National

Achievement: Against all odds

For many, 2020 was a difficult year. However, some moments of hope managed to break through the bad news, nowhere more so than in the sphere of human achievement. From advances in fighting disease to representation in art and standing up for a cause, The Japan Times would like to end the year on a positive note by celebrating these moments in pictures …


A street financial monitor in Tokyo's Yaesu business district on Nov. 17 shows stocks surging across the world, with the Nikkei Stock Average reaching the 26,000 mark for the first time in more than 29 years. | KYODO
A street financial monitor in Tokyo’s Yaesu business district on Nov. 17 shows stocks surging across the world, with the Nikkei Stock Average reaching the 26,000 mark for the first time in more than 29 years. | KYODO

Another truly fascinating achievement was the speed at which the world’s scientific community came together to create a vaccine for COVID-19. Margaret Keenan was the first patient in Britain to receive the shot on Dec. 8 at the start of the largest-ever immunization program in the country’s history. | POOL / VIA REUTERS
Another truly fascinating achievement was the speed at which the world’s scientific community came together to create a vaccine for COVID-19. Margaret Keenan was the first patient in Britain to receive the shot on Dec. 8 at the start of the largest-ever immunization program in the country’s history. | POOL / VIA REUTERS

This year saw two major achievements in health care. One was the eradication of polio, which came after Africa was declared polio-free. Those who suffered the disease, like the two men involved in a game of para-soccer in Nigeria continue to live life to the fullest despite polio’s debilitating effects.  REUTERS | REUTERS
This year saw two major achievements in health care. One was the eradication of polio, which came after Africa was declared polio-free. Those who suffered the disease, like the two men involved in a game of para-soccer in Nigeria continue to live life to the fullest despite polio’s debilitating effects.  REUTERS | REUTERS

Tennis champion Naomi Osaka took top prize in the U.S. Open. The victory was particularly inspiring as Osaka used her moment on the world stage to wear masks bearing the names of Black individuals who were victims of police and vigilante violence. Osaka continues to use her platform to bring attention to discrimination and racism in the United States and Japan. | USA TODAY / REUTERS
Tennis champion Naomi Osaka took top prize in the U.S. Open. The victory was particularly inspiring as Osaka used her moment on the world stage to wear masks bearing the names of Black individuals who were victims of police and vigilante violence. Osaka continues to use her platform to bring attention to discrimination and racism in the United States and Japan.
| USA TODAY / REUTERS

While Hollywood suffered several setbacks due to the pandemic, the animated film 'Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train' offered what could be considered a light at the end of the tunnel. It opened to cinema-starved fans on Oct. 16 and saw record ticket sales that eventually helped it become the highest-grossing film in Japan of all time, stealing the top spot from Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 film, 'Spirited Away,' in late December. | KYODO
While Hollywood suffered several setbacks due to the pandemic, the animated film ‘Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba the Movie: Mugen Train’ offered what could be considered a light at the end of the tunnel. It opened to cinema-starved fans on Oct. 16 and saw record ticket sales that eventually helped it become the highest-grossing film in Japan of all time, stealing the top spot from Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 film, ‘Spirited Away,’ in late December. | KYODO

After coming off a big win at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019, South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon Ho’s 'Parasite' scored big at the Oscars winning him the award for best director, best original screenplay and best international feature film. However, he made history when 'Parasite' won the award for best picture, making it the first non-English language film to ever take the prize. There was reason to celebrate in Japan this year, too. | KELSEY HALE / THE NEW YORK TIMES
After coming off a big win at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019, South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon Ho’s ‘Parasite’ scored big at the Oscars winning him the award for best director, best original screenplay and best international feature film. However, he made history when ‘Parasite’ won the award for best picture, making it the first non-English language film to ever take the prize. There was reason to celebrate in Japan this year, too. | KELSEY HALE / THE NEW YORK TIMES

PHOTO GALLERY (CLICK TO ENLARGE)