Mosquito traps to find out whether the insects carry the dengue virus were installed at 10 locations at Yoyogi Park in central Tokyo on Sept. 2. (Shiro Nishihata)
VOX POPULI: Be on your guard against dengue fever
In a scene of the popular classic Kabuki play "Sukeroku Yukari no Edozakura," Sukeroku, the protagonist, introduces himself as a man everyone should be glad to be acquainted with. Above all, he promises, anyone with "okori" (intermittent fever) will be cured.
Kazuo Watanabe (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
VOX POPULI: Intolerance only makes people protest louder
A dictionary I consulted defines the word "tolerance" as the willingness to accept others and acknowledge that their opinions differ from one's own. Even though most people wish to be tolerant, bigotry and prejudice sometimes rear their ugly heads.
People push a car on Oct. 4, 1959, in the Furukawacho district of Tsushima, Aichi Prefecture, which was flooded by the Isewan Typhoon. (Provided by the Tsushima city library)
VOX POPULI: Sept. 1 serves as day to recall lessons of past disasters
Each year when Sept. 1 rolls around, Japanese are reminded of the Great Kanto Earthquake. On that day in 1923, a powerful tremor devastated wide areas in the Kanto region around Tokyo.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe leaves his office in Tokyo after meeting with Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Shigeru Ishiba on Aug. 29. (Shogo Koshida)
VOX POPULI: Personnel shake-up requires balancing act of favors
A personnel shake-up can be a double-edged sword. Employees who are elevated to coveted positions may perform their duties faithfully, but discontent could build up among those who were passed over. What was intended as a move to refresh and revitalize the organization may only lower the staff's morale.
A maglev bullet train prototype during tests in Tsuru, Yamanashi Prefecture, in August 2013 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
VOX POPULI: Is ultra-fast train service really necessary?
Choosing a destination and riding a train purely for the fun of it was the sort of leisurely, aimless train travel that author Hyakken Uchida (1889-1971) loved. He got great enjoyment out of looking at the scenery outside the train window and going to the dining car for a drink.
A woman stands in front of debris left by a series of Israeli airstrikes in the eastern part of Gaza on Aug. 5. (Yukie Yamao)
VOX POPULI: Online challenge raises awareness about Gaza
The Ice Bucket Challenge is a campaign to promote awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Participants dump a bucket of ice water on their heads and nominate others for the dare. Videos of celebrities around the world, dripping wet, have gone viral and helped raise substantial donations for ALS research.
Students participate in a national academic achievement assessment at an elementary school in Tokyo on April 22. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
VOX POPULI: Talking face-to-face best way to solve a problem
There is a lesson I have learned the hard way from my years of working experience. That is, when a dispute arises in an organization and it needs to be resolved to everyone's satisfaction, it is vital that the parties concerned discuss it face-to-face.
Students hold a morale-boosting rally at Yoyogi Seminar's Kokura school in Kita-Kyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture, days before they were to take the National Center Test for university applicants in January 2013. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
VOX POPULI: Major cram school for university hopefuls undergoes broad downsizing
Folk singer Tomoya Takaishi's "Jukensei Blues," a mock-plaintive comical song about a high school senior preparing for university entrance exams, was a mega-hit in 1968.
Amid heavy rain, Self-Defense Forces members and firefighters continue their search at the site of a major mudslide disaster in Hiroshima’s Asa-Minami Ward on Aug. 24. (The Asahi Shimbun)
VOX POPULI: Freakish weather has become commonplace and we need to learn to live with it
Japanese often describe extravagant spending as going through money “like water.” This expression, however, can be understood only by people lucky enough to live in a place blessed with rich water resources.
Emperor Hirohito, left, talks with judoka Yasuhiro Yamashita, fourth from right, at the emperor's annual garden party in May 1982. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
VOX POPULI: Chance to retrace the drama of Showa history
On Jan. 8, 1989, the day after the Showa Era ended with the death of Emperor Hirohito (posthumously called Emperor Showa), the then-writer of this column recalled an episode from the emperor's annual spring garden party in 1982.
Customers enjoy trying their luck at various table games set up at a mock casino in a restaurant in Osaka’s Naniwa Ward in July. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
VOX POPULI: Sanctioning casinos could swell ranks of 5 million gambling addicts
When Seiji Rokkaku was a struggling, out-of-work actor, he was addicted to pachinko for two years, according to his published collection of essays titled "Sukoshi Kane wo Kashite Kurenaika" (Can you loan me some money?).
The inside of a house is seen inundated with mud in Asa-Minami Ward, Hiroshima, on Aug. 21 after it was hit by a massive landslide the day before. (Jun Ueda)
VOX POPULI: 15 years later, yet another landslide disaster in Hiroshima
Images of a leafy mountainside, scarred by multiple swaths of debris and rocks, reminded me of Yamata no Orochi, the mythical monster snake with eight heads and as many tails. Its gigantic body spanned many peaks and valleys. The creature terrorized and killed hapless villagers every year.
Members of the Tomakomai branch of the Ainu Association of Hokkaido hold a traditional ceremony to celebrate the new year in Tomakomai, Hokkaido, on Jan. 19. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
VOX POPULI: Existence of Ainu is not a matter of opinion
Before the law to promote Ainu culture was enacted in 1997, Shigeru Kayano (1926-2006), the first ethnic Ainu member of the Diet, made this unforgettable comment, "Democracy is alive in Japan."
Gen Kida in 2009 (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
VOX POPULI: Remembering Gen Kida, philosopher who warned against uncontrollable technology
Gen Kida, a prominent philosopher and professor emeritus at Chuo University who died Aug. 16 at age 85, wrote prose that was gentle in tone and sometimes humorous.
Makiko Uchidate (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
VOX POPULI: New word may help the obese lose weight
I didn’t know the word “hami niku” until I recently heard it while watching a TV program. It is one of the dazzling array of newly coined words that have gained currency in this nation for various reasons.
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko attend a ceremony marking the 69th anniversary of the end of World War II at Nippon Budokan hall in Tokyo on Aug. 15. (Takeshi Tokitsu)
VOX POPULI: The importance of handing down memories of war
Chuya Nakahara (1907-1937), who died young, wrote a poem titled "Imoto yo" (Oh my little sister). It goes, "The beautiful soul wept at night/ And said it was all right now to die ..."
Novelist Futaro Yamada in 1948 (Provided by Futaro Yamada Museum)
VOX POPULI: Author Yamada’s reflections on war’s end resonate 69 years later
“Unconventional” could well be the middle name of novelist Futaro Yamada (1922-2001), whose works include “Ningen Rinju Zukan” (Picture scroll of human deathbed scenes). Downing a third of a bottle of whisky every night, Yamada described himself as “Aruchu-heimer,” an expression he coined by combining the Japanese slang for “alcoholic” and Alzheimer’s.
Trekkers pack the summit of Mount Fuji to view the sunrise in July 2013. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
VOX POPULI: Mount Fuji in urgent need of relief from climbing hordes
I once heard that there were "white rivers" running down Mount Fuji. Actually, they were festoons of used toilet paper, mixed with human excrement and discharged from mountain hut toilets, clinging to the sides of the mountain. Utterly gross and unsanitary, they definitely did not belong on Japan's sacred, iconic peak.
Fragments of the vertical tail fin of JAL Flight 123 that crashed in 1985 are on display at the Safety Promotion Center of Japan Airlines Co. at Haneda Airport on Aug. 5. (The Asahi Shimbun)
VOX POPULI: JAL crash site uniting bereaved families in all major accidents
For some people, the items on display at the Safety Promotion Center of Japan Airlines Co. may be too painful to look at. They include wreckage of JAL Flight 123 that crashed on Mount Osutakayama in Gunma Prefecture on Aug. 12, 1985, and a stopped wristwatch frozen in time that belonged to one of the 520 victims who died in the crash.
The 96th National High School Baseball Championship opening ceremony at Koshien Stadium in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, on Aug. 11 (The Asahi Shimbun)
VOX POPULI: What dramas will unfold at high school baseball's 'Field of Dreams' this year?
The list of memorable games at the National High School Baseball Championship at Koshien Stadium is a long one.

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