NHK may need to rethink its 'taiga' formula

| Jan 30, 2016

NHK may need to rethink its 'taiga' formula

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An article that appeared in December in the Yomiuri Shimbun weighed the prospects for the 2016 edition of NHK’s year-long historical taiga drama series, which premiered Jan. 10. “Sanada Maru” is the title of the 55th marathon show, and the name of a fortification ...

SMAP dodges bullet; Becky isn't so lucky

| Jan 23, 2016

SMAP dodges bullet; Becky isn't so lucky

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When media leaked intelligence on Jan. 10 that eternal boy band SMAP might be dissolving, the outpouring of fan emotion overwhelmed anything else that was happening in the show business world. One person who was probably grateful for the distraction was Rebecca Eri Ray ...

The elephant in the room for Toshiba is nuclear

| Jan 16, 2016

The elephant in the room for Toshiba is nuclear

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Japanese press outlets often cover scoops from competing outlets, but it’s rare to build on a competitor’s story with original reporting, especially when the scoop is a few years old. In December, the weekly magazine Aera, which is affiliated with the Asahi Shimbun, ran ...

Seeing 2015 through a fragmented media lens

| Jan 2, 2016

Seeing 2015 through a fragmented media lens

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Media literacy means understanding that objective reality is impossible to comprehend, and that the best you can do to make sense of the world is to know how to interpret signals. Part of that process is identifying what’s at stake: Newspapers and broadcasters have ...

Civilian casualties of WWII left out in the cold

| Dec 26, 2015

Civilian casualties of WWII left out in the cold

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‘Unbroken,” Angelina Jolie’s 2014 film about the late American Olympic athlete Louie Zamperini, will finally receive a theatrical release in Japan next year after inciting the ire of local groups who claim its depiction of Japanese prisoner of war camps is sensationally harsh and ...

Why infrastructure repairs are being ignored

| Dec 12, 2015

Why infrastructure repairs are being ignored

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Several days after a storm caused the Kinugawa River to overflow its banks and destroy communities in Ibaraki Prefecture in September, the infrastructure ministry held on-site meetings to look into what went wrong. One problem was the loss of a sand embankment in the ...

Push for balance can lead to a skewed view

| Dec 5, 2015

Push for balance can lead to a skewed view

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In September, public broadcaster NHK aired a documentary that recounted the news events from the capital this summer. One of the segments focused on the continuing protests led by college students in central Tokyo against the controversial security bills the ruling Liberal Democratic Party had ...

Films focus on dementia and find hope

| Nov 28, 2015

Films focus on dementia and find hope

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Last week, a 47-year-old woman was arrested for killing her 81-year-old mother and “assisting” in the suicide of her 74-year-old father. The woman had been found on the banks of the Tone River in Saitama Prefecture, into which she and her parents had driven ...