Private-initiative soup kitchens spring up to deal with child poverty


The 21st century is rich in unkept promises. Terrorism and war mock peace. Global warming taints progress. Then there’s child poverty. When it rises in the richest countries, the conclusion seems inescapable that contemporary prosperity is based on false if not evil premises. In Japan, one child in six is said… Read


Tokugawa Japan wasn't nearly as isolated as history books teach


The draconian Sakoku-rei or Seclusion Edict, as ordered by Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu, in 1636, would seal off the country from the outside world for the next two centuries. Along with banning foreign priests outright, the edict threatened Japan's aspiring ocean voyagers with summary execution. Here are a few excerpts: "No… Read


The changing face of 'papa-katsu' as coronavirus bites harder and longer


We all need companionship, we all need love, and we’re all in business of one sort or another – the business of survival if none other. Companionship and love are themselves businesses. The courtesans of early-modern Japan evolved into the geisha of prewar Japan; fast-forward to the 1990s and we… Read


Seeking ways to cope with the dreaded May malaise


Observers have noted from quite some time ago that upon the end of Golden Week -- the string of national holidays and weekends that this year ran from April 29 to May 8 -- many adults begin to show signs of listlessness, an overall feeling of fatigue and reluctance to… Read


Never mind New York City: For Mako and Kei, there's no place like home


This coming July, Kei Komuro, husband of Prince Akishino's eldest daughter, will be making his third attempt to pass the New York State bar examination. Will Komuro get lucky this time? Citing an old saying that goes, Sandome no shojiki (the third time's a charm), Shukan Post (May 6-13) reports… Read


Dementia and its preventability: Some TV programs bad, karaoke is good


Dementia seems the cruelest joke fate can play on us. It assaults the brain, stuns the intellect. The brain staggers, the intellect reels. High intelligence is no defense. Shukan Gendai (April 23) cites an ironic example. Tokyo University neurosurgeon Susumu Wakai showed his first symptoms at 54 – incidental proof… Read


Bizarre stories notwithstanding, Edogawa Rampo now regarded as ahead of his times


If you're familiar with translations of Japanese fiction into English and other languages, you have probably heard of Edogawa Rampo. His real name was Taro Hirai (1894-1961), but most people remember him and his considerable body of literary works by his fiendishly clever nom de plume, which is pronounced to… Read


Magazine offers advice to reduce the sting of surging inflation


With coronavirus pandemic, the war in Ukraine and plunging value of the Japanese yen, Japan's consumer price index in March rose by 9.5% over March 2021, rising at the fastest clip since the second "oil shock" of 1973. "When consumer prices rose back in the 1970s, these were offset by… Read


Record-low yen risks turning Japan into a 'poor country'


The yen sinks and sinks, no end in sight. For a resource-poor nation as heavily dependent on imports as Japan, it’s potentially disastrous. The exchange rate as of this writing approaches 130 yen to the dollar – down from an average 106 in 2020. What if it falls to 150?… Read


Will the new 18- and 19-year-old 'adults' become targets for exploitation?


From April 1, Japan's civil code was modified to lower the age of adulthood from 20 to 18 years. This marked the first change since 1896. Since these new adults will now be able to engage in more activities without requiring parental consent, Weekly Playboy (April 25) wondered if this… Read

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