John Yoon
For John Yoon's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Jin-Oh Hyun searches for wild king cherry trees and their relatives on Geoje Island, off the coast of South Korea, on March 22.
Mar 30, 2024
Wanted in South Korea: imperialism-free cherry blossoms
Activists want to replace a variety of cherry tree associated with the Japanese colonial era with one they say is Korean. The science is messy.
Doosan Bears fans during a game in Seoul in April 2022
Feb 21, 2024
Women outnumber men in South Korea’s sports stadiums
Women in South Korea make up 55% of fans at professional sporting events, including baseball, basketball, soccer and volleyball.
Opposition leader Lee Jae-myung falls after being stabbed in the neck with a knife during his visit to Busan, South Korea, on Tuesday.
Jan 4, 2024
Knife attack on opposition leader raises alarms in polarized South Korea
Politics of hatred is said to have become a norm, and tensions are unlikely to ease anytime soon as rival parties gear up for parliamentary elections in April.
Police officers examine a scene where South Korean actor Lee Sun-kyun was found dead at a park in Seoul on Wednesday.
Dec 29, 2023
In South Korea, an unrelenting stance on drugs batters suspected users
Treatment experts say that authorities focus too much on punishment rather than rehabilitation.
A South Korean teacher reacts as others chant slogans during a protest to demand better protection of their rights and to mourn a young teacher found dead in July in an apparent suicide, in Seoul on Monday. The signs read "Vote for an agreement on the protection of teachers' rights."
Sep 6, 2023
South Korean teachers want an end to parents’ harassment
Teachers say they often face pressure from parents who make excessive or impossible demands of them, including favoritism for their children.
A couple enjoy the sunset in Seoul. The proportion of people getting married has declined worldwide, but it has plummeted especially far in South Korea.
Aug 21, 2023
Seeking love, with help from the city government
Singles are signing up for city-hosted blind-dating events in South Korea, but some point to their inability to address real issues with family planning.
A policeman stands next to the crime scene where a mass stabbing occurred in Seongnam, South Korea, on Thursday.
WORLD / Crime & Legal
Aug 6, 2023
Police arrest 7 over murder threats at Seoul subway stations
Online posts specifying times and locations for stabbing attacks in the South Korean capital were shared widely across social media.
Japan Times
Jun 15, 2023
How South Korea puts its food scraps to good use
South Korea, which banned food scraps from its landfills almost 20 years ago, now turns the vast majority of it into animal feed, fertilizer and fuel for heating homes.
Japan Times
Feb 24, 2023
South Korea inches toward same-sex equality, but broader bill is stalled
As long as the conservative People Power Party — and opposition from the country's Christian population —remains strong, the bill is unlikely to reach a vote.
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
Nov 23, 2022
Beijing is fixing its foul air. Why can’t New Delhi?
The return of smog season in India's capital has again left residents asking why nothing has changed. The answer may be largely political.
Japan Times
Jun 23, 2022
‘Not in this for the money’: Why some families sue North Korea
Their civil litigation — often over physical mistreatment and abductions at the hands of North Korean authorities — is part of a quiet, yearslong search for justice.
Japan Times
May 26, 2022
A father’s worst fear: Losing one of his children
Alfred Garza III said he was on a lunch break when his daughter's mother told him she could not get her out of the school because it was on lockdown.
Japan Times
Apr 16, 2022
Kim Jong Un gives North Korea’s most famous TV anchor a luxury home
Ri Chun Hee, who delivers the news with a soaring, bombastic tenor, received a two-story apartment in a riverside complex from the country's leader, apparently for her loyalty.
Japan Times
Feb 10, 2022
Speedskating's one constant: Friction between China and South Korea
The rivalry between the two countries took another turn when South Korea's Hwang Dae-heon won the men's 1,500-meter race after a Chinese rival was disqualified.
Japan Times
Jan 6, 2022
Hong Kong tightens COVID rules, suspending inbound flights from eight countries
The flight bans will deepen the city's isolation from the outside world and mark a return to the tough restrictions imposed in the early days of the pandemic.


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