Every Sunday we gather the week’s weird and interesting Japanese news and present it to you in our Sunday News column. It might not always be hard-hitting news, but we hope that it still informs and entertains you. Enjoy!


[threecol_two]Tokyo Governor Ishihara Resigns: Tokyo’s notorious governor Shintaro Ishihara has announced this week that he will be stepping down from his position to focus on national politics. The 80-year-old Ishihara, besides being known for his war on crows, has a reputation for his off-the-cuff, often offensive remarks including saying that “the Nanking massacre never happened,” the 3/11 tsunami was “divine punishment” for Japan, and that “homosexuality is an abomination.” It’s unfortunate that Ishihara is focusing his efforts on national politics, as I’d hoped he’d be retiring to spend more time saying offensive things to his family. [via New York Times, Shisaku, Reddit][/threecol_two] [threecol_one_last]Windows 8 Hits Akihabara: When Microsoft released its newest operating system, Windows 8, it recognized what people look for most in an operating system: moe mascots. In keeping with Japan’s long-running tradition of anthropomorphizing operating systems, Windows 8 is represented by two mascots. The question now is when is Apple going to make a play for the otaku market and endorse its own OS-tan? This never would have happened if Steve Jobs were still around!

73-year-old prostitute picked up (again) by police in Yokohama: Japan has long battled against 援助交際, or “compensated dating,” the practice of schoolgirl prostitution, but now it seems that the pendulum has swung in the other direction. A 73-year-old woman was picked up in Yokohama is reportedly the oldest person to be charged with prostitution in the area. I guess they don’t call it the world’s oldest profession for nothing.[/threecol_one_last]


[threecol_one]Moe Girl “Sakura Yamagata” Chosen to Promote Climbing Tourism : It seems like nothing in Japan can be without a mascot, and the Japanese have once again confirmed my suspicions. Gifu prefecture held a contest to create a mascot to represent mountain climbing tourism in the area. The winner is a character by the name of Sakura Yamagata, a name which has the kanji for mountain () in it. All we need now is a mascot for tourism-related mascots and the cycle will be complete.

WWII bomb defused: As an American, it’s strange to think about the weapons of World War II as a threat, but in lots of places around the world, including Japan, it’s still very real. This week, an unexploded bomb was found in downtown Tokyo; fortunately, the bomb was quickly desposed of and nobody was hurt. Initially, a robot was called in to defuse the bomb, but that was quickly stopped as it quickly became clear that the robot had gained sentience and harbored a deep hatred for humanity.[/threecol_one] [threecol_two_last]‘Only immigrants can save Japan’: Japan has long been in a demographic crisis where the old are slowly but surely outnumbering the young, causing a ton of social and economic problems. The government has attempted to stem the tide of this problem, but has largely failed. Now, a former government official is claiming “only immigrants can save Japan.” The official, Hidenori Sakanaka, went on to say “There is no way for Japan to survive but to build a society of living with immigrants and hoisting a new flag: ‘Immigrants Welcome.’” Does this mean policy change in the future? Only time will tell.[via Reddit]


  • 古戸ヱリカ

    I hope this ushers in a new era of Ishihara not doing things that effects other people. I dream of a world where innocent people don’t have to be exposed to dangerous amounts of Ishihara.

  • Heather Stewart

    what desperate situation would force an obaasan into such an occupation??

    also, not to be a jerk, but Hashi, you forgot a word in the climbing blurb.

  • R. Ali

    Deep down in my heart I always knew Japan needed me… lol

  • Reptic

    Japan? As the multicultural capital of the world? That seems about as likely as Iran becoming the McDonald’s capital of the world.

  • Ken Seeroi

    “the oldest person to be charged with prostitution in the area.” Does this mean other areas have older prostitutes? Man, I know we have a problem with aging population in this country, but I didn’t know it’d gone to that extreme.

  • Hashi

    The article quoted an investigator who said “Up until now, she is the oldest person (brought up on these charges) that we are aware of.” I wasn’t sure if that meant oldest in Yokohama/Japan/the world, so I tried to make my little blurb as ambiguous as possible.

  • Hashi

    Whoops, you’re right, thanks!

  • Jon

    Oh god, now Japan has to suffer with Windows 8 too. I haven’t even seen it, and I already know it’s terrible. They’re trying to turn laptops into freakin’ tablet computers with an operating system (and tried to get rid of my beloved Start button)!

    But on the other hand, the Windows 8 mascots were rather 可愛い. . .except for the guy with the Windows 8 sash. The sash-guy just looked. . .constipated? I’m not sure, but he’s certainly not comfortable, judging by his facial expression.


    Granny’s gotta eat too.