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:

Does contemporary Japan need religion?

/ | Feb 4, 2017

Does contemporary Japan need religion?

“God, Buddha — where are they?” asks Aera magazine. At the Cafe de Monku, is one answer. It's a good name for an establishment set up by monks for the airing of monku (complaints). Its very existence (in Hanamaki, Iwate Prefecture) is suggestive of a ...

In uncertain times, Japan opts to save

/ | Jan 21, 2017

In uncertain times, Japan opts to save

A funny thing happened on the way to the marketplace. The crowd thinned out. Consumption? Been there, done that. Enough. It's a watershed. Minimal consumption equals a minimal economy — which equals what, long-term? The dreadful deprivation of the 1930s and '40s fed a ...

Western culture and the end of Japanese 'harmony'

/ | Dec 17, 2016

Western culture and the end of Japanese 'harmony'

Japan grew up with wa (harmony). Conflict and competition are the creative engines of Western civilization; Japan traveled a different route to the tumultuous present. Wa breathes the sanctity of ancient roots. It is enshrined in a "constitution" dating back to A.D. 604, attributed to ...

Will Trump join forces with Abe or push him toward Putin?

/ | Nov 19, 2016

Will Trump join forces with Abe or push him toward Putin?

What do intellectuals know? Nothing. U.S. President-elect Donald Trump proved it. Pre-election, the only intelligent forecast seemed to be that his manifold defects would undo him: his boorishness, prejudice, intellectual vacuity, political inexperience, etc., etc. It's all been replayed so often over the past year, there's ...