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Naruto’s Limits: What Soft Power Can Actually AchieveDavid Leheny

“Soft power” receives much attention in Japan as a means to project national influence on the global stage. But does soft power truly impact other nations in the way that leaders expect it to? Political scientist David Leheny argues that only diffuse forms of soft power at the popular level count in the end.

Calls for Joint Japan-UK Action Against Crises

Former British Prime Minister John Major has urged Western nations and Asian countries, including Japan, to unite and take action against global risks and crises, as symbolized by ever-deepening confusion and conflict in the Middle East. “Both Asia and Europe have an interest in events far beyond their own borders,” Major declared in a keynote speech he delivered at the UK-Japan Global Seminar, w…

Japan’s Top Tourist Destinations

With its skyscrapers and neon, shrines and temples, and mountains and forests, Japan caters to diverse tastes. Here we describe the key places to visit, from the snowy northern island of Hokkaidō to the sunny beaches of Okinawa.

Japan Soccer Program Looks to ExperienceYanai Yumiko

The curtain came down on this summer’s World Cup in Brazil after Germany claimed its fourth World Cup title. It was the nation’s first such triumph in 24 years, and indeed the first since the unification of the East and West German football teams following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. (West Germany’s victory at the 1990 tournament in Italy came mere months before the official reunification…

The Lessons of Brazil 2014Yanai Yumiko

The fifth consecutive appearance of the Japan men’s soccer team at a World Cup Finals tournament came to an early end on June 24. Striker Jackson Martinez scores Colombia’s third goal against Japan. (© Jiji Press) The team’s final record stands at one draw and two losses, meaning an exit at the group stage. Needless to say, this performance stands up poorly in comparison with Japan’s progress t…

Brazil 2014: Greener Grass Inside the StadiumsYanai Yumiko

As I write this on June 23, we are well into the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which began on June 12, and the competition has got off to something of a tumultuous start. While host nation Brazil started well with a win over Croatia in the tournament opener, and Germany, Argentina, and other potential title challengers have also been piling up the points, defending champion Spain has been condemned to an e…

Will Rising Tensions in the South China Sea Spill Over into the East China Sea?Ogawa Kazuhisa

Tensions have flared between China and Vietnam over offshore oil exploration activities around the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. In May 2014 Vietnam lodged a protest against Chinese violations of Vietnam’s resource interests; in response, armed Chinese patrol boats have been ramming into and firing water cannons at Vietnamese ships, triggering violent anti-Chinese riots in Vietnamese cit…

Local Branding in Rural Japan: Justin Potts

Japan’s rural communities today face a difficult task: they must create a local brand to get their unique products noticed. Helping them do this is American Justin Potts, an international business development director at Umari Inc. With an emphasis on connecting people and ideas, Potts works to promote the unique and abundant resources found in rural communities through a variety of innovative projects and events.

Chinese Sumō Wrestler Bounces Back into the Ring

Professional sumō in Japan is increasingly an international affair. One of the latest overseas talents is the Chinese-born wrestler Sōkokurai. He has rapidly moved up the rankings thanks to his skills and work ethic—but he had to overcome a serious setback along the way.

Japan World Cup Squad Announced

On May 12, with exactly one month to go until the June kickoff of this year’s soccer World Cup, Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni announced the names of the 23 players who will be joining him on the plane to Brazil. Here we outline the squad and discuss the national team’s recent form, tactics, and key players.

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