“The Only Woman in the Room”/ How The Amazing Beate Wrote Equal Rights For Women Into Japan’s Constitution

Unanswerable questions of the year: Is Japan really going to war? Is Japan’s peacetime constitution going to be trashed by the ruling party and returned back to the Imperial Constitution, which did not give suffrage or equal rights to women? This question will be on the mind and haunt your waking hours after reading “The Only Woman in the Room” by Beate Sirota Gordon. In this memoir, she takes us through the various events in her... Read More

Brand Japan, Brand Abe: A Clash of Narratives

Written by Nancy Snow Two decades ago I was working at the United States Information Agency (USIA), an independent foreign affairs agency of the U.S. Government. We were separate from the Department of State—the counterpart to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan, and our primary task was Public Diplomacy. Some called what we did government propaganda. To be precise, the slogan stamped across the agency façade was “Telling America’s Story... Read More

Japan Dispatches Ninja Squad To Syria; “Jihadi John, you defile sacred ninja tradition. Watch your shadow. We coming.”

January 27th 2014 Tokyo, Japan Like A Shadow In the Night In response to the horrific attacks on Japanese nationals by ISIS (ISIL) and their deliberate or inadvertant mockery of ninja tradition, the Japanese government has secretly dispatched a band of ninjas to take out the spokesman for the group—the silvery tongued British national known as “Jihadi John.” The batch of ninja (忍者), who’s exact numbers remain undisclosed... Read More

“If she bleeds, she can’t lead…” Sexist, Pro-nuclear, LDP loyalist Masuzoe Elected Tokyo Governor

The association of women who won’t have sex with men who vote for Masuzoe This is an op-ed news bulletin. It does not necessarily represent the views of everyone at the Japan Subculture Research Center but probably comes close. February 9th, 2014 (updated on February 12th)  The man who personifies Japan’s gender gap, former health minister Yoichi Masuzoe, 65, with the support of the Liberal Democrat Party, the nuclear energy industry,... Read More

The Prime Minister, The Past, The War, The Shrine and What Is Said In The Unsaid

Staging Showa Era soldiers at Yasukuni Shrine this year, on August 15th Under the bright and sweltering sun in Japan yesterday (August 15th), the controversial shrine of Yasukuni in Tokyo again received nonstop ordinary citizens’ visits from morning until sunset to mark the 68th anniversary of the end of the Pacific War. Also, as every year, not far from the shrine, an estimated 200 political activists from the Far Left group Han Tennosei Undo Renraku-kai,... Read More

As Japan moves toward recognizing joint custody, a father nourishes hope for reunion…

In Japan, millions of children grow up without seeing one of their parents if they divorce. There is no joint custody in Japan, not yet. But in May of this year, after 30 years of international pressure, the Japanese Diet finally passed the bill necessary to join the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Japan is now able to enforce the pact by March 2014 after the domestic procedures will be completed. Under the... Read More

Viva la Révolucion? The Japanese Communist Party: Still Red And Not Dead

(Tokyo) – By Douglas Miller* Communism as an ideology would appear to be fading out of our world. Most of the Cold War revolutionaries have died off, and China, Vietnam, and even Burma are becoming market economies. The communists are still going strong, however, here in Japan. Although the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) has dwindled in political stature since its heyday in the 1980s, the latest numbers show that there still are 320,000 JCP... Read More