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Japan Fashion Week

Kjeld Duits, Tuesday, May 31, 2005 Posted: 10:10 PM JST

Japan will start a Fashion Week to better compete with well-established fashion cities like New York, Paris and Milan. The first Japan Fashion Week, billed as "a Paris collection with a Tokyo style" is to be held this October in Tokyo.


Photographs of Asian Tsunami Aftermath

Kjeld Duits, Tuesday, May 31, 2005 Posted: 05:39 PM JST

Almost immediately after the tsunami of December 26 2005 laid waste to huge areas of Asia I packed my bags to report on the aftermath. During my ten days in Sri Lanka and ten days in Indonesia, with a short three day stay in Thailand to get a visa, I visited some of the most devastated towns and villages.

The damage was incomprehensible, the courage and strength of the survivors astonishing.

The headlines screamed of the hundreds of thousands that perished. What was even more newsworthy, but never made it into a headline, was the incredibly large number of people that managed to survive. These photographs mostly tell their story.

WARNING: Some of these images are extremely graphic.

Keywords: special_report photo_essay


Schapelle Corby's Unknown Life in Japan

Kjeld Duits, Sunday, May 29, 2005 Posted: 12:49 PM JST

On Monday May 16 Australia's New Idea Magazine published my article about the unknown life in Japan of Schapelle Corby. Schapelle was sentenced to twenty years in prison by an Indonesian court Friday.

Almost all the people I interviewed heard about Schapelle's sad fate for the first time as the news has not been covered by the Japanese media. Without exception, they were shocked and surprised.

In Australia the article attracted almost sensational attention. Few people knew Schapelle had been married and lived in Japan. Journalists who did know, had been unable to locate close friends, or her former husband. This was big. The news was covered by Channel 7 and most, if not all, other Australian news media. Some distorted my findings.

Hereby the original article. For reprints and permissions, please contact me.


Japan to Koizumi: "Do not visit Yasukuni Shrine"

Kjeld Duits, Sunday, May 29, 2005 Posted: 12:20 PM JST

Kyodo reports today that nearly three in five Japanese responding to a Kyodo News poll are against Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visiting Yasukuni Shrine.

Some 57.7 percent were against the visit, an increase of 16.9 percentage points from a survey conducted last December. People in favor of such a visit decreased by 16.7 points to 34.3 percent.

Keywords: national_news

Key Facts of Yasukuni Shrine

Kjeld Duits, Friday, May 27, 2005 Posted: 06:56 AM JST

Some facts about Yasukuni Shrine.


Yasukuni, the Thorn in Japan's Diplomatic Hide

Kjeld Duits, Friday, May 27, 2005 Posted: 06:56 AM JST

Ever since Japanese Prime Minister started visiting Yasukuni Shrine to pay his respects to all Japanese fallen in wars, Japan has had troubles with its neigbors. Besides 2.5 million war dead, Yasukuni enshrines 14 convicted Class A war criminals, including Japan's military leader during the Second World War, Hideki Tojo. Japan's neighbors therefore see the shrine as a symbol of Japan's wartime aggression and emphetically criticize Japanese leaders for paying homage here.

This week Koizumi's announcement that he would once again visit the shinto shrine later this year angered visiting Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi so much that she cancelled her appointment with the Japanese Prime Minister and left for home one day early. An unprecedented diplomatic snub that both surprised and hurt the Japanese, as was undoubtably intended.


Remembering the Amagasaki Train Accident

Kjeld Duits, Friday, May 27, 2005 Posted: 05:42 AM JST

Wednesday it was exactly one month since the terrible train accident occurred in Amagasaki in Hyogo Prefecture. Japanese news media have been paying extensive attention to the accident, which only intensified on Wednesday.

All news media are still probing into the causes of the accident, but on Wednesday there were also a lot of reports of the memorial service held at the place of the accident. TBS has posted a short clip of its TV coverage of the train accident memorial online.

Keywords: national_news

Modernizing the Japanese Garden

Kjeld Duits, Thursday, May 19, 2005 Posted: 08:58 AM JST

Kyoto based photographer and designer Markuz Wernli has collaborated with Christian Tschumi on a wonderful book on Mirei Shigemori's gardens: Mirei Shigemori: Modernizing the Japanese Garden.

Markuz Wernli's beautiful photographs in this book provide a view of beautiful texture and detailing that is hardly visible to the ordinary garden visitor. I asked Wernli to talk a little bit about his book.


Ritz-Carlton Osaka Ranked as Most Preferred Hotel Employer in Japan

Kjeld Duits, Tuesday, May 17, 2005 Posted: 09:40 AM JST

The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka, Japan's inaugural Ritz-Carlton hotel, ranked No. 1 Preferred Employer in Japan's hotel industry by a survey conducted by Ohta Publications, Japan's largest hospitality trade publication.


Kjeld Duits Adds New Twist to Australia's Top News Story

Kjeld Duits, Monday, May 16, 2005 Posted: 08:11 PM JST

Today an article I wrote about Schapelle Corby's secret Japanese husband was published in New Idea magazine in Australia. The news was also covered by Channel 7. The news I uncovered is considered to be a major break. Australian national Corby was arrested last year October when 4.1 kilograms of marihuana were found in her bag upon arrival in Indonesia.


Trendy Japanese Grab for Masks

Kjeld Duits, Sunday, May 15, 2005 Posted: 03:00 PM JST

(by Paul-Vincent McInnes) - It was when my Japanese friend told me that I had looked bored throughout a party that I hit on the subject of masks. She explained to me that in Japan social masks were obligatory in all public situations and that I really needed to try harder.


Detailed Report of Chuetsu Earthquake

Kjeld Duits, Friday, May 13, 2005 Posted: 08:44 AM JST

The California based Earthquake Engineering Research Institute has an excellent preliminary report on the Chuetsu Earthquake (pdf file) of October 23, 2004 in Niigata prefecture, Japan.

The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute is a national, nonprofit, technical society of engineers, geoscientists, architects, planners, public officials, and social scientists. EERI members include researchers, practicing professionals, educators, government officials, and building code regulators.

Keywords: national_news

Has Japan Forgotten Basic Human Values?

Kjeld Duits, Thursday, May 5, 2005 Posted: 12:17 PM JST

Since the disastrous train accident in Amagasaki on April 25 a stream of news reports in the Japanese media paint a picture of JR as a company that, like many large organizations, appears to have forgotten basic human values. Usually after an accident like this lots of news stories come out that show a person or organization in the worst possible light. Only the negative is shown, an ocean of positive things can be ignored. So it is still too early to say how accurately these reports represent the true situation at JR. But there clearly seem to be problems at the company.


Japan-China : Burning Issues Left Unquenched

Kjeld Duits, Wednesday, May 4, 2005 Posted: 09:38 PM JST

The Japan-China summit meeting held in Jakarta that barely patched up the deeply wounded bilateral relations still appears to have served the purpose of having such a meeting at all. If the meeting had failed to materialize, the two countries' relations, said to be the worst since the 1972 diplomatic normalization, might have plunged into abysmal difficulty, as Nihon Keizai Shimbun suggested in its April 24 editorial.


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The now legendary Sir Ernest Mason Satow (1843-1929) was a member of the British legation in Tokyo for twenty-one years. This classic book is based on the author's detailed diary, personal encounters, and keen memory. In it, Satow records the history of the critical years of social and political upheaval that accompanied Japan's first encounters with the West around the time of the Meiji Restoration. Fascinating.
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