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Quick Reads + Japan

Media archive · 1642 posts

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Latest stories from Quick Reads + Japan

Double Standards Toward Women in Corporate Japan Are a Joke

Photo of Japanese male employee and female employee working in office, discussing plans. Rroyalty free photo

Photo of a Japanese male employee and female employee working in office, discussing plans. Royalty free photo

A Tumblr post [ja] illustrating double standards in attitudes towards women in corporate Japan has been widely shared on social media among users:

彼が部長にお昼を誘われると、昇進間近じゃないかと言われる。
彼女が部長にお昼を誘われると、愛人じゃないかと言われる。

彼が同僚と話していると、何を議論してるのかと言われる。
彼女が同僚と話していると、またおしゃべりかと言われる。

彼の結婚が決まると、これで落ち着いて仕事ができるなと言われる。
彼女の結婚が決まると、仕事はいつ辞めるのかと言われる。

彼が海外出張に行くと、いい経験になるからがんばれと言われる。
彼女が海外出張に行くと、夫や子をほっとくのかと言われる。

彼が会社を辞めると、いい転職先が決まったんだなと言われる。
彼女が会社を辞めると、これだから女は・・と言われる。

If a boss asks him for lunch, they say he is getting promoted soon.
If a boss asks her for lunch, they say she is a lover.

If he talks with his colleagues, they ask what he is discussing.
If she talks with her colleagues, they say she's chatting again.

If he decides marry, they say to him “now you can settle down to work”.
If she decides marry, they say to her “when will you resign?” 

If he has overseas business trip, they will say to him, “it'll be a good experience, go for it”.
If she has overseas business trip, they will say to her, “are you leaving her family at home?”

If he resigns, they say, “he found a better job”.
If she resigns, they say, “here it goes again, women…”

The Tumblr post seems to be quoting a website [ja] that collects jokes around the world, but when and who made this joke remains unknown.

The post was sub-edited by Kevin Rennie and L. Finch

‘AFTER 25 Conference': Tokyo and Berlin Discuss Creative Culture

As Berlin and Tokyo mark 20 years of friendship as sister cities, representatives of two creative industries, including Chairman of the Club Commission of Berlin Marc Wohlrabe and Takahiro Saito, a lawyer and member of Let's Dance, a consortium that fights against Japan's dance regulations, will come together for the AFTER 25 conference on March 1, 2014 in Tokyo to discuss how creative culture can contribute to the socio-economic development of both cities: 

After the fall of the Berlin wall, extreme social, cultural and economic changes transformed the city into a unique playground. Today, 25 years later, it attracts creatives, tech startups, social entrepreneurs, and investors from all over the world.

Berlin recognized its creative sub-cultures as part of its identity and history, which now act as key drivers for tourism and economy. This transformed Berlin into a unique, successful city demonstrating how supporting creativity can grow into key economic and social factors fueling innovation and growth.

This dramatic yet positive change that Berlin went through leads us to the question: what role can Tokyo’s creative cultures play in laying the foundations for the city’s next phase? How can we paint a brighter future by aligning the creative potential of these two cities?

Creating Japanese Food With Ingredients from Crete

Five prominent Japanese chefs and five of their Greek counterparts got together at a hotel in Crete on January 14, 2014 to create ten dishes representative of the respective origins using local products. At the culinary event dubbed “CRETE delicious” [el], Japanese chefs demonstrated how Cretan products can be incorporated into Japanese popular dishes, and exchanged their healthiest recipes. More about the event including the menu can be found here [ja/en/el].

Chania, Greece. 15th January 2014 -- Group picture of cretan and japanese cooks after the event. -- "Japan meets Crete" is an initiative of Japanese and Greek entrepreneurs, star cooks and hoteliers. Japan's most famous chefs met with Greek chefs and prepared foods with the local fish and agriculture. ©Demotix

Chania, Greece. 15 January 2014 – Group photo of Cretan and Japanese cooks after the “Japan meets Crete” event, an initiative of Japanese and Greek entrepreneurs, star cooks and hoteliers. Japan's most famous chefs met with Cretan chefs and prepared foods using local fish and agriculture. Photo taken by Wassilis Aswestopoulos, ©Demotix

Japan Scores Well on Internet Freedom Status Report

U.S. based watchdog organization Freedom House compiled a report on Freedom on the Net 2013 and included the report on Japan for the first time.

Japan was evaluated as “Free”,  where the constitution protects all forms of speech and prohibits censorship, and Internet and digital media freedom are generally well established. For key developments during May 2012 to April 2013, Freedom House reported that: 

  • Political speech was constrained online for 12 days before the December 2012 election under a law banning parties from campaigning online.
  • In April 2013, the legislature overturned that law, but kept restrictions on campaign emails.
  • 2012 amendments to the Copyright Law criminalized intentionally downloading pirated content, though lawyers called for civil penalties.
  • Anti-Korean and anti-Chinese hate speech proliferated online amid real-world territorial disputes.  
  • A constitutional revision promoted by the newly-elected LDP party threatens to erode freedoms and rights that “violate public order” .

You can read the full report here.

‘Abita', Animated Short Film About Fukushima Children


“Abita”, an animated short film about Fukushima children who can't play outside because of the radiation risk, delicately illustrates their dreams and realities. The film, produced by Shoko Hara and Paul Brenner, won the award for Best Animated Film at the International Uranium Film Festival in 2013.

Shoko Hara, a student in Germany who was born in Okayama in the western part of Japan, wrote about the metaphor she used in the film.

We used Japanese symbolism in our film. The Dragonfly represents the Japanese island, because of its form. It also symbolizes hope, perspective, dream, energy in Japan and it unites all the natural elements like water, earth and air. These were destroyed with the Fukushima disaster, they don't have any perspectives for their future. Furthermore dragonflies in japan are carriers of fertility. The Dragonfly represents the inner world of the child, that it wants to be free in the nature, but it can't. Dragonfly is a popular symbol in japan and we often use it in arts, poems and in literature. 

Despite scarce media coverage in Japan, the film has been shared widely on social media.

Radiation remains a serious problem for residents in the area surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant since the plant suffered a meltdown following the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

PHOTOS: First Visit to Shinto Shrine of 2014 in Japan

Image of Kanda Myojin shrine in Tokyo by blogger Tokyobling.

Image of Kanda Myojin shrine in Tokyo by blogger Tokyobling. Photo used according to blogger's reblog rule

Hatsumōde (初詣 hatsumōde), the first Shinto shrine visit of the New Year, is a common practice among Japanese. Tokyo-based blogger Tokyobling posted a series of photos about the ritual of Hatsumode in Japan.

Top 10 YouTube Videos of 2013 in Japan

RocketNews24 has compiled a list of the top 10 YouTube videos in Japan for the year 2013. The list includes a video uploaded by a popular Japanese idol girl group AKB48, a video of two cute kids showing off their new toys, and a video of a shocking moment of lightning during a thunderstorm striking a moving train captured by a YouTube user.

Japan's Open Data Catalog Launches Beta Version

Snapshot of the website data.go.jp, a catalog with an aim to provide a sphere for the use of data owned by different governmental ministries and agencies as open data.

Snapshot of the website data.go.jp, a catalog with an aim to provide a sphere for the use of data owned by different governmental ministries and agencies as open data.

Data.go.jp, a website that aggregates publicly available data by Ministries and Agencies of the Japanese government, launched its Beta version on December 20, 2013.

Datasets by 21 governmental organizations and 567 groups are available under Creative Commons License Attribution 2.1 Japan detailed in the Terms of Use. This comes as a part of the efforts of the nation's Open Government Data Strategy adopted in July 2012, to promote the use of public data in an advanced information and telecommunications  society.

Protesters March Against Nuclear Plant's Re-Start on Japan's Kyushu Island

This is biggest rally ever in Satsuma Sendai City. The residents of this city do not want to talk about nuclear energy. Areas with nuclear power plants have received financial support from government. Taken on 15 December 2013 by rieko uekama. Copyright (c) Demotix

A group of young mothers march and sing, waving a flag with “No Nukes” written in German in Satsumasendai on 15 December 2013. The case for the transition to alternative energy from nuclear energy is often argued at anti-nuclear demonstrations. Photo by rieko uekama. Copyright Demotix

About 1,800 people marched on December 15, 2013 in protest of the re-start of the Sendai Nuclear Power Station [ja], according to the protest organizer. After two years of the plant's operations being suspended, Kyushu Electric Power Company applied for a review in July from the Nuclear Regulation Authority with the intention of bringing the power plant back online, making citizens against nuclear power feel unsafe.

The number may sound small for a little-known city of Satsumasendai in the southwest tip of Kyushu island, a community long been dependent on nuclear power for its economy, yet this is said to be the biggest rally in the last 40 years of silence to utter against 30 year-old nuclear plant. 

Greenpeace Japan submitted a letter [ja] on November 29 demanding the governor of Kagoshima prefecture not to approve restart of the plant. Citizen Media Miyazaki covered the protest on YouTube [ja].

Refuse to Pay Pension Premium? Japan Could Seize Your Assets

The Japan Pension Service has announced that people who refuse to pay the national pension premium could have their assets seized if they still refuse to pay. Japan's young population have been reluctant to pay for national pensions mostly because they believe the system will be broken by the time they are old, and fear they won't receive the benefits. JapanCrush translated the reaction of netizens’ comments to this move. 

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