Michael Hoffman, The Japan Times

Michael Hoffman

The Japan Times

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Past articles by Michael:

Daisetz T. Suzuki: Zen enlightenment is not an idea, it’s an experience

Japanese Zen master Daisetz T. Suzuki gets philosophical with an eminent British historian of Japan. → Read More

How the Jewish community found a home in Japan

A bestseller from 1970 compares and contrasts two peoples more different than alike, and yet both sharing a sense of uniqueness. → Read More

A narrative forms around the 'divine country'

The seeds of modern Japanese nationalism were sown by nativist scholar Motoori Norinaga, who lauded the concept of "mono no aware." → Read More

Watanabe Kazan: One scholar’s equivocal rebellion

Watanabe Kazan discovered a talent for drawing early on and became a hack artist, painting on demand for pennies. It kept starvation at bay. → Read More

A tragic narrative for women persists even as times change

A Heian Period text reads, "Ladies must often depend on men who are nothing to them — it is the way of the world." In Japanese literature, not much has changed. → Read More

Escape into the courtly Heian Period with Genji

As a new year dawns, find calm and beauty in the vanished world of Murasaki Shikibu's 'The Tale of Genji.' → Read More

Yoko Ono: ‘Possibly the most famous Japanese person in the world’

John Lennon recognized her sometimes startling originality. His fans didn’t. It looks like they were wrong. → Read More

The prince and the prophet

Their paths may be different, but the devotion to God and gods that two men display in different parts of the world changes the religious landscapes of both. → Read More

What is happiness? These individuals appear to have found the answer.

Personal anecdotes suggest that happiness is a private pleasure, something that can be best enjoyed away from the chaos of the world outside. → Read More

Education ministry seeks to iron out wrinkles over school history syllabus

“Modern global history” is to be made a compulsory subject in senior high schools in Japan from 2022. → Read More

Yukar: The timeless oral tales that are our window on Ainu life

Civilization overwhelmed Japan’s indigenous population about 100 years ago. → Read More

Does Japan breed leaders? Does it even need to?

A panel of four men at the tops of their fields discusses what it means to be a leader and comes to the conclusion that Japan doesn’t necessarily breed them. → Read More

Saikaku pens five tales to inspire lovers in the Edo Period

Born in the mid-17th century, during the earlier days of the Edo Period, novelist Ihara Saikaku explored love in "Five Women Who Loved Love." → Read More

When the boss starts behaving like a dictator

Like a political dictator, the corporate tyrant sets things up to stay in power, according to experts. They suppress the talented and reward those who are loyal. → Read More

Seeing the past two years through a child’s eyes

The decade is off to a rocky start, what kind of an effect is this having on younger children and the way they process current affairs? → Read More

A look at the state of our intestinal health delivers a real gut punch

The perfect body — you can't escape it in the media. Some articles on the body's imperfections, particularly of the digestive sort, point out what we should be talking about more. → Read More

What makes a funny joke? Only time can really tell.

Humor has been used throughout history to alleviate the pain we feel in dealing with real-life calamities. However, at what point to the jokes themselves become the agents of harm? → Read More

A tradition built on faith is put out to sea

In 1565, a temple abbot sets out on a journey at the age of 61 as is expected of him. Alone, he goes berserk and alters a tradition. → Read More

Staying optimistic about the state of the world can be positively challenging

Some see the glass as half empty, but do those who see it as half full really have an advantage over them? Or are they simply caught off guard when bad things happen? → Read More

The Japanese don’t sleep on trains because it’s safe — they’re exhausted!

Surveying 500 businesspeople aged 20 to 69, President found that 74.2% claimed to have trouble sleeping. This puts them risk of exhaustion, but also depression, cancer and dementia. → Read More