Michael Hoffman

Michael Hoffman is a fiction and nonfiction writer who has lived in Hokkaido by the sea almost as long as he can remember. He has been contributing regularly to The Japan Times for 10 years. His latest novel is “The Naked Ear” (VBW/Blackcover Books, 2012).

For Michael Hoffman's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

On the adulteration of Japan's oldest religion

/ | Jan 20, 2018

On the adulteration of Japan's oldest religion

Primitive Shinto is one of the loveliest religions in the world. It's beautiful in its simplicity — defenseless too, as it proved, against the nativists and nationalists who warped it into 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century xenophobia. Rudimentary, vague, undefined, undefinable, Shinto for centuries didn't even ...

Who can we trust during these new wars of the world?

/ | Dec 30, 2017

Who can we trust during these new wars of the world?

Swords into ploughshares. Spears into pruning hooks. Three thousand-odd years ago, when civilization was rough and passions raw, an extraordinary visionary saw peace dawning. His words, recorded in the Biblical book of Isaiah, transcend religious denomination and national affiliation. They belong to all mankind: ...

The popularity of the psychopath is a mind puzzle

/ | Nov 25, 2017

The popularity of the psychopath is a mind puzzle

Psychopaths, says neuroscientist Nobuko Nakano in her 2016 bestseller "Saikopasu" ("Psychopaths"), tend to share two personality traits. Freedom from fear and anxiety is one. Indifference to other people's feelings is another. In an article published last summer in Bungei Shunju magazine, Nakano briefly discussed readers' ...

/ | Nov 18, 2017

Japan's shifting attitudes toward prostitution

Sex is a necessity and a pleasure; it's also a problem. It exalts some, degrades others. It generates offspring. It's dynamite. Taboos concerning it are as old as humanity. Laws regulating it predate civilization. Nowhere is the human libido absolutely unfettered. Incest is nowhere ...

Limit the damage on office battlefields

/ | Oct 28, 2017

Limit the damage on office battlefields

What a nest of vipers an office is! Tens, hundreds, thousands of people, supposedly united in a common enterprise — yet if looks could kill, how many would make it alive through the day? Office life seems to present one harassment after another. To pawahara ...