Japan

Should we be playing the surveillance state for laughs? Celebrity Hunted reviewed

19 October 2019 9:00 am

One of the many great things about The Capture was that we could never be sure whether the British authorities’…

Looking for a new idea? Try borrowing an old one

17 August 2019 9:00 am

Recently I suggested a new approach to commuter-train overcrowding. It simply involved reformulating the problem by accepting that not all…

Yukio Mishima posing in Tokyo in 1970. Credit: Getty Images

Capers in crime: Life for Sale, by Yukio Mishima, reviewed

3 August 2019 9:00 am

Few biographies are quite as impressive as Yukio Mishima’s. One of Japan’s most famous authors, he wrote 80 plays and…

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Trump: American Shogun

31 May 2019 4:06 am

Japan has a new emperor, and so do we. Donald Trump isn’t merely president. He wants to be America’s shogun.…

Barefoot in the park: Tokyo Ueno Station, by Yu Miri, reviewed

6 April 2019 9:00 am

In 1923, an earthquake with a magnitude of 9 struck Tokyo and Yokohama. A huge area of Tokyo burned. But,…

Art is often best experienced on the radio

6 April 2019 9:00 am

At its best audio can be a much more visual medium than the screen. Making Art with Frances Morris (produced…

Pounds of flesh: Takayasu throws Takakeisho to the ground to win the 2018 Kyushu tournament in Fukuoka

The balletic, bum-baring rituals of sumo

12 January 2019 9:00 am

An early morning in late November in the peaceful glades that surround an ancient temple complex. A Shinto priest in…

The case for bringing back feudalism

18 August 2018 9:00 am

Gstaad I need it like Boris needs a bleach job. Another birthday, that is. Birthdays tend to make your life…

Fried squid, stale sweat and sensuality in Ian Buruma’s Tokyo

12 May 2018 9:00 am

In 1975, the 24-year-old Ian Buruma (now an award-winning essayist and historian, and the editor of the New York Review…

A single mother hits rock bottom in Tokyo: Territory of Light reviewed

28 April 2018 9:00 am

Before her death two years ago, Yuko Tsushima was a powerful voice in Japanese literature; a strong candidate for the…

It was good but I preferred slurping my genitals: Deborah’s dog reviews Isle of Dogs

31 March 2018 9:00 am

The latest film from Wes Anderson is a doggy animation set in a fantasy Japan and as there was a…

The Plough and the Stars at the Lyric Hammersmith shows Sean O’Casey is one of the greats

31 March 2018 9:00 am

The Plough and the Stars by Sean O’Casey looks at the Irish nationalist movement during the events of Easter 1916.…

What I learned going naked on the green mountain

28 October 2017 9:00 am

The Japanese take a near-obsessive delight in washing, particularly in natural thermal baths

Abe’s challenge

28 September 2017 1:00 pm

As the only nation to have suffered mass casualties from a nuclear bomb, Japan has been understandably nervous about Kim…

Mixed blessings

15 July 2017 9:00 am

Japan is the only developed country where people openly espouse two distinct and incompatible religions at the same time —…

Scottish Opera could have a hit on its hands with this new Mikado

14 May 2016 9:00 am

You have to be quite silly to take Gilbert and Sullivan seriously. But even sillier not to. G&S is still…

Does the great Bach conductor Masaaki Suzuki think his audience will burn in hell?

12 March 2016 9:00 am

When the Japanese conductor Masaaki Suzuki leads his forces in a performance of a Bach cantata, does he worry that…

Why are children in Guernsey extolling Islam to their parents?

27 February 2016 9:00 am

I have never been to the island of Guernsey. This is a large world and we have a finite amount…

Whether or not Britain leaves, the EU must change or fall apart

20 February 2016 9:00 am

David Cameron’s attempt to renegotiate Britain’s EU membership has served as a powerful reminder of the case for leaving. The…

Portrait of the week

20 February 2016 9:00 am

Home David Cameron, the Prime Minister, spent time in Brussels before a meeting of the European Council to see what…

Portrait of the week: English lessons, civil partnerships, the price of oil

23 January 2016 9:00 am

Home David Cameron, the Prime Minister, said that Muslim women must learn English, and that those who had entered on…

The rise and fall of Sony

12 December 2015 9:00 am

Here is a Japanese fairy tale for Christmas. An allegory of insight, opportunism and a fall from favour. It is…

Boris Johnson’s diary: Amid the China hype, remember Japan

24 October 2015 9:00 am

Frankly I don’t know why the British media made such a big fat fuss last week when I accidentally flattened…

Detail of the bridge of the kora, a harp made from calabash and cow hide, with strings aligned in a perpendicular plane

The polyphonous Babel of global music

17 October 2015 8:00 am

‘Following custom, when the Siamese conquered the Khmer they carried off much of the population, including most of their musicians,…

What is it about Bill Viola’s films that reduce grown-ups to tears?

17 October 2015 8:00 am

Even the most down-to-earth people get emotional about Bill Viola’s videos. Clare Lilley of Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) seems close…