Comprehensive series of articles on themes too broad or complex to be addressed in a single post.

Feature series

Latest articles

Timeline for May 2015Japan Timeline

The volcano Shindake erupts on the southern island of Kuchinoerabujima, a plan to reform local government in Osaka is defeated, and debate over new security legislation begins in the Diet. These are the top Japanese stories for May 2015.

Centenarians in Japan: 50,000-Plus and GrowingJapan Data

Sales of adult diapers in Japan outsold those for infants in 2014, speaking volumes about the country’s plummeting birthrate and the rapid aging of society. A shrinking population and rising social security costs are also weighing heavily on the nation’s finances. These demographic challenges are beginning to encroach on emerging economies as well. What lessons will they learn from Japan’s experience?

“Kyōtei” (Boat Race)Japan Glances

The distinctive form of hydroplane racing called kyōtei is one of just a few types of gambling allowed under Japanese law. Proceeds from races are used to fund local municipalities and support the activities of nongovernmental organizations.

Japan’s Closed-Door Refugee PolicyJapan Data

Few nations are as generous as Japan in financing international relief efforts for persons displaced by war, civil strife, and natural disasters. Conversely, few nations are as miserly as Japan in providing physical asylum to refugees. Resolving this incongruity is a central issue for Japan in shaping a viable refugee policy.

Cheap and Delicious “B Gourmet”Japan Glances

Ramen, curry rice, and other unpretentious meals are described as “B gourmet” in Japan. These cheap eats may not be as sophisticated as the “A-class” dishes served at top restaurants, but aim to be every bit as tasty.

Japan’s School UniformsJapan Glances

In Japan, most schools have uniforms for their students. The distinctive, traditional outfits were originally inspired by military designs, but since the 1980s, new styles have emerged.

Boys’ DayJapan Glances

This traditional celebration of sons retains the trappings of its warrior-class roots, with swords, helmets, and other symbols of samurai culture ensuring that children grow up healthy and strong. Also known as tango no sekku, it is one of five seasonal holidays observed since ancient times.

Japanese GardensJapan Glances

Japan has developed many distinctive styles of garden over the years. Step inside to enjoy a moment of calm.

Timeline for April 2015Japan Timeline

Prime Minister Abe addresses the US Congress, the imperial couple visits World War II monuments in Palau, and a Japanese maglev train breaks the world speed record. These are the key Japanese news stories of April 2015.

“Asahi Shimbun” Coverage of the Comfort Women Issue Through the YearsJapan Data

On August 5, 2014, the Asahi Shimbun ran an article assessing its past coverage of the comfort women issue, admitting many factual errors including the 32-year-old testimony of Yoshida Seiji. What came to light through this article, however, was not so much the truth about comfort women as the mutually skewed debate in both Japan and South Korea, which share a peculiar postwar history.

Japan’s Disastrous “Safety Myth”: Ignoring the Lessons of Minor Nuclear IncidentsA Pivotal Year: Japan in 1995Sassa Atsuyuki

By denying the existence of risk, the myth of absolute safety, associated particularly with the nuclear power industry, has hampered much-needed improvements in crisis management. Yet over the years before the Fukushima crisis in 2011, there were a number of warnings in the form of minor incidents that should have been heeded. These included the farcical events associated with the launch of the Mutsu nuclear-powered ship in 1974 and a fire at the Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor in 1995.

KaraokeJapan Glances

Karaoke was invented in Japan in the 1970s and has now spread all over the world. Learn more about the karaoke experience in its original birthplace.

Capsule HotelsJapan Glances

Looking like something from a science fiction movie, capsule hotels are a cheap form of accommodation originating in Japan. Read on to find out more.

The Capital Punishment Debate in JapanJapan Data

While the international trend is toward the abolition of capital punishment, Japan is one of the few advanced nations to maintain the death penalty. The Cabinet Office of Japan’s most recent survey shows that support for the death penalty remains high, with over 80% approval, while less than 10% support an end to capital punishment. Nevertheless, there is still considerable debate in Japan regarding the merits of maintaining the death penalty.

Japan’s Long Wait for US Congress InvitationJapan Data

When Prime Minister Abe Shinzō addresses a joint session of the US Congress on April 29, 2015, he will become the first Japanese leader ever to do so. Since 1874, there have been over 100 addresses to the full Congress by foreign leaders, so why has it taken so long for Japan to win its turn?

Will Tougher Laws Halt Violent Juvenile Crimes?Japan Data

Thirteen-year-old Uemura Ryōta was killed in the early morning of February 20, 2015, in Kawasaki by three older boys, reigniting calls for revision of the Juvenile Act. The cruelty and brutality of the murder also prompted calls for publication of the 18-year-old group leader’s name and photo, now prohibited under the Juvenile Act. Such a move may be related to the bill now being debated to lower the voting age in Japan from 20 to 18.

Video highlights

New series


  • From the editor in chief
  • From our columnists
  • In the news