NHK World-Japan: Google starts forecasting COVID-19 cases in Japan. “The service will provide the number of new COVID cases, deaths, hospitalization and other data at the prefecture level over the next 28 days. During the period from Sunday to December 12, a total of 53,321 people are projected to test positive nationwide. Hokkaido is expected to have the most cases at 16,877, followed by Tokyo with 10,164 and Osaka with 7,756.”
Asahi Shimbun: Multi-database search system for old kanji a 1st for researchers. “Archaic forms of kanji that are difficult to decipher in the modern age are being compiled into an online image retrieval system so scholars and others can gain a better grasp of what people were writing about in bygone times. Six research institutes were involved in developing the Multi-Database Search System for Historical Chinese Characters, the first of its kind that collates old kanji from various regions and periods in history.”
TimeOut Tokyo: This free virtual gallery lets you curate your own online exhibition of Japanese art . “Cultural Japan uses the International Image Interoperability Framework, a database with over 500,000 digital versions of Japanese artworks from 550 institutions around the world such as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Stanford University Museum in California. There are famous ukiyo-e prints like Hokusai’s ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’, as well as ancient artefacts dating all the way back to the Jomon period (14,000-300 BC).”
Radio New Zealand: New Zealand joins call for access to social media encrypted data. “Andrew Little, Justice Minister and minister responsible for this country’s intelligence agencies, issued the statement alongside Five Eyes partners Britain, the United States, Canada and Australia, as well as India and Japan. They say they support strong encryption that protects privacy, trade secrets and cyber security, but the technology also poses significant risks to public safety.”
Washington Post: In Japan, a revolutionary response to the pandemic: Better work-life balance. “Picture the traditional grind of the Japanese salaryman: the corporate warrior in suit and tie, commuting to the office in a packed subway train, working long hours, then drinking with his boss and coming home to a cramped Tokyo apartment. Then imagine another type of worker — perhaps a woman — cycling to her office on a picturesque island, with an equally challenging career but spending her weekends by the sea, immersed in nature or relaxing in a hot spring.”
BBC: Japan ‘Twitter killer’ pleads guilty to murders. “A Japanese man has pleaded guilty to murdering nine people after contacting them on Twitter, in a high-profile case that has shocked the country. Dubbed the ‘Twitter killer’, Takahiro Shiraishi was arrested in 2017 after body parts were found in his flat.”
Tohoku University: Digitized Works from Kokichi Kano Collection Now Open to General Public. “The Kano Collection was brought to Tohoku University through the efforts of Masataro Sawayanagi, the university’s first president and Kano’s close friend. It consists of about 108,000 books, most of which are Japanese and Chinese classics covering a variety of fields such as literature, philosophy, science, art and the military.” 232 works have been digitized and are now available online.
Kyodo News: FEATURE: Museums to unite in preserving Japanese sports history. “A sports museum in Tokyo is leading the way in the creation of a network with similar organizations across Japan, aiming to protect and preserve valuable pieces of the nation’s athletic history. That there is no shared system under which the pieces of memorabilia, including medals and reference materials, are organized is a major concern to people working at museums. Additionally, there is no universal list maintained by any public organization that indicates which institution holds any particular object.”
Hankyoreh: S. Korea to release records showing Japan’s mobilization of Korean girls and women into forced labor. “On the 75th anniversary of Korea’s liberation by US forces from Japanese the colonial occupation, the National Archives of Korea, the National Library of Korea, and the Northeast Asian History Foundation have released records from the colonial occupation related to the poorly known issue of the labor conscription of women and children. The archives also contained newspaper articles and other documents that were published in support of their conscription.”
New York Times: After Atomic Bombings, These Photographers Worked Under Mushroom Clouds. “The idea of publishing in the United States images from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings was first proposed to the University of Texas at Austin in 2017 by the Anti-Nuclear Photographers’ Movement of Japan, one of the organizations that have worked for decades to collect and preserve such photographs. The group was seeking an American publisher because it worried about rising tensions enveloping North Korea, Japan and the United States at the time, and it wanted to broadcast its antinuclear message to a wider audience. Through an intermediary, it approached the Texas university’s Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, whose collection includes photographs of the Vietnam War by the American photojournalist Eddie Adams….The center’s director, Don Carleton, said that while he initially worried that the Japanese group might use the project to ‘assign war guilt,’ it turned out that the two sides had a simple goal in common: educating the public about the horrors of nuclear war. The association eventually agreed to make its photos available as a digital archive at the university, starting in 2021.” Warning: the pictures are horrifying.
Reuters: Japan government persists with ‘Abenomask’ giveaway, reignites social media outcry. “Japan’s government is pushing ahead with the distribution of its much derided masks even though commercially made masks are now readily available, prompting a renewed outcry on social media. Dubbed the ‘Abenomask’, which means Abe’s mask and is a pun on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ‘Abenomics’ programme, the washable gauze mask has been criticised as ill fitting with quality issues and as a waste of public money.”
TorrentFreak: Warning for Twitter Users in Japan Following Supreme Court Copyright Ruling. “Twitter users in Japan are facing uncertainty after the Supreme Court ruled that people who retweet copyright-infringing images can have their details passed to copyright holders. The case centered around the posting of an image that was posted to Twitter without permission and was then retweeted in an automatically cropped format.”
The Guardian: Okinawa demands answers from US after 61 marines contract coronavirus. “The governor of Okinawa island in Japan has demanded that a United States military commander take tougher prevention measures and have more transparency after officials were told more than 60 marines at two bases have been infected with the coronavirus over the past few days.”
Bloomberg: Lacking Legal Means, Japan Is Paying Night Clubs to Shut. “Nighttime businesses such as host clubs that close for at least 10 days will receive 500,000 yen ($4,664) per outlet from the Tokyo government, Asahi newspaper reported Thursday, citing an unidentified official. The city’s Toshima Ward had earlier asked the capital for such financial assistance. In southern Japan, Kagoshima prefecture, where more than 80 infections have been traced to one cabaret club, will pay up to 300,000 yen for night time entertainment establishments to close for two weeks starting Wednesday.”
Nippon: New Site for Learning Practical Japanese. “On June 1, the Agency for Cultural Affairs launched a new website for learning practical Japanese through video content. It is aimed primarily at people who have just moved to Japan and are learning the language for the first time or those who live in the country but have had no opportunity to study. Explanations and dialogue translations are available in English, simplified Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish, and Vietnamese.”