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:

/ | Dec 19, 2015

Japan's 'Christian century' failed to blossom

Christmas approaches. Christian or not, the mind turns to Christian themes. What are the Christian themes? Love. Forgiveness. Meekness. Turn the other cheek. The kingdom of heaven. Once upon a time Japan almost turned Christian. In 1549, a Basque missionary named Francis Xavier became the first ...

Hunter and hunted: Where are they now?

/ | Dec 5, 2015

Hunter and hunted: Where are they now?

The mutilations are frightful — dog, cat, rabbit and pigeon corpses missing heads, tails, limbs, ears. Weekly Playboy magazine reports nearly 40 sightings in the past four months in the Kanto region alone. Who's out there doing these things? With what thoughts in mind? Anyone ...

Japan's children face a dementia boom

/ | Nov 28, 2015

Japan's children face a dementia boom

Confucius said it's not enough merely to provide for our parents. We must revere them. To fail in filial reverence, he said, is to be no better than the animals. What did Confucius know? He lived 2,500 years ago, when life expectancy at birth was ...

/ | Nov 14, 2015

Surviving a sudden transition to democracy

What is the worst thing that has ever happened to humankind? History is long and frequently awful, but a war that consumed 60 million people and added "Hiroshima," "Nagasaki" and "Auschwitz" to the world's vocabulary surely stands apart. And suddenly it was over. Suddenly Japan was ...

Media vultures circle over battered SEALDs

/ | Oct 24, 2015

Media vultures circle over battered SEALDs

That's it? It's over? "Scattered like leaves in the autumn wind," sighs Shukan Shincho magazine, speaking of the massive nationwide demonstrations that, through the summer, heralded (to some) a new political awakening of the Japanese masses (or something). The protesters' immediate target was new security ...

It's a small world, with no respect for islands

/ | Oct 10, 2015

It's a small world, with no respect for islands

To what extent are your problems my problems? To what extent are Syria's troubles Japan's? To no extent at all, judging by the paltry number of refugees Japan admits. Europe, of course, is engulfed. But that's Europe's problem. Is it still possible to think that way? ...