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Peter Durfee
  • Peter Durfee 
  • By this author: 15 Latest posted: 2017.09.05
Translator and executive editor, Came to Japan in 1985. After graduating from the American School in Japan, earned his degree in Japanese from the University of California at Berkeley. In 1996 joined Japan Echo Inc., where he produced translations for Japan Echo and the Japan Review of International Affairs, as well as for governmental and private-sector clients. Translator of Dr. Noguchi’s Journey, a biography of the medical researcher Noguchi Hideyo. Heads the English-language team at the Nippon Communications Foundation.
Twitter: @Durf
Staircases to Save Lives: The TELL Tokyo Tower Climb2017.09.05

Sunday, September 10, is World Suicide Prevention Day. To raise awareness of suicide, which claims more than 20,000 lives each year in Japan, as well as funds to support its suicide prevention services, the Tokyo-based organization TELL will host a race up the Tokyo Tower stairs this weekend. Since its 1973 launch, TELL has been a quiet presence in Japan’s international community—but for those …

Frederik Schodt’s Four Decades as a Manga Ambassador to the World2017.04.17

The writer and translator Frederik Schodt was in Tokyo in February to talk about his latest work, a 900-plus-page translation of a manga-form biography of legendary artist Tezuka Osamu. He also shared stories about his decades of work dedicated to sharing Japan’s manga and anime culture with the world.

A Letter to Sono Ayako2015.02.19

On February 11, the Japanese author Sono Ayako penned an opinion piece in the daily Sankei Shimbun that began by urging Japan to open up its borders to immigrants who would work in the burgeoning nursing care field. “Japan must do away with barriers to the entry of immigrant workers, such as insisting that they obtain certain certifications or attain a certain level of language proficiency. When t…

Five Maps of Tokyo2015.01.15

Tokyo is one of the great cities of the world. Including the urban sprawl that surrounds it, extending into several other prefectures, it is one of the most populous, too. As of December 2014, Tokyo Metropolis is home to 13,390,116 people. The greater Tokyo region, which includes neighboring Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa Prefectures, had a population of 35,739,042 in 2013 (see p. 15 of this report)…

The Best-Loved Canadian Tale in Japan2014.06.22

It’s IJET weekend. More than 500 translators and interpreters working mainly between Japanese and English are gathered at Big Sight, Tokyo’s international conference center, for the twenty-fifth International Japanese-English Translation Conference. Since its launch in Hakone a quarter-century ago, the annual conference organized by the Japan Association of Translators has given wordsmiths a foru…

A Top-Heavy Tower Comes Down2013.10.18

Last month workers began erecting tall fences around the former Long-Term Credit Bank/Shinsei Bank headquarters, a 130-meter tower standing to the west of the Nippon Press Center. The building was completed in August 1993, but its twentieth birthday will be its last: the tower is being torn down to make room for yet more new construction in our neighborhood.  Given the timeframes for planning, de…

A Tsunami Landmark to Come Down2013.09.10

The scars of the March 11 tsunami remain vivid in many parts of coastal Tōhoku. A major postdisaster landmark in the city of Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, is the Kyōtoku Maru No. 18, a 330-ton fishing vessel that was washed some 750 meters inland from the harbor by the waves. (Photo by Héctor García.) It isn't a landmark that the people of Kesennuma want around any more, though. The Asahi …

Koizumi Comes Out Against Nukes2013.08.26

Today's Mainichi Shimbun carries a column by Yamada Takao introducing some of former Prime Minister Koizumi Jun'ichirō's observations on Japan's energy choices. Koizumi, who has retired from politics (leaving his Diet seat in the hands of his son, Shinjirō), remains a voice people listen to, and it his latest comments will likely attract plenty of attention. Some of them are translated below. Dur…

The Quake That Wasn’t2013.08.08

At 4:55 this afternoon, all the cellphones in our office started whooping wildly at us. It's been a while since we had a major alert from the earthquake early warning system, but the sound is unmistakeable to anyone who was here for the months following 3/11.  The Japan Meteorological Agency pushes out alerts when its sensors detect fast-traveling P-waves (the primary waves that vibrate in the sa…

When Asō Tarō Speaks, People Listen2013.07.31

Asō Tarō, deputy prime minister and minister of finance, has become known for his gaffes as well as for his fashion sense.The latest came in a speech he delivered in Tokyo on July 29, which seems likely to attract global attention for its references not just to Yasukuni Shrine, but to Adolf Hitler as well.  The Tokyo Shimbun has the full text of his comments as follows: 日本が今置かれている国際情勢は、憲法ができたこ…

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