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98.3% of the women would be happy to receive chocolate
Will Japanese Men Start Giving Chocolate on Valentine's Day?



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In the News

Metro Tokyo ordinance on sexually explicit manga walks fine line on freedom of speech
The Mainichi Daily News, 12/13/2010
SDP head criticizes Kan's possible dispatch of SDF to Korean Peninsula
The Japan Times, 12/13/2010
2 Japanese local assembly members visit one of Senkaku Islands
Associated Press, 12/13/2010
Why Japan is ready for anything Pyongyang might want to throw at it
Guardian, 03/01/2010
Japan disputes racism allegations at U.N. panel
Kyodo, 02/26/2010

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News and Photos of Japan - Dive Deeper into Japan with Japan Correspondent Kjeld Duits

Keio's Man Ahead of his Time

40904-0081 - Yukichi Fukuzawa

Next time you come by a ¥10,000 bill, take a look at the face of Yukichi Fukuzawa (1835-1901) that appears on the front, for he was a most remarkable man.

In October 1858, Fukuzawa, then a 23-year-old samurai, opened a small school of Western science (known as “Dutch studies,” because the textbooks were from Holland) in Edo, present-day Tokyo. In 1868, the year of the Meiji Restoration, when the Emperor was made head of state after the overthrow of the feudal Tokugawa Shogunate, the school was named Keio Gijuku after the name Keio then given to that era. In 1918 it became Keio University, the first private university in Japan.

To mark its 150th anniversary, the school is now holding an exhibition focused on the ideas and achievements of Fukuzawa, one of the iconic intellectuals of modern Japan.

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The Japan Times • Saturday February 21, 2009 • Add Comment

This Is Their Youth


Young adults in Japan are unemployed, disenchanted, and depressed. A surprising number refuse to leave their rooms. Director Hiyao Miyazaki says that even his own movies like “My Neighbor Totoro” could be harming the country’s youth. Roland Kelts talks to poet Misumi Mizuki, novelist Ryu Murakami, and other artists to understand why. And he finds something surprising: Japan’s troubled youth might be changing the country for the better.

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Kurt Andersen • Friday February 20, 2009 • Add Comment

Japanese Toy Travels Back in Time

Bandai Showa Ginza Diorama

The past few years, Japan has embarked on a nostalgic trip back to the Showa Era (1926-1989). People conveniently forget the terrors and destruction of war, debilitating poverty, discrimination of minorities and the high crime rates of this period, and instead focus on an imagined utopia. Most of the nostalgia has expressed itself in books and movies, but toys are increasingly traveling back in time as well.

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• Thursday February 12, 2009 • Add Comment

Military Prostitution and the U.S. Military in Asia

US Helicopter

Where there are soldiers, there are women who exist for them. This is practically a cliché. History is filled with examples of women as war booty and “camp followers,” their bodies being used for service labor of various kinds, including sex. Contrary to common assumptions in the West, prostitution is not “part of Asian culture.” Just about every culture under the sun has some version of it during times of war and times of peace.

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Katharine H.S. Moon • Wednesday February 11, 2009 • Add Comment [6]

100 Days of Concerts to Re-Open Akihabara's Pedestrian Heaven

It is 8 months since Akihabara’s popular pedestrian heaven was closed because of the murder spree. Fuji News Network reports on a group of Akihabara fans who are holding concerts at a small venue in Akihabara for 100 days to encourage re-opening the pedestrian heaven. I hope they succeed. We already lost the pedestrian heaven of Harajuku, and now only Ginza’s is left in Tokyo.

• Monday February 2, 2009 • Add Comment

Will Japanese Men Start Giving Chocolate on Valentine's Day?

Gyaku Choco

Since the custom of giving chocolate on Valentine’s Day was first promoted in Japan in the 1960s, it has always been the women who have been doing the giving. Usually to men they are clearly not in love with, like a boss or a male colleague. Men get their chance to return the favor on the later invented White Day, held on March 14th. Now confectionery giant Morinaga believes that men are ready to initiate the gift exchange.

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• Sunday February 1, 2009 • Add Comment [2]

Turkish Salvage Team Starts Operations in Wakayama

Ertugrul salvage divers

A Turkish salvage team has begun the second round of extensive salvage of the Turkish frigate Ertuğrul. The warship was shipwrecked in 1890 off the coast of Wakayama Prefecture, resulting in the loss of 533 sailors. The tragic event turned into the foundation of Japanese-Turkish friendship. Turkey will hold an exhibition of the recovered items as part of Japan Year events planned for 2010, the 120th anniversary of the disastrous shipwreck.

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• Friday January 30, 2009 • Add Comment