Matsumoto Koshiro IX: A lifetime of kabuki

| Dec 5, 2010

Matsumoto Koshiro IX: A lifetime of kabuki

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"Koraiya!" shouts someone in the audience, acclaiming the actor center stage. Feeding off the adulation, he launches into his next line. "What a useless fellow you are," he yells, berating the servant at his side. "You shall pay dearly!" "Koraiya!" someone else yells from the ...

Masumi Kuwata: Pitching for change

| Sep 5, 2010

Masumi Kuwata: Pitching for change

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Masumi Kuwata has spent most of his life in the spotlight of stardom and publicity. As one of Japan's all-time outstanding baseball stars, with a 23-year professional career behind him, this 42-year-old from Osaka Prefecture began capturing headlines at the tender age of 15 when ...

Manga's Cinderella story

| Jul 4, 2010

Manga's Cinderella story

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"I want to tell you a real love story," whispers a pen-wielding Misako, a graphic-novel version of comic artist Misako Takashima, on the first page of the 2007 book, "Rock and Roll Love." "It was my first love story," she adds coyly. So begins the English-language ...

Renho: Japan's fiscal firebrand

| May 2, 2010

Renho: Japan's fiscal firebrand

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Renho, a first-term Upper House member from the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, shot to stardom in Japan last November when, as a member of a government committee tasked with screening ministries' budget requests, she had several fierce, face-to-face battles with bureaucrats. While the 42-year-old ...

Mika Tsutsumi: Spotlight on the States

| Apr 4, 2010

Mika Tsutsumi: Spotlight on the States

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Mika Tsutsumi is a spirited journalist and writer whose work turns a spotlight on the widespread hardships and poverty caused by official policies and the behavior of businesses in the United States. Her best-selling book "Rupo Hinkon Taikoku Amerika" ("America, the Poverty Superpower") exposed to ...

Fram Kitagawa: Brushing with authority

| Feb 7, 2010

Fram Kitagawa: Brushing with authority

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I will never forget the day I went to a show titled "Embracing Asia: Taeko Tomiyama Retrospective 1950-2009," which was one of 370 art exhibits by creators from 40 countries comprising the fourth Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial staged over 50 days last autumn at locations ...

Jake Adelstein: Insider reaching out

| Jan 3, 2010

Jake Adelstein: Insider reaching out

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Author Joshua "Jake" Adelstein supposes that if he'd stayed home in rural Missouri and had never come to Japan, he'd probably have become a small-town lawyer or a very happy detective on the local police force. "I was always attracted to the law, probably because ...

Rika Kayama: Finding satisfaction in being ourselves

| Dec 6, 2009

Rika Kayama: Finding satisfaction in being ourselves

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Psychiatrist Rika Kayama is an outspoken doctor specializing in mental illness, a best-selling writer and a popular social commentator. Her latest book, "Shigamitsukanai Ikikata" ("A Way of Life in Which You Don't Cling to Anything"), has sold 422,000 copies since it was published in July. In ...

Susan Schmidt: Honored U.S. beacon for Japan

| Nov 1, 2009

Susan Schmidt: Honored U.S. beacon for Japan

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Susan Schmidt is a former editor at the University of Tokyo Press who spent 20 years living and raising a family in Japan up until the mid-1990s. She is now executive director of the U.S.-based, 1,500-member Alliance of Associations of Teachers of Japanese — ...