Genichiro Takahashi (Photo by Makiko Ikenaga)
POINT OF VIEW/ Genichiro Takahashi: An eye-opening self-education about Constitution and democracy
I can read some German with the aid of a dictionary. I can decipher a little Russian, too, if I keep my nose in a dictionary. Both languages are self-taught.
The “monument to the farewell cup” in Kanoya, Kagoshima Prefecture, built by a former member of an Oka suicide attack squad, carries an engraved message by writer Sohachi Yamaoka. (Tsuyoshi Komano)
INSIGHT: Does today's Japan deserve the love of kamikaze pilots?
U.S. troops gave the nickname of “baka bomb” (idiot bomb) to one of the weapons used in Japan’s suicide attacks during the closing days of World War II.
Wu Hai, CEO of the Crystal Orange Hotel Group, during an interview in Beijing in June (Photo by Keiko Yoshioka)
INSIGHT: Voices of ‘people’ present dilemma for China’s single-party rule
BEIJING--A successful entrepreneur drove his Audi A4 in May into the Zhongnanhai district of this Chinese capital, which is home to the offices and residences of President Xi Jinping and other members of the country’s leadership corps.
Rescuers offer a silent prayer for more than 400 victims on June 7 in front of the Eastern Star cruise ship raised from the Yangtze River in Jingzhou, China's Hubei province. (Mitsusada Enyo)
INSIGHT: Chinese reporters employ ‘edge ball’ to dodge speech control
BEIJING--I had the opportunity to meet someone.
A torii stands over a street lined with paper lantern-shaped lights in Sao Paulo's Liberdade district, home to a large Japanese community. (Naoji Shibata)
INSIGHT: Japanese-Brazilians disillusioned with land of ancestors
SAO PAULO--In the Liberdade district of this Brazilian metropolis, a large red torii gate, a Japanese-style garden and streetlights shaped like paper lanterns eloquently tell of its populace.
Toshinobu Nakasato, far right, in front of the Diet building in December with other Lower House members elected from Okinawa Prefecture (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
POINT OF VIEW/ Eiji Oguma: Weakened LDP power base allows Abe to run roughshod over opposition
Many policy goals of the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, such as the push for national security legislation and nuclear energy, lack public support.
A 76-year-old man pays his respects to his brother on June 23 at a cave  in Itoman, Okinawa Prefecture, where students mobilized for war killed themselves during the 1945 Battle of Okinawa. (Shogo Koshida)
INSIGHT: Japanese relegated war to a ‘thing of the past’
When I read a book written by a psychiatrist, a question loomed in my mind: Did World War II really end 70 years ago?
Rubble from the magnitude-7.8 earthquake that devastated central Nepal in late April remains near Durbar Square in Katmandu, a World Heritage site, on May 25. (Ryosuke Ono)
INSIGHT: Nepal tent villages symbolize tug of war between major powers over quake relief
KATMANDU--Tent villages remained in place in many parts of the Nepalese capital, a reminder of the great earthquake that struck the central part of this landlocked nation two months ago.
Genichiro Takahashi (Photo by Makoto Kaku)
POINT OF VIEW/ Genichiro Takahashi: New ways of doing things can spring from unexpected sources
A pamphlet in “manga” form, published by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, promotes constitutional revision. Since many people were talking about it, I decided to check it out. Reading it gave me an unsettling feeling I couldn’t put my finger on.
The seated Yakushi Nyorai figure of Shojoji temple is flanked by the standing statues of its two attendant bodhisattvas, Nikko Bosatsu, right, and Gakko Bosatsu, at an exhibition in Tokyo. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
COMMENTARY: Don’t let nuclear disaster be forgotten like great Fukushima monk
YUGAWA, Fukushima Prefecture--A chance to visit a historic Buddhist temple in this northeastern village and learn about a great monk underscored the importance of passing down the history of the Fukushima nuclear disaster correctly to future generations.
U.S. lawmakers applaud as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe takes the podium at a joint meeting of Congress on April 29. (Shinichi Iizuka)
INSIGHT: Discomfort with pro-U.S. skeptics of Japan’s Constitution
Media attention was focused on what Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had to say about his perceptions of East Asian history when he gave an address to the U.S. Congress in late April.
Zhang Amei at Beijing Capital International Airport (The Asahi Shimbun)
INSIGHT: Criticism arises in two nations over simple gesture to help friend in need
BEIJING--One afternoon in April, I was at Beijing Capital International Airport awaiting the arrival of an Emirates flight from Dubai carrying a passenger named Zhang Amei.
Members of the public in the gallery observe discussions at the Lower House Commission on the Constitution on May 7. (Shinichi Iizuka)
INSIGHT: ‘Proactive pacifism’ engraved in Constitution 69 years ago by Japanese
Many Japanese are aware that the Constitution of Japan was prepared on the basis of a draft provided by the General Headquarters (GHQ) of the Allied occupation forces. Many also know that its major characteristic resides in pacifism.
Genichiro Takahashi (Photo by Makoto Kaku)
POINT OF VIEW/ Genichiro Takahashi: Time to relearn the ‘fundamental spirit’ of democracy
After the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, the university where I was teaching at the time canceled the graduation ceremony that was scheduled for March 19. “To ensure safety” was the reason given for the cancellation.
The USS Midway Museum in San Diego, Calif. (Naoji Shibata)
INSIGHT: 40 years after Fall of Saigon, national reconciliation remains distant
HO CHI MINH CITY--Scenes of the Vietnam War remain vivid in the memories of a 54-year-old professor, who teaches at a private university in this southern megalopolis.
Protesters gather outside the Okinawa prefectural government office in Naha on April 28 to oppose the relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Henoko Point of Nago, Okinawa Prefecture. (Kazuo Yamagishi)
POINT OF VIEW/ Eiji Oguma: Misunderstanding of security treaty muddles Okinawa base issue
The planned relocation of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from Ginowan to the Henoko district of Nago, both in Okinawa Prefecture, is attracting attention. Here are some of my opinions on the matter.
Shoei and Takako Endo, evacuating from the Fukushima nuclear crisis, walk their dog, Harry, in Kagoshima. (Ryo Ikeda)
INSIGHT: Fondness for the ‘earth’ guided Fukushima couple displaced by nuke disaster
KAGOSHIMA--Onions, carrots, garlic and peas were among the crops seen planted carefully on small patches of farmland that lay by the side and at the back of a detached house in this city near the southern end of Kyushu.
Hikaru Domoto, left, executive vice president of Japan Broadcasting Corp., and Toshio Fukuda, senior managing director of TV Asahi Corp., are summoned to a panel of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party on April 17 over specific programs that were aired. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
INSIGHT: Like white sand through fingers, freedom of speech falling again
What is visible on the surface may not appear to be a big story. But what lies underneath deserves more attention.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Jakarta on April 22 (Pool)
INSIGHT: Japan should ruminate a yearlong absence of discussions on AIIB
A building that is believed to serve as the headquarters of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, an upcoming China-led international financial institution, is under construction in the Beijing Financial Street, a district west of Tiananmen Square.
Genichiro Takahashi (Photo by Makoto Kaku)
POINT OF VIEW/ Genichiro Takahashi: Actor Sugawara’s intelligence embraces healthy ‘ignorance’
In my second year in high school, a friend and I hitchhiked from Kobe to Hiroshima during the summer holidays. Our plan was to be in Hiroshima on Aug. 6. We arrived there late at night on Aug. 5.

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