Ray Bradbury, Journalism & Mr. Dark. “You can’t act if you don’t know.”

“Sometimes the man who looks happiest in town, with the biggest smile, is the one carrying the biggest load of sin. There are smiles and smiles; learn to tell the dark variety from the light. The seal-barker, the laugh-shouter, half the time he’s covering up. He’s had his fun and he’s guilty. And men do love sin, Will, oh how they love it, never doubt, in all shapes, sizes, colors, and smells.” Charles Halloway, town... Read More

Japanese Thugs In Osaka Learn That Crime Does Not Pay…if you post yourself on YouTube committing the crime

Two thugs in Japan’s Osaka area have learned that not paying for your light cigarettes is a heavy crime, and that crime doesn’t pay, especially if you upload your footage of you committing the crime onto YouTube. Osaka Prefectural police arrested Goh Nakamura, 39, and Fumiaki Nonaka, 46  for threatening staff at a convenience store located in Ibaraki, Osaka and thus extorting six cartons of cigarettes worth 26,700. They are questioning two of... Read More

After months of debate, Japan’s court tell stalking victim, “We won’t protect you”

  Ikumi Yoshimatsu has become the voice of many women in Japan who have suffered stalking in silence. The Stalker Zero campaign was launched with Prime Minister Abe’s wife.   After seven months of deliberation, Japanese courts rejected a request for a restraining order filed by Ikumi Yoshimatsu, the first Japanese woman to be crowned Miss International in 2012. In December of last year, Ms. Yoshimatsu filed criminal charges against... Read More

AKB48: A Microcosm Of Dark Corporate Japan. Sexual exploitation of child labor is sooo cute. (Book review)

One of the first things you’ll notice about the Japanese – men AND women – is the apparent lack of awareness regarding issues like gender and racial discrimination, worker exploitation, social injustice and other stuff that have western observers of our culture taking one look and scratching their heads. That stuff about a member of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly yelling out harassment remarks to a female politician while the... Read More

Ninkyodo, dude! Even The Yakuza Are Speaking English Now

You may remember this this year, Japan’s largest organized crime group, the Yamaguchi-gumi, launched its own website in Japan. But as I wrote in the article on April 1st for VICE News, if you were hoping to see guys covered in tattoos, epic gun battles, bloody sword fights, and fingers being chopped off — as one might— it wasn’t so exciting. And it was in Japanese only. There were other minor problems with the initial effort. Learn... Read More

A Benediction For The Bereaved

January is a cold month. I have two friends, one of them close, who lost a parent last month. It made me think a little about the cycle of life and death. Last February, a very unusual yakuza boss, known as the Buddha of the Underworld, who I sort of admired, passed away. On the 10th, it will be the one year anniversary of his death, and a time to cease mourning. The process of grieving is a long one. Often we’re encouraged in modern society... Read More

Underwear designer by day, Underworld yakuza boss by night: The Quiet Don

by Giles Poitras  Nitta Tatsuo’s Shizukanaru Don (静かなるドン), translated into English as The Quiet Don, began publication in November 1988 in the men’s manga magazine Shukan Manga Sunday (Weekly Manga Sunday) and ran until the January 2013 issue when it concluded with a 50 page chapter. The cover of that final issue had the two major characters set against a night sky and text announcing this final chapter of this long running series.... Read More

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

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 in 1962, when he was 20. His most popular book, Tokyo Underworld: The Fast Times and Hard Life of an American Gangster in Japan, published by... Read More

Born to run, doomed to stall. Sayonara Speed Tribes documents end of Japan’s motorcycle gangs

A form of Japan’s subculture is in danger of extinction–its motorcycle gangs. An independent production company, FIGURE8PRODUCTIONS, has released a documentary movie by director Jamie Morris, SAYONARA SPEED TRIBES (A Bosozoku Documentary) which poignantly immortalizes the so-called Speed Tribes, aka the bosozoku (暴走族) and captures them as they fade away into the past. During the 1960s, in what was considered one of the world’s most... Read More

Japan Lax Nuclear Security Could Make It The Land Of The Melting Sun

Japan is a giant nuclear pressure cooker. Let’s hope it doesn’t get set off. full article is in the Japan Times (May 5th, 2013)  On April 15, two alleged terrorists in Boston killed three people, injured more than 170 others and terrified a nation — for about $100 it cost them to modify pressure cookers into bombs. We should be glad they didn’t come to Japan, where they may have been able to explode a ready-made nuclear dirty bomb,... Read More

Next Page »