Archive for the 'Japan' Category

Japanese architecture from the 19th to the 21st century

8 March, 2008

Model

Tokyo is not renowned for its preservation of old buildings, in fact finding any over fifty years old is something of a minor miracle. Thankfully, the Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum’s current exhibition – Rememberance of Places Past – is a wonderful collection of photographs of Japanese architecture from the 19th century to the present day, and provides a wonderful insight into how Tokyo has changed over the past hundred years.

Venue
Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art Museum
21-9, Shirokanedai 5-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0071
Click here for a map of the local area

Nearest station
Tokyo Metro Shirokanedai (6 mins) or JR Meguro (7 mins)

Date
Until 31 March, 2008

Admission
10.00am to 6.00pm daily
Adults ¥200, Students ¥160

You can visit the official web page here (Japanese only, I’m afraid)

Obama, Japan, cheers on Obama, the man

7 March, 2008

Despite Barack Obama’s recent setback in the Democratic race, the people of Obama continue to provide him with their unwavering support, as this news report shows:

See also: “Japanese town goes Obama-crazy

Right-wing activist commits suicide in front of Japanese parliament

5 March, 2008

 Imperial Japanese WWII-era propaganda poster

A suspected right-wing activist arrived at the Japanese parliament building by taxi, got out and shot himself this morning, in an apparent protest against Japan’s warming ties with China.

Police discovered two letters on the dead man’s body: one addressed to Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and one to the Japanese media.

Fukuda is known for his willingness to forge stronger links with near-neighbour China, and his refusal to visit Yasukuni, a shrine dedicated to Japan’s war dead. Prime Ministerial visits to Yasukuni are a particularly sensitive issue for Chinese and Koreans, as 12 convicted World War II class A war criminals are enshrined there.

For the right-wing nationalists (uyoku), Yasukuni remains a rallying point and symbol of Japan’s imperial past, despite former Emperor Hirohito’s to visit the shrine from 1978 until his death because of the enshrinement of war criminals. The current Emperor, Akihito, has never visited Yasukuni.

(See Wikipedia’s pages on Yasukuni Shrine and  Japanese nationalism for history and background information to supplement this story.)

Japan looks to developing countries for whaling support

4 March, 2008

Whale of a time

With most of the developed world clearly set against Japan’s continuing whaling escapades, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs flew delegates from twelve developing countries to Tokyo on Monday for a seminar in the hope that they may join the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and increase support for the resumption of “sustainable” whaling.

Unsurprisingly, Greenpeace was not in the least bit pleased:

“[This meeting] is a clear signal that Japan’s only concern is to roll back decades of protection for whales and resume commercial whaling.”
-Rob Nicoll, whales campaigner for Greenpeace Australia and the Pacific

Full story from BBC News Online: “Japan seeks new allies on whaling

PSP outsells DS in Japan

29 February, 2008

Sony’s PSP outsold the Nintendo DS last week, according to Media Create’s latest sales figures.

The Wii took top spot, with the PS3 trailing in fourth place. The Xbox 360 continues its dismal run of form with a mere 2,001 units sold.

Media Create Sales 18-24 Feb 2007:

    1. Wii: 63,504
    2. PSP: 53,373
    3. DS Lite: 50,151
    4. PS3: 14,060
    5. PS2: 9,634
    6. Xbox 360: 2,001

    For weekly sales reports, visit Media Create’s ranking page (Japanese only).

      China becomes Japan’s biggest trading partner

      29 February, 2008

      Smogging it up

      China now accounts for 17.7 per cent of Japan’s total trade, overtaking the United States to become its biggest trading partner.

      Exports to China rose to US$109.1 billion in 2007, boosted by strong demand for cars and electronics. Meanwhile, imports from China amounted to US$127.6 billion, leaving the overall trade deficit at US$18.6 billion – a reduction of 27.9 per cent on 2006’s trade deficit figures.

      Full story from the IHT: “China overtook US as Japan’s largest trading partner in 2007

      Nearly 100 suicides a day in Japan

      24 February, 2008

      Drunk salaryman

      The Guardian reports on Japan’s increasing suicide rate:

      Japan’s grim reputation as one of the world’s suicide nations has been confirmed by statistics that show more than 30,000 people a year have taken their own lives since figures first began to rise in 1998. In 2006, there were 32,115 suicides – 25 per 100,000 people; nearly 100 people a day; one every 15 minutes. The most common hour of death is 5am for men and noon for women, after their families have left for work or school.

      Read the full article: “One Japanese suicide every 15 minutes“.

      Japanese town goes Obama-crazy

      17 February, 2008

      A small Japanese town has suddenly found itself under the media spotlight in recently, thanks entirely to its name: Obama.

      With the Democratic race neck and neck, the 32,000 residents of Obama have gone all-out in backing the man himself:

      66 year-old Japanese man to participate in Olympics

      13 February, 2008

      A 66 year-old equestrian rider who participated in the 1967 Tokyo Olympics will once again compete for his country in the team dressage event.

      Hiroshi Hoketsu last competed in the Olympics 44 years ago, when he came 40th in showjumping. Here’s hoping he does somewhat better this time around:

      Whaling ain’t what it used to be

      13 February, 2008

      Bit ‘o humpback, sir?

      As mentioned in our previous report on Japanese whaling (“Why Japan hunts whales“), the market for whale meat in Japan is negligible. An article in today’s Daily Telegraph (Australia) provides further evidence for this today, claiming that Japanese whalers are going bankrupt thanks to a lack of demand for their “scientific” produce:

      JAPAN’s whale killers are going broke and have been forced to slash prices because no one wants to eat their growing mountain of whale meat.

      The farcical truth of Japan’s whaling industry was exposed yesterday by Japanese media reports that the Institute for Cetacean Research is struggling to repay $37 million in government subsidies.

      (Daily Telegraph Article: Japanese Whalers Going Broke)