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Reader Mail
Jan 20, 2008
Don't cross oceans to kill whales
I love Japan and its people. I have always been impressed by all the Japanese people I have ever met and worked with. But I am so sad that Japan sends its ships to our ocean to kill our whales. We Australians see whales as very intelligent creatures who nurture their young in family groups, and who have a special relationship with humans.
Dec 16, 2007
Stars in their guides
Last month, Tokyo's restaurants received their stars. For the first time, the famed Michelin Guide, the most respected and feared guidebook in Europe, published a volume outside the Western world. Noted for its make-or-break effects on European hotels and restaurants, the publication was greeted in Tokyo with a mixture of excited confusion, idle curiosity and skepticism.
Sep 30, 2007
The real stakes in Taiwan
There was never any doubt about the outcome of Taiwan's bid to regain a seat in the United Nations. For the 15th time in as many years, the U.N. rejected Taipei's call to return to the world body. The application did not even make it to the General Assembly agenda, having been blocked by the General Assembly's General Committee amid adamant opposition from China.
Reader Mail
Sep 16, 2007
Deplorable distortion of message
I agree with Vipan Chandra's opinion in his Sept. 5 letter, "Message of a war-crimes judge," that Japanese nationalists distort the message of the late Indian Justice Radhabinod Pal, who believed that wartime leaders accused at the Tokyo Tribunal were not guilty. That a monument to the judge stands right in front of a war museum at Yasukuni Shrine, which displays memorabilia from the so-called Great East Asia War, is perplexing and disturbing. Given the incompatibility between Pal's aversion to war and what the war-glorifying museum represents, the monument to honor him looks out of place.
Japan Times
Aug 17, 2007
Girls have all the fun
If there was a festival anthem to this year's Summer Sonic, it was "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." The overflowing crowd at Cyndi Lauper's Sunday set on the Sonic Stage was mostly made up of women who mouthed every word to her string of hits. And when she finished with her biggest hit, the female members of The Polyphonic Spree and Tilly and The Wall joined her on stage to she-bop ecstatically.
Aug 10, 2007
A credible economic policy
Since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party suffered a crushing defeat in the Upper House election, it is all the more important for the government to work out a credible economic policy. As Japan's population grays and decreases at the same time, it will be essential to enhance efficiency in administration and finance and to set policy priorities.
Japan Times
Jul 27, 2007
Playing their last show, again
"This year is 30 years since I first went onstage with a band called The Cure and 2009 will be 30 years since our first album," says proto-goth Robert Smith, speaking via telephone on a suitably ghoulish Friday the 13th.
Jul 13, 2007
Upper House campaign commences
The campaign for the July 29 Upper House election has officially started. It is the first national election since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office in September 2006. Under the Abe administration so far, the Fundamental Law of Education has been revised to instill patriotism in children and strengthen state control of education, and the Defense Agency has been upgraded to a Defense Ministry, among other things. The election results will deliver voters' verdict on Mr. Abe's politics.
May 28, 2007
Strategic Economic Dialogue stumbles
The increasingly shrill dialogue between the United States and China over economic issues should sound familiar to many Japanese. A swelling U.S. trade deficit with China has led to demands by Washington for the revaluation of the Chinese currency, threats of trade sanctions from Congress, and angry retorts about U.S. unilateralism from Beijing.
May 25, 2007
Juvenile Law revision
A bill to revise the Juvenile Law, which passed the Lower House with the backing of the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito, is now in the Upper House. The bill is designed to provide harsher treatment of juvenile offenders. Lawmakers must question whether such a move will really help to prevent juvenile crimes and rehabilitate juvenile offenders.
May 6, 2007
Kiosks and koban
Two of Japan's most respected institutions — kiosks and koban (police boxes) — have gone empty in recent weeks, upsetting many who regularly depend on them. The shock waves are still reverberating around the country, but especially in Tokyo, where their essential everyday services were reported closed in numerous areas.
Mar 5, 2007
To move without U.S. cues
In their talks Feb. 21, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and visiting U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney reaffirmed the "unwavering" Japan-U.S. security alliance. This raises a question: Why did Abe have to reaffirm an alliance that is said to have already benefited from the long honeymoon between former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and U.S. President George W. Bush?
Japan Times
Jul 17, 2005
The lights, guitars, action of Go! Team
Film commonly relies on music to add emotional impact. However, with The Go! Team, who hail from Brighton, England, it works the other way around. Early singles were flush with action and near-cinematic thrills, all guitar squalls and percussive thrust, with soaring horn lines that burst through your speakers. The Go! Team's debut album, "Thunder, Lightning Strike," even ends with the jubilant aftertaste of a summer blockbuster, harmonica and symphonic swells reminding of us of heroes high-fiving as the credits roll.
Jul 12, 2005
Police no closer to solving 1991 'Satanic Verses' murder
The statute of limitations on the 1991 murder of a Japanese academic who translated Salman Rushdie's controversial novel "The Satanic Verses" is due to expire in 12 months, with the case as yet unsolved.
Aug 22, 2004
Sexual, textual and visual boundaries
IN THE REALM OF THE SENSES (BFI Film Classics), by Joan Mellen. London: British Film Institute, 2004, 88 pp., with photographs. £8.99 (paper).
Japan Times
Mar 12, 2003
Re-start me up
When a band has entered its fifth decade and its name is virtually synonymous with rock 'n' roll, it needs no introduction. The Rolling Stones are the Stones. And "Forty Licks," released this year to mark the band's 40th anniversary, is simply a collection of their hits. "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," "Let's Spend the Night Together," "Start Me Up" -- they're all classics. Oh yeah, there are also four new tracks. Any questions?
Japan Times
Mar 12, 2003
Charlie Watts: The beat goes (40 years) on
Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, 61, has sunk into a deep leather chair in a huge hotel room in Toronto. In the corner hundreds of jazz CDs cover the walls. The table is strewn with old snapshots. Watts coughs and straightens his brown jacket.
Japan Times
Nov 4, 2001
Charlie Watts Tentet: Nothing but a jazz thing
In the 1960s, The Rolling Stones led the way in forging a rougher, rootsier style of rock out of R&B, '50s rock 'n' roll and Chicago blues. As the band's drummer, Charlie Watts helped set a new standard of rhythmic structure for rock, and his tight, anchoring beat was widely imitated. After that, what's left to do? Jazz, apparently.
Aug 1, 2001
A samurai flick for the MTV generation
Red Shadow Aka Kage Rating: * * 1/2 Director: Hiroyuki Nakano Running time: 108 minutes Language: JapaneseOpens Aug. 11 at Marunouchi Toei and other theaters Silent-era samurai movies fulfilled the same function as the westerns of W.S. Hart and Tom Mix: They entertained the common herd, particularly rowdy boys, with larger-than-life heroes and action.


Historically, kabuki was considered the entertainment of the merchant and peasant classes, a far cry from how it is regarded today.
For Japan's oldest kabuki theater, the show must go on