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 Roger Pulvers

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Roger Pulvers
Roger Pulvers is an author, playwright, theater director and translator who divides his time between Tokyo and Sydney. He has published more than 40 books. His latest book in English is "The Dream of Lafcadio Hearn."
For Roger Pulvers's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
COMMENTARY / COUNTERPOINT
Jan 29, 2006
With Horie's downfall, who can young Japan look up to?
The media has had a field day with Takafumi Horie, the 33-year-old founder of the communications firm Livedoor.
COMMENTARY / COUNTERPOINT
Jan 22, 2006
Realities dictate that this loyal retainer should take the reins
Japan today is a kerai state.
COMMENTARY / COUNTERPOINT
Jan 15, 2006
Fighting on the beaches peels away Aussie veneer of tolerance
It has already been a long hot summer in Sydney, Australia, where I am writing this article, and the season still has at least two months to go.
COMMENTARY / COUNTERPOINT
Jan 8, 2006
'Sayuri' by any other name is still a sexist whitewash
Stereotypes die hard, and none more so than outsiders' stereotypes of Japan. Time and again, they are not so much reinvented as recycled, using potent but often semi-mythical symbols from a potpourri of favorite bygone eras. In the end, they tell us more about the foreigners who have dredged them up than about anything genuinely Japanese.
COMMENTARY / COUNTERPOINT
Dec 25, 2005
Merry Christmas -- whether rendered as a fact or not
Today being Christmas Day, I think we should all come clean and dedicate ourselves to truth. When all is said and done (and pretty soon it may be), there is probably no person in the world as tortured over the truth these days as U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
COMMENTARY / COUNTERPOINT
Dec 18, 2005
Sinister stats suggest southpaws should swap sides
I am very depressed by the news these days. But, believe me, it's not what you think. It's all because I'm left-handed, an extrovert and a writer of poetry.
COMMENTARY / COUNTERPOINT
Dec 11, 2005
Judicial execution: the way to a better world?
The most gruesome photograph of people that I have ever seen in a newspaper is that of convicted spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg just before their execution in the electric chair on June 19, 1953.
COMMENTARY / COUNTERPOINT
Dec 4, 2005
Read at your peril: Blair blasts Bush's al Jazeera 'joke'
On November 22, the Daily Mirror newspaper in Britain published an exclusive article headlined "Bush Plot to Bomb his Ally." A subsidiary headline said: "President Bush planned to bomb Arab TV station al Jazeera in friendly Qatar, a 'Top Secret' No. 10 memo reveals."
COMMENTARY / COUNTERPOINT
Nov 27, 2005
Democracy's foes are both within and without
When I was traveling around the Soviet Union way back in the summer of 1964, people were talking about a mummy that had been found in a cave in Dagestan, in the northeast of the Caucasus. It wasn't long before scholars were debating how old it was, with two opinions coming to the fore: either it was from the 5th century B.C. or the 10th century B.C.
COMMENTARY / COUNTERPOINT
Nov 20, 2005
Love letters speak volumes from beyond a war grave
My old friend Arthur Stockwin, Professorial Fellow of St. Anthony's College, Oxford, visited me in Tokyo earlier this year. He told me an intriguing story, and this is it.
COMMENTARY / COUNTERPOINT
Nov 13, 2005
Nobel laureate set to be garlanded in cliche
Awarding this year's Nobel Prize in literature to British playwright Harold Pinter is giving the recipient an opportunity to mount a stage of enormous proportions, and his acceptance speech in Stockholm next month may be the most provocative, fiery and influential address ever given on this august occasion.
COMMENTARY / COUNTERPOINT
Nov 6, 2005
Say 'cheese' and snap out of such fanciful thinking
Foreign-ministers-in-waiting don't drop clangers for nothing. When the then Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Taro Aso spoke last month at the newly-opened Kyushu National Museum in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture, he fully expected his clanger to resound and reverberate when it hit the ground. Now, just weeks later, Mr. Aso has been named foreign minister in the new Koizumi cabinet.
COMMENTARY / COUNTERPOINT
Oct 30, 2005
What lies beneath the myth of middle-class consciousness
A friend sent me an email about some new people, all Japanese, she had met at a party. There was a young man who had worked in Africa for Medecins Sans Frontieres. One middle-age man had quit a stable job in broadcasting to study French in Paris. A female graduate student in marine biology was also there. She apparently told my friend how much she detested Japan's buddy-buddy acquiescence in George W. Bushs "war on terror."
COMMENTARY / COUNTERPOINT
Oct 23, 2005
Best to dig deep and study language from its roots
W hen I was growing up in Los Angeles during the 1950s, the L.A. County Board of Education decided that the children of the city should learn Spanish. While the language was not made compulsory, it was taught to us regularly with the usual visual aids, such as pictures of elephants, giraffes, mountains and apples. I learned how to count from 1-10 and sing "How Much is that Doggy in the Window?" in Spanish.
COMMENTARY / COUNTERPOINT
Oct 16, 2005
Havin' a talk with 'God' and his Oval Office cronies
U.S. President George W. Bush has apparently declared, in a program to be aired next week on the BBC, that God instructed him to "fight the terrorists" in Afghanistan and Iraq.
COMMENTARY / COUNTERPOINT
Oct 9, 2005
America's war criminals pass the buck to underlings
'I was only following orders." With these words, that have entered our language as a cliche reeking of bitter irony, SS-Obersturmbannfurer Karl Adolf Eichmann (1906-62) defended his part in the murder of innocent prisoners in Nazi death camps. The court in Jerusalem, where Eichmann was put on trial in 1961, did not accept "only following orders" as a justifiable defense.
COMMENTARY / COUNTERPOINT
Oct 2, 2005
A stinging voice of conscience who told it like it is
He would have turned 80 this month. And in our time of ill-lived religious fanatics and retrograde policy planners, we feel his loss all the more.
COMMUNITY
Sep 25, 2005
America's chip off the old block can't promise potatoes forever
When I was studying Soviet politics at graduate school in the 1960s, my professors were adamant about one thing: Soviet leaders viewed the world through the prism of their ideology (Marxism-Leninism), while we Americans were democratic, pragmatic and open to discourse.
COMMENTARY / COUNTERPOINT
Sep 18, 2005
Japan in the doldrums needs a lot more than hot air
It is not every election in Japan that raises questions about the direction of the nation and the identity of its people. It was natural that last week's poll was a polemical one. After a "lost decade" now well on the way to becoming a "lost double-decade," Japanese people have been asking themselves: Why are we like a ship at sea, lolling in the doldrums while the ships of state in East Asia and elsewhere are forging purposefully ahead?
COMMENTARY / COUNTERPOINT
Sep 11, 2005
What price social equality since the ventriloquists' putsch?
On the fourth anniversary of the 9/11 atrocity, is it too early to talk of a Bush legacy? What vision has the administration of President George W. Bush bestowed on the United States as a result of the terrorist attacks that day?

Longform

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