Small Print: October 15, 2015

Small Print: October 15, 2015

Moth mayhem, tax tantrums, athlete attitudes, and more ...


(Comic by Rodger Sonomura)


  • A survey by the trade ministry found that 84 percent of Japanese gym memberships are paid for by people over 50 years of age.
  • Customers at a pop-up café run by a stationery company in Ginza are encouraged to doodle “on the walls, floor, tables, and even replicas of world-famous paintings.”
  • It was reported that 9-year-old Prince Hisahito, who’s third in line to the Imperial throne, enjoys “catch[ing] bugs and frogs with friends after school.”
  • Headline of the Week: “Ex-engineer in Fukuoka Develops Device to Scare Off Wild Boars by Replicating Moan” (via Mainichi Japan)


  • Former Supreme Court Justice Shigeru Yamaguchi, 82, described the government’s arguments for revising Japan’s defense guidelines as “inconsistent” and “nonsense.”
  • After setting records for his age group in the 100-meter (42.22 seconds) run and shot put (3.25 meters) at an athletic meet in Kyoto, 105-year-old Hidekichi Miyazaki “issue[d] a challenge to Usain Bolt.”
  • A researcher at Jissen Women’s University in Tokyo found a letter from famed novelist Osamu Dazai (1909-1948) begging his mentor, novelist Haruto Sato, to award him the Akutagawa Prize.
  • A new magazine called Dark Tourism Japan is dedicated to “sites associated with negative legacies like war and natural disasters.”


  • 10.02 million Number of people in Japan aged 80 or older, according to the internal affairs ministry—the first time the number has topped 10 million
  • ¥159 billion Value of Japanese seafood exports in the first half of 2015, a 30-percent spike from the same period last year
  • 30 million Tweets generated between May and September that referred to the government’s proposed new security guidelines


  • Authorities in the Philippines arrested 60 Japanese nationals who were working illegally at a call center in Cebu City.
  • Japanese authorities are so angry with Brazil over its protectionist tax policies, they asked the World Trade Organization to settle the dispute.
  • Citizens’ groups from Japan and South Korea have repatriated the remains of 115 Koreans who died in Hokkaido during World War II.
  • A Meguro-based map company released a book with before-and-after images of Japanese cities destroyed by U.S. air raids during the war. The publication was made possible by a staffer who visited the U.S. National Archives in Washington and digitized 5,000 photographs there.


  • The land ministry announced plans to promote sightseeing tours of “public facilities with striking features, such as huge bridges and dams.”
  • NTT teamed up with a Tokyo publisher to develop an app that offers real-time translations of noh performances in multiple languages.
  • To support local preservation efforts, officials at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum will quadruple the facility’s admission fee to ¥200.
  • Residents of Toshima, an island in the Izu chain, are concerned about an infestation of moths that eat the leaves of camellia trees. Toshima is Japan’s largest supplier of camellia oil.


  • After four and a half years, police in Miyagi identified the remains of a 63-year-old man who was killed in the March 11 disaster.
  • An association of movie companies is planning to help visually impaired customers by providing them with head-mounted displays offering “information about scenes and dialogue.”
  • The mayor of Kitakyushu is hoping to boost tourism by allowing TV crews from Thailand to film a “a romantic sci-fi action drama series” in the city.
  • Bottom Story of the Week: “Experience Crucial for Safe Use of Balcony Evacuation Ladders” (via The Japan News)

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