The futility of Japan’s global popularity

The BBC has released its annual survey of global attitudes, revealing once again that Japan is one of the most positively rated countries among those surveyed.Jun Okumura provides a good wrap-up of the report's findings on Japan here.As in years past, the survey found that Japan is viewed favorably in just about every country surveyed …

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What would a liberal Japan actually look like?

Project Syndicate has posted an essay based on a speech by Joseph Nye in Tokyo last month, in which he foresees the rise of a "liberal" Japan.Calling attention to Asahi's series of twenty-one editorials [series available at Japan Focus] outlining a vision for Japan, Nye argues on its behalf, observing that Asahi's vision provides a …

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The california rolls are safe

After announcing plans to institute a certification system for Japanese restaurants overseas back in November, Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, headed by the beleaguered Matsuoka Toshikatsu (the subject of this superb book -- more on this soon), has decided to abandon these plans after opposition from citizens' groups and after a panel chaired …

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Quality control for "Cool Japan"

The Washington Post has an interesting article about the corrosion of Japanese cuisine abroad. Of all the "products" that signify the export of "Cool Japan," Japanese cuisine might be the most significant, having grown to occupy a significant place in haute cuisine throughout the Western world.The version of Japanese cuisine presented to Western diners, however, …

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