A log-grown shiitake mushroom producer in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, appears despondent in April 2012 after shipments from the city were suspended. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
COMMENTARY: Radioactive pollution endangers cultures of Tohoku mountain communities
ICHINOSEKI, Iwate Prefecture--Residents of the Higashiyama district, some 15 kilometers east of the center of this northeastern city, used to go into the mountains to gather wild plants to serve on their tables following the spring thaw.
A Chinese defender, right, clears the ball during an AFC Champions League match against a Japanese team in Hiroshima in 2010. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
COMMENTARY: Rough-and-tumble Chinese struggle to become world power in soccer
The Japanese national soccer team put up a good fight, but failed to make it to the Round of 16 in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Mayu Watanabe of AKB48 is known as Ma Yu Yu in China. (The Asahi Shimbun)
COMMENTARY: Chinese come out in droves to vote ... in AKB48 election
BEIJING--Mayu Watanabe, the top vote-getter in the “general election” for popular idol group AKB48, is known in China as Ma Yu Yu, after her Japanese nickname, Mayuyu.
Genichiro Takahashi (Photo by Hiromi Shinada)
POINT OF VIEW/ Genichiro Takahashi: A kind of democracy that makes minority ‘thank’ majority
On March 18, the Legislative Yuan, or Taiwan’s parliament, was occupied by hundreds of students protesting the cross-strait service trade agreement with China, which would open up services markets, such as restaurant and bar services and financial services, to each other.
Normal tail feathers of a common reed bunting, left, and abnormal ones with an uneven length and a moth-eaten appearance (Provided by the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology)
COMMENTARY: Abnormal changes in small birds and the role of science
FUKUSHIMA--The chirping of birds filled the air on the riverbed where the Abukumagawa river runs through the city of Fukushima just after 4 a.m. on May 24.
"Wind from the Sea," 1947, tempera on hardboard (c) Andrew Wyeth. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Gift of Charles H. Morgan
From Pennsylvania to Japan, captivated by Andrew Wyeth
Tattered lace curtains billow softly in the breeze. Outside the window stretches a field of dull yellow-green. The sky and a river flowing toward the ocean are painted a pale gray. There is no one in sight.
Genichiro Takahashi (Photo by Hiromi Shinada)
POINT OF VIEW/ Genichiro Takahashi: Infiltration of market principles into Japanese society
At the university where I teach, a colleague decided to quit before he reached the mandatory retirement age. He was a good educator who was well-liked by his students.
A portrait of Ding Zilin, founder of the Tiananmen Mothers, a group of bereaved families, hangs at the June 4th Museum in Hong Kong, a facility dedicated to remembering the crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators at Tiananmen Square in 1989. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
COMMENTARY: Re-evaluation of Tiananmen incident remains distant dream
BEIJING--Wang Nan, a second-year high school student who aspired to be a newspaper reporter, never returned home after leaving for Tiananmen Square late on June 3, 1989.
A wind turbine installed last year off Naraha, Fukushima Prefecture, will be part of a floating wind farm. The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is seen in the background. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
COMMENTARY: Disaster-hit Tohoku communities search for a renewable way
FUKUSHIMA--An international quintet of students took the top prize of a contest on renewables in a prefecture where energy has long been a special “local product.”
Visitors admire the cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C., in April. (Yuko Lanham)
Cherry blossoms and Yasukuni: clashing images of Japan's public diplomacy
A cherry tree by the Potomac River measures 2 meters around its trunk. Looking at the young leaves, you would never guess this tree was more than 100 years old. A nearby sign states that this is the first cherry tree that Tokyo gifted to Washington, D.C., in 1912 as a symbol of their friendship.
Genichiro Takahashi (Photo by Hiromi Shinada)
POINT OF VIEW/ Genichiro Takahashi: Clutching at happiness in a ‘singles society’
Late in his life, my father moved back to his childhood home after his grandmother and sisters, who had been living there, all passed away. Living alone in the old house, he was twice diagnosed with cancer and eventually hospitalized.
The entrance to the An Jung-geun memorial hall in Harbin, China (Toshihiro Yamanaka)
COMMENTARY: Friend of 'great criminal of Korea' showed what Abe government needs
On a visit to the Chinese city of Harbin, I saw the An Jung-geun memorial hall soon after its opening, and it contained a number of surprises.
Genichiro Takahashi (Photo by Shinobu Igasaki)
POINT OF VIEW/ Genichiro Takahashi: Navigating pervasive 'narratives'
When I turned on the TV set, Kim Yu-na of South Korea had just finished her performance as the last skater in the women's free skate at the Sochi Winter Olympics.
Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
POINT OF VIEW/ Nozomu Hayashi: Japan's hawks help Chinese nationalists push moderates into corner
BEIJING--With bilateral tensions rising over sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands, nationalistic hard-liners in China are exploiting Japanese right-wing forces to oppress Chinese who appear sympathetic to Japan.
Genichiro Takahashi (Photo by Shinobu Igasaki)
POINT OF VIEW/ Genichiro Takahashi: Scars of war have not gone away
In late December, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe caused a stir by visiting Yasukuni Shrine. It was the first visit to the war-related shrine by an incumbent prime minister in seven years.
Chinese students prepare for Japanese college entrance exams at the Kansai Gogen Gakuin language school in Kyoto's Fushimi Ward in July 2013. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
POINT OF VIEW: Tough times for Chinese students studying Japanese
About 1 million Chinese are currently studying Japanese in China. But current tensions over the Senkaku Islands and a past war have made it difficult for the students to learn the language of their Asian neighbor.
Genichiro Takahashi (Photo by Shinobu Igasaki)
POINT OF VIEW/ Genichiro Takahashi: Is Japan promoting state-led domestic violence?
Here is a cautionary tale about a young man who happened to be an onlooker during a street demonstration and found himself in police custody, not understanding what crime he had committed.
Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi delivers a speech opposing nuclear power at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo on Nov. 12. (Hikaru Uchida)
POINT OF VIEW/ Maki Okubo: 'We've been lied to,' said ex-Prime Minister Koizumi
The city news desk phone rang around noon on Nov. 12. It was picked up by a rookie reporter who joined The Asahi Shimbun last spring.
Genichiro Takahashi (Photo by Makoto Kaku)
POINT OF VIEW/ Genichiro Takahashi: We all 'sin' by not thinking about Japan's bleak future
"Nantonaku Kurisutaru" (Somewhat crystal), the first novel by Yasuo Tanaka, created quite a stir because it came with a whopping 442 footnotes. It was published in 1980.
Genichiro Takahashi (Makoto Kaku)
POINT OF VIEW/ Genichiro Takahashi: The real impact of Empress Michiko's words
Many years ago, a remarkable woman delivered the keynote address at a congress of the International Board of Books for Young People. I got hold of the text of her speech by chance and found it inexplicably beautiful. I was profoundly moved by her words.

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