Mark Bittman is The Times Magazine’s food columnist and an Opinion columnist. Visit Mark Bittman’s blog »
Globe and Mail
As chairman and chief executive officer of one of Japan's signature companies, Fujio Mitarai knows a thing or two about how the soaring value of the yen is ravaging Japanese manufacturers. Mr. Mitarai, who heads camera and photocopier giant Canon Inc., ...
Japan's plutonium stockpile builds as nuke fuel cycle policy hits dead end
Mainichi Daily News
Japan's stockpile of plutonium had reached 45 metric tons by the end of 2010, inviting suspicion from the international community about what Japan intended to do with the fissile material. As a result, much hope has been pinned on a MOX fuel reactor ...
從 19世紀中葉(幕府末期‧明治維新時期)廢除封建制度、構建資本主義經濟結構開始，到“經濟大國化”的日本在市場原理和WTO體制下、以大型跨國企業為中 心進行經濟結構重組、進一步參與國際市場的2000年為止。在這期間，日本資本主義經濟是在怎樣的國際環境下，以怎樣的結構形成發展的？在這個背景下，農 業、糧食、農民、地主及村莊處于怎樣的狀態，實施了怎樣的農業、糧食政策，產生了怎樣的農業、農民、糧食、農村和環境問題？針對以上問題，暉峻眾三編著的 《日本農業150年(1850-2000年)》從歷史的角度、結合資本主義經濟結構特征和發展狀況進行了分析。
- 規格：平裝 / 210頁 / 16 / 普級 / 單色 / 初版
Big Tokyo earthquake likely 'within the next few years'
The chance of a big earthquake hitting the Japanese capital in the next few years is much greater than official predictions suggest, researchers say.
The team, from the University of Tokyo, said there was a 75% probability that a magnitude seven quake would strike the region in the next four years.
The government says the chances of such an event are 70% in the next 30 years.
The warning comes less than a year after a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan's north-eastern coast.
The last time Tokyo was hit by a big earthquake was in 1923, when a 7.9 magnitude quake killed more than 100,000 people, many of them in fires.
Researchers at the University of Tokyo's earthquake research institute based their figures on data from the growing number of tremors in the capital since the 11 March 2011 quake.
They say that compared with normal years, there has been a five-fold increase in the number of quakes in the Tokyo metropolitan area since the March disaster.
They based their calculations on data from Japan's Meteorological Agency, They said their results show that seismic activity had increased in the area around the capital, which in turn leads to a higher probability of a major quake.
The researchers say that while it is "hard to predict" the casualty impact of a major quake on Tokyo, the government and individuals should be prepared for it.
Correspondents say that while the university calculations take account of greater seismic activity since March, government calculations may use different or less up-to-date data and different modelling techniques.
The 9.0 magnitude earthquake last year also crippled the cooling systems at the Fukushima nuclear power station, causing meltdowns in some of its reactors.
Japan is located on a tectonic crossroads dubbed the "Pacific Ring of Fire" which is why its is commonly regarded as one of the world's most quake-prone countries, with Tokyo located in one of the most dangerous areas.
日 本人的送禮時機，一年之中包括：一月的新年，二月的情人節，三月的女兒節與白色情人節，四月的入學式與入社式，五月的中元節，六月的夏季送禮問候（暑中見 舞），八月的中元節，一直到十二月的耶誕節、年終歲暮。其中最重要的送禮節日，就是中元節與年終歲暮，以感謝平日在各方面照顧自己的人。
例 如，升官、調到異鄉轉任高位，可以送鋼筆、行事曆筆記本、受禮者喜愛的運動用品、領帶、領帶夾、胸針、油畫、高級陶器、手提包等。若是到國外就職，致贈必 要的家具或現金最好，但避免送容易打破的東西。受禮者到達就任地點之後，可回贈當地特產。若是客戶的新店開幕式，可贈送酒類或花朵。
色 彩心理學也是「個性送禮」的重點。例如，對於一位年長、保守、喜歡打高爾夫球的社長，就不要送他紅色的高爾夫球裝。因為，這樣的人通常都不喜歡大紅色，覺 得太招搖。即使你以「現在很流行」、「試試看不同的新感覺」來說明，而對方也很客氣地收下，那份禮物的命運通常是擺在儲藏室裡。
EDITORIAL: Students' needs must be paramount in university year decision
The University of Tokyo has decided to consider starting its academic year in autumn, instead of spring, to fit in with the international norm. It may shift to a September or October enrollment for undergraduate students in five years, at the earliest.
Japan's immigration control
Gulag for gaijin
Jan 18th 2012, 12:29 by K.N.C. | TOKYO
AN EXTRAORDINARY story is making the rounds among the hacks and other expats in Japan. A Canadian freelance journalist who has lived in Japan for years fell into the ugly whirlpool of Japan’s immigration-and-detention system. For years human-rights monitors have cited Japan’s responsible agencies for awful abuses; in their reports the system looks like something dark, chaotic and utterly incongruous with the country’s image of friendly lawfulness.
Still the case of Christopher Johnson beggars belief. Returning to Tokyo after a short trip on December 23rd he was ushered into an examination room, where his nightmare began. Over the next 24 hours he was imprisoned and harassed. Most of his requests to call a lawyer, the embassy or friends were denied, he says.
Officials falsified statements that he gave them and then insisted that he sign the erroneous testimony, he says. Guards tried to extort money from him and at one point even threatened to shoot him, he says—unless he purchased a wildly expensive ticket for his own deportation, including an overt kick-back for his tormentors. Once he was separated from his belongings, money was stolen from his wallet and other items removed from his baggage (as he has reported to the Tokyo police).
The problems to do with Japan’s immigration bureau have been known for years. Detainees regularly protest the poor conditions. They have staged hunger strikes and a few have committed suicide. A Ghanaian who overstayed his visa died in the custody of guards during a rough deportation in 2010. (In that case, the prosecutor has delayed deciding whether to press charges against the guards or to drop the case. A spokesperson refuses even to discuss the matter with media outlets that are not part of the prosecutor’s own “press club”.)
Mr Johnson’s ordeal closely matches the abuses exposed in a 22-page report by Amnesty International in 2002, “Welcome to Japan?”, suggesting that even the known problems have not been fixed. One reason why the practices may be tolerated is that the Japanese government apparently outsources its airport-detention operations to a private security firm.
It is a mystery to Mr Johnson why he was called aside for examination, but he suspects it is because of his critical coverage of Japan. (Mr Johnson’s visa status is unclear: in an interview, he said his lawyer advised him not to discuss it.)
Reached by The Economist, Japan’s immigration bureau said it cannot discuss individual cases, but that its detentions and deportations follow the law, records of hearings are archived and the cost of deportation is determined by the airline. The justice ministry declined to discuss the matter and referred all questions to the immigration bureau. Canada’s department of foreign affairs confirmed to The Economist that a citizen was detained and that it provided “consular assistance” and “liaised with local authorities”.
Mr Johnson’s own rambling account of his saga appeared on his blog, “Globalite Magazine”. It must be considered as unverified, despite The Economist’s attempts to check relevant facts with the Japanese and Canadian governments. As a result, we cannot endorse its accuracy. We present edited excerpts, below, because they are deeply troubling if true.
On my way home to Tokyo after a three-day trip to Seoul, I was planning to spend Christmas with my partner, our two dogs, and her Japanese family. I had flight and hotel reservations for ski trips to Hokkaido and Tohoku, and I was planning—with the help of regional government tourism agencies—to do feature stories to promote foreign tourism to Japan.
While taking my fingerprints, an immigration officer saw my name on a computer watch list. Without even looking through my passport, where he might find proper stamps for my travels, he marked a paper and gave it to another immigration officer. ”Come with me,” he said, and I did.
He led me to an open room. Tired after three hours’ sleep overnight in Seoul, I nodded off. Officers woke me up and insisted we do an “interview” in a private room, “for your privacy.” Sensing something amiss, I asked for a witness and a translator, to make sure they couldn’t confuse me with legal jargon in Japanese. An employee of Asiana Airlines came to witness the “interview.”
The immigration officers provided a translator—hired by immigration. She turned out to be the interpreter from hell. ”Hi, what’s your name?” I asked, introducing myself to her. “I don’t have to tell you anything,” she snapped at me. She was backed up by four uniformed immigration officials.
Q: “What are the names of the hotels where you stayed in April in the disaster zone? What are the names of people you met in Fukushima?”
A: “Well, I stayed at many places, I met hundreds of people.”
Q: “What are their names?”
A: “Well, there are so many.”
Q: “You are refusing to answer the question! You must say exactly, in detail.”
(Before I could answer, next question.)
Q: “What were you doing in May 2010? Who did you meet then?”
A: “That was a long time ago. Let me think for a moment.”
The interpreter butted in: “See, you are refusing to answer. You are lying.”
The “interpreter”, biased toward her colleagues in the immigration department, intentionally mistranslated my answers, and repeatedly accused me of making unclear statements. I understood enough of their conversation in Japanese to realise she totally got my story wrong.
Without hesitation, he wrote on a document: “No proof. Entry denied.”
“But I do have proof,” I said.
But he refused to acknowledge it. “You must sign here. You cannot refuse.”
For about four hours, I sat in limbo, unable to properly communicate with the outside world. Starving and tired, I couldn’t think clearly. Various people in various uniforms aggressively shoved various documents in my face for me to sign. I simply said “wait” to everything and zoned out into a world of denial that this nightmare wasn’t happening.
At about 4 pm, the security guards came to take me away. Two haggard old men probably in their 60s or 70s, were like dogs barking at my heels. They were constantly shaking me down for money. They demanded 28,000 yen as a “service fee” for taking me to buy rice balls and cold noodles at the convenience store.
What is going on here, I wondered. I started to get worried when they took me deep into a cold tunnel below the airport. Away from [ordinary travellers in the airport], they got more aggressive with demands of now 30,000 yen for a “hotel” fee. I was feeling threatened. (I would later find Amnesty International accounts of rogue guards working for the airlines beating up airline customers in the tunnel until they paid up.)
Well, at least I’m going to a hotel, I thought. I’ll make some phone calls there, go online, and get higher-ranking officials to help me out of this big misunderstanding.
* * *
The “hotel” was in fact a jail. A prison, a detention facility, a dungeon. ”The police just told me I could make a call from here,” I said in Japanese. A guard told me flat out in Japanese: “You have no rights here.”
A sign, in English, Japanese, and other languages, lists phone numbers for United Nations organisations dedicated to helping victims of state brutality.
“It says right here that I can call these numbers.”
“No you can’t.”
They led me into a locked off area with at least two sleeping cells. The room was cold, with no windows. Lying under thin blankets, using my parka (down jacket) as a pillow, I stared at the ceiling and walls.
Later that night, I was ordered into the common room. A man, probably in his 50s, was waiting to see me. His tie said “immigration.” He was warm and compassionate. He tried his best in English and Japanese to explain what was happening. He said, to my surprise, that the other officers were “idiots”. He said they had no business putting foreigners—tourists or expats—in jail like this. “It is a shame for Japan,” he said. “Embarrassing.”
After talking to me, he went out for a few minutes and came back to give me more documents to sign. One was titled “Waiving the Right to Appeal”, meaning, “We are kicking you out of the country.” The other was an “appeal form”. It said I had three days to appeal to “the Minister of Justice.” This at least gave me hope that someone would recognise their mistake, and let me go home
After he left, the guards granted me a privilege—the right to take a shower. My show of respect, and polite language toward them, was reciprocated. They let me make a phone call. They gave me a form to fill out—this is Japan, after all—listing the nationality, name, phone number and relation of that person.
I tried to milk it. While pretending to check my phone messages (technically not a phone call), I sent messages on Facebook. I wrote short, and sent quickly, in case they caught me: (In jail now … Narita … No rights … Innocent … Help me.)
I went back to my cell dejected. I lay under blankets in my winter clothes, tormented. I chased away dark thoughts—suicide, protest, escape—from my mind. I cried for myself, and for the tortured souls of the previous tenants.
* * *
I was so exhausted from the ordeal that I did fall asleep, shortly after they turned off the lights at 11pm. When I woke up at 10 am on Saturday morning, December 24, my cell was unlocked. [From] the jail’s common room, I was allowed to call my partner. “Don’t worry,” I said, “They’re going to let me go home soon. It’s all been a big mistake.”
The guards now let me make a second call, to my embassy representative. Though helpful and genuinely concerned, she said, “only Japan has authority. There’s nothing we can do.” She said my worried family and friends, who saw my messages on Facebook, had been calling her to offer assistance. She also had faxed a list of lawyers and legal assistance agencies in Japan to the immigration officers.
It was a smart move, because it showed them that powerful people in Canada—the department of foreign affairs, the Canadian embassy, media people—were indeed watching what they were doing with me, a human, with a name, family and supportive friends. It was a way to humanise me. [But] the papers were useless. How could I contact a legal website, if I wasn’t allowed internet? How could I call a lawyer, if I wasn’t allowed phone calls?
There was another call for me. This time from someone at Asiana Airlines. ”How are you doing this morning?” she asked, cheerfully. She said they had been calling my partner at home, asking her to pay 170,000 yen for my one-way ticket to Canada. I wasn’t pleased to hear that. “I’m not going home to Canada,” I scolded her. “My home is in Tokyo. I live here, in Japan.”
“This is a good offer, you should take it,” the airline employee insisted. “If you don’t, the price will go up. The normal price is 400,000 yen. If you wait, you will pay 400,000 yen.”
“That’s crazy,” I said. “I paid 25,000 yen for a round trip ticket to Seoul on your airline. And now you want me to pay 170,000 yen, or 400,000 yen? That’s $5,000, for a one-way ticket. That’s more than five times the normal rate, because I’m in jail.” The airline employee hung up.
I was worried. “This is a scam,” I thought. The airline guards are shaking us down for money, and now the airline is price gouging me, and even harassing my partner to pay.
But I was cheered about an hour later, when the guards told me, “Pack up your bags. Don’t leave anything behind.” It was good news. They were going to let me out of here. My appeal worked, I thought. They’re going to release me and let me go home.
A Special Inquiry Officer sat me down in his office, across from the Special Examination Room where everything had gone wrong a day earlier. He showed me a document from the Ministry of Justice. It was an “Exclusion Order”, with my name on it, next to the details of a flight leaving for Canada.
I was crestfallen. “No, that’s not right,” I said, confused.
“There is a plane leaving for Canada at 7pm. You must take that plane.”
“But I live in Tokyo. I have a life here.”
“If you do not take that plane, you could end up in jail for months, years. And you’ll never be allowed back into Japan.”
Next, the airline employees came around to hit me up for money. They now wanted 200,000 yen for a one-way ticket on Air Canada. I told them it was a rip-off. I knew that a round trip ticket at HIS travel agency in Tokyo was 50,000 yen plus tax. “OK. 170,000 yen, plus 30,000 for the hotel fee and the security guards,” they said. “This is outrageous,” I said.
I grabbed my phone from them, since they still had my passport and bags. I called a friend. “Quick, call the police. Tell them I’m in the immigration office, Narita terminal one.” The immigration officers derided me. “Police do not have jurisdiction to come in here,” they laughed. “Narita is a special legal area.”
* * *
The airline employee and the [private security guards] were alone with me in a room. ”You must hurry up and buy this ticket,” the Asiana employee said. “Can you pay 150,000 yen?” He went out to negotiate with another airline. When he came back, he said, “The best I can do is 130,000 yen, plus 30,000 yen for the [guards].”
“No,” I said. “This is wrong. This is a scam. You are just trying to profit off someone in a weak position, a victim of human rights abuses.”
Again, he went out, and came back with a new offer. ”I have asked for special prices. I can do it for 100,000 yen. Anything lower is absolutely impossible. I’m really trying to help you. Please get on this flight.”
It was already after 5 o’clock. People were checking in for the 7 pm flight. I was really sweating now.
This time, he came back with a young, stocky guy. He was wearing a blue uniform. “Do you see this gun?” he said in Japanese, turning around to show me a weapon in its holster. “I have the legal authority to use this if you refuse to get on that flight. Now are you going to buy that ticket?”
I was angry now. They are forcing me at gunpoint to buy an overpriced ticket.
The [guards] ushered me out of the room and through the airport. They still had my bag, my passport, my wallet, credit cards, everything. I had no choice. They whisked me through the airport like a criminal. I didn’t have to line-up for x-ray machines or immigration. [They] pushed me through VIP lines, ahead of pilots and flight attendants.
As we walked to the departure gate, they continued to badger me for money. I told them flat out, “This is wrong. Have some pride. I am a working man just like you.”
The older guys backed off. They sensed I wasn’t going to give in to their pressure. But a hideous older bulldog of a woman was much more relentless. Even the Asiana officers were taken aback by her uncultured onslaught. She raised the demand in increments—30,000 yen, 35,000 yen, 38,900 yen—the tactic of a third world market haggler, trying to pressure you to buy before the price goes higher.
Still holding my passport, she dogged me all the way to the gate. “I’m going to fly with him all the way to Canada,” she said to another [guard], in Japanese so that I could hear it.
At the departure gate, I sat down amongst ordinary people happy to be going home for Christmas or on a ski holiday to Canada. I made several last phone calls to loved ones in Japan. My partner cried so heavily, she made me cry. I told her to hug our dogs for me. At that point, I realised I might never see our 15-year-old dog ever again.
My heart burst open like a seawall against a tsunami. Flowing with tears, I ran to the bathroom—to hell with asking the guards. I returned to my seat near the gate. I didn’t even look at anyone. I just covered my face in my hands and cried.
Finally, the [female guard] gave up. The two male [guards] escorted me onto the plane, and finally gave me back my passport.
As the Pacific coastline came into view, I gazed perhaps one last time at the street lights and dark rice fields below. It was a feeling I had never considered before: what it would be like to leave Japan, and not return.
I could only notice that the vast majority of space below was filled with a deep and utter darkness. Somewhere out there, in the gulag of detention centres dotting the land like black holes in the heart of Japan, were the cries of innocent people who would not be heard."
A Sauce Worth Slaving Over
By MARK BITTMAN
Published: January 19, 2012
A couple of years ago, a friend told me that a vegan Japanese restaurant called Kajitsu was doing “the best food in the city.” I ignored him. (Typical: I ignored him when he told me about Noma, and I at first ignored friends who told me about Momofuku, El Bulli and, in 1987, the young chefs Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Thomas Keller. So much for the vision thing.) After this friend called me stupid once or twice, I made it over to the place, which is in the East Village, just down the block from the Good Beer Store. The word “best” should not be thrown around, but I will say that Kajitsu is distinctive, astonishing and wonderful.
John Von Pamer for The New York Times
Part of this is the nature of shojin cuisine, a kaiseki — that is, multicourse — style brought to Japan from China by Zen Buddhist monks in the 13th century. Simply put, it focuses on carefully prepared seasonal fruits and vegetables (an idea, you might say, whose time has come), along with tofu and other high-protein plant-based foods. It does so in a way that might take a few centuries of otherwise-unemployed monks to achieve: precise, imaginative, beautiful, deceptive, flavorful and labor-intensive beyond belief. I have some limited experience eating (and even cooking) shojin-style food, and I will say that in general it deserves more attention.
But the expression of that cuisine at Kajitsu, an unsurprisingly minimalist little place with stunning dishware (some of which has been repaired; traditionally, it’s almost never discarded) and a self-effacing chef named Masato Nishihara, is mind-boggling. I could name you dishes, but they’ll either sound ordinary (steamed rice with mushrooms) or confounding (“Autumn Vegetable Fukiyose”). To the palate, nothing is either.
I was originally curious about Kajitsu because of the word “vegan.” Although so many restaurants advertising themselves as such tend to be dull or even ridiculous, Kajitsu is lovable because the cooking makes that label irrelevant. The place is putting out delicious food that fascinates, not unlike whatever super-duper four-star place you care to name.
After two or three visits to Kajitsu, I was determined to cook with Nishihara. I introduced myself and we discussed a number of possible dishes for him to show me. We settled on fresh goma-dofu (essentially, tofu made from sesame seeds) with a simple but luxuriously creamy miso sauce and panko-fried vegetables (very close to tempura) with vegan Worcestershire sauce.
When I say labor-intensive, I’m not kidding. It took two of Nishihara’s assistants nearly 90 minutes of nonstop beating, stirring and pounding to make the goma-dofu; it took Nishihara himself, with me hanging over his shoulder, a few hours to make the “Worcestershire” sauce.
It was worth it, at least for the curious cook: the combination of 30-odd ingredients and several steps produces a sauce (two, actually) that you will want to drink. On top of the crisp-fried vegetables (and with a little flash-cooked cabbage), it gives you a hint — relatively quickly — of what it took those dedicated monks centuries to develop.
Report: Japan kept secret about scary nuclear scenario
By msnbc.com staff The Japanese government kept secret for months a worst-case scenario report predicting a massive release of radioactive materials for a year at the earthquake-crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant, goverment sources told the Kyodo ...
See all stories on this topic »
|Japanese Struggle to Protect Their Food Supply|
New York Times
ONAMI, Japan — In the fall, as this valley's rice paddies ripened into a carpet of gold, inspectors came to check for radioactive contamination. Onami sits just 35 miles northwest of the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which spewed ...
See all stories on this topic »
New York Times
Cellphone service coming to subway tunnels
BY JUNICHIRO NAGASAKI STAFF WRITER
Subway operators are considering allowing cellphone users to make and receive calls while in the tunnel. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Although cellphone service is available in almost all urban areas in Japan, it is "out of service" in trains in the underground subway tunnels in most major Japanese cities.
Rural returnee brings enterprise to sleepy mountain town
BY LOUIS TEMPLADO STAFF WRITER
Nature therapist Kazuaki Tsuchiya has taken a farmhouse in the Okutama area of Tokyo and turned it into a space for yoga classes and business meetings. (Louis Templado)The farmhouse with its high roof was build about 150 years ago. (Louis Templado)
How do you bring life back to a 150-year-old farmhouse? How about opening it to yoga lessons, barbecues, computer classes and, while you're at it, some business conferences around glowing charcoal fire?
２０１０年１０月に出土し、岐阜聖徳学園大の所京子名誉教授（国文学）や龍谷大の藤本孝一客員教授（日本史学）の指導の下でほかの出土例を検討。いろは 歌は平安時代中期に成立したとされているが、これまでいろは歌が書かれた平安時代の土器は見つかっておらず、ひらがなで書かれたいろは歌は岩手県平泉町の 志羅山（しらやま）遺跡で見つかった１２世紀後半のものとみられる木簡が最も古かった。
Wall Street Journal
TOKYO—Protesters denouncing Japan's nuclear watchdog agency as having a pro-nuclear bias held up the initial approval of stress-test results for two idled reactors, as police were called in to break up the demonstration. More than a dozen ...
BY MITSURU OBE
TOKYO—Protesters denouncing Japan's nuclear watchdog agency as having a pro-nuclear bias held up the initial approval of stress-test results for two idled reactors, as police were called in to break up the demonstration.More than a dozen demonstrators, carrying antinuclear signs and shouting, "Shame on you," disrupted what was to be a closed meeting of government agency representatives, nuclear experts and energy officials gathered to review test results. The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency was set to give its preliminary approval for the restart of the two plants ahead of the arrival next week of a mission from the International ..
Classic manga taking off in digital market
New hardware platforms, such as smartphones and tablet computers, are bringing new readers to older works of manga, which are easier to digitize because they are less likely to compete with paper editions.
eBook Initiative Japan Co., the Tokyo-based operator of eBookJapan, one of Japan's largest e-book shops, said manga accounts for 80 percent of its 52,000 available titles.
Last year's list of top sellers included long-running, middle-of-the-road manga that began to appear serially in magazines between the 1960s and the 1980s.
They included: "Oishinbo" (story by Tetsu Kariya, art by Akira Hanasaki), themed on gastronomy; "Shizukanaru Don" (The quiet Don) by Tatsuo Nitta, about a man who doubles as a company employee and the leader of a crime syndicate; and "Golgo 13" by Takao Saito, the story of a sniper.
Monthly sales of "Golgo 13" have quintupled over the last three years. Other multi-volume classics have also more than doubled their sales.
eBook Initiative Japan's corporate performance improved drastically after it began distributing e-books to Apple Inc.'s iPhones in 2008 and to Android-based devices and Apple's iPads in 2010.
The company topped the 5-million mark in accumulated number of copies sold in August 2008. That number doubled to 10 million by January 2011.
At eBookJapan, the combined number of e-books sold for smartphones and tablet computers in the second half of 2010 was 6.13 times the corresponding number in the first half of the year.
The main customers of eBookJapan are in their 30s and 40s.
"People of generations that are unfamiliar with onetime long-sellers and bestsellers are embracing those works as something totally new to them," said Akira Takashima, managing director at eBook Initiative Japan. "Works that have lost none of their sheen and allure over a decade or two, much like Shakespeare's and Beethoven's works, have started to take off."
The prices per volume are mostly set between 400 and 600 yen ($5.20 and $7.80), or 20 to 30 percent cheaper than paper editions. An increasing number of customers are making bulk purchases of multi-volume series, such as "Golgo 13."
The e-book editions are beneficial both to the customers and the publishers. For customers, the e-books take up no space and are available in bulk even after their paper counterparts have disappeared from storefronts. Some eBookJapan customers have told the online shop's operator that they are thrilled to be able to carry all volumes of a manga series with them on vacations.
For publishers, e-books allow them to secure a stable income from sales of established works without competing against their paper editions.
At Jitsugyo no Nihon Sha Ltd., a midmarket publishing house based in Tokyo, the long-running "Shizukanaru Don" series accounts for one-third of all proceeds from e-books. While the 100 existing volumes of the manga have sold 44 million copies in the paper edition, 3.3 million copies have been downloaded digitally, with women accounting for 60 percent of all readers.
The stream of female customers was small at the outset, but that readership expanded through the "recommendation" feature of the e-book store website, Jitsugyo no Nihon Sha officials said.
That illustrates how a publisher can tap into a new category of readers.
The takeoff of manga classics in the e-book market also reflects a change in readers' attitudes at a time when hardware platforms have evolved from cellphones to smartphones and to tablet computers.
The top seller at eBookJapan in 2011 was the "Grappler Baki" (Baki the Grappler) series by Keisuke Itagaki, themed on combative arts, which became available online in February 2011. Akita Publishing Co., the Tokyo-based publisher of the series, said 42,000 copies were downloaded by the end of the year.
"Baki," a sequel to the "Grappler Baki" series, sold more than 20,000 copies over a three-month period following its digital release in August. It was eighth in eBookJapan's annual sales ranking.
"The spread of smartphones came at a time when fans had long been waiting for digitized editions (of manga)," explained Hirokazu Takahashi, an executive producer at Akita Publishing. "The pictures drawn with a mighty touch are suited for digital editions because they look so real against the backlight."
While cellphones can only display one frame at a time, smartphones and tablet computers allow users to see entire pages, and at enhanced image resolutions.
According to the marketing firm Impress R&D, the e-book market in Japan was worth 65 billion yen in fiscal 2010, up a robust 13.2 percent year on year.
Growth of the e-book market has traditionally relied on manga for cellphones, and especially on pornographic material.
Adult manga have small numbers of frames per page and small numbers of pages, which have made them ideal for reading on cellphones.
In recent years, though, adult manga seldom make the list of top 30 annual sellers at the eBookJapan store. The increasing number of available classic titles is expected to accelerate the departure from dependence on adult manga.
NTT Solmare Corp., the Osaka-based operator of Comic C'Moa, Japan's largest online retailer of manga for cellphones, in June 2011 started distributing 35,000 titles for smartphones of KDDI Corp.'s au brand. Toward the end of last year, the company also began serving NTT DoCoMo Inc.'s smartphones.
NTT Solmare, which did not want to lose the clientele it won through the distribution of e-books to cellphones, designed the menu for smartphone screens in exactly the same way as the menu for cellphone screens.
The user does not need to do anything to continue using the website after upgrading his or her device from a cellphone to a smartphone.
"An e-book store will simply be ousted from the market if it fails to broaden the selection of available titles and image resolutions to cope with different types of user devices," said Hiroki Oohashi, the president and CEO of NTT Solmare.
(This article was written by Naoki Takehata and Shigeyori Miyamoto.)
Icon of 'metabolism' donated to Saitama museum
LOUIS TEMPLADO / Staff Writer
The remarkable thing about Tokyo’s landmarks is how quickly they come and go.
Japan’s cutting edge architects of the 1960s and 1970s—living in what we can only now look back on as a golden age—likened the process to an organism feeding and growing on its own cells and called it “metabolism.” They actually welcomed it, but now it’s their turn to be swallowed.
Kisho Kurokawa (1934-2007) was perhaps the most recognizable name in the movement, but that has not been enough to stop the planned destruction of one of his most innovative works, the Nakagin Capsule Tower.
Located on the rim of Tokyo’s Ginza district and actually composed of two towers, the building is made up of 140 room cubes—removable and stackable in the blueprints—that earned it a place in history as an early example of capsule architecture. In real life, getting the plumbing and wiring connected properly proved difficult, and the condominium has been in disrepair for close to two decades.
One capsule module has been detached to serve in the exhibition "Metabolism: the City of the Future," a retrospective on the movement led by Kurokawa, Kiyonori Kikutake and Noboru Kawazoe, among other architects. It continues until Jan. 15 at the Mori Art Museum in Roppongi.
After the exhibition, the six-square-meter module, crammed with a bed, a bath-toilet unit, a television, a radio and a telephone, will be trucked to a more permanent home: the Museum of Modern Art, Saitama. The Saitama museum is also a Kurokawa design.
The cell may be only one section of a masterpiece, says museum head Akira Tatehata, but it will still offer a more direct experience of the Nakagin Capsule Tower, once it’s gone, than a floor plan or film clip could. The museum has yet to announce when the module, measuring 2.5 meters wide, 4.1 meters long and 2.6 meters high and weighing 3.8 tons, will be put on show.
現在、「ISSEY MIYAKE (women/men)」「PLEATS PLEASE ISSEY MIYAKE」「HaaT」「me ISSEY MIYAKE」の5ブランドを展開。
服づくりのコンセプトは、「1枚の布」という考え方に貫かれている。身体とそれを覆う布、その間に生まれるゆとりや間の関係を追求。洋の東西を問わない“世界服”を提案し、1978年には「Issey Miyake East Meets West」を発表した。
8點到9點的NHK的 PREMIUM 台
“三宅一生 向東北行” 45分鐘
(好玩的名字:皆川 魔鬼子（みながわ まきこ）Makico
1990年には第8回毎日ファッション大賞・鯨岡阿美子賞を受賞。95年には英国TEXTILE INSTITUTEより、COMPANION MEMBERSHIPを授与されている。96年、毎日デザイン賞を受賞。
約15分鐘日本吟詩(傳統藝能社 某園的水池旁正襟危站 )
Japanese Exhibit of China's Priceless Art Marks Anniversary of Relations
An exhibition showing pricless cultural relics from China was unveiled Friday in Japan's Tokyo National Museum.
The exhibition titled Two Hundred Selected Masterpieces from the Palace Museum, Beijing is marking the 40th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan diplomatic relations. The exhibits are selected from almost two million pieces in Beijing's Palace Museum and will be on show in Japan until February 19.
Chinese ambassador to Japan, Cheng Yonghua, attended the ceremony Friday night. "I think this activity is very significant in that it unveils the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the normalization of Sino-Japanese relations," he said.
Many of the valuable paintings and calligraphic works on show in Tokyo had never left China before. A centerpiece of the exhibition is Riverside Scene at the Qingming Festival by Zhang Zeduan, a painter from the Northern Song Dynasty that reigned between 960 and 1127.
Visitors have to arrive early in the morning and stand in a long line to see the painting, and latecomers may have to leave the museum without getting to it.
On display are also many articles of daily use belonging to the imperial family of the Qing Dynasty that ruled China between mid-17th and early 20th centuries.
Some information for this report was provided by AP.
Taiwan man sought in slayings
An arrest warrant has been issued for Chang Chih-yang, 30, who has been missing since Thursday after telling his roommate at around 10 a.m. that he was going to Osaka. Chang was a student at the same Japanese language school the slain women attended. Police suspect Chang of killing Lin Chih-ying, 22, and Chu Li-chieh, 24, at around 9 a.m. Thursday at an apartment rented by the school as a dorm, police said. The two women each had about 10 stab wounds, mostly around their necks, and the cause of death was apparently blood loss, police said. Chang is believed to have been fond of Lin as he recently complained that she had been giving him the cold shoulder since mid-December. He was spotted by security cameras near the crime scene at around the same time as the murders, police said. On the day they were killed, Lin promised to go on a trip with male friends from the school. They were to meet at a subway station at 9:30 a.m., but when Lin failed to show, her friends contacted a school official who used a duplicate key to enter the apartment where the women were found. Lin was found lying in the hallway in a jacket and boots, while Chu was found bleeding in the room's bottom bunk bed.
Japan tuna sale smashes record
A bluefin tuna has been sold for three quarters of a million dollars in Tokyo - a price almost double last year's record sale.
The bluefin tuna, prized for making the finest sushi, fetched 56.49m yen ($736,000, £472,125) at Tsukiji fish market's first auction of the year.
The winning bidder was Kiyoshi Kimura, owner of a sushi restaurant chain.
Globally, there is great concern over the species and fishing quotas.
The 269kg (593lb) tuna also set a record for price by weight, market official Yutaka Hasegawa said. The total price translates to 210,000 yen ($2,737, £1,755) per kilogram.
The tuna was caught off Oma, in Aomori prefecture, north of the coast that was struck by the devastating tsunami last year.
Mr Kimura's bid, he told reporters, was an effort to ''liven up Japan'' and help it on the road to recovery.
He also wanted to keep the fish in Japan "rather than let it get taken overseas", he said on television.
Last year, a 342kg bluefin tuna caught off Japan's northern island of Hokkaido fetched 32.49m yen, or nearly $400,000 (£257,320), setting a record then.
The winning bid was a joint effort by a Hong Kong-based sushi chain and an upscale Japanese restaurant in Tokyo.
The first auction in January at the famous fish market in Tokyo is an important part of Japan's New Year celebrations, and record prices are often set.
Japan is the world's biggest consumer of seafood, eating about 80% of the Atlantic and Pacific bluefins caught.
However, restrictions on catches have been tightened in recent years because of concerns about overfishing.