Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on June 2013

Photo from Twitter @skullaji


  • Skull Reaper A-ji, a wrestler turned politician in Oita, was barred from entering the municipal assembly while wearing his wrestling mask because other pols said the gesture was “lacking in dignity.”
  • An online survey by the TMG found that bicycles, umbrellas and wheeled luggage are the three everyday items “most likely to bug people.”
  • Tokyo’s reputation for having gnarly tap water is a thing of the past now that officials in Katsushika Ward completed the installation of purification facility “that can remove 100 percent of odor-causing substances.”
  • Education officials in Tokyo say 182 teachers at 146 public schools doled out corporal punishment during the 2012 school year.


  • Cops in Yokohama are trying to figure out what caused the deaths of 20 crows in a downtown shopping district. Authorities say none of the birds had visible injuries and “at least one of them had a green fluid coming out of its beak.” Yuck!
  • Meanwhile, a man in Yokohama’s Tsurumi Ward was arrested for keeping his mother’s corpse in a closet for over a year. The man said he wanted to continue receiving ma’s pension payments.
  • Police in the northern Philippines say they have no suspects in the shooting death of a Japanese man who ran a local moneylending business.
  • The NPA unveiled a new anti-cyber-crime center within its Security Planning Division. It’s staffed by 20 officers.


  • Japanese researchers have discovered that people with diabetes are 1.2 times more likely to develop cancer than non-diabetics.
  • The internal affairs ministry says the number of workers aged 60 or over has hit a record high for the sixth straight year. The figure stands at 11.92 million.
  • A museum in Meguro-ku has put on display 10 notebooks containing the schoolboy scribblings of acclaimed writer Osamu Dazai (1909-1948).
  • Meanwhile, a trove of nine unpublished drawings by famed manga-ka Osamu Tezuka was discovered by Space Battleship Yamato illustrator Leiji Matsumoto.


  • The government awarded its spring decorations, aka the Medal with Purple Ribbon, to a total of 723 people, including a scientist who “conducts research on brain functions using humanoid robots.”
  • Authorities have been stymied in their efforts to develop safety guidelines for major volcanic eruptions because, in part, “residents near volcanic mountains generally do not feel imminent danger.”
  • An educational advisory panel has recommended that English instruction for elementary school students begin in third grade, not the fifth grade.
  • Environmental officials from Japan and 17 other countries held a meeting in Tokyo under the snappy title of the East Asia Low Carbon Growth Partnership Dialogue.


  • The NHK series Ama-chan, which depicts the lives of traditional female divers in Iwate, is being credited with a spike in the number of tourists visiting the disaster-stricken prefecture during Golden Week.
  • Major trading corporation Marubeni is studying the feasibility of importing shale gas from the US via an LNG facility to be built on the West Coast.
  • Tobu Zoo is Saitama has put on display four white tiger cubs that were born in March. Officials are asking the public for ideas about what to name the animals.
  • Bottom Story of the Week: “Miyazaki Zoo Amuses Visitors with ‘Flying Flamingo Show’” (via Mainichi Japan)

Compiled from reports by AP, Japan Today, The Japan Times, Jiji, The Tokyo Reporter, Japan Probe, The Mainichi, The Japan News, AFP, Reuters and Kyodo