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Category Archives: Japan
We need bees, but bees are dying. This is a global problem, but some Asian cities are finding novel solutions in urban beekeeping.
The humble Apis Mellifera punches well above its tenth of a gram weight. Through transferring pollen, bees are essential to 80% of the food we consume. Furthermore, the economic input from bees is substantial, with pollinated crops accounting for $1 trillion of the yearly agricultural produce sold. Continue reading
The “remains issue” (ikotsu mondai) refers to controversies surrounding the bodily remains of Korean and Chinese nationals who died during the Asia-Pacific War in Japan and whose bodies have not yet been repatriated. Most were conscripts: soldiers, military personnel and forced labourers. After the War, the remains of Chinese forced labourers were largely repatriated to the bereaved families, but it is estimated that as many as two thousand Korean bodies may still be stored at temples and buried across the country. Continue reading
Recent territorial disputes point to tensions in the relationship between Japan and China. Competition extends beyond issues of history and territorial assertions to competition for resources and influence. Yet it is increasingly recognized that Japan and China are crucial to each other. Continue reading
A characteristic of the Japanese “flexible production system” is vast networks of subcontractors. Recently, the overseas sourcing of parent companies’ manufacturing has led to reorganization of small business in Japan. Efforts to revitalize regional economies in response have focused on the creation of industrial clusters. Continue reading
Memo #205 By Jason G. Karlin – ukarlin [at] mail.ecc.u-tokyo.ac.jp More than in nearly any other country, celebrity is central to Japanese television advertising. Indeed, about 70% of all Japanese commercials feature a celebrity. With as much as ¥1.7 trillion … Continue reading
At first glance, the 2012 Presidential election in the United States may seem to have nothing to do with gay rights in Japan. But President Obama’s reelection may have a significant impact on the future of same-sex marriage in the States, which is likely to create ripple effects in Japan. Continue reading
The study of Japanese beauty queens offers insights into democracy and gender issues in post-war Japan. In the 1905s, Japanese beauty queens were often celebrated as models of democracy. They were confident, willing to travel overseas, and represented the idea of upward social mobility. This captured the imagination of Japanese women and for some, signified a step forward for Japanese women’s rights.
However, women in the beauty contests were constructed as images, only allowed to say certain things and unable to complain. This image of beauty queens belies the true situation of Japanese women in the 1950s who were protesting over a lack of equality. Continue reading
Memo #192 – Canada and Japan are set to begin negotiations to develop an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) on November 26th, 2012. Canada hasn’t completed a preferential trade agreement with any of its Asia Pacific partners, and Japan has yet to finalize an EPA with a G8 country. As negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Korea have entered their seventh year and as regional competitors, like Australia, are forging new trade partnerships in Asia, Canada feels pressured to assert itself in the region. If Canada can learn from the stalled Korean negotiations, the Canada-Japan EPA can become the platform to accomplish such a task. Continue reading
Memo #191 – Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe oversaw the revision of the 1947 Fundamental Law of Education to emphasise traditional “Japanese values” in 2006. As one direct result of this, traditional martial arts became compulsory in junior high schools in April 2012. Unlike the initial opposition to the new law, opposition to this particular aspect has not been led by teachers’ unions and their political allies, but by parents concerned about the health and safety of their children. Continue reading