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Another manga character statue damaged on Tokyo street

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May 22Japan's crackdown on loansharks may prompt housewives to peddle flesh(Tokyo Reporter)
Nikkan Gendai May 19From June 18, a revised law controlling moneylenders, which has been applied incrementally up to now, goes into full force. A salient feature of the law, reports Nikkan Gendai (May 19), will be a limit on the loan amount to less than one-third of the borrower’s annual income. At the same time, nearly all consumer loan companies are ceasing to extend loans to housewives. This is no small matter. According to the national census of 2005, Japan had 16.4 million full-time housewives, of whom an estimated 4.75 million, or 29 percent, had taken out consumer loans.
May 22Another manga character statue damaged on Tokyo street (Mainichi)
A statue of a manga character has been damaged in the same area where the "Samba Ryo-san" statue was recently vandalized. The damage this time happened to a statue depicting the character Reiko Kathrine Akimoto. The character is from the same manga series, "Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Koen-mae Hashutsu-jo" ("This is the police box in front of Kameari Park in Katsushika Ward"), that the "Ryo-San" character appears in. Located in front of a police box at the north exit of JR Kameari Station, the statue was discovered to have been bent at the foot on Wednesday.
May 22Midsummer-like heat wave hits eastern, central Japan(AP)
A midsummer-like heat wave struck many parts of Japan, mainly eastern and central Japan, on Friday due to warm winds that flowed from a high pressure system in the south. Temperatures hit the year's highs of 33.4 C in Tatebayashi, Gunma Prefecture, 33.0 C in Hatoyama, Saitama Prefecture, 32.8 C in Kuwana, Mie Prefecture, and 32.4 C in Mino, Gifu Prefecture, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. The mercury climbed up to 30.9 C in central Tokyo, exceeding the 30 C mark 36 days earlier than last year.
May 22Arakawa, whose art tried to halt aging, dies at 73 (New York Times)
Arakawa, a Japanese-born conceptual artist and designer, who with his wife, Madeline Gins, explored ideas about mortality by creating buildings meant to stop aging and preclude death, died Tuesday in Manhattan. He was 73. Arakawa, who was known professionally by his surname, and Ms. Gins explored their philosophy, which they called Reversible Destiny, in poems, books, paintings and, when they found clients, buildings.
May 21Japanese pin hopes on acupuncture as beauty secret (Reuters)
Forget cosmetic surgery. The ancient treatment of acupuncture is gaining new popularity as a beauty secret in Japan about 1,500 years after it first came there from China. As aesthetic sessions increasingly go organic or employ traditional remedies, women at the "Beauty World Japan" exhibition this week lined up to try acupuncture, long known for its health advantages. Japan is the world's number two market for beauty products and services, with sales estimated at over $15 billion last year alone. Japan has an estimated 40,000 registered acupuncturists and over 150 schools, mainly focused on traditional uses.
May 21Year one of lay judge system: all convicted (Japan Times)
The lay judge system that debuted last year on May 21 has had a smooth first year, and a 100 percent conviction rate, thanks largely to the conscientious efforts of the de facto jurors, prosecutors said Thursday. As of May 20, 530 defendants had been judged and sentenced by the panels of six lay and three professional judges across the nation since the first lay judge trial under the new system was held last August. All of the defendants were convicted, but this is not surprising, given that in almost all cases the defendants had owned up to the charges.
May 20Woman given 10 years for tampering with daughters' IV drips(AP)
The Kyoto District Court on Thursday sentenced a 37-year-old woman to 10 years in prison for tampering with intravenous drips for her three daughters and causing one of them to die and two others to suffer injuries. A panel of three professional judges and six citizen judges gave the sentence to Kaori Takagi, a resident of Seki, Gifu Prefecture, who has been diagnosed with "Munchausen by proxy syndrome," a type of child abuse in which abusers drug their child to deliberately make them sick. Prosecutors had sought imprisonment of 15 years.
May 20Inmates on hunger strike in Japan immigration centre (AFP)
Scores of foreigners in a Japanese immigration detention centre have been on hunger strike for more than a week, demanding to be released and protesting the mysterious death of an African deportee. Some 70 detainees -- many of them Sri Lankans and Pakistanis -- have refused food since May 10, also seeking to highlight suicides there by a Brazilian and a South Korean inmate, say their outside supporters. At Ushiku, about 380 people are detained, with eight or nine inmates living in rooms that measure about 20 square metres.
May 20No love in an elevator when riding with 80 people (CNET)
If you sometimes feel like a lemming at work, at least you don't have to ride an elevator to the office with 79 other lemmings. That's the lot of those who toil at the new Umeda Hankyu Building in downtown Osaka, Japan. They get to work via five giant elevators, each with a capacity of 80 people. Mitsubishi Electric's people movers can carry up to 400 people altogether. With each bearing loads of nearly 6 tons, they're the largest-capacity elevators in Japan. They measure 11x9 feet, which is about the size of a lower-end apartment in Japan, and are 8.5 feet high.
May 20Man arrested despite expired statute of limitations (AP)
A man in his 30s was released Wednesday after more than 24 hours of detention since being wrongly arrested over a crime whose statute of limitations ran out about a year ago, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department said. The man was arrested at his home in Fujiyoshida, Yamanashi Prefecture, at 10 a.m. Tuesday for an alleged act of organized blackmail and was sent to the Tachikawa branch of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office on Wednesday morning, according to the police.
May 20Gargoyle trade awaiting 1st feminine face (Yomiuri)
A 21-year-old woman hopes that by following in the footsteps of her father and grandfather she will become the first female onishi, or maker of traditional Japanese gargoyles. Haruka Kikuchi is training at a roof tile manufacturer in Kikumacho, an area of Imabari that is home to 17 tile manufacturers and famed as a production center of Kikuma-gawara, tiles known for their striking silver finish. Experts say it can take more than 10 years of elaborate work to craft a gargoyle's powerful expression.
May 20Stubborn status quo on marijuana (Japan Times)
Regarding Jun Hongo's May 13 article, "Pot a long way from legalization": It is wonderful to see The Japan Times lend some balance to otherwise scant media coverage of the draconian punishments associated with the cannabis-control regime in Japan. However, until the mainstream vernacular media shed more light on the issue and concerned members of the public feel more free to speak out without the risk of targeting and harassment, the status quo, based on blatantly racist American laws from the 1930s imposed on Japan during the post-World War II Occupation, is more than likely to remain in place.
May 19Japan town bans public servants from growing beards (AFP)
Santa Claus, Karl Marx and Rasputin need not apply for municipal service jobs in the Japanese town of Isesaki -- its local government on Wednesday banned its male employees from growing beards. "We have decided to ban our workers from growing a beard as we have received complaints saying they are unpleasant," Osamu Kigure, an official of the city in Gunma prefecture north of Tokyo, told AFP. The civic facial hair ban is believed to be the first of its kind in Japan.
May 19The rock garden of Ryoanji (Mainichi)
Kyoto is arguably the most historically rich and interesting city in Japan. In 794, with the establishment of Heian-Kyo ("capital of tranquility and peace"), it became the seat of the imperial palace and continued to perform the venerable function until the Meiji Restoration starting in 1867. During World War II, Kyoto was spared from the American air raids in consideration of its rich cultural tradition. Today, the ancient temples and shrines in the city attract tourists from all over the world. Among the countless places of interest in the ancient capital, Ryoanji temple holds a special significance.
May 19New wave of Japanese cult films look overseas (Tokyo Reporter)
Japanese arthouse dramas and comedies routinely receive substantial critical acclaim internationally, but slipping under the radar and steadily gathering an overseas following is a new wave of low-budget cult films. Japan's domestic market continues to be dominated by films based on well-known comic books or television programs. Targeting foreign coin by exploiting interests in exotic Asia is another option. One company responsible for the trend is Japan's oldest studio, Nikkatsu, which last year launched its Sushi Typhoon gore label, whose aim is to assemble Japan's best ultraviolent helmers.
May 19Disruptive passengers force Minneapolis-bound flight to return to Japan(USA Today)
A Delta Air Lines flight headed for Minneapolis returned to Japan because of some disruptive passengers. Delta says the Boeing 747 was three hours into a 13-hour flight Monday when the decision was made to turn back to Japan, where the passengers were removed by Japanese authorities. Narita International Airport police spokesman Keiji Shuto says two male passengers had locked themselves inside the airplane's restrooms for about an hour and refused to come out, prompting the attendants to force open the doors. Shuto says airline officials found at least one plastic bag containing an unidentified liquid.
May 194 arrested in 100 million yen marijuana bust in Hyogo Pref. (Yomiuri)
Four Vietnamese have been arrested on suspicion of growing a large amount of marijuana at three houses in Hyogo Prefecture, in one of the largest marijuana seizures by a narcotics control department. A total of 1,443 plants were seized at three houses, which had been renovated to produce marijuana with a street value of over 100 million yen, the Kobe branch of the Narcotics Control Department at the Kinki Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare announced Monday.
May 18Man apparently kills self after questioning over body of woman in bag(AP)
A 39-year-old man who was questioned over the death of a woman whose body was found in a plastic bag last month in Takatsuki, Osaka Prefecture, apparently killed himself in a car parked near a fishing port in Maizuru, Kyoto Prefecture, police sources said Tuesday. The man, whose identity has been withheld, was the adoptive father of the woman -- Tsuyuko Uno, 36, a resident of Toyono, Osaka Prefecture. He apparently died of carbon monoxide poisoning as briquettes of coal were found in the car, the sources said.
May 18Killer whales delight tourists in Hokkaido (AP)
Sightseers in northeastern Hokkaido's Shiretoko Peninsula are spotting killer whales at a higher rate than any other time of the year. As many as 40 whales can be spotted during a whale watching cruise. Tourists look for the sea mammals breaching from the surface of the sea against the backdrop of the wilderness of the Shiretoko Peninsula, listed as a World Heritage Site of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
May 183 get life terms a month after raping Japanese tourist(India Times)
In probably one of the fastest trials, a Gaya court handed out life sentence to three youths on Monday, exactly 30 days after they gang-raped a 25-year-old Japanese tourist in a field at Amwan village near Bodh Gaya on April 16 night. Though the case was registered against five people, only three could be arrested, chargesheeted and put on speedy trial. The two absconders include the main accused, Lotan.
May 18Doctor held for allegedly causing girlfriend to miscarry (AP)
Tokyo police arrested a university hospital doctor Tuesday on suspicion of drugging his pregnant girlfriend with a hormonal agent and causing her to miscarry, the police said. The suspect was identified as Tatsunosuke Kobayashi, 36, a doctor at Jikei University Hospital in Tokyo, who currently serves at a separate university hospital in Kanazawa, capital of Ishikawa Prefecture, on the Sea of Japan coast. Kobayashi, who was arrested on suspicion of causing abortion without consent under the Penal Code, has denied the allegation, the Metropolitan Police Department said.
May 18Akasaka Prince orgy organizers in need of new romping rooms (Tokyo Reporter)
Students of architecture might have shed a tear or two when it was announced last month that the Kenzo Tange-designed Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka will close early next year. Yet certain regulars illicitly utilizing the suite rooms of the 40-floor, wedge-shaped structure in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward may also be lamenting its demise, reports Shukan Jitsuwa (May 27). Considered a high-end hotel throughout Japan, it is known as a Mecca for newlyweds, those engaging in affairs, escort ladies and participants in sex parties, which have proved to be particularly popular in recent times.
May 18Anti-Narita airport man arrested for vandalizing airport sign (AP)
An anti-Narita airport activist who resides and farms just a stone's throw from a taxiway at the airport in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, was arrested Monday on suspicion of breaking a sign that belongs to the airport, police said. Takao Shito, a 60-year-old member of a group opposing the acquisition of land by the airport serving the capital area, is being sued by its operator, Narita International Airport Corp., which is seeking to have him vacate the land he uses for agricultural purposes.
May 18Cameras net solicitation arrests (Japan Times)
Nine people have been arrested for allegedly conducting street solicitation for an adult entertainment business in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, the Metropolitan Police Department said Monday. Yukio Yokozawa, 56, of Katsushika Ward, and eight others were arrested based on images from 10 surveillance cameras installed in the Dogenzaka district, the police said. They are the first arrests based on images from the surveillance cameras.
May 178-yr-old girl stabbed by woman in Osaka (AP)
A 32-year-old unemployed woman was arrested Monday on suspicion of stabbing an 8-year-old girl in the chest, head and other parts of her body on the street in Osaka, police said. Setsuka Tamaki from Osaka's Sumiyoshi Ward was arrested for attempted murder and admitted she stabbed the girl, who she said she had not met before. The elementary school second-grader was stabbed around five times but was able to talk, the police said.
May 17Japanese man arrested for throwing millions of yen onto highway(telegraph.co.uk)
A Japanese man has been detained by police after scattering millions of yen worth of bank notes across a busy highway in Japan. The 49-year-old man was spotted by drivers throwing banknotes into the air while standing near an expressway tollbooth in Aichi prefecture. In a reflection of the honest virtues of the nation, more than 2.77 million yen worth of Japanese notes were subsequently handed into the authorities or recovered by police in the area. However, there were fears that more money may have been freely distributed than was retrieved: the man's family claimed that he had earlier left his home in central Japan with in excess of 7 million yen in his pockets.
May 17Wielding swords in Samurai Camp is the new aerobics for Japanese women (Times Online)
Aerobics is for wimps, marathons are for the uncommitted and kickboxing is yesterday's game. If you really want to vanquish your flab, no exercise can compete with an hour of vigorous feudal massacre. Welcome to Samurai Camp, a fitness regime that fuses ritualised 16th century swordsmanship, an imaginary bloodbath and throbbing techno music -- and which has captivated 21st-century Japanese woman. The traditional katana swords may be plastic and the slaughter imaginary, but as The Times discovered, when it joined a session, the sweat and fury of battle is real and exhausting. There is a sense that every grimaced slash is meant for someone -- a deadweight boyfriend, perhaps, or an intolerable boss. The drum-and-bass score intensifies the rage.
May 16Hard times: Japan’s commercial sex version of ‘fast food’ squeezes it out to rake it in (Tokyo Reporter)
Even with Japan's economy in the doldrums, salarymen have not necessarily forgone the pleasures of visits to sex shops. They’ve just reduced their outlays. The sex industry's current version of fast food for the masses are tekoki-ten (hand job shops), where the going rate for a 5-finger burp job is 5,000 yen.
May 16Man convicted of rape sentenced to 6 years by all-female panel of citizen judges(Mainichi)
An all-female panel of citizen judges has sentenced a man to a six-year prison term for aggravated sexual assault here, sparking a debate over whether a trial by single-gender panels of jurors can be biased. Hideki Kawamitsu, 40, a junk dealer from Urasoe, Okinawa Prefecture, was convicted of trespassing and rape during a lay judge trial at the Naha District Court on Friday. According to the ruling, Kawamitsu broke into an apartment in Naha and raped a female resident on Dec. 7 last year. The victim sustained bruises to her face and other parts of her body.
May 16Rapist who took photos of victim handed 23-year sentence (Mainichi)
An accused rapist who took photos of one of his victims in a bid to discourage her from filing a criminal complaint against him has been handed a 23-year prison term. The Yokohama District Court convicted Hirokazu Shinya, 35, of sneaking into four women's homes in Yokohama between July and August 2009, raping two of them and molesting two others.
May 16Checks miss fake fingerprints / At least 8 have entered nation from South Korea using special tapes (Yomiuri)
At least eight people arriving in Japan from South Korea have used fake fingerprints to evade the biometric checks at immigration control and enter this country illegally since January 2008, it has been learned. In May last year, two South Korean hostesses at a South Korean bar in Yamato, Kanagawa Prefecture, skipped work for three days with no word to their 43-year-old manager. When the manager demanded they explain, the two hostesses said, "We're very sorry," and revealed they were in this country illegally. At the time, immigration authorities were rounding up illegal residents around the women one after another, and they could not go to work for fear of being caught.
May 16Japanese tries boarding flight with stun gun (Japan Times)
A Japanese man has been arrested after he allegedly tried to board a Honolulu flight bound for Tokyo with a stun gun in his carry-on bag. A criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court charges Hiroki Suzuki with carrying a concealed dangerous weapon while attempting to board All Nippon Airways Flight 1051 on Friday.
May 16Reality check, 2010: 'Smoking doesn't cause cancer' (Japan Tobacco)(Japan Times)
Every generation has its theme song. I was contemplating this quaint truism when trying to pinpoint a tune that would neatly sum up the mores of the men and women who grew to adulthood in Japan between 1960 and 1985, the era of rapid and spectacular economic expansion. Was it 1961's jolly "Sukiyaki Song," with its uplifting lyric, "Let's walk with our eyes to the sky?" Or, conversely, could it be the sorrowful lament of Hibari Misora's 1966 hit, "Kanashii Sake" ("Sad Sake"): "Drinking all alone in a bar / I can taste the tears of parting?" Actually, it was "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," the 1933 American hit by Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach, that came to mind under the clear skies of Golden Week.
By J.S. on May 27, 2010

tag : Japanese Society



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