Monday, February 26, 2007

You have question, he has answers

Gavin responds to the questions about his school. Its an excellent discussion, please read the whole thing. I counted at least a half dozen paper topics in there.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

How to tie a Kimono...

... in pictures. (h/t Japundit)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Yakuza news

Japanese gangsters are renowned for their self-discipline, including cutting off their little fingers to atone for failures or betrayal.
--- Japanese mob boss dead in apparent suicide

Monday, February 05, 2007

English language resources on contemporary Japan

This a pretty good list of English sources of ideas for papers. You'll find links to newspapers, opinion sites, government sites, etc...

Sunday, February 04, 2007

History of blood typing in Japan

[I]n the 1930s, the Army Ministry tasked a university researcher (Kyoto, IIRC) to develop a quick method that could be carried out at draft induction centers to determine which conscripts would be most suitable for assignment to infantry units. The university prof, for some reason, latched onto blood type difference as promising data in this regard. Eugenics, of course, was very much in the air at the time — it being the era of the Nazis and cranial calipers and Social Darwinism and similar creepy, exploitation-legitimizing research. Moreover, as is typical of military bureaucracies everywhere, the Japanese were planning their next war on the expectation that it would be similar — if not identical — to the last, i.e., in this case, a combat environment along the lines of the Western Front in 1914-18 (which Japanese exchange officers had observed and had the you-know-what scared out of them — this experience was also very much the impetus for Yamagata Aritomo and Tanaka Giichi’s initial “総動員” {general mobilization} planning, of course) putting similar psychological stresses on its combatants. In other words, what they were looking for were recruits with the kind of thick-skinned, somewhat passive personality that would enable them to endure long months of immobility in trenches under enemy artillery barrages without turning into nerve-wrecked shellshock cases, and who could best be expected to unquestioningly follow orders to charge into sweeping machine gun fire. The professor determined that people with “O” type blood — whom the doctor characterized as being distinctly “cattle-like” in temperament — would make the best infantrymen for the next expected trenches/gas/machine gun war.

-- 井の中の蛙

Something about Manga, I think

Perhaps this, and the links within, will inspire someone for their papers.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Clips of Kabuki

Here is a trailer for a Kubuki movie and this longer clip shows some dramatic costume changes.

Clips of Noh drama

Friday, January 19, 2007

Age discrimination in employment

The Asahi Shinbun reports there's an effort to end age discrimination in hiring. Many firms (and I assume these are large firms) explicitly set age limits, sometimes as low as 30, for new hires.
In particular, the ban is expected to help freeters--job-hopping part-time workers--in the 25- to 34-year age bracket, officials said.

People of that generation typically failed to find regular full-time employment after graduation in the 1990s because of the nation's prolonged economic slowdown.

(h/t Japundit)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Is essentialism true?

You would think not, but here might be some evidence that culture is built into the brain. How did it get there?

(BTW, there's lots of technical terms, like 'essentialism', used in this class. A cool feature of google is to type "define:essentialism" to get definitions from all over the web.)