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Japanese Emperor Honors Korean War Dead in Saipan

Kjeld Duits, Thursday, June 30, 2005 Posted: 05:53 AM JST

During a visit to Saipan, Japanese Emperor Akihito paid his respects Tuesday to the Koreans killed here. The tiny Pacific island was the scene of a major World War II battle. It is reportedly the first time that a Japanese emperor pays respects at a monument solely dedicated to Korean war dead, and the gesture was generally received well by media in China and Korea. The two countries have been protesting against a Japanese textbook that ignores Japanese atrocities during WWII and visits of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to Yasukuni Shine. It is also the first trip by a Japanese emperor to a World War II battlefield outside Japan.


Top Sumo Wrestlers Clash Outside the Ring

Kjeld Duits, Wednesday, June 29, 2005 Posted: 08:59 AM JST

Sumo wrestlers are supposed to clash, but celebrated former sumo wrestlers Wakanohana and Takanohana have been slugging it out outside the ring. After their father Futagoyama died on May 30 the two brothers have engaged in a highly public feud. It has been feeding the headlines and television news programs in Japan for weeks now.


Japan Braces for Worst Drought in Decade

Kjeld Duits, Wednesday, June 29, 2005 Posted: 07:44 AM JST

Japan is overheating. Yesterday Tokyo's temperatures hit 36.2 C. An all-time record for the month of June. It was recorded at Tokyo's Otemachi business district shortly before noon. It is not restricted to Tokyo. Except for northern Japan and the coastal regions, Japan is feeling the heat all over the country.

Not only are temperatures extremely high for this time of year, but there is a frightening absence of rain. The end of June is supposed the be the rainy season in Japan, but rain is hard to find. Experts predict the worst drought in over a decade.


First Open European Mahjong Championship Starts in the Netherlands

Kjeld Duits, Wednesday, June 22, 2005 Posted: 06:52 PM JST

Mahjong is an immensely popular game in Japan with mahjong parlors just about everywhere in Japan's large cities. It is no surprise therefore that the World Championships in Mahjong were held in Tokyo in November 2002. The success of those championships has given birth to the first Open European Mahjong Championship, to be held in the Netherlands this week-end.

The Dutch mahjong players are the clear favorites. But, says a spokesman of the Dutch Mahjong Association: "No doubt the first prize will go to the Japanese." Dutch Mahjong expert Martin Rep reports:


Tokyo and Osaka Most Expensive in World

Kjeld Duits, Tuesday, June 21, 2005 Posted: 02:35 PM JST

Photos of Japan by Kjeld DuitsTokyo and Osaka are the most expensive cities to live in according to research released by Mercer Human Resource Consulting. The American company ranked 144 cities using New York as the base city at 100 points. Tokyo scored no less than 134.7 points. Last year the Japanese capital also topped the list. Osaka, Japan's second largest city, moved from fourth into second place.


Illegal Worker Rewarded Medical Compensation

Kjeld Duits, Wednesday, June 15, 2005 Posted: 03:21 PM JST

Kyodo News reports that the Sagamihara Labor Standards Inspection Office in Kanagawa Prefecture has recognized a heart infarction suffered by a Bangladeshi construction worker as having been caused by overwork. The Office recognized it as a case of occupational disease.


Comments are turned off...

Kjeld Duits, Sunday, June 12, 2005 Posted: 07:45 PM JST

Due to serious comment spamming comments have been turned off. E-mail your comments and we will upload them for you. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Traditional Towns and Villages in Japan

Kjeld Duits, Saturday, June 11, 2005 Posted: 11:11 PM JST

Photos of Japan by Kjeld DuitsA growing list of villages and towns in Japan that still look traditional. Most of these are authentic, some have been rebuilt, all of them are impressive. Feel free to add your suggestions and impressions by using the comment form.


Joint Sino-Korean-Japanese History book

Kjeld Duits, Saturday, June 11, 2005 Posted: 09:31 PM JST

ESWN yesterday published a very interesting examination of a joint Sino-Korean-Japanese history book that tries to provide an unbiased account of modern east Asian history.

ESWN compares the book with the textbook produced by the nationalist Japanese Society for Textbook Reform. This text book was the source of the anti-Japan riots in China earlier this year. It is important to note that according to Japanese news sources this book is used only at a handful of Japanese schools and is not representative of history books in Japan.

Keywords: national_news

Student Throws Explosive into Classroom

Kjeld Duits, Friday, June 10, 2005 Posted: 07:12 PM JST

An 18-year-old male student at a high school in Hikari, Yamaguchi Prefecture threw a bottle with a mixture of gunpowder, probably fireworks, and something else into a classroom at about 10 am today. News reports give conflicting reports of the number of injured, citing 57 to 58 students.


Cool Sites : Yasukuni Jinja (Shrine)

Kjeld Duits, Wednesday, June 8, 2005 Posted: 07:04 PM JST

China and Japan are fighting an increasingly bitter war of words over Prime Minister Koizumi's visits to Yasukuni Jinja. Some sites with background information about Yasukuni Jinja, the Tokyo Trials and Japan's war apologies:

Center for Research and Documentation on Japan's War Responsibility (JWRC) (ENG JPN)

Memories of War
The Second World War and Japanese historical memory in comparative perspective. Edited by Takashi Inoguchi and Lyn Jackson. Recommended. (ENG)

Tokyo Trials
To What Extent Did Victors Vengeance Influence the Tokyo Trials? A thought provoking article by Neil McDonald. (ENG)

Tokyo War Crimes Trials
All Japanese Class A war criminals were tried by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) in Tokyo. This article features a summary of convicted Class A war criminals. (ENG)

Key Facts of Yasukuni Shrine
An extended list of the key facts of Yasukuni Shrine. Recommended.

Encyclopedia: Yasukuni Shrine
Excellent summary of the Yasukuni shrine visit controversy. Highly recommended. (ENG)

Factbites: Yasukuni Shrine
Excellent list of links to sites about Yasukuni Shrine. (ENG)

Issue of Yasukuni Shrine, The
Translated article by Ryuji Watanabe on the site of the Association for the Advancement of Liberalist View of History. It expresses some extreme views. (ENG)

Yasukuni Shrine
The official site of Yasukuni Shrine. (ENG JPN)

Shortlist of War Apologies by Japan
A list of war apologies by Japanese leaders. (ENG)

Find more sites related to Japan at Japan Links.

Keywords: cool_sites

Asahi Shimbun Proposes New Facility for War Dead

Kjeld Duits, Monday, June 6, 2005 Posted: 01:38 PM JST

In an editorial, The Asahi Shimbun today proposes "a new nonreligious national facility as a site for mourning the war dead." The same proposal was made in 2002 by a private advisory panel headed by then Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda.

"In view of recent events," the editorial concludes, "we feel even more strongly that such a facility would be a far more suitable venue for the prime minister, as the representative of the Japanese people, to articulate the sincerity of our sorrow."

Kyodo Tsushin reported over the week-end that Yasukuni Jinja refuses to remove Class A war criminals from its shrine.

Keywords: national_news

Kamikaze Connections

Kjeld Duits, Monday, June 6, 2005 Posted: 08:03 AM JST

Bill Gordon has been researching how kamikaze pilots are viewed in the US and Japan. The differences are remarkable. Whereas in the US and other countries kamikaze pilots are seen as faceless suicidal fanatics that lack individual personalities, in Japan people are more familar with their true human face. In his article Kamikaze Images, exclusively written for iKjeld.com, he described his findings in Japan. In this article Gordon talks about his experiences during his research in Japan.


Kamikaze Images

Kjeld Duits, Monday, June 6, 2005 Posted: 07:32 AM JST

Photos of Japan by Kjeld Duits(by Bill Gordon) - Kamikaze pilots often conjure up images of fanatical warriors eager to die for the Japanese emperor. Many people, especially outside of Japan, link modern-day terrorist suicide bombings in Iraq and other places to suicide attacks made by Japanese pilots against Allied ships off Okinawa and the Philippines near the end of World War II. In the years after the war, even many Japanese showed contempt or indifference toward former kamikaze pilots who had trained for suicide attacks but survived the war. In recent years in Japan, kamikaze pilots have regained their status as national heroes in the eyes of many people.


Japanese Loincloth Makes Comeback

Kjeld Duits, Saturday, June 4, 2005 Posted: 01:10 PM JST

The traditional Japanese loincloth, or fundoshi is making a comeback, writes the Japan Times today. Fundoshi disappeared from Japan's buttocks shortly after the end of WWII. They were only worn by participants of religious festivals and a shrinking population of elderly men. That is now changing, says the Japan Times.


Books on Japanese Pilgrimages

Kjeld Duits, Friday, June 3, 2005 Posted: 11:20 AM JST

There are countles books about Japanese Pilgrimages. Here is a short selection of the best of such books available at Amazon.


Cool Sites : Shikoku Pilgrimage

Kjeld Duits, Friday, June 3, 2005 Posted: 10:52 AM JST

All cultures develop pilgrimages, and Japan is no exception. The country has several big ones, including the famous Shikoku Henro. These are the best sites about the Shikoku Pilgrimage:

Experiencing the Shikoku Pilgrimage
An article by Ashley W. Wright reprinted from The Asian Wall Street Journal of 26 October 1977. (ENG)

Kikusui Henro House
Detailed information about the Shikoku Henro (Shikoku Pilgrimage) by a Japanese pilgrim. Most information in Japanese, but contains helpful English translations. (ENG JPN)

Pilgrimage and Complexity
The Adjustment Within a Representative Japanese Pilgrimage System, a paper by Hiroshi Tanaka Shimazaki. Published at the University of Lethbridge, Canada. (ENG)

Pilgrimage on Shikoku Island
Extremely detailed guide for those interested in walking the pilgrimage of the 88 sacred temples in Shikoku. (ENG)

Shikoku Henro
Brief summary in English and Japanese of the history behind the Shikoku Henro (Shikoku Pilgrimage). By Akiko Takemoto and Steve McCarty. (ENG JPN)

Shikoku Henro Internet Project, The
Project for the distribution of electronic information on the Shikoku Pilgrimage of Japan. Originally conceived as an extension of a graduation thesis at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. Incomplete site, but still informative. (ENG)

Shikoku Henro Michisaki Annai
The Pilgrim Path Preservation Cooperative Association assists Shikoku Henro pilgrims by clearing paths, placing markers, publishing guide books and researching pilgrimage culture and history. (JPN)

Shikoku Pilgrimage, A Brief Guide
Brief guide for English-speakers who plan to undertake the 88 temple pilgrimage of Shikoku. (ENG)

Find more sites related to Japan at Japan Links.

Keywords: cool_sites

Unique Exhibition at Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography

Kjeld Duits, Thursday, June 2, 2005 Posted: 12:53 PM JST

The Daily Yomiuri carries an excellent article today about the current exhibition at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography.


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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.
Stone Bridge Press

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