Roger Pulvers


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:
Sep 4, 2005
Selective thinking devalues the V-word's worth
There is a six-letter word so abused and perverted these days that I wouldn't blame the media for banning it altogether. It is the V-word and, I must confess, I hesitated to write this column about it myself. But journalists must not be daunted by trends that pollute . . . and so, here we go. The word, as you may have guessed, is "values."
Aug 28, 2005
Intelligent Design: One chance encounter explains it all
Ijust happened to be reading the Kansas City Star the other day when a fascinating article caught my eye. The Star reported, in its Aug. 2 edition, that the Kansas Board of Education has approved a draft of new science standards proposed by supporters of so-called Intelligent Design.
Aug 21, 2005
All together now, as yesterday's no-no becomes the status quo
When I first arrived in Japan in the 1960s, I was friends with a Western sociologist who was genuinely frustrated. When he went around surveying public opinion, he said that he found Japanese people to be stubbornly reserved and conservative. Apparently, those who responded to his questions about social attitudes voiced a strong aversion to change of any sort. They invariably chose answers that supported the status quo in whatever facet of life he was asking them about.
Aug 14, 2005
Chiune Sugihara: His conscience gleams out of the darkness
Exactly 60 years ago, during the evening of Aug. 14, 1945, Emperor Hirohito recorded the speech of surrender to be broadcast to the Japanese nation the next day at noon.
Aug 7, 2005
Learning a foreign language is a cultural journey, too
English students of Japan, unite! You have nothing to lose but your (conversation school) chains!
Jul 31, 2005
Only the names change as U.S. policy blunders on
Don't blame it on the neo-cons.
Jul 24, 2005
Strangelove encounters of a MAD scientist kind
Herman Kahn is back in the news.
Jul 17, 2005
All hail the Land of the Free -- or else!
The United States of America is all akilter.
Jul 10, 2005
New horizons beckon as Train Man heads nowhere fast
The Japanese nation seems to be firmly in the grip of the otaku.
Jul 3, 2005
Detractors have a whale of a time as Japan flounders on
The American historian Brooks Adams (1848-1927) defined history as "just one goddamn thing after another." Though it is a century old, Adams' aphorism is a spot-on characterization of the most recent events surrounding Japan.
Jun 26, 2005
Opportunities go begging as the blind follow dissembling blind
Japan and Australia are natural partners.
Jun 19, 2005
Media conspiracy of concealment costs social progress dear
What do these Japanese people have in common: A neighbor of people whose house has burned down; an uncle or aunt of someone who has been the victim of a crime; a person who has had food poisoning?
Jun 12, 2005
'Woe is me' nation awaits return of its sadsack heroes
In the last days of May, news reached Japan that two former soldiers in the Imperial Army had been found in the Philippines. Apparently the two men, who had been hiding during the entire postwar period in an area around the town of General Santos close to the southern tip of the island of Mindanao, now wanted to come home.
Jun 5, 2005
Will Japanese inertia never be the same again?
Who is to blame for the dead hand of inertia that has prevented Japan from forging ahead economically and politically in the last decade and a half?
May 29, 2005
Causes and effects can encompass far more than 'specifics'
In January 1977, an express train traveling from the Blue Mountains of New South Wales to Sydney derailed on a curve near Granville Station, 21 km west of the city. The train -- which was three minutes late when it left the last stop on its 2 1/2-hour journey -- smashed into the pillar of a bridge, killing 83 of those on board and injuring 213.
May 22, 2005
Last laugh to the lizards, and fair play for frogs an' all
Long ago in a land skirted by two oceans, there lived a people who worshipped lizards.
May 15, 2005
Spaghetti with chopsticks makes a mess of Mishima image
Many years ago, while teaching Japanese language and literature at the Australian National University in Canberra, I asked students in a seminar to conduct an experiment on campus. That was in the 1970s, when Australia and much of the rest of the world were rediscovering Japan as an economic and cultural superpower.
May 8, 2005
Serial stereotyping only serves others' brazen hubris
Ever since the reopening of Japan to the outside world in the mid-19th century, people from the West have categorized Japanese life in terms of one or another social model. Whatever the category chosen, though, the inference has always been that Japan is "different." How else would you account for something like the 1904 British bestseller, "More Queer Things About Japan"?
May 1, 2005
Memories are made of . . . history managed and manipulated?
Way back in 1964 and 1965 I made extended trips to and around the Soviet Union. Memories that are 40 years old are hard enough to relate to the reality of the present, let alone when they are of a country that has ceased to exist. This, though, is precisely what I aim to do.
Apr 24, 2005
Thirty years on, have no lessons been learned from Vietnam?
This month marks the 30th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War, a war that in Vietnam is known as the "American War."


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