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Atomic bomb legacy haunts Hiroshima families

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Nov 13Porn diplomacy? Actress Mariko Kawana, Japanese AV popular in North Korea (Tokyo Reporter)
Diplomatic relations between Japan and its Asian neighbors may now be at a post-World War II low, but, reports weekly tabloid Shukan Asahi Geino (Nov. 11), the popularity of Japanese AV is rising steadily in North Korea. On October 16, the Korean newspaper Chosen Nippo raised concerns about how widespread Japanese AV, that is, adult video, had become in its neighbor to the north. "Porn videos from overseas have high market value, especially those from Japan," explains a resident in a North Korean border town. "Their content may be illegal but the videos are very popular with young people." The tabloid wonders how a nation in which much of the population faces starvation can find an interest in AV, which is ultimately a mere recreation. "It is a fact that the ship Mangyonbon is used to transfer Japanese porn between the two countries," says professor Toshio Miyatsuka of Yamanashi Gakuin University, whose research focuses on North Korea.
Nov 13In Japan's largest Chinatown, people avoid politics (AFP)
Luo Yimei was born and bred in Japan but has never relinquished her Chinese nationality -- a decision she traces back to the day she was taught about Japan's wartime aggression in China. Now 62, the restaurant manager in Yokohama's Chinatown -- the largest in Japan -- has committed the event to history and like many in this colourful part of the city, rarely brings up politics in her dealings with friends. But a territorial row between China and Japan has brought politics back to the surface, especially as heads of government prepare to meet at this weekends's Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Yokohama.
Nov 13Atomic bomb legacy haunts Hiroshima families (AFP)
The US atomic bombs that killed and wounded half a million people in Japan 65 years ago continue to haunt generations of families who live in fear of inheriting radiation-damaged genes. Katsuhiro Hirano is among hundreds of thousands of descendants from the "hibakusha" or survivors of the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that killed more than 200,000 people instantly or in the radioactive aftermath. "Everyone who is second generation 'hibakusha' has the same fear -- that we may be struck by cancer at anytime," said Hirano, whose late mother barely survived the 1945 bomb in Hiroshima in the final days of World War II.
Nov 13Getting around the soul of Japan (Japan Times)
I go to Kyoto once a year. I get lost in Kyoto once a year. Kyoto makes no sense to me. I'm more of a Tokyo girl. Give me a handful of subway lines and trains to navigate and I'm fine. Give me just two and I'm lost. Is it Karasuma or Tozai? Kintetsu or Keihan? Karasuma eki or Karasuma oike? Hmmm. And let's just say that signage is not a strong point of Kyoto's stations. To know Kyoto is to know it intuitively. A good relationship with the Buddha and an ability to navigate mandalas probably helps.
Nov 13Aichi barber finally cuts his way to the top(Japan Times)
Toshihiko Katagiri, 31, a hairdresser at Basic Hair Katagiri in Shinshiro, Aichi Prefecture, won the "classical cut and fashion" category at the national hairdressing championship in October, earning a Prime Minister's Award. It was the first time since 1967 that a haircutter from Aichi Prefecture had won in the competition. Katagiri embarked on a challenge to become the best hairdresser in Japan five years ago while he was working at a barbershop in Fuchu, western Tokyo.
Nov 1230 percent of convicts who serve time for major crimes break law again after release (Mainichi)
Over 30 percent of ex-convicts who have served time for major crimes violate the law again within 10 years, while 3 percent do so within a month, according to a special survey in the White Paper on Crime for 2010 released by the Ministry of Justice on Nov. 12. The rates of repeat offenses for major crimes such as murder and armed robbery are lower than those for theft and drug use, but because of the greater likelihood that major crimes will be repeated by those convicted for the former, the report points to the need for the Ministry of Justice to implement a rehabilitation program that will instill prisoners with respect for life.
Nov 12Ginza hostesses sue upscale club over unpaid wages (Mainichi)
Three former hostesses of an upscale club in Tokyo's Ginza district have filed legal action against the club's operator over unpaid wages, saying it unfairly penalized them for failing to bring in enough customers. The former hostesses, aged in their 20s and 30s, are seeking a labor ruling in the Tokyo District Court, demanding a total of 4.38 million yen in compensation. According to case documents, one of the former hostesses aged in her 30s joined the club in December 2009, agreeing to a daily wage of 46,000 yen.
Nov 12Woman admits illicitly collecting pension for '111-year-old' grandfather (Mainichi)
A woman accused of illicitly collecting pension payments for her deceased grandfather, whom authorities believed was the oldest man in Tokyo, admitted to the allegations as her trial opened on Nov. 11, saying she was influenced by her mother. The 53-year-old woman, Tokimi Kato, is facing charges of fraud over the collection of pension payments for her deceased grandfather, Sogen Kato, who was believed to be alive at the age of 111, making him the oldest man in the capital.
Nov 12Tsukiji to bar gawkers at end of year (Japan Times)
Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market will shut out sightseers from its popular tuna auction area from Dec. 1 to Jan. 22 to ensure sales can be conducted smoothly, market officials said. The auction area at the Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market will be off-limits to sightseers around the New Year's holidays for the third straight year. The measure was introduced in 2008 because activities such as flash photography by tourists disturbed tuna middlemen and because the area will be particularly crowded around New Year's due to an upsurge in tuna transactions.
Nov 11Man nabbed after lost bag containing drugs, name cards handed in to police (Mainichi)
A man was "bagged" by police after a bag containing cannabis and his name cards was handed in to a police box and he turned up to report it missing. The 24-year-old man, Hirota Noguchi, was arrested on suspicion of violating the Cannabis Control Law by possessing the drugs. He has reportedly admitted to the allegations against him.
Nov 11Young hermit takes first steps back into the world with job at Kyoto bar(Mainichi)
In the ancient Japanese capital's famed Gion pleasure district, there is a bar along the Shirakawa River called One Day with one very unusual employee. So unusual, he could even be called a contradiction in terms. Working behind the bar and in the kitchen is one of Japan's many hikikomori, or shut-ins who spurn contact with the outside world and live almost entirely in their rooms. Recent Cabinet Office statistics put the number of hikikomori at some 696,000 nationwide, making it a national social problem. This 20-year-old hikikomori, however, is not so shut in, thanks to a job offer extended to him by the 53-year-old proprietress Masayo Fujio, who has dealt with moments of social dislocation of her own.
Nov 11Holographic pop star goes on tour in Japan (psfk.com)
We've all been noticing the increasing plasticity of pop stars, whether you're thinking of Lady Gaga or Katy Perry, it's hard to deny that a certain infusion of the manufactured is part of the equation for success these days. Well, now Japan's Crypton Future Media has created a literal holographic pop star, Hatsune Miku. Hatsune began as a fictional character in Vocaloid, a voice-synth software that allows users to create songs for fictional characters to sing, but this latest innovation has brought Hatsune to "life" and sent this J-pop avatar on tour to play for live audiences.
Nov 11APEC guard arrested for bringing knives to work (Japan Times)
A security guard at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum meetings in Yokohama has been arrested for showing up at work with two knives, police said Wednesday. Hisanori Sekizawa, 44, an employee of Rising Sun Security Service Co., was found Tuesday carrying the knives in his bag at a security checkpoint in front of the Pacifico Yokohama convention center, the venue for the series of APEC meetings being held through Sunday, according to the police. They said he told investigators the knives were for self-protection.
Nov 11Gallows sought for second time in lay judge trial (Japan Times)
Prosecutors on Wednesday sought the death sentence for a man accused of killing two men and mutilating and abandoning their bodies last year, in only the second lay judge case in which the prosecution has demanded capital punishment. Noting that Hiroyuki Ikeda, 32, cut off the head of one of the victims with an electric saw while the man was still alive, a prosecutor told the Yokohama District Court that the defendant's act is "cruel and heinous in the highest level and deserves maximum condemnation."
Nov 11Japanese reporter recalls arrest in Myanmar (AP)
A Japanese journalist arrested in Myanmar while trying to cover its elections says he was locked up in a room that looked like a pigpen, but shed tears of joy when fellow inmates thanked him for coming to report on the country. Toru Yamaji, 49, a reporter with the Tokyo-based APF news agency, also said he heard shots fired in skirmishes between ethnic rebels and Myanmar government troops during his three days of detention. Inmates in a nearby cell were political prisoners, including a pro-democracy activist who had been imprisoned since 1995, and they thanked him for doing journalistic work that could help their cause, according to Yamaji.
Nov 10Japanese man kills himself live online (newstime)
A 24 year old Japanese man took his life live on the Internet, according to reports. The suicide occurred after the man - who comes from the city of Sendai - had posted complaints about his job online after being placed on extended sick leave from August. On Sunday night he broadcast his intentions to kill himself on live streaming service Ustream. He had been discussing his views on life with an audience on the site.
Nov 10Six-mat chic: Small spaces suit us just fine (Japan Times)
As the minimalism movement gains momentum in the United States, it's probably a good idea to re-examine the concept on our own shores. Minimalism is a Japanese birthright - what Western culture views as monkish habits, Zen aesthetics or the joys of simplicity, the Japanese have pretty much taken for granted as an ingrained part of the business of living. Abundance has never been part of the average Japanese mindset, nor have things such as dinner sets for 12, linen closets stacked with towels for every occasion, bedrooms for every member of the family, three-car garages and the like. The Japanese house has never been designed to store and absorb any more amenities than the barest essentials and even then, possessions are often an extremely tight fit.
Nov 1020% back to smoking after price hike (Japan Times)
Twenty percent of people who quit smoking because of the Oct. 1 cigarette price hikes have started lighting up again, according to an online survey by Macromill Inc. But the poll, conducted Nov. 1 and 2 with 500 adult respondents, also found that 62 percent of the people who stopped smoking due to the price increases have managed to refrain from smoking even a single cigarette.
Nov 10Tensions persist in 'Cove' town (Yomiuri)
This small town of 3,500 people has undergone an uneasy transformation since its tradition of dolphin hunting became the subject of the Academy Award-winning U.S. documentary "The Cove." When this year's hunting season began in September, a number of international activist groups, including the U.S.-based Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, came to Taijicho to step up their calls for an end to the practice. Some activists have stayed on in a neighboring town, intending to monitor the entire hunting season.
Nov 09Knife found under seats on Delta flight to Japan (AFP)
Police are investigating a Delta Air Lines flight from South Korea to Japan after a small knife was found under passenger seats, an official said Tuesday. The Delta flight with 86 passengers and eight crew members arrived at Narita, Japan from Pusan, South Korea. Afterward, cleaners found a folding knife with a blade about 2.8 inches (7 centimeters) long under seats, a Narita airport police official said. The Atlanta-based airline had a similar incident last week. Its flight from Tokyo to Oregon was searched upon landing after its crew found box cutter blades aboard.
Nov 09Female hotel employee seeks prevention measures after obscene acts by guest (Mainichi)
A female hotel employee is seeking prevention measures after she was exposed to obscene conduct by a guest, she announced at a press conference on Nov. 8. The woman is in her early 20s and works at the front-desk of an Aichi hotel belonging to the hotel chain "Toyoko Inn." A male customer summoned her to his room, where he allegedly performed obscene acts on her. The woman says that the hotel company was negligent in safety measures for its employees by, for example, not giving her a buzzer she could use to call for help in such a situation.
Nov 09Building a 'Little Yangon' in Tokyo (Japan Times)
With its proximity to the Waseda and Gakushuin universities and crisscross of train lines, Takadanobaba is known to most Tokyoites as either a college town or a commuting hub. It's a cheap place to go for a drink, a place to grab a quick bite on the way home from work, or perhaps to pick up some used books. And as the platform music at the JR station hints and any otaku can tell you, it was also the birthplace of Astro Boy.
Nov 08Man nabbed for swindling woman with fake TV drama ruse (Mainichi)
A man accused of swindling money from a woman by soliciting her as a cast member for a television drama that didn't exist has been arrested, law enforcers said. Yuta Nozaki, 27, unemployed and of no fixed address, was arrested on suspicion of fraud. He has reportedly admitted to the allegations against him. Police accuse Nozaki of pretending to seek people to play the part of a cafe proprietress on a fictitious late-night television drama through the social networking site Mixi on June 7, and swindling 28,000 yen from a 50-year-old voice actress from Osaka as a "registration fee."
Nov 08Courting a courtesan's life(Mainichi)
"I want to dress up like an old-fashioned prostitute," my wife, Noriko said. We were discussing what to do for her birthday, and she said she wanted to pay money to be transformed into an oiran. The polite English word for oiran is "courtesan" but the reality is that these women sold sex for money. "Why an oiran instead of a geisha?" I asked. "Because oiran look even more fabulous," she said. They have brighter kimonos and fancy hairstyles. Noriko found a business in Nagoya that promised to dress up women as oiran, and then they could parade around Nagoya castle. The parade was part of an ongoing celebration to commemorate the castle's 400th anniversary.
Nov 08Tokyo bank closes 400 million yen account of yakuza leader(Mainichi)
A bank in Tokyo took advantage of a new rule designed to clamp down on yakuza to terminate the account of a high-tier gangster boss this fall, it has been learned. Since spring of this year, financial institutions across the country have joined in a movement to work toward expelling yakuza accounts, but the case this fall is the first concrete example to have emerged. In September of last year, the Japanese Bankers Association informed around 180 of its member banks that they were to refuse to create new accounts for customers with yakuza ties and to proceed toward the closing of yakuza-held accounts that were already in place.
Nov 08One-of-a-kind Japan (The Diplomat)
What is it that makes Japan's landscape so visually distinctive? And is the answer to this question the key to defining the 'Japanese aesthetic'? Gathering the insights of scholars, authors and architects on Japan's contemporary landscape, this series aims to answer these questions. Last week, to better understand the concept of Japanese aesthetics, we zeroed in on two specific, common landscapes in the country-its streets and gardens-and what deeper meanings might be found in them. Now I'm going to take a closer look at Japan's modern urban landscape, and a couple of qualities that make it stand out.
Nov 08S Korea to retrieve stolen cultural property from Japan (Xinhua)
Japan has agreed with South Korea to return some 1,000 items of South Korean cultural property it plundered during its colonial rule decades ago, local media reported Monday citing unidentified officials. The two countries will make an official announcement Tuesday on the planned restitution, which will include a collection of royal books called "Uigwe" from the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), according to Yonhap News Agency.
Nov 08Tourist bus gutted by fire in Shiga Pref., none injured (AP)
A tourist bus was gutted by fire Sunday morning in Shiga Prefecture after the driver and all 43 passengers aboard safely evacuated the vehicle, the local police said. The bus, with 24 elementary school students from Fukui Prefecture and their guardians on board, caught fire in Nagahama en route to an aquarium in neighboring Gifu Prefecture, the police said.
Nov 08Japanese journalist detained in Myanmar (AP)
Myanmar police authorities have detained a Japanese journalist on suspicion of illegal entry after he entered the country to cover general elections, the Japanese Embassy in Myanmar said Sunday. The Myanmar police are questioning 49-year-old Toru Yamaji, president of Tokyo-based video news provider APF News Inc., for which Japanese video journalist Kenji Nagai, who was shot dead while filming pro- democracy protests in Yangon in 2007, worked, the embassy said.
Nov 08Nishizaki, producer of 'anime' Yamato, dies after falling into sea(AP)
Film producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki, known for the popular TV "anime" series "Uchu Senkan Yamato" (Space Battleship Yamato), died Sunday after falling into waters from a boat anchored at a port at Chichi Island in the Ogasawara island chain in southern Tokyo, local police said. Nishizaki, 75, fell from the boat around 12:35 p.m. and was rescued about 20 minutes later by a patrol boat, but he died shortly after, the police said.
Nov 07'Divine power' behind gravity-defying stones draws visitors to remote mountainside (Mainichi)
"Wow, that's weird." That's how two women in their 30s described the three stones in front of them -- two of them upright like transplants from Stonehenge with a third, cube-shaped rock on top, reminding one of a die held up between two fingers. The women heard of these remarkable stones in mid-October, and set out from Nagoya to see them. After looking at them for a while, they said, "They're like sacred objects. It's like there's a divine power at work here," and joined hands instinctively.
Nov 07Policemen mistook victim for attacker (Yomiuri)
The Akita lawyer killed in his own house Thursday was fatally stabbed after being overpowered by police officers who mistook him for the attacker, it has been learned. Two Akita prefectural police officers believed Hirotaka Tsuya, 55, was the assailant because he had taken an object that looked like a handgun from the actual attacker, Katsuo Sugawara, a 66-year-old unemployed man, and was holding it when the officers arrived.
Nov 0757 babies, infants left at 'baby hatch' in 4 yrs(Yomiuri)
In the four years since Jikei Hospital in Kumamoto started operating the nation's first "baby hatch," where parents can anonymously leave babies they feel they cannot care for, 57 babies and infants have been dropped off at the hospital. In the same period, the hospital has also given free counselling to a number of people about such matters as pregnancy and child-rearing. The hospital continues to receive requests for such consultations. In responding to a buzzer at the incubator-like 24-hour baby hatch, hospital staffers often find newborns, some of them still with umbilical cords still attached.
Nov 07Women in N.Y. film wins award(Japan Times)
Kyoko Gasha, a Reuters TV reporter, has won a prestigious award from media professionals for her documentary about Japanese women living in New York. "Mother's Way, Daughter's Choice" depicts professional women who have decided to carve out lives for themselves in Manhattan and the choices they have made along the way, partly reflecting Gasha's own experiences. Gasha, 47, had already received the audience and best cultural documentary awards at this year's New York International Independent Film Festival, but this was the film's first award from a professional association.
Nov 07A Kyushu tale of two cities in one (Japan Times)
Fukuoka, the biggest city in Kyushu and a key gateway linking Japan to the rest of Asia, has the air of a modern metropolis. But the city is also rich in traditional culture and its residents' long-standing hospitality toward visitors is well known. To enjoy visiting Fukuoka's historical sites - while being given detailed explanations (in either English, Japanese or Korean) of what you are seeing - a good way is to take a walk around the city that's home to almost 1.5 million people with a member of a group named Fukuoka City Volunteer Sightseeing Guide (FCVSG).
Nov 07Snow Crab season started in Japan (demotix.com)
Snow Crab season has begun in Japan, with the largest crabs selling for around $410. The crabs live in the ocean off Fukui Prefecture at the depth of a few hundred meters, and they are caught only in winter.
Nov 07Sham adoptions used to gain passports, apply for loans(Yomiuri)
The Justice Ministry has launched a nationwide investigation into adoptions, suspecting many in recent years were made for illegal purposes. Helping foreigners get Japanese passports and heavy debtors obtain new loans illicitly were the apparent motives of 60 men and women living in Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture who completed adoption procedures in 197 instances between February 2001 and August 2007, according to the Kanagawa prefectural police.

By JS on Nov 18, 2010

tag : Japanese Society



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