International Court orders Japan to stop part of its whaling program; Japan wails in protest

Photo: Guillaume Bression / Trois8 / Tokyo-Prod, Wada prt in Minamiboso, Japan

Now that the International Court of Justice has told Japan that in cannot hunt whales as it does now, there is a new concern that the Japanese government will find different ways to prove its whaling is actually for scientific study purposes. And in fact, one worries that as the Japanese government strives to prove they’re correct, the meat taken from the slaughtered whales may just be thrown away without being put on the market, or vanish into darkness (and go into the black market)

The bad aftertaste of Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox’s collapse

Mt.Gox claimed to be one of the oldest and most reliable Bitcoin exchanges. It didn't quite live up to its PR. It went bankrupt on February 28th.

“Essentially,” said the former employee, “Mt. Gox was a dysfunctional organization. Nobody was doing accounting reconciliation and there was an exploitable fault in the transaction system that allowed people to get paid twice—or in other words, withdraw more or less the same amount of Bitcoins two times. Think of it this way—if Bitcoins were like frozen hamburger patties being served at a diner with a touchscreen menu, someone figured out that by tapping the screen twice you could get two hamburgers for the price of one. One day someone at the diner went to the freezer and realized that they were completely out of hamburgers—and they’d only served half the customers they thought they had.”

Stalking in Japan: Another needless death

Stalking Comic Book _Page_3

(This was originally posted on February 18th, 2014. A day later, a woman in Gunma Prefecture was most probably shot to death by her stalker)  February 21st, 2014 . Updated again on February 22nd, 2014.  Stalking in Japan is a serious problem and the laws can’t seem to catch up with it. On the 19th [...]

A Benediction For The Bereaved

Buddha

May the frightened cease to be afraid
And those bound be freed.
May the powerless find power
And may people think of benefiting each other.

High-Heel Thief Now Cooling His Heels In Lock-Up; Ginza Hostesses Breathe Easy

These high heels were made for stealin'

High-Heel Thief Now Cooling His Heels In Lock-Up; Ginza Hostesses Breathe Easy. Tokyo’s best gumshoes catch high-heel stealing thief.

Happy New Year Of The Horse 2014 (馬年) Come ride with us!

Happy Year Of The Horse! 
Just get on and let the horse go where it goes.

Japan Subculture Research Center has taken a long sabbatical since December of 2013. We meant to get things off with a bang this January but our editor in chief and assistant editor were both out of commission. So we’re taking the opportunity today to relaunch the website and wish you all a happy Chinese new year. The Chinese new year and once upon a time, the Japanese new year as well, followed the lunar calendar, so today’s new moon (Friday) means we can all say goodbye to the (water) snake year and say hello to the (wooden) horse year!

Japan’s Designated Secrets Law: All you ever wanted to know but should be afraid to ask. (LOL)

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The Lawyer’s Federation of Japan points out that if a journalist or citizen were to stubbornly ask about SDS (specially designated secrets) to a government official that this could be construed as “instigation of leakage” and result in him/her being called in for questioning, their laptops and phones seized, possible arrest and conviction. Even when acting in the public interest, and without knowing they were seeking information about a “specially designated secret” an individual would still face up a year in prison or a fine under 300,000 yen.

Japan’s Secrecy Bill: Designed by Kafka & Inspired by Hitler?!!

Whistleblowers and journalist face up to ten years in jail for exposing anything the Japanese government declares "a special secret." And what is a "special secret"--that is also secret.

Legal experts note that even asking pointed questions about a state secret, whether you know or don’t know it’s a secret, could be treated as “instigating leaks” and the result in an arrest and a possible jail term up to five years. Of course, the trial would be complicated since the judge would not be allowed to know what secret the accused was suspected of trying to obtain.

DJ Police, Save Me Mama Fraud, Big Data: The Words of 2013 Japan

DJ Police

母さん助けて詐欺 — Kāsan tasukete sagi. “Mom, I need help!” frauds are the latest version of scams to target mainly elderly Japanese people. The perpetrator calls the victim claiming to be her child, asking for an urgent transfer of funds to pay for a traffic accident or other emergency.

Book Review: Tokyo Underworld–a classic on the dark side of Japan

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There are very few gaijin (foreigners) who know what happens on the dark side of the rising sun like Robert Whiting. Whiting is an American author and journalist living in Japan, one of the rare ones who has written great books published in both English and Japanese language after he first set foot in Japan [...]