The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in brief
After many discussions on the fate of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Japan decided to open its borders to athletes, journalists, and other participants, and held a decidedly unique Olympic Games, thanks to strong anti-Covid-19 measures. The Olympics promise potential economic benefits and international glory to the country and the city organising them. This year, however, pandemic intervened. Moreover, scandals involving misogynistic comments from the (now former) head of the Japanese Olympic committee, and the indecision about holding the Games had already tainted Japan’s reputation prior to the event. Now that the Olympics have ended, what can be brought to light?
LAST MONTH IN EAST AND SOUTHEAST ASIA - SEPTEMBER 2021
This month news review, features Japans preparation for the upcoming elections, ongoing conflict in Myanmar, economic turmoil in China, a new government in Malaysia, as well as the appeal of one of the last Khmer Rouge leaders
The Subtle Humanity of Yazujiro Ozu
The East Asian movie scene is slowly gaining worldwide recognition, but there are lots of older films from the region worthy of your time too. One of the most acclaimed and important Japanese directors is Yazujirō Ozu, active mainly in the late 40’s and 50’s.
Last month in East and Southeast Asia - April 2021
This month's mix: unending turmoil in Myanmar, bilateral talks in Washington and architectural discussions in China. Aaaah, and the Oscars of course! And Thailand's new bid to revitalize tourism.
Last month in East and Southeast Asia- March 2021
Here comes our March round-up: violent crackdown on protesters in Myanmar, sprees of violence against Asian-American communities and military threats from the Korean peninsula. But that's not all: scepticism over the Olympics in Japan and civil activism in Singapore.
Yoshihide Suga, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Tokyo Olympic Games
At the end of last year, Yoshihide Suga went from being Shinzo Abe’s right hand man to Japan’s new prime minister. How is Suga coping as leader of the world’s third largest economy during a world pandemic—with the Tokyo Olympics right around the corner?
A Flower in the Shade: the History of Horimono
The growing arrival of tattooed tourists to Japan is profoundly influencing the way in which Japanese society perceives them. Therefore, granting horimono an opportunity to detach from the negative connotations that it has carried since the 19th century, and to be re-interpreted as an important element of Japanese cultural heritage. It is said that ‘the world is divided into two types of people: those who have tattoos, and those who are afraid of people with tattoos’. To which group do you belong?
Let the value of chocolates define my love for you
Whilst Valentine’s Day is widely celebrated in countries around the globe, White Day is only celebrated in a limited amount of countries in East Asia, including Japan. On March 14th, Japanese men will have the chance to dole out reciprocal gifts to those who gave them gifts on Valentine’s Day. These two special holidays have a strong bond with each other—the traditional Japanese Valentine’s celebration would not be complete without one of them.
Remembering Fukushima: if only radiation had color
Ten years have passed since Japan’s triple disaster: a 9.1 magnitude earthquake, 10-meter-plus high tsunami waves, and level 7 meltdowns of three nuclear reactors at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The immediate outcome was catastrophic, and many people’s lives are still affected. Once more, art has proven its therapeutic effect by offering people a space to mourn, to cry, to revolt, and finally, to hope.
Last month in East and Southeast Asia- February 2021
Gaffes and gender inequality in Japan, ongoing political unrest in Myanmar, Clubhouse in China. And there is more: turnover at the WTO leadership and an eminent debate on economic recession in North Korea.
How much is my love worth to you?
The Lunar New Year officially began two days ago—and yet another celebration is taking place today. While Lunar New Year is a holiday for family and friends, Valentine’s Day is a holiday for lovers. The style of celebration, however, differs slightly depending on where it is held. This time, let’s focus on how Valentine's Day is celebrated in Japan and what products are demanded by the Japanese market during this romantic consumption day.
Last month in East and Southeast Asia- January 2021
A military coup in Vietnam! Leadership turnover in Laos and the CCP's planning for the Lunar New Year. Indonesia's plane crash. And Tokyo Olympics: YES or NO?
That time of the year: Christmas 2020 Special
Population Ageing - A Challenge to the Japanese Welfare State
‘Population ageing’ is constituted by a shift in the population age structure towards higher ages, and is a modern global phenomenon. However, some countries are more affected than others. Case in point: Japan has the oldest population, one of the lowest fertility rates, and one of the highest consumption rates per child and elderly in the world. This has severe economic consequences, to the point where it challenges the Japanese welfare system.
Last month in East and Southeast Asia- October 2020
Back in Thailand for the ongoing protests. North Korea's showcase of nuclear might. China's swift economic recovery. Press-freedom repression in Vietnam and...a shaking food cult in Japan.
Behind the East Asian ‘history wars’
Last month in East and Southeast Asia- September 2020
Vehement protests in Thailand, diplomatic tensions in Beijing and tensions in Myanmar! Ah, and a new PM in Japan and a...curious case of smuggling in Vietnam!
Don’t bite it! It’s fake food!
The Japanese culinary experience starts way before food is served. It usually starts with perfectly made food replicas that invite passers-by to stop by and give a try to those mouth-watering dishes. Creating food replicas, however, is more complicated than it seems. Hours and hours of hard work and precision lay behind what appears to be an easy task at first sight.
All quiet on the Eastern front - The North Korean Abduction Issue
Few certainties, many unknowns. Over 40 years have passed since the first abduction, but little has been accomplished. As abductees’ families inexorably age, prospects for a settlement remain grim.