Chris Salzberg · May, 2007

Writer/translator/web developer living in Tokyo, Japan. Between April 2007 and March 2009, I was the Japanese language editor for Global Voices. Follow me on Twitter or check out stuff I've done on github.

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Latest posts by Chris Salzberg from May, 2007

Japan: “Thought Check” Screening for Citizen Judges

  30 May 2007

While news in Japan this week has been understandably fixated on the sensational suicide of Agriculture Minister Matsuoka Toshikatsu, another story revealed in a blog entry by Diet member Hosaka Nobuto slipped by with little fanfare last weekend. In the post, Hosaka outlines the latest step in moves by the government to implement a "citizen judge system" in Japan. This step, he claims, would allow the prosecution to effectively disqualify, through a "thought check" screening process, all citizens judge candidates who express doubt about the trustworthiness of police investigations.

Japan: More on the suicide of Matsuoka Toshikatsu

  29 May 2007

Blogger fukumimi at from the inside, looking in speculates about possible explanations for the suicide of the late minister of agriculture Matsuoka Toshikatsu. Responding to a report mentioning that a suicide letter was found, he writes: “If I were a betting man I’d bet that, being a typical ex-bureaucrat turned...

Japan: Agriculture Minister commits suicide

  28 May 2007

James at Japan Probe writes about news reports indicating that the head of Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Matsuoka Toshikatsu, committed suicide today, noting that the suicide could be in response to news from a few days ago that Minister Matsuoka had received 13 million yen in donations.

Japan: Love Hotels Find a Way

  28 May 2007

With great photos and a lot of background information, Ampontan explains how, despite many obstacles, love manages to “find a way” in Japan: “Love will find a way […] and in Japan that way is usually in a “love hotel”. Since the urge is eternal, the Japanese have no problem...

Lotto Fever strikes BIG in Japan

  26 May 2007

People across Japan turned out in large numbers last week to line up and get their hands on tickets for “BIG”, a variation on the soccer lottery “toto” operated by the National Agency for the Advancement of Sports and Health. The combined sales figure for all soccer lottery tickets was...

Japan: The Hair Police

  23 May 2007

Debito writes about the experience of a Brazilian high-school student in Japan's Shizuoka prefecture, apparently “forced by her school to dye her hair weekly because it was not as dark as her peers’”. Debito went to the school itself to talk to one of the so-called “Hair Police”, and returned...

Japan: Thoughts on the (English-language) Blog Scene

  23 May 2007

Ken Worsley at Trans-Pacific Radio has an op-ed piece on discussions in the (English-language) Blog Scene in Japan over the past couple weeks, focusing on foreign media (mis-)coverage of government plans for constitutional revision.

Japan: Marriage and “Casual Infidelity”

  22 May 2007

Shari at My So-Called Japanese Life has a thoughtful piece on the way in which Japanese people, as compared to Americans, view marriage. She writes: “It's always been my impression that the Japanese set the bar “lower” when it comes to the romance part of marriage and “higher” when it...

Japan: Bridging the Generation Gap

  22 May 2007

What with all the news last week of beheadings, shoot-outs and baby dumping — and subsequent soul-searching on the part of Japanese bloggers, at a loss for what to make of the nation's younger generation — I felt that it would be appropriate this week to highlight a slightly more...

Japan: Background to Constitutional Revision

  20 May 2007

Japan Observer has posted a long and very thoughtful entry outlining the history and politics of the constitutional revision debate in Japan. On the future of the debate, JO writes: “[W]ith the collapse of organized opposition to revision within the political system, the only potential source of opposition is from...

Japan: Strange Confession Note

  20 May 2007

More on the story of the boy who sawed off his mother's head and brought it to the police, courtesy of Mutant Frog Travelogue: “After the crime, he went into an Internet cafe, watched a Beastie Boys DVD, and apparently wrote the following note…“

Japan: Who's the real nationalist?

  20 May 2007

Graham Webster at Transpacific Triangle, picking up on earlier entries by Ampontan and Observing Japan, asks the question: “Who's the Bigger Nationalist: Abe or Koizumi?” The verdict: “People like Abe who favor constitutional revision are ‘practical nationalists,’ whereas people like Koizumi who pay tribute to late 19th century nationalist traditions...

Beheadings, Shoot-outs and Baby Dumping: Where is Japan heading?

  19 May 2007

News stories covered this week by the mainstream news media in Japan have shaken Japanese society, with many wondering where their country is heading and what has happened to the nation's youth. Most sensational among these stories is the shocking tale of a high-school boy who killed and beheaded his...

Japan: A Report from the Henoko Protest

  14 May 2007

Jeff at his Okinawa Blog reports on his experience “Living Dangerously on Okinawa's Coral Sea”, protesting environmental surveys for a new base at Henoko Bay. Jeff writes: ” It's a landmark day […] It is to be the first day in which the Self-Defense Force — the Japanese army —...

Japan: Skepticism about Government plans to switch to Linux

  14 May 2007

Andreas at Chosaq expresses skepticism about reports that the Japanese government is planning to move ahead with plans to promote the open source operating system Linux in government agencies from July. A story originally published in Nikkei Shimbun “says a consortium of major IT firms including IBM (IBM), NEC (NIPNY)...

Japan's Pacifist Constitution, 60 Years Later

  13 May 2007

Early last week on May 3rd, amid widespread debate and discussion on the topic, Japan celebrated the 60th anniversary of its constitution. The anniversary comes at a time when Japanese citizens and their government are re-evaluating the role of their current constitution and debating its uniquely pacifist nature. With Japan...

Japan: Forced Confessions

  12 May 2007

Debito comments on a New York Times article describing the case of 13 men and women “acquitted this year in a local district court, which found that their confessions had been entirely fabricated“. Debito notes that “The Japanese authorities have long relied on confessions to take suspects to court, instead...

Japan: Summary of Tojo Yasukuni Debate

  11 May 2007

Ampontan summarized a segment of a South Korean TV program that appeared on August 13, 2006 with Japanese subtitles. The show featured Tojo Yuko, granddaughter of former Prime Minister Tojo Hideki (who served during much of World War Two and was later hanged for war crimes), speaking to a Taiwanese...

Japan: Lithographs of Tokyo in Ruins

  10 May 2007

Pink Tentacle has posted an incredible series of pictures of a post-apocalyptic Tokyo, “where familiar streets lie deserted, the buildings are crumbling and weeds grow from the broken pavement”. The pictures are lithographs by artist Motoda Hisaharu, originally posted at his webpage.

Japan: Surveys at Henoko will have to be whitewashed, blogger says

  10 May 2007

Blogger Jeff writes about increasing tension at Henoko Bay as environmental surveys begin. From first-hand experience, he writes: “Just from seeing the site, I can tell you that these surveys will have to be whitewashed in order to create a viable construction plan. There's just no way to put a...

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