Isolated mountain in Shikoku a dumping ground for unwanted dogs


"One after the other, dogs are being abandoned in Ehime Prefecture. The place is commonly referred to as inusute yama (mountain where dogs are abandoned)," said the head of an animal protection organization in the Shikoku region. His words evoke the image of ubasute yama, a legendary place in antiquity… Read


Politicians' inflated overseas study claims rampant, even among LDP bigwigs


On Dec 1, America's House of Representatives expelled Republican congressman Gorge Santos, who was voted out by a more than two-thirds majority, including 105 members of his own party. Santos is facing indictment for various fraud-related crimes. He attracted the media's attention when a newspaper in his local district of… Read


How the ultrarich in Japan educate their kids


Once upon a time – a good beginning for a children’s story – children ruled the daylight. They owned the outdoors. The streets and alleys of old Japan swarmed with kids and rang with their shouts, laughter, songs, tears. Actress and left-wing activist Sadako Sawamura (1908-96) described it all in… Read


Osaka expo careens toward a looming disaster, for an event that few even want


Soon, less than 500 days will remain until April 13, 2025, date of the scheduled opening of the Osaka-Kansai Exposition. Like the Summer Olympics of 1964, Japan's politicians remain stuck in a mental time warp, clearly hoping to replicate its successes of the previous half century -- in this case… Read


Survey of middle-aged wimps provide case studies in male inadequacy


A decade ago, two words became popularized to describe the behavior of young males. They were soshoku-kei (herbivorous, but here meaning passive) and nikushoku-kei (carnivorous, but in this came meaning masculine and/or aggressive). These in turn spawned such spinoffs as rooru kyabetsu (rolled cabbage), referring to a man who appears… Read


Marriage for many Japanese has become an unaffordable luxury


Why marry? What’s the point? Love, children. But love comes and goes, and as for children, they bring great joy but at a cost increasingly seen as frightful – and optional. Why bother? Why not live single? It’s what more and more people are doing. Shukan Gendai (Nov 11-18) proclaims… Read


Lack of shelters leaves Japan's populace vulnerable to attack


In the 1950s and 60s, fiction and films swung between apocalyptic novels about nuclear war -- like "Fail-Safe" and "On the Beach" -- to manic black comedies such as director Stanley Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove: How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb," which was loosely based on a… Read


Fake news, hate-filled sites are big business in Japan


You needn’t feel hate to spew it. “Chinese clothing factory swarms with noxious insects!” “China’s bedbugs invading Japan!” “Thirty percent of Japan’s sex criminals are South Korean!” “Transgender man brutally rapes 11-year-old!” What, if not hate, is the essential quality? Commercial instinct. Fake news, says Shukan Gendai (Nov 11-18), is… Read


Will the year-end party season make a comeback from COVID?


With the COVID pandemic in retreat, one would think there were all the more reasons to celebrate the return to normalcy. Unfortunately, reports Nikkan Gendai (Nov 6), the prognosis for year-end and new year parties (bonenkai and shinnenkai) appears gloomy, which means more woes for the already ailing food and… Read


How one small town in Yamanashi manages to have high birthrate


Reproduction, it seems safe to say, preoccupies politicians and policymakers more than it does couples and individuals. Japan is far from the only country with a low and falling birth rate. United Nations figures for 2023 covering 204 nations and territories show more than half (103)  reproducing below the “replacement rate”… Read

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