Eric Margolis
Eric Margolis is a writer, book editor and translator from Japanese who is based in Nagoya. His writing has been published in The Japan Times, The New York Times, Foreign Policy, Slate, The New Republic, Tokyo Weekender and elsewhere.
The Japanese government updated its English education guidelines in 2017 to emphasize communication over grammar and memorization. Public school teachers are incredibly busy, however, which means schools haven’t been able to implement changes uniformly. Private and alternative schools are attempting to remedy this.
LIFE / Language / Longform
May 27, 2024
The language of opportunity: Bilingual education is on the rise in Japan
Stuck with a reputation for poor English, Japan is pushing its next generation to be bilingual. Privately run schools are seeing the benefits.
While not the most outspoken politician on the issue, digital minister Taro Kono has a track record of being serious in his commitment to addressing the climate crisis.
May 19, 2024
The politicians moving Japan forward on climate
In the halls of power, climate-friendly voices may be few and far between, but some in politics are pushing for more aggressive action on decarbonization.
Author Yukio Mishima accepts the Arts Festival Award in the drama category at the 20th Arts Festival Award Ceremony on Jan. 22, 1966.
LIFE / Bilingual
May 16, 2024
Unraveling the Japanese prose of Yukio Mishima
Achieving success at a young age, Yukio Mishima's creative use of compound verbs and kanji stand out in his writing.
The titular city in Haruki Murakami's most recent novel, "The City and Its Uncertain Walls," appears to exist in the protagonist's dream world.
Apr 19, 2024
Before Murakami’s English release, try him in Japanese one more time
An English version of "The City and Its Uncertain Walls" won't come out till fall, so practice reading it in Japanese before checking the translation.
Sayaka Murata uses inventive language to bring the character of Keiko to life in "Convenience Store Woman."
Mar 22, 2024
'Convenience Store Woman' and the 'normal' in life and literature
Author Sayaka Murata's use of marked and unmarked language provides new layers to a commentary on modern society.
Diagnosed at a young age with a rare variant of glycogen storage disease type IV, Mark Bookman went on to distinguish himself in academia in both the United States and Japan.
COMMUNITY / Issues / The Foreign Element
Feb 19, 2024
New film honors life and legacy of disability pioneer Mark Bookman
Free screenings of THE new documentary on Japan-based disability rights advocate Mark Bookman will be held around Tokyo on Feb. 24, 25 and 27.
Tourists in Tokyo's Asakusa district ditch their jackets amid unseasonably warm temperatures in the capital and across Japan on Thursday.
Feb 18, 2024
Preparing for the hottest year Japan has ever seen
In 2023, summer heat persisted across Japan well into the fall. Predictions by scientists indicate 2024 could be even worse.
Japanese author Banana Yoshimoto came onto the scene in 1987 with “Kitchin.” In it, her main character talks about the comfort she finds in her kitchen.
Feb 16, 2024
Take your first dive into Japanese literature from the comfort of your kitchen
There are levels to understanding Japanese literature. First there's basic comprehension, but after that you can take time to appreciate the wordplay.
Author Yasunari Kawabata’s “The Rainbow” seems to suggest it is never too late to heal, so long as we face our pain rather than run away.
Dec 21, 2023
‘The Rainbow’: Artistic world underscores truths of the human heart
Despite resonant themes, this translation of Nobel Prize-winner Yasunari Kawabata’s novel about lingering grief and regrets feels strangely distant.
Janos Cegledy sits in a park in Tokyo's Nerima Ward. The pianist says Japan suits him, “There is a certain civility and politeness here which you don’t find anywhere else.”
COMMUNITY / Our Lives / Longform
Dec 11, 2023
The extraordinary life of a Holocaust survivor living in Japan
Janos Cegledy tours schools, telling his story. If the students ever meet a Holocaust denier, he says, they can reply, "I met someone who was there."
If we let writers and translators be replaced by AI tools such as ChatGPT, we lose control over language and how it shapes us.
Nov 30, 2023
When we abandon language to AI, we abandon our humanity
Not only does AI threaten writers' and translators' jobs, giving it control over how we shape and are shaped by language is detrimental to who we are.
Kyoto’s Tofukuji temple is a notable place for viewing multicolored fall foliage.
Nov 10, 2023
The culture, customs and vocabulary of Japan’s fall season
The changing colors of Japan’s foliage have been a prominent part of the culture since the Nara Period when they inspired artists.
The pronoun you choose when referring to yourself can give off a definite vibe, so be careful in your choice.
Oct 20, 2023
Which pronoun should I take?
Depending on the situation, you may need to use two or three different pronouns for yourself when speaking Japanese.
The Iriomote cat, native to the island of the same name in Okinawa Prefecture, is remarkable for its resilience: It occupies the smallest habitat of any wildcat on Earth.
Oct 15, 2023
The last of Japan's wildcats
Only about 100 animals of each species survive today, putting both on the brink of extinction along with more than 3,700 other species nationwide.
The new invoice system, which goes into effect Oct. 1, is forcing many freelancers in Japan to choose between raising their prices or suffer a 10% loss in revenue.
Sep 25, 2023
Freelancers aren’t happy with Japan’s new invoice system
For many freelancers and small businesses, the result will amount to a 10% increase in taxes.
If you've come to the realization that divorce is the only way forward, there are a host of details about the Japanese marriage system to confirm before you're finally ready to cut ties.
Aug 21, 2023
Navigating the notorious gauntlet of divorce in Japan
Everyone wishes for “happily ever after” no matter where you’re from, but Japan recorded 1,671 bicultural divorces in 2021.
“Days at the Morisaki Bookshop” centers on a woman who overcomes past difficulties by finding comfort and human connection at her uncle's charming bookstore.
Aug 19, 2023
Satoshi Yagisawa’s novel has all the charm of a Jimbocho bookshop
“Days at the Morisaki Bookshop" is a heartwarming coming-of-age tale that will delight fans of Japanese literature.
The wife of an author turns into a forest after a fight with her husband and growing tired of serving as the idealized and sexualized subject of his novels in Maru Ayase's "The Forest Brims Over."
Aug 12, 2023
Maru Ayase takes a hard look at Japanese misogyny in 'The Forest Brims Over'
Translated by Haydn Trowell, author Maru Ayase takes the reader into a surreal world to deal with a problematic issue.
Japan Times
Jul 13, 2023
Hiroshima Appeals poster set to continue traditions of daring design and anti-nuclear art
Norio Nakamura's entry is the latest in an iconic series of posters that has contributed some of the greatest and most impactful images in Japanese graphic design.
Japan Times
Jul 6, 2023
Ahead of a new Studio Ghibli film, critics are asking, 'How will we live without Hayao Miyazaki?'
The creative force behind Japanese animation has teased retirement before, but owing to his age and pace of output, we may finally be seeing the final Studio Ghibli film next week.


The Japanese government updated its English education guidelines in 2017 to emphasize communication over grammar and memorization. Public school teachers are incredibly busy, however, which means schools haven’t been able to implement changes uniformly. Private and alternative schools are attempting to remedy this.
The language of opportunity: Bilingual education is on the rise in Japan