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:
Jul 29, 2012
In our time of global aggression we could learn from the 'Land of Sorry'
Back in 1991, I was offered a tenured position at a university in Kyoto. Needless to say, this was a big step for me and my family, who were all looking forward to settling into Kyoto life.
Jul 22, 2012
Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto: 'What Japan needs now is dictatorship'
Confrontational, outspoken, feisty and highly focused, Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto is a self-made man determined to redraw the loci of power in Japan. He is clearly using the local platform from which to spring into the national arena. The question on everyone's mind is: Will Hashimoto ever be the prime minister of Japan?
Jul 15, 2012
Shades of Meiji surround provincial Hashimoto's growing national profile
First of two parts
Jul 8, 2012
The sorry state of affairs in Japan is enough to turn WGs into FGs
Many years ago I coined a phrase — "Frozen Gaijin" — to describe a particular kind of foreigner living in Japan.
Jul 1, 2012
Ryuichi Sakamoto reminds Japanese what's the score on nuclear blame
"Keeping silent after Fukushima is barbaric," is how composer and musician Ryuichi Sakamoto recently made clear his proactive stance toward Japan's ongoing nuclear disaster.
Jun 24, 2012
Fumiko Hayashi: Haunted to the grave by her wartime 'flute and drums'
If you compare the treatment dealt out in the immediate postwar period to Japanese writers who supported their nation's military aggression in World War II with that meted out to such writers in Europe, the Japanese literary collaborators seem to have got off lightly.
Jun 17, 2012
Might Japan's acquiescence to domestic violence be ending at last?
In November 1980, a murder in Kanagawa Prefecture just south of Tokyo stunned the nation. It involved a 20-year-old student who beat his parents to death with a metal baseball bat.
Jun 10, 2012
The self-styled 'Land of the Free' nurtures yet another facet of hypocrisy
Last month, two members of the U.S. Senate vilified Eduardo Saverin, the cofounder of Facebook Inc., for doing something that Americans are apparently coming to consider a punishable sin.
Jun 3, 2012
Hush ye not! Here's a heckle of an idea to get rich — and save the world
You gotta hand it to the Americans. By god, they invented or at least morphed into profitability just about everything that's on my desk as I write this: my landline telephone; my iPad, which is open to my Facebook page; a DVD of the director's cut of "Edward Scissorhands"; even the plastic-lidded cup filled with a liquid that vaguely resembles coffee.
May 27, 2012
Nuclear power profiteers seem keen to risk getting blood on their hands
Areport this year by the Independent Investigation Committee on the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, a group set up in September 2011 by the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation, condemned what it called Japan's "absolute safety myth." The Japanese government, in collusion with the media and the regional electric-power companies — with Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) at the front of the line — perpetrated this myth on a gullible public, the report inferred.
May 20, 2012
Poverty stalks the land — and its long-term victims will be today's young
Open any Japanese newspaper, listen to the radio, watch television or keep tabs on any other form of media, social or otherwise, and you are bound to find references to this country's "rapidly aging society."
May 13, 2012
Born of disaster, modern architecture is itself now an ongoing disaster
In the French writer-director Jacques Tati's superb 1967 film "Play Time," people are like prisoners condemned to roam about in and amid the glass cages of high-rise office blocks. They are lost, both to the world and themselves. In the world of Tati, who died in 1982 aged 75, all cities look alike; all humans are the victims of an insipid sameness.
May 6, 2012
Japan's women are increasingly taking the future into their own hands
Sara Blakely's story is inspirational. The 41-year-old Floridian began her working life as a door-to-door fax-machine salesperson. Then one day she looked in the mirror — but not at her face.
Apr 29, 2012
Reversing Japan's rising sex aversion may depend on a rebirth of hope
"If young people's aversion to sex continues to increase at the present rate, the situation of Japan's low fertility rate and rapid ageing will rapidly worsen. ... The Japanese economy will lose its vitality even more than now. If this happens, this nation might eventually perish into extinction."
Apr 22, 2012
Stalin-era Russian writer penned part of his own death sentence in Japan
"I don't think there is another nation of people in the world like the Japanese. In Britain there is coal in Wales, but Japan makes up for the lack of such a place with an abundance of national will and national sensitivity ... a people's most hard-to-come-by resources. (These are) the country's biggest assets."
Apr 15, 2012
Is Putin's 'roof ' going to keep out the hard rains of his falling popularity?
Putin's in a pickle and Russia's in the soup. At least that's what many who write about the "Dear Leader" and his country seem to be saying. But is it so? Certainly there is disruption, the kind of disruption that sits just below the skin, breaks out into turmoil, then all but disappears from sight — temporarily.
Apr 8, 2012
War criminal's son and British 'railway man' bridge war's painful divide
In September 1943, eight British officers were tortured by their Japanese captors at the prisoner-of-war camp in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. The camp, and a nearby bridge over the Kwai River, were later the setting for director David Lean's multi-Oscar-winning 1957 film "The Bridge on the River Kwai," about the ordeals undergone by tens of thousands of POWs forced to build the Thai-Burma Railway.
Apr 1, 2012
New tragedy brings to life others still painfully unresolved from long ago
On March 11, I went to Morioka, Iwate Prefecture, to deliver an address at a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the awful tsunami it caused, which inflicted terrible destruction and loss of life along some 400 km of the Tohoku region's Pacific coast.
Mar 25, 2012
Right and justice shine through the infernal prism of wartime Poland
One of my most treasured possessions is an old photograph. Taken in 1910, in Krakow, Poland, it shows five generations of my ancestors on my mother's side, beginning with my great-great-grandfather, Joseph Pinkus Krengel, who was born in 1818.
Mar 18, 2012
There may be no time like the present — but the present's no time at all
"Japan is so small: What's the hurry?" This catchphrase, from a road-safety campaign in 1973, was created to help Japanese people slow down. In those days it was common to see drivers racing up to lights, people sprinting through a station to catch a train, or running and dodging down a sidewalk so as not to "miss" a crossing light.


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