Hisako Ueno
For Hisako Ueno'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.
Women with portable electric fans in the Yurakucho district of Tokyo on Sept. 12. In Japan, Cool Biz became especially popular with women, who tended to wear lighter clothes and often complained about the cold temperatures needed to make business suits comfortable for their male colleagues.
JAPAN / Society
Sep 24, 2023
Where did all the dark-suited Japanese businessmen go?
Under Cool Biz, salarymen and government workers don short-sleeved shirts in the summer as offices are kept above 28 degrees Celsius to save energy.
Flavorless (?) Candy spurred debate over what the "taste of nothingness" tastes like, if anything.
LIFE / Food & Drink
Sep 10, 2023
Sucking on Japan's flavorless candy for a 'state of nothingness'
The candy was developed for people who wanted to moisten mouths that had gone dry from all-day mask wearing but without a sugar rush.
Kohei Saito, a philosophy professor at the University of Tokyo who appears regularly in Japanese media to discuss his ideas, at home in Tokyo on March 16.
JAPAN / Society
Sep 7, 2023
Can shrinking be good for Japan? A Marxist bestseller makes the case.
Saito has tapped into what he describes as a growing disillusionment in Japan with capitalism’s ability to solve the problems people see around them.
Japan Times
Apr 13, 2023
A lonely cry for action as China locks up Japanese on spy charges
Hideji Suzuki says Japan failed him during his six years in a Chinese prison. China’s recent arrest of a Japanese citizen is again testing Tokyo’s resolve.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Mar 4, 2023
A Tokyo esports school coaxes dropouts back to class
Parents are realizing that nontraditional schooling is better than none at all.
Japan Times
Feb 25, 2023
That mystery orb on a Japanese beach? It was just a buoy.
A giant metal ball that washed up on a Japanese beach this week drew suspicion from authorities and wonder from the public. But the truth was rather mundane.
Japan Times
Feb 10, 2023
What’s a Japanese mobster to do in retirement? Join a softball team
The members of the Ryuyukai have done nearly 100 years of hard time, now they're just looking to stay out of trouble.
Japan Times
Jan 6, 2023
Japan’s business owners can’t find successors. This man gave his away.
Nearly 60% of the country's businesses report that they have no plan for their future ownership.
Japan Times
Aug 30, 2022
Why is this colorful little wheel suddenly everywhere in Japan?
It's the logo of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. And Japan is all in.
Japan Times
Jun 24, 2022
Japan 7-Eleven franchisee who rebelled against company loses in court
A judge ordered Mitoshi Matsumoto to hand his store, which he opened in 2012, over to the company and pay damages for lost business.
Japan Times
May 19, 2022
Katsumoto Saotome, who preserved memories of Tokyo firebombing, dies at 90
He compiled six books of survivors' recollections of the 1945 attack. He also founded — without government support — a memorial museum.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
May 2, 2022
At 119, she was a symbol of how to live with wit and vitality
Kane Tanaka, who died in Japan last month, survived two world wars, the 1918 influenza outbreak, paratyphoid and two rounds of cancer.
Japan Times
Apr 28, 2022
Can Japan keep the lights on? The Ukraine war upends a big energy bet.
Liquefied natural gas was seen as a crucial transitional fuel in Japan's gradual shift to renewable energy. But then came the pandemic and the Ukraine war, which caused prices to soar.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Apr 25, 2022
This man married a fictional character. He’d like you to hear him out.
Akihiko Kondo and thousands of others are in devoted fictional relationships, served by a vast industry aimed at satisfying the desires of a fervent fan culture.
Japan Times
Apr 4, 2022
Asia welcomes travelers, but Japan says, not yet
Countries across region are reopening borders to tourists, but Japan continues to turn them away. And it is not rushing to change things.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Society
Feb 3, 2022
In Japan, a thousand digital eyes keep watch over the elderly
The surveillance programs offer the promise of protecting those in cognitive decline while helping them retain some independence, but they have also evoked fears of authoritarian overreach.
Japan Times
Dec 17, 2021
Japan's island paradise near the front line of tensions over Taiwan
Not long ago, Japan saw mostly economic opportunity with China, but with security challenges growing, the calculus has changed.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Politics
Oct 28, 2021
Japan’s Communists are hardly radical, but make a handy election target
The party, which long ago abandoned Marx and Lenin and never really had time for Stalin or Mao, is about as radical as a beige cardigan.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Oct 24, 2021
Yes, this tiny water cooler capsule toy is 'ridiculous.' Perfect.
Yoshiaki Yamanishi set out to create the most boring toy imaginable.


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