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Tag Archives: Japan

A Generation in Japan Faces a Lonely Death

Cicadas, every Japanese schoolchild knows, lie underground for years before rising to the earth’s surface in summer. They climb up the nearest tree, where they cast off their shells and start their short second lives. During their few days among us, they mate, fly and cry. They cry until their bodies are found on the ground, twitching in their last moments, or on their backs with their legs pointing upward.

Chieko Ito hated the din they made. They had just started shrieking, as they always did in early summer, and the noise would keep getting louder in the weeks to come, invading her third-floor apartment, making any kind of silence impossible. As one species of cicadas quieted down, another’s distinct cry would take over. Then, as the insects peaked in numbers, showers of dead and dying cicadas would rain down on her enormous housing complex, stopping only with the end of summer itself.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/30/world/asia/japan-lonely-deaths-the-end.html

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Posted by on August 8, 2018 in Asia

 

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Asia’s new ways to say goodbye

On a recent Saturday afternoon on the roof deck of a small ship in Tokyo Bay, 13 passengers sat in somber silence as the vessel chugged its way to the middle of the inlet. The tortured lyrics of John Lennon’s 1970 song “Mother” wafted faintly from a speaker inside the boat as jets roared against a deep blue sky above.

In the water below, hundreds of brightly colored flower petals floated on the surface, marking the spot where a paper bag containing the cremated remains of a passenger’s family member had been tossed into the bay.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Features/Cover-story/Asia-s-new-way-of-dying-Funerals-for-the-21st-century-Asia-s-new-ways-to-say-goodbye

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2018 in Asia

 

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Japan struggles to overcome its groping problem

A group of men boarded the women-only car of the Chiyoda Line subway in Tokyo during the morning commute on Feb. 16 as a form of protest, saying that excluding men was a form of discrimination. Such protests are not unusual, but the media almost never covers them. In this case, the women who were already on the train objected loudly, but the men refused to leave after the train arrived at Kokkai-gijidomae Station, thus prompting station staff to become involved. Then, one of the protesters pushed the emergency stop button on the platform. The train ended up being delayed by more than 15 minutes.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/03/17/national/media-national/japan-struggles-overcome-groping-problem/#.WsjksoDOO9c

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2018 in Asia

 

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Why Is Japan Populist-Free?

Contemporary Japan may have its flaws, but it is now much more egalitarian than the United States, India, or many countries in Europe. By remaining a country of, by, and for the middle class, where the most affluent tend to be discreet, Japan has avoided the dangerous politics roiling developed and developing countries alike.

TOKYO – Even as a wave of right-wing populism is sweeping Europe, the United States, India, and parts of Southeast Asia, Japan has so far appeared to be immune. There are no Japanese demagogues, like Geert Wilders, Marine Le Pen, Donald Trump, Narendra Modi, or Rodrigo Duterte, who have exploited pent-up resentments against cultural or political elites. Why?

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/japan-no-populism-reasons-by-ian-buruma-2018-01

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2018 in Asia

 

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Why changing Japan’s pacifist constitution is a big deal

AFTER a landslide election win on Sunday that saw his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) coalition secure a two-thirds “super majority”, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made it clear he seeks to push for his long-held goal of constitutional revision.As his electoral victory started to become clear, Abe said he wanted to deepen the debate on the topic and seek agreement among the ruling bloc and the opposition. He also made clear that he had dropped his initial 2020 deadline for the amendments, favouring consensus over rushing.Having secured 313 seats in the 465-member chamber, Abe has his the two-thirds majority needed to pass any proposed revisions in the lower house.Convincing the public, however, may prove more difficult. Changing the constitution is a highly controversial issue in Japan, where many still see the pacifist aspect as an integral part to maintaining peace.Here’s a little background on the history of the constitution and why changing it is a big deal both for the people of Japan, and the region as a whole:

Source: Why changing Japan’s pacifist constitution is a big deal

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2017 in Asia

 

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Meet Erica, the world’s most human-like autonomous android – video 

With his robot Erica, Hiroshi Ishiguro, the so-called bad boy of Japanese robotics, aims to redefine what it means to be human

Source: Meet Erica, the world’s most human-like autonomous android – video | Technology | The Guardian

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2017 in Asia

 

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Abe caught out in school scandal 

Growing scandal’ is the only way to describe the unfolding story about Moritomo Gakuen, a private education company in Osaka responsible for the controversial early education programs and schools currently under scrutiny in the Japanese parliament and press because of its close connection to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Source: Abe caught out in school scandal | East Asia Forum

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2017 in Asia

 

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2016: The year Japan said ‘sayonara’ to some sexist terms 

What a year 2016 has been. Recently, a usually frugal girlfriend of mine drained her bank account by moving into a new, swanky apartment, and by buying a bag and shoes from Prada. It seems she’d had enough of the litany of bad news. もう今年に耐えられない (Mō kotoshi ni taerarenai, I can’t take this year anymore) was her explanation. わかるよ、お姉さん (Wakaruyo, onēsan, I feel you, sister).
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2016/12/26/language/2016-year-japan-said-sayonara-sexist-terms/

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2017 in Asia

 

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Can religion be based on ritual practice without belief? 

Since the dawn of anthropology, sociology and psychology, religion has been an object of fascination. Founding figures such as Sigmund Freud, Émile Durkheim and Max Weber all attempted to dissect it, taxonomise it, and explore its psychological and social functions. And long before the advent of the modern social sciences, philosophers such as Xenophanes, Lucretius, David Hume and Ludwig Feuerbach have pondered the origins of religion.
In the century since the founding of the social sciences, interest in religion has not waned – but confidence in grand theorising about it has. Few would now endorse Freud’s insistence that the origins of religion are entwined with Oedipal sexual desires towards mothers. Weber’s linkage of a Protestant work ethic and the origins of capitalism might remain influential, but his broader comparisons between the religion and culture of the occidental and oriental worlds are now rightly regarded as historically inaccurate and deeply Euro-centric.

https://aeon.co/essays/can-religion-be-based-on-ritual-practice-without-belief

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2016 in Asia

 

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Why Japanese Kids Can Walk to School Alone

It’s a common sight on Japanese mass transit: Children troop through train cars, singly or in small groups, looking for seats.

They wear knee socks, polished patent-leather shoes, and plaid jumpers, with wide-brimmed hats fastened under the chin and train passes pinned to their backpacks. The kids are as young as 6 or 7, on their way to and from school, and there is nary a guardian in sight.

A popular television show called Hajimete no Otsukai, or My First Errand, features children as young as two or three being sent out to do a task for their family. As they tentatively make their way to the greengrocer or bakery, their progress is secretly filmed by a camera crew. The show has been running for more than 25 years.

Source: Why Japanese Kids Can Walk to School Alone

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2016 in Asia

 

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