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:

/ | 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 ...

Prepare for the future, at your convenience

/ | Sep 23, 2017

Prepare for the future, at your convenience

Japan's first convenience store was not, as many suppose, 7-Eleven in Tokyo in 1974 but Mitsui in Kyoto in 1673. The genius behind it was Mitsui Hachirobei, heir to the sake shop his father had opened a generation earlier. Of samurai birth, the father saw ...

The prosaic state of ancient Confucianism

/ | Sep 16, 2017

The prosaic state of ancient Confucianism

"Confucianism," says historian Hiroshi Watanabe, "is perhaps the most powerful political ideology yet conceived by the human race." Really? Indisputably, a set of doctrines associated with an ancient Chinese sage known in the West as Confucius (551-479 B.C.) held sway over much of East Asia for ...

Definition of happiness in Japan remains a mystery

/ | Aug 26, 2017

Definition of happiness in Japan remains a mystery

Try defining "happiness." "A state of well-being and contentment," says Merriam-Webster's dictionary, unhelpfully. It's like saying happiness is happiness. Indefinable it may be, but we all know it when we feel it. Whatever it is, there's nothing better, and everything we do we do for ...