What’s really obscene in Japan? It’s shouldn’t be the vagina.

What is “obscene” in Japan? Legally and morally it has different meanings in the Japanese language, just as it does in the west. In the legal sense, the Japanese word for it, waists (猥褻), refers to something that maliciously stimulates sexual desire in an inappropriate and immoral manner. There are a lot of things that would qualify for that: widely sold manga depicting incest, gang rape, and sexual abuse of children. Magazines and newspapers... Read More

Journalists & Citizens Ask Asahi To Retract Retraction of Critical Nuclear Disaster Reporting

  Last December, journalists and citizens asked Japan’s 2nd largest newspaper,  Asahi Shimbun (朝日新聞) to retract its retraction of a major scoop surrounding leaked government reports on the real situation inside the crippled Fukushima nuclear facility during the 3/11 crisis.  Should the Asahi have stood by its reporting? On May 20, 2014, the Asahi newspaper published a scoop based on the leaked testimony of Masao Yoshida, the... Read More

From 98-Pound Weakling to Black Belt

The author is thrown during the 2012 National Yoshinkan Demonstration   By Benjamin Boas Mou ikkai! Do it again! Punching someone properly is an incredibly difficult thing to do. It was not enough to simply drive my fist forward and connect with the target. No, when selected to play the role of the model attacker for the Aikido training of a Japanese police officer, this is nowhere near sufficient. Hips must be aligned with shoulders. The wrist... Read More

The Year of Dokufu: Poisonous Women in Japan

by Kaori Shoji       Wow. What a year THAT was, on a whole lot of levels. The unofficial diagnosis is that things will get worse in the year of the sheep, but let’s put that aside for now. A thought to mull over: 2014 was the year the crime rate among senior citizens multiplied by 46 times, and the image of the Japanese Woman – long ranked among the most demure, sensible and persevering humans on the planet – was... Read More

Freedom: A Small Tokyo Bar Where Someone Knows Your Name

by Dan Ryan The tiny neighborhood bars and watering holes distributed throughout Tokyo are probably as numerous as the stars on a clear night in the Himalayas. Perversely, they’re often the kinds of places that are easy to miss, at least in the daytime, even if a given joint is open when one happens to walk by. But sometimes one can pass a Tokyo bar, even a run-down looking place, and feel strangely drawn to it. Something about it catches the eye... Read More

Merry X-Mas Eve Panic

  There’s a Japanese saying that ただものほど高いものはない:”There’s nothing more expensive than something free.” Gift-giving is a delight in any country but sometimes a little paranoia and some misunderstanding can make for a blue Christmas. Japanese-Lebanese film-maker, Soraya Umewaka, has made a delightful little Christmas comedy that captures some of the joys and silliness of Japan’s version of... Read More

Japan’s Dangerous Tilt to The Right: a report from Hamburg, Germany

by Natalia Berner*  HAMBURG Japan is plunging to right, as voices of alarm start to rise, but most of German and Japanese society does not realize how serious the recent political situation has become. Reactions are similar to those of a paralyzed moose facing the headlamps of an upcoming truck. Koichi Nakano, a professor of political science at Sophia University (上智大学) is one of the very few outspoken critics still standing up and critiquing... Read More

Book Review: “Why the Japanese Are Beautiful” (日本人はなぜ美しいのか) by Kaori Shoji

Amazon book link: http://amzn.to/1yxEKjj  Here’s a question: why is it that everyone else in the world gets to wax eloquent about the virtues of their home country, but the minute a Japanese does the same thing, we get lambasted for (A) being an ultra nationalist rightist Imperialist and/or (B) having a Prime Minister who would dare visit the Yasukuni Shrine, whoever that Prime Minister happens to be at the moment.* (Editor’s note:... Read More

Book Review: “The Bad-Mood Marriage” 不機嫌な主婦 なぜ女たちは「本能」を忘れたのか(朝日新書)

By Kaori Shoji As long as time immemorial, being a woman in Japan meant the rawest of deals. The long, long tradition of top-down patriarchy held that women were good for of either two things: sexual slavery or household drudgery. Once a woman got past her reproductive years, she was expected to control the younger women in the house, which mostly meant bullying the daughter-in-law and sowing a lot of ill-will in the family. By the time she hit her... Read More

Stop Julien Blanc (日本語版)日本女性へ暴力的行為を呼びかけるナンパ伝道師らを止めよう

The following appeal has been written in Japanese by a Japanese-American to explain why Julien Blanc and his ilk should be banned from Japan. 日本語で、性暴力を呼びかける自称「ナンパ師」と彼の会社の日本侵出を防ごうとするキャンペーンを紹介させていただくことにしました。寄稿したアマンダ・ディさんは日系アメリカ人で、この運動の創設者の一人です。 By Amanda... Read More

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