Is the next stop 'brokesville' for the maglev?

| Aug 2, 2014

Is the next stop 'brokesville' for the maglev?

by Philip Brasor

Robert Moses, the civil servant who built the great park-expressway-bridge network in New York state during the middle of the last century, succeeded by gaming the system. Understanding how politics would make it difficult for him to fulfill his vision, he often started a ...

Art vs. morals debate plays out in the press

| Jul 26, 2014

Art vs. morals debate plays out in the press

by Philip Brasor

In her semiautobiographical feature film “Who’s Afraid of Vagina Wolf?,” Anna Margarita Albelo plays a struggling film director who makes ends meet by screening her movies in art galleries where she shows up dressed as a vagina. Though the story is mainly about relationships, ...

Health care system needs a new diagnosis

| Jul 12, 2014

Health care system needs a new diagnosis

by Philip Brasor

In March 2007, the city of Yubari in Hokkaido became the first Japanese municipality to declare bankruptcy, letting loose a flood of media coverage characterized by expressions of sympathy for residents. Yubari’s debt had reached ¥63 billion, the result, according to national press reports, ...

Fiery Shinjuku protest goes global without NHK

| Jul 5, 2014

Fiery Shinjuku protest goes global without NHK

by Philip Brasor

Until the Great East Japan Earthquake, social media didn’t have much purchase on Japanese social life. But disasters are transformative, and in a country where the mass media is cautious about its role vis-a-vis the authorities, social media came into its own after the ...

Any publicity is good news for beer firms

| Jun 21, 2014

Any publicity is good news for beer firms

by Philip Brasor

At a Tokyo news conference on June 4, Sapporo Beer President Masaki Oga announced his company would halt sales of its Goku Zero alcoholic beverage after current inventory was shipped. The parent company, Sapporo Holdings, had been contacted by the National Tax Agency in ...

The thrill of the job won't pay the rent

| Jun 14, 2014

The thrill of the job won't pay the rent

by Philip Brasor

“If your work isn’t what you love, then something isn’t right.” — Talking Heads Last January, NHK’s nightly in-depth news series, “Closeup Gendai,” ran a feature about the practice of “poeticizing” (poemu-ka) the harsher aspects of life. It’s not a trend that’s easy to ...

Media minds manners in royal reportage

| Jun 7, 2014

Media minds manners in royal reportage

by Philip Brasor

As much as we all love them, the Imperial family doesn’t make for exciting reading. Last week, the European press was beside itself with news of the abdication of Spain’s King Juan Carlos, who has been hit by several public support-sapping scandals in recent ...

Getting past the stigma of dementia

| May 24, 2014

Getting past the stigma of dementia

by Philip Brasor

Last April, the Nagoya High Court ordered a 91-year-old woman in Obu, Aichi Prefecture, to pay ¥3 million in compensation to JR Tokai for disruption of service after her husband was struck and killed by one of the company’s trains. The man, who was ...

Fix population problem by helping families

| May 17, 2014

Fix population problem by helping families

by Philip Brasor

For the past 18 months, media outlets in Japan and abroad have looked approvingly upon Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to improve the country’s economic future through proactive measures dubbed “Abenomics.” The goal is to spur inflation so that companies can make more money ...