SARAH LOHMANN WRITES — How do we find out who we are? Rikiya Imaizumi’s Call Me Chihiro unfolds the possible answers to this layered question through its unique aesthetics and lack of sound. The film premiered internationally on Netflix on February 23, 2023, and made a special impact on viewers.…Full Article MOVIE REVIEW: THE POWER OF SILENCE IN CALL ME CHIHIRO (2023)
K-POP ASIA: STILL EXPLODING,YES – BUT NOT ALWAYS SO KOREAN
YUKANA INOUE WRITES – On the surface, the recently debuted girl group XG appears to be like any other K-Pop girl group. Upon closer examination, however, one quickly finds that all seven members — Jurin, Chisa, Hinata, Juria, Cocona, Maya and Harvey — are Japanese and their production company, Xgalx,…Full Article K-POP ASIA: STILL EXPLODING,YES – BUT NOT ALWAYS SO KOREAN
MUSIC REVIEW: DON’T BLAME THE WILD ONE (2022) – THE POWER OF THE OUTCAST
SARAH LOHMANN WRITES — “Who are we to say that we are not enough?” Ena Mori asks this of listeners in “WHITE ROOM,” the tenth track of her sonically stunning LP, DON’T BLAME THE WILD ONE! (2022). The LP flows through an eclectic soundscape with passion-charged lyrics and production. According…Full Article MUSIC REVIEW: DON’T BLAME THE WILD ONE (2022) – THE POWER OF THE OUTCAST
MOVIE REVIEW: BROKER (2022) – THE SPIRAL OF HUMAN MORALITY
SARAH LOHMANN WRITES — We often like to see the world in black-and-white terms: bad people do bad things. It is rarely so simple in reality, however. Japanese director, Hirokazu Koreeda, explores moral complexity in Broker (2022), showing how our best efforts and intentions can be disrupted by systems that…Full Article MOVIE REVIEW: BROKER (2022) – THE SPIRAL OF HUMAN MORALITY
JAPAN VS. SOUTH KOREA: EXTREME DISCOMFORT CONTINUES
IREH KIM WRITES — South Korean president Yoon Suk Yeol will visit Japan this week March 16-17, for the first time in almost twelve years, in an attempt to resolve a wartime labor compensation dispute. It all began in 1910, with the annexation of South Korea by Japan. During Japanese…Full Article JAPAN VS. SOUTH KOREA: EXTREME DISCOMFORT CONTINUES
BOOK REVIEW: THE SWIMMERS (2022) BY JULIE OTSUKA – NOSE DIVING INTO THE SECRET WORLD OF A COMMUNITY POOL
BOOK REVIEW EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ELLA KELLEHER – The first page welcomes us to the pool, a sanctuary from all on-shore troubles. There are no nagging spouses, bills to pay, arrogant bosses, or spiteful children at the pool. The swimmers mind their business and swim away their worries. There are a few…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: THE SWIMMERS (2022) BY JULIE OTSUKA – NOSE DIVING INTO THE SECRET WORLD OF A COMMUNITY POOL
JAPAN: IN POLITICS, SAME SEX IS NOT YET THE SAME
YUKANA INOUE WRITES – Boys Love — also known as the Yaoi, or BL — is one of the most popular genres of fictional media in Japan. From manga to live action shows, BL stories that previously had just a niche following have evolved into mainstream fare. “Ossan’s Love,” for…Full Article JAPAN: IN POLITICS, SAME SEX IS NOT YET THE SAME
JAPAN: ALL’S (NOT) FAIR IN WAR
JARED D’AGOSTINO WRITES – For the first time in five years, on February 7, 2023, Japan used the words “illegal occupation” when describing Russia’s presence on the Kurile Islands. This is not surprising; Japanese and Russian relations have deteriorated since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24th last…Full Article JAPAN: ALL’S (NOT) FAIR IN WAR
JAPAN: AS BIRTHRATES DROP, CONCERN RISES
HAMAD ALHADBH WRITES – “Japan is on the verge of whether we can continue to function as a society,” said Fumio Kishida, Japan’s Prime Minister, in a January address to Parliament. As Japan’s birthrate continues to plummet to historic lows, the nation’s new government has concerns about the country’s future economic…Full Article JAPAN: AS BIRTHRATES DROP, CONCERN RISES
JAPAN: A MORE WOKE COUNTRY?
FARRAH PADILLA WRITES – This spring in Japan, the pink and red cherry blossoms will flood streets, neighborhoods, lawns, and the sky. These colors never fail to amaze locals and tourists alike; but what about orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple? These colors are less common, but less so this year,…Full Article JAPAN: A MORE WOKE COUNTRY?
JAPAN: WILL A NEW BOJ GOVERNOR LAUNCH A NEW PLAN?
SAM BECK WRITES – Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has named a new potential Governor of the world-renowned Bank of Japan, MIT Ph.D and former BOJ board member Kazuo Ueda. Dilemmas that faced incumbent Governor Haruhiko Kuroda, whose decade-long term ends in April, led to the announcement on February 14.…Full Article JAPAN: WILL A NEW BOJ GOVERNOR LAUNCH A NEW PLAN?
JAPAN: IS IT WASTING ITS INTERNATIONAL IMAGE?
MICHELLE CHANG WRITES – March 11 will mark the twelfth anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, which occurred after Japan was hit with a magnitude 9.1 earthquake and tsunami. This also marks the year that Japan plans to release treated wastewater from the nuclear plant—which has Japanese citizens, not to…Full Article JAPAN: IS IT WASTING ITS INTERNATIONAL IMAGE?
BOOK REVIEW: THE INTERPRETER’S DAUGHTER (2022) — A FAMILY’S STORY OF FILIAL DUTY, FEMINIST PRINCIPLES, AND ENDLESS ENDURANCE
GABY RUSLI WRITES — In our unremarkable and mundane daily routines, we often forget that we are all the living instigators of history. Singaporean-born Fanny Law has always been aware of this profound and undeniable truth. Though she was dutiful in upholding the Confucian cultural practices carried across international waters from…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: THE INTERPRETER’S DAUGHTER (2022) — A FAMILY’S STORY OF FILIAL DUTY, FEMINIST PRINCIPLES, AND ENDLESS ENDURANCE
JAPAN AND ELSEWHERE: OH BABY! THAT’S SUCH A CUTE AND UNUSUAL NAME!
THU-HUONG HA OF THE JAPAN TIMES WRITES – Japanese social media loves to hate on kira-kira names. These unusual or unpronounceable names, so called for their flashiness, like 心人 (Haato, Heart), or 今鹿, (Naushika), as in the heroine of Ghibli film “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind,” are fun…Full Article JAPAN AND ELSEWHERE: OH BABY! THAT’S SUCH A CUTE AND UNUSUAL NAME!
JAPAN: AMID US-CHINA TENSIONS, JAPAN MUST CHOOSE DEFT DIPLOMACY, NOT TOP GUN TOMFOOLERY, TO ENSURE PEACE
This column originally appeared in the South China Morning Post on January 4, 2023. CLINICAL PROFESSOR TOM PLATE WRITES – Is it conceivable that the risk-taking pilot of the Chinese Navy J-11 fighter that flew within metres of a US Air Force RC-135 over the South China Sea two weeks ago…Full Article JAPAN: AMID US-CHINA TENSIONS, JAPAN MUST CHOOSE DEFT DIPLOMACY, NOT TOP GUN TOMFOOLERY, TO ENSURE PEACE
BOOK REVIEW: WEASELS IN THE ATTIC (2022) BY HIROKO OYAMADA – WHAT’S HIDING IN THE DARK?
BOOK REVIEW EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ELLA KELLEHER WRITES – The “perfect suburban life” is pretty simple in theory: get married, buy a house, and have children. Invite your neighbors over. Take up a hobby – like raising exotic fish. Yet, this seemingly picturesque ideal of marital bliss is scrutinized in Japanese storyteller…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: WEASELS IN THE ATTIC (2022) BY HIROKO OYAMADA – WHAT’S HIDING IN THE DARK?