Hiroko Tabuchi

For Hiroko Tabuchi's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Robots in all walks of life? Matter of time

National Mar 4, 2008

Robots in all walks of life? Matter of time

At the Meiji University lab in a Tokyo suburb, engineering students are wiring a rubbery robot face to simulate six basic expressions: anger, fear, sadness, happiness, surprise and disgust. Hooked up to a database of words clustered by association, the robot Kansei (sensibility) responds to ...

Innovations make navigating in Second Life more lifelike

Business Nov 27, 2007

Innovations make navigating in Second Life more lifelike

You can always spot the novices in the virtual reality world of Second Life: Their online characters, or avatars, stumble around awkwardly and walk into objects as their real-world users fumble with the keyboard controls. Now, technology from Japan could help make navigating online virtual ...

PCs getting pushed aside by other, powerful gadgets

National Nov 5, 2007

PCs getting pushed aside by other, powerful gadgets

Masaya Igarashi wants ¥20,000 headphones for his new iPod Touch, and he's torn between Nintendo Co.'s Wii and Sony's PlayStation 3 game consoles. When he has saved up again, he plans to splurge on a digital camera or flat-screen TV. There's one conspicuous omission from ...

Scandals in food industry shatter safety myth

National Oct 29, 2007

Scandals in food industry shatter safety myth

Ocean fresh sushi? Quality marbled beef? Exquisite confectionaries? Think again. Japan has been hit by a slew of food safety and false labeling scandals that is threatening to wreck its image as a country of culinary wonders, squeaky-clean factories and impeccable sanitation. In the most recent ...

Business Oct 6, 2007

Robot industry moves to aid seniors

If you grow old in Japan, expect to be served by a feeding robot, ride a voice-recognition wheelchair and hire a nurse in a robotic suit — all examples of cutting-edge technology to care for the country's rapidly graying population. With nearly 22 percent of ...

Aso hip with comic book crowd

National Sep 20, 2007

Aso hip with comic book crowd

Former Foreign Minister Taro Aso is the clear underdog in the race to become the next prime minister. But among young fans of pop culture, Aso is king. An avowed booster of "manga" (comic books) and the animated films known as "anime," Aso has won ...

National Mar 4, 2007

Soldier confirms wartime sex slavery

South Korea lashed out Saturday at Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for disavowing Japan's responsibility for using Asian women as sex slaves for its troops in World War II. Abe said Thursday there was no proof that "comfort women" were forced into sexual slavery during the ...