How Japanese media have failed endangered species

| Dec 3, 2016

How Japanese media have failed endangered species

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In October, a new documentary produced by Leonardo DiCaprio premiered on Netflix. “The Ivory Game” is a dramatic study of the illegal trade in elephant tusks that includes conservationists battling poachers, investigative journalists following the money trail and black market merchants in China. Experts ...

Hopes of stopping Tokyo 2020 are fading

| Nov 26, 2016

Hopes of stopping Tokyo 2020 are fading

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NHK has announced that its yearlong historical drama series for 2019 will be about Japan’s involvement in the Olympic movement, focusing on the nation’s first foray to the games in 1912 and its first time hosting them in 1964. The story will also, according ...

Is Japanese pop music losing its relevance?

| Nov 19, 2016

Is Japanese pop music losing its relevance?

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Shukan Bunshun recently ran some articles describing how last year the talent management company LDH allegedly paid entertainment behemoth Burning Productions to ensure that one of LDH’s acts would win the top prize at the 2015 Japan Record Awards (JRA). Accompanying one of the ...

Poverty coverage reinforces prejudice

| Nov 12, 2016

Poverty coverage reinforces prejudice

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In the middle of August, NHK ran a feature on its evening news show about a high school girl as part of its coverage of child poverty. The girl’s name and face were revealed in the report, which described how her educational future was ...

Japan's war against medical marijuana

| Nov 5, 2016

Japan's war against medical marijuana

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Former actress Saya Takagi was arrested in Okinawa on Oct. 25 for possession of marijuana, three months after she unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the Upper House election on a platform to legalize pot for medical purposes. She insists the contraband was not ...

Taiji's dolphin hunters have a new voice

| Oct 22, 2016

Taiji's dolphin hunters have a new voice

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It’s not often a documentary is made in response to another documentary, but this year two movies have addressed the 2009 Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove,” which was about the capture and killing of wild dolphins in Taiji, Wakayama Prefecture. First-time filmmaker Keiko Yagi’s “Behind ...

Is the end near for Earth's biggest fish market?

| Oct 15, 2016

Is the end near for Earth's biggest fish market?

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Naotaro Endo’s documentary “Tsukiji Wonderland” opened in Tokyo — in Tsukiji, in fact — two weeks ago. Under normal circumstances, such an accomplished and beautiful film would be evaluated on its aesthetic and edifying merits, but the timing of the release makes such judgments ...

Nagoya: The most boring city in Japan

| Oct 8, 2016

Nagoya: The most boring city in Japan

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At a meeting of city leaders last Monday, the mayor of Nagoya, Takashi Kawamura, expressed annoyance with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. That same day, Abe had opened a new session of the Diet by touching on the issue of regional revitalization in his usual ...

There's nothing weird about 'sexless' Japan

| Oct 1, 2016

There's nothing weird about 'sexless' Japan

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Japan has somehow earned a reputation as a “sexless” country — a place where men and women have lost their libidos. The reasons given are various but mainly have to do with increased introversion and general loss of sociability among young people. This theme ...

The ascendancy of a Japanese maestro

| Sep 24, 2016

The ascendancy of a Japanese maestro

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In the past few months, the media has been pleasantly surprised at the sudden ascendancy of some noteworthy Japanese women, mainly in the realm of politics. Since pianist Hiroko Nakamura passed away in July, the media has been filled with obituaries that paid tribute ...

Renho and the 'pure blood' mythos

| Sep 17, 2016

Renho and the 'pure blood' mythos

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Despite the best efforts of certain individuals on Twitter, lawmaker Renho became the head of the Democratic Party last Thursday. Of course, those loosely linked online individuals that are sometimes referred to as netto uyo (internet right-wingers) don’t really care about the DP, but ...