Genichiro Takahashi (Photo by Makiko Ikenaga
POINT OF VIEW/ Genichiro Takahashi: Recording disturbing aspects of society considered a form of ‘insanity’
The novel “Nobi” (Fires on the Plain), written by Shohei Ooka (1909-1988), based on his own experience as a survivor of the gruesome Battle of Leyte in the Pacific theater during World War II, is not just a war novel masterpiece. It stands at the pinnacle of what we call “literature” as a form of human endeavor.
The Hashima Coal Mine in Nagasaki is one of the World Cultural Heritage component sites where workers were mobilized from the Korean Peninsula during World War II. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
INSIGHT: Tokyo, Seoul need calm approach to shared history
SEOUL--As this year marks the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties between Japan and South Korea, that should have been enough time for Tokyo to fully realize what would offend Seoul over the perception of their shared history.
A stone monument at a park adjacent to the Sunshine 60 complex in Tokyo's Higashi-Ikebukuro district shows where Sugamo Prison stood. (Asahi Shinbun file photo)
INSIGHT: Separating war criminals from Yasukuni could help fulfill Tojo's final wish for peace
Throngs of people incessantly crisscross the foot of the 240-meter-high Sunshine 60 skyscraper complex in the Higashi-Ikebukuro district of Tokyo.
Tokyo-based journalist Lucy Craft with her mother, Atsuko, 85, in the documentary “Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight: The Japanese War Brides” (Provided by Lucy Craft)
'War brides' documentary details lives of Japanese wives who came to U.S. after WWII
“War brides” is an unfamiliar term for the younger generation, now 70 years after the end of World War II.
Rohingya refugees from Myanmar at a shelter set up in a hotel for romantic encounters in Medan, Indonesia (Naoji Shibata)
INSIGHT: Asia, Japan should do more to assist Rohingya people than just giving cash
MEDAN, Indonesia--A shelter in an old building here on the island of Sumatra, converted from a hotel for romantic encounters, accommodated 43 Muslim Rohingya, six to eight persons to a room, when I visited it during Ramadan.
Protesters gather in front of the Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture on Aug. 11, when its No. 1 reactor became the nation's first to be restarted under stricter safety standards introduced following the Fukushima nuclear disaster. (Jun Kaneko)
POINT OF VIEW/ Eiji Oguma: Japan’s irresponsible nuke policy behind latest energy mix target
In June, an industry ministry subcommittee worked out a draft plan for Japan’s energy mix in 2030, which calls for nuclear power to provide between 20 and 22 percent of the country’s electricity needs.
Yang Chunlin, a member of Nature University, explains the ecological aspects of traditonal Chinese gardens. Nature University is one of the leading environmental NGOs in China. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
INSIGHT: Beijing’s anachronistic crackdown on NGOs deters private-sector initiatives
BEIJING--The door to “Room C” remained shut tight on the eighth floor of a building not far from a university district in the Chinese capital. The sign on the door had been removed, and it appeared unlikely that anybody was around.
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, second from left in the front row, and others attend an unveiling ceremony in November 2014 for the “Wald der Erinnerung” (Forest of remembrance), a memorial facility in Potsdam for military officers who died outside the country, which stands in one corner of the premises of a command center for overseas missions of the German armed forces. The attendants mourned the deaths of the military officers in front of a memorial monument brought back from Afghanistan. (Photo by Shinji Minegishi)
INSIGHT: Time to consider mental health of SDF members if deployed on risky missions overseas
An interview I had last autumn in Germany with a lieutenant colonel in the German armed forces remains fresh and vivid in my memory.
“Frottage” artist Masao Okabe traces the inscriptions of a stone monument for farmland development in Minami-Soma, Fukushima Prefeture, in June. (Toshihide Ueda)
INSIGHT: Physical sense helps preserve memories of 2011 triple disaster
MINAMI-SOMA, Fukushima Prefecture--A salty smell struck my nose as I descended from my car. The Pacific Ocean loomed about 4 kilometers ahead as I looked toward the east from Yasakajinja shrine near the northern end of this northeastern city.
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.

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