Japan’s Secret Shame (The Story Behind The Story)

Shiori Ito is a brave journalist who has taken on Japan’s rape culture and has pursued justice in her own case. The BBC released a documentary “Japan’s Secret Shame” about Japan’s lack of ability to deal with sexual assault in the country and why her accused assailant was allowed to walk away, even after an arrest warrant on charges of rape were issued by the police.

Snake Venom, Bee Toxin, Horse Oil, Snail Slime: Saving Face in Japan is Icky Fun

Japan is a country where saving face is paramount—even if that means covering it with snake venom, bee toxin, horse oil, or snail slime. One company in Japan has been tremendously successful by catering to the Japanese love for looking good, thus saving face, and exotic ingredients. Their array of face masks, which are applied to the skin as shown in the photos, are almost all reasonably priced at 100 yen and are always exciting to find in the local pharmacy. Who wouldn’t want to enjoy the tingly sensation and fresh skin feeling you get from spreading cobra venom on your face?

Update! Larceny Is Part of Family Love in Cannes Winner “Shoplifters”–Showing With English subtitles on June 21 (木)

The titular family in “Shoplifters” give a new slant to the term “living in squalor.” Their house looks more like a bizarre crime scene than an actual dwelling for normal people but – and this is a crucial point in “Shoplifters” – the family is HAPPY

State Shinto Nightmares in Abe’s Japan

Like many foreigners observing the Moritomo Gakuken scandal play out, I am fascinated by the interplay between Shinto, nationalism, and government. There are questions that come with the scandal: Why is it a problem? Why shouldn’t the school use the Imperial Education Rescript? Why is the world watching so carefully? (Originally published in Spring of […]

CICADA by Yu Shibuya Limited Screening with English Subs


Cicadas live underground until their final stage of adulthood. When they surface, they attach themselves to a tree bark, shed their skin and fly away, leaving behind their exoskeleton still clinging fully intact to the tree.
Much like the cicada, Jumpei, a mild-mannered schoolteacher, is sheltered. Introverted almost to a fault, Jumpei has finally found a woman he is ready to marry. Ever weary and careful, Jumpei decides to take a series of premarital tests and finds out that he is infertile. Devastated, he keeps the news from his girlfriend.

Another tragic case of death from overwork (過労死) highlights a culture of labor abuse. Reform is needed.

The father of two children, the karoshi victim, was hired as an engineer working at the company’s plant in his hometown of Oshu in 1989. After being assigned to sales manager’s position, his daily tasks included sending out invoices and promoting the company’s supplies to potential customers, making several business trips a month. In addition to those tasks, he had to assess the work of his team members to determine their bonuses. He was also asked to organize company sponsored softball games and annual end-of-the-year parties. His workload began to gradually increase and the records his family members were able to collect show he continuously worked 60 to 80 hours of overtime a month since 2002. His son recalls that since he always left home at 7:00am and came home very late at night, sometimes later than 11:00pm. They were able to dine with him just once a week, on Sunday nights.

Even the worker himself became aware of being dangerously overworked. He once told his wife, “I’m working way too much so that if something happens to me, don’t hesitate to sue the company.”

Write Hard To Live Free: Happy Year Of The (Watch)Dog! 番犬報道の年ですよ!謹賀新年

That doesn’t mean the society doesn’t have problems, such as child poverty, gender inequality and discrimination against: the handicapped, women, foreigners, especially Korean Japanese. Japan has a pestilent well-entrenched mob. There are nuclear dangers, staggering injustice in the legal system, repression of the free press, sexual assault on women with impunity for many assailants, rampant labor exploitation, death by overwork, and political corruption. Ignoring the problems doesn’t make them better. If you are offended by that, rethink your love of Japan.

Hope and Love in Hell: Former North Korean Captive Charles Jenkins Speaks

I regretted every single day I defected from the U.S. army until I met my wife. After that, I thought, “Well, if I wasn’t here, it would have been hard for her.” Because if she hadn’t married me, she would still be in North Korea right now. That’s for sure.


質問。 1)ウッド氏の育児休業申し入れを、当初却下したと報道にありますが、事実でしょうか。却下した理由を教えて下さい。 ⇒当社は、国籍、性別を問わず、従来から育児休業を取得していただくことを積極的に支援しており、グレン氏の育児休業の取得についても、誠実に取り組んでまいりました。   2)ウッド氏の育児休業取得中は、有給でしょうか。 ⇒ 個別事案に係るコメントは差し控えさせて頂きますが、誠実に取り組んでまいりました。   3)なぜ、育児休業の申請に母子手帳の提出を条件としたのでしょうか。その根拠(就業規則など)を教えてください。 ⇒当社規程上、育児休業の取得に際しては、母子手帳の写しの提出が必要となります。 ただし、社員の個別の事情に即して柔軟な対応を行っております。個別事案に係るコメントは差し控えさせて頂きます。   4)今回の訴訟に対してのご意見をお聞かせ下さい。 ⇒当社は、国籍、性別を問わず、従来から育児休業を取得していただくことを積極的に支援しており、グレン氏の育児休業の取得についても、誠実に取り組んでまいりました。 グレン氏の就業継続についても、誠実に取り組んでまいりました。 今後の裁判所における手続においても当社のこれまでの真摯な対応をご理解頂くべく対応してまいる所存です。   5)貴社で育児休業を取得した労働者は創設以来、何人でしょうか。また昨年度の育児休業取得者数、および昨年度取得者の男女比率を教えてください。 ⇒当社は、本件発生前から育休制度を設定し、性別、国籍を問わず育休の取得を積極的に支援しています。 2016年度の女性社員の育休取得率は100%、男性社員の育休取得率は42%となっています。 2017年度は男性社員の育休取得率についても100%を目指して推進中で、人事部と所属部署が連携し会社全体の取組みとして力を入れて推進しています。   ————————————  三菱UFJモルガン・スタンレー証券株式会社  広報・CSR推進部  TEL 03-6742-1060 FAX 03-6742-1251  E-Mail:info@sc.mufg.jp ————————————       三菱UFJモルガン・スタンレー証券株式会社 広報・CSR推進部 ご担当者様   お世話になります。 岩橋誠の上司で記者の、ジェイク・アデルステインと申します。   質問①に関して、質問に答えていただいていませんので改めて伺います。 最初にウッドさんが育児休業を申請した際、それを受理しましたでしょうか。それとも母子手帳がないという理由で受理しなかったのでしょうか。また、いつから彼の育児休業を認めたかを教えてください。     アデルステインさま   ご質問を頂戴した件に関しまして、以下の通り回答をさせて頂きます。   当社は、国籍、性別を問わず、従来から育児休業を取得していただくことを積極的に支援しており、グレン氏の育児休業の取得についても、誠実に取り組んでまいりました。 個別の事実関係については回答を差し控えさせて頂きたく存じます。   ———————————— 三菱UFJモルガン・スタンレー証券株式会社 広報・CSR推進部  

Japan’s PSA: “Don’t Work Yourself To Death So You Can Keep Working!”

Well, just when it seemed that Japan Inc. just didn’t care, the Ministry Of Health, Labor, and Welfare, took decisive action. They declared November to be, “Special Month Of Raising Awareness Preventing People From Working to Death And Other Things” and have adorned the stations with these powerful (not) eye-catching (not) posters. But the unintentional irony is the sub-text of the poster which loosely translates all together as, “Don’t work yourself to death so we can have a society where you can keep working!”.