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Decapitated Body is Shosei Koda

Kjeld Duits, Sunday, October 31, 2004 Posted: 10:15 PM JST

The Japanese government confirmed today that a decapitated body found in Baghdad is that of Shosei Koda. Koda had been kidnapped by militants in Iraq. Tuesday they threatened to kill Koda if Japan did not withdraw its troops from Iraq withing 48 hours. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi called the killing ''barbarous and vicious'', but added that Japanese troops will not leave Iraq.


The Latest High Fashion in Tokyo

Kjeld Duits, Sunday, October 31, 2004 Posted: 04:39 AM JST

Photos of Japan by Kjeld DuitsThe Aoyama district in Tokyo is host to the largest concentration of high priced fashion boutiques in Japan. Virtually every major Japanese and foreign designer is represented in this area. It is therefore one of the best spots to discover what is hot in high fashion in Japan. I walked the whole stretch of Omote-sando, including its extension, and shot every single window display. See the latest fashion by Issey Miyake to Fendi.

Keywords: trends_lifestyle


Confusion over Fate of Japanese Hostage

Kjeld Duits, Sunday, October 31, 2004 Posted: 04:26 AM JST

Another body was found in Baghdad this morning at 1:00 Japanese time that is believed to be Shosei Koda, a Japanese civilian kidnapped in Iraq by Islamic extremists, the Japanese government announced today. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hatsuhisa Takashima said yesterday evening that an earlier body found north of Baghdad on Friday was not Koda. Information provided by the U.S. military early in the morning Japan time was wrong Takashima said.


People : Sakamoto Ryoma (1)

Kjeld Duits, Saturday, October 30, 2004 Posted: 01:55 PM JST

Photo of Sakamoto RyomaSamurai; Key player in overthrow of Tokugawa Shogunate
Lived: 1835-1867

This is the first installment of an article by Romulus Hillsborough about Japan's most celebrated revolutionary: Sakamoto Ryoma.


Japanese Hostage in Iraq Found Dead

Kjeld Duits, Saturday, October 30, 2004 Posted: 12:38 PM JST

A body believed to be that of Shosei Koda has been found in Balad, Iraq, the Japanese government said today. The physical features of the body match those of Koda, Foreign Ministry Press Secretary Hatsuhisa Takashima told a news conference early today. The body bears signs of torture and beatings. It is being flown to Doha in Qatar for identification.


The Best Beef on Earth

Kjeld Duits, Saturday, October 30, 2004 Posted: 11:56 AM JST

Photos of Japan by Kjeld DuitsMany Japanese believe that their country produces the best beef on earth. Judging from my own experience I tend to wholeheartedly agree. Lucies Farm in Worcestershire, United Kingdom, has just uploaded an excellent series of articles on their site about Japanese beef, featuring photographs of Wagyu cows taken by me. The series is very informative.

Keywords: culture_news


What is Fate of Japanese Hostage?

Kjeld Duits, Friday, October 29, 2004 Posted: 11:20 PM JST

The Japanese government was trying to confirm today if a body reportedly found in Tikrit, northern Iraq is that of of Shosei Koda, 24. Koda was kidnapped earlier this week by an al Qaeda group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The kidnappers threatened Tuesday to kill him within 48 hours if Japan did not remove its forces from Iraq. Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi tersely rejected the demand.


Lover Gives Girl's Father the Finger. Literally.

Kjeld Duits, Friday, October 29, 2004 Posted: 11:10 AM JST

The blog Tokyo Times is carrying a story about a 38-year-old ex-Yakuza member who tried to persuade a father to let him date his 15-year-old daughter. No expensive presents, deep bows and pretty words for this love lost former gangster. Instead, he gave the girl's father the finger. Literally. He cut off his little finger and mailed it to the father. Naturally the father wasn't exactly pleased. After receiving the finger two times in a row he informed the police. They dutifully arrested the fingerless lover.

Keywords: national_news

Toyota Drives Workers to Suicide

Kjeld Duits, Friday, October 29, 2004 Posted: 10:55 AM JST

Japan Focus carries an eye opening article by Satoshi Kamata, one of Japan's leading investigative journalists, about giant auto maker Toyota. Toyota, the most profitable company in Japan and the fourth in the world, this year became the first Japanese company to pass one trillion yen in profits. Though it sold 1.3 million fewer cars than world-leader General Motors, its profits were twice as high. It achieves this by squeezing every bit of energy out of its employees says Kamata.


Buried Girld Found Dead, Quake Death Toll Now at 35

Kjeld Duits, Thursday, October 28, 2004 Posted: 10:40 PM JST

A day after her 2-year old brother was miraculously rescued, a a 3-year old girl was found dead in the car in which the two were buried with their mother. The mother was found dead yesterday. The car was buried on a steep slope covered in large rocks after a landslide occurred when the three drove by.


Miracle Rescue after Niigata Quake

Kjeld Duits, Wednesday, October 27, 2004 Posted: 06:33 PM JST

A 2-year old boy and his mother, Takako Minagawa (39) were rescued from a car after they had been buried for 90 hours in a quake-triggered landslide. The boy and the mother were immediately airlifted to a hospital in Nagaoka. The boy is reported to be alive, but the mother was later pronounced dead. She had no pulse when she was removed from the car. A second child, a 3-year old girl is still trapped in the car. Her condition is unknown.


Quake Fatalities Reach 31

Kjeld Duits, Tuesday, October 26, 2004 Posted: 07:32 PM JST

The toll from the series of earthquakes in Niigata now stands at 31 dead, 3,400 wounded, with more than 100,000 people evacuated.

Keywords: national_news

Japanese Blog with Niigata Quake Information

Kjeld Duits, Tuesday, October 26, 2004 Posted: 07:02 PM JST

If you read Japanese this blog with earthquake information may be of interest. It has links to other earthquake related blogs from the towns that were hit worst. You can also use the Excite online translator to read them in (weird) English. Type the URL, click on the right radio button, then on the button on the right of the URL input form.

Keywords: internet_news Niigata disaster

Exactly 40 Years Ago in Niigata...

Kjeld Duits, Tuesday, October 26, 2004 Posted: 04:12 PM JST

Exactly forty years ago a magnitude 7.4 earthquake hit Niigata and killed 26 people. On June 16, 1964 a powerful earthquake destroyed 3,018 houses and damaged 9,750. Some apartment buildings toppled over because of soil liquefaction and poor foundations.


Did You Experience the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake?

Kjeld Duits, Tuesday, October 26, 2004 Posted: 12:01 PM JST

Have you been affected by the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake? Are you nearby? If so, tell us about your experience. Even Tokyo was shaken by this series of quakes. We want to hear from anyone who felt the quake. Click on 'Comments' below.

Have photos? Send them to us (e-mail address at bottom of page).

Keywords: national_news


The World is Watching

Kjeld Duits, Tuesday, October 26, 2004 Posted: 11:52 AM JST

Aaron Schwartz has a great article on his blog today about the way some journalists do their job. Something I complained about recently as well. Here follows the complete article.


Diet Debates Suffrage for Foreign Residents

Kjeld Duits, Tuesday, October 26, 2004 Posted: 11:33 AM JST

The ruling coalition has agreed to start deliberations in the Diet on a bill to enable foreigners with permanent residence status to vote in local elections. It is an apparent attempt by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party to appease junior coalition partner New Komeito.


Cool Sites : Observations of Japanese Life

Kjeld Duits, Monday, October 25, 2004 Posted: 08:42 AM JST

Sociocultural anthropologist Karen Nakamura offers a resource for photo-ethnographers. Especially visit the excellent photo report on the Tsukiji Fish Market. (ENG)

Englishman in Osaka, An
Tongue in cheek look at Osaka created by an expat Englishman. (ENG)

Keywords: cool_sites

Deadliest Quake Since 1995

Kjeld Duits, Monday, October 25, 2004 Posted: 08:28 AM JST

The Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake, as it is now officially called, has become the deadliest earthquake in Japan since the terrible quake around Kobe in 1995 that killed more than 6,000 people. The number of fatalities now stands at 25 with more than 2,400 people injured. Some 97,800 people have been evacuated.


BREAKING NEWS: Japan Earthquakes Claim 20 Lives

Kjeld Duits, Sunday, October 24, 2004 Posted: 10:39 AM JST

The series of quakes that have been hitting Niigata Prefecture since yesterday evening have caused widespread destruction. The number of fatalities has now been updated to 20. Most casualties are elderly people, some due to acute heart failure, many because they were buried in their homes. Three children died when their house collapsed. Some 1,500 people have been injured. Throughout Niigata over 61,000 residents were evacuated.


BREAKING NEWS: Powerful Earthquakes Hit Niigata

Kjeld Duits, Sunday, October 24, 2004 Posted: 01:11 AM JST

At least 10 people have died and and more than 700 have been wounded after a series of strong earthquakes hit several towns in Niigata Prefecture. The first quake of the series measured 6.8 on the scale of Richter and occurred shortly before 6:00 on Saturday evening. Some 12 people are reported to be missing.


This Typhoon was for Real

Kjeld Duits, Saturday, October 23, 2004 Posted: 01:45 PM JST

Photos of Japan by Kjeld DuitsYesterday I returned home after a 20-hour stay in Toyo-oka, the city in Hyogo that was flooded after a river dam broke. After all the exaggerated reports during previous typhoons many, including myself, discounted the reports in advance of the arrival of the tenth typhoon this year. But this time it was different. This time the media cried wolf, and the wolf actually came.


Dave White Sneaker Art in Tokyo

Kjeld Duits, Wednesday, October 20, 2004 Posted: 09:41 AM JST

Dave White unveils his latest collection of works at Claska Gallery. The show is called Jumble and is organized by Gas. Press night is on the 26th, party night is on October 29.


Government Responsible for Minamata Poisonings

Kjeld Duits, Saturday, October 16, 2004 Posted: 12:41 PM JST

It has taken almost half a century, but Japan's Supreme Court yesterday finally held the state responsible for not acting to stop mercury poisoning which killed hundreds of people. It was the first ruling by Japan's top court on the government's responsibility for the disease caused by waste water from a chemical plant owned by Chisso Corp. in Minamata City, Kyushu.


Cool Sites : Tokyo Art Beat

Kjeld Duits, Friday, October 15, 2004 Posted: 11:06 PM JST

Tokyo Art Beat
Offers the most comprehensive listings of art and design related events in Tokyo with details of more than 150 events & 300 venues. (ENG)

Keywords: cool_sites

Tokyo's Relations with Beijing and Pyongyang

Kjeld Duits, Thursday, October 14, 2004 Posted: 09:54 AM JST

Japan sees the future in China and must be patient to recover the past from North Korea, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told Japanese legislators yesterday. 'I want to continue to enhance cooperation in wide-ranging areas and develop future-oriented ties between Japan and China,' he said during a Parliament question and answer session.


Media Frenzy

Kjeld Duits, Wednesday, October 13, 2004 Posted: 10:37 AM JST

The Japanese media has been on a feeding frenzy over the past four days. Over the week-end many reporters went bananas over the "worst typhoon in a decade" and since Tuesday they are scrambling all over two group suicides. The coverage of both events gives me an extremely uncomfortable feeling.


Cool Sites : Human Rights in Japan

Kjeld Duits, Wednesday, October 13, 2004 Posted: 10:20 AM JST

Solidarity Network Migrants Japan
Solidarity Network with Migrants Japan (SNMJ) aims to create a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural with migrant workers and citizens of foreign nationalities. (ENG JPN KOR TAG)

Arudou Debito
Information for people concerned with social issues who want to improve life in Japan. (ENG)

United for a Multicultural Japan
Promotes the welfare and legal rights of non-Japanese with Japanese spouses, and other long-term or permanent residents of Japan. (ENG)

Discriminatory Practices in Japan
Short paper by John de Boer (Research Associate, GLOCOM; Japan Fellow, Stanford University) on discriminatory practices in Japan. (ENG)

Owed Justice
Very detailed report on Thai women trafficked into debt bondage in Japan written by Kinsey Dinan, researcher with the Women's Rights and Asia Divisions of Human Rights Watch. Recommended. (ENG)

Human Trafficking Japan
Laws, action plans and contact information on useful governmental agencies and NGO activities in Japan in regards to human trafficking. (ENG)

Human Rights Watch : Japan
Japan page of Human Rights Watch. (ENG)

Find more sites related to Japan at Japan Links.

Keywords: cool_sites society immigration

Skipping School May be Depression

Kjeld Duits, Thursday, October 7, 2004 Posted: 12:20 PM JST

Depression may explain why a large number of Japanese school children play hookey from school, reports the Daily Yomiuri today. Research data supporting this radical new view was recently presented at a conference of the Japan Association for School Mental Health.


Meet Nara at Hara

Kjeld Duits, Wednesday, October 6, 2004 Posted: 12:36 PM JST

The Hara Museum in Tokyo is exhibiting "Yoshitomo Nara -- From the Depth of my Drawer" until October 11. The exhibition shows how Nara's mean looking little girl has evolved from a squiggle in a notebook into an icon of Japan's modern art scene. On Monday October 11 the museum organizes a closing party with the artist attending. Only 100 allowed in, first come, first served.

Keywords: arts_entertainment pop culture

Seidensticker Speaks at Good Day Books

Kjeld Duits, Wednesday, October 6, 2004 Posted: 12:26 PM JST

Edward G. Seidensticker, translator of The Tale of Genji, speaks on "Japan, the Insular, and Myself" at Good Day Books in Tokyo on Sunday, 24 October 2004.

Keywords: book_news

Medecins Sans Frontieres Aids Osaka Homeless

Kjeld Duits, Tuesday, October 5, 2004 Posted: 06:05 PM JST

Osaka is awash in homeless. Many of them hardly have enough money to buy food. Quite a few eat their meals from garbage cans at restaurants. The last thing on their mind is going to the doctor. They can't afford it and the only free medical service Osaka provides is located far away from where most homeless reside. Medecins Sans Frontieres has decided to fill this medical gap.


China Controls News Reports about Japan

Kjeld Duits, Monday, October 4, 2004 Posted: 11:46 AM JST

China wants better relations with Japan. To get there it is tightening controls on reporting about Japan by the Chinese media, the Yomiuri reports today. The government is attempting to silence both anti-Japan views and those seeking to improve ties.


Japanese Police Cries for Help

Kjeld Duits, Sunday, October 3, 2004 Posted: 02:40 PM JST

The Japanese police can't ensure public safety alone anymore according to a 2004 white paper released Friday reports the Japan Times. According to the white paper, the police wants more public participation.


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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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