need help to break the habit.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Aug 30, 2014
'I blacked out from drinking. ... I wasn't a good parent'
Yumiko Miyata started drinking when she was 15. She was an inherently shy girl and found that alcohol helped her make friends. When people discovered she could hold her liquor, she then became the center of attention. At first she thought it was harmless fun. Eventually, however, her life started spinning out of control.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Aug 23, 2014
Dealing with addiction: Japan's drug problem
Some kid shot up a dose again tonight
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Aug 23, 2014
Former drug addict relieved to be alive
You won't find an air conditioner in any inmate wings at Fuchu Prison, no matter how hot it is outside. And on this sweltering, cloudless day in August, it is certainly hot. Two members from Drug Addiction Rehabilitation Center (DARC) are preparing to hold a session with a group of repeat drug offenders in a room that is kept cool with only a fan. Vibrant sunlight streams through the lace curtains, giving the scene a somewhat surreal backdrop. Every once and a while, a gust of wind wafts through the room, making the temperature just bearable despite the suffocating heat.
Japan Times
LIFE / Digital
Aug 23, 2014
Yoshimoto Kogyo's role in creating a real-life robot with a sense of humor
With big, round, smiling eyes and a shirt and bow tie displayed on the screen on his chest, humanoid robot Pepper is ready to entertain his guests. Music begins to play, and Pepper shows off his moves to the 1960s hit song "The Loco-Motion" as a crowd of onlookers laughs with pleasure.
Japan Times
Events / Events In Tokyo
Aug 13, 2014
Art from the margins of society
A show of brilliant color combinations, unusual shapes and a creative use of materials, "Art as a Haven of Happiness" at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum showcases the work of artists with Down syndrome and other disabilities. Free of any fixed ideas or concepts that often limit the definition of art, these are works created from instinct, often expressing the artists' happiness and joy.
Japan Times
Events / Events In Tokyo
Aug 13, 2014
Lighting the way for o-Bon
Toro nagashi is a long-held Japanese tradition where candle-lit lanterns are released into rivers to guide the spirits of ancestors back to the other world during the o-Bon season.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Jul 31, 2014
Yokohama Triennale 2014: Remembering the forgotten
Noise. Speed. Words. Images. We live in a digital era, constantly exposed to a massive stream of information, which we believe is vital to our daily lives.
Japan Times
Events / Events In Tokyo
Jul 29, 2014
A midsummer night's dream of dance
Looking out with expressive eyes, their fingertips delicately fluttering and their heads and hips swaying in unique angular movements, Balinese dancers have long enchanted people around the world, with their elegant and at times powerful performances.
Japan Times
Events / Events In Tokyo
Jul 29, 2014
Patterns of fun at the National Museum of Modern Art
Whether lines, circles, squares, triangles or other shapes, in our daily lives, we are constantly surrounded by patterns and designs.
Japan Times
Events / Events In Tokyo
Jul 29, 2014
'Eco Edo' art aquarium is a different kettle of fish
Japan loves goldfish, especially in the summer, during which festival goldfish-scooping games are always popular and yukata (light summer kimono) and hand-held fans often sport goldfish patterns. The delicate sound of the furin wind chimes and images of fish swimming in clear water evoke a relieving sense of coolness during the suffocatingly hot and humid season.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Crime & Legal
Jul 2, 2014
Most criminal interrogations in Japan will remain opaque
At least 97 percent of criminal interrogations would continue to go unrecorded, under the terms of a draft being considered by a Justice Ministry advisory panel.
JAPAN
Jun 26, 2014
Nursery staffer fractures boy's skull
A young boy was left with a fractured skull after being physically thrown out of a nursery classroom on June 13, a Kyoto city official said Thursday.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Society
Jun 25, 2014
Sexist slurs present chance to improve decorum in politics
Discriminatory remarks in the assembly hall aren't rare in the world of Japanese politics, but a recent incident involving sexist slurs may offer the chance to end a shameful tradition.

Longform

Historically, kabuki was considered the entertainment of the merchant and peasant classes, a far cry from how it is regarded today.
For Japan's oldest kabuki theater, the show must go on