Category Archives for News in Japan

Ever See a Albino Sea Cucumber?

The newest addition to the Fukuoka Aquarium Albino Sea CucumberFukuoka Aquarium’s Albino Sea Cucumber

A rare white namako (sea cucumber) has wowed visitors to an aquarium in the city of Fukuoka recently, prompting many to make their wish for good luck on the marine creature.

Better Ways to Learn Japanese Fluently

The white sea cucumber is thought to be an albino, with its pigments mutated for unexpected reasons. The rare marine life recently debuted at the Marine World at Uminonakamichi aquarium in Fukuoka.

Aquarium official Takumi Orii pitched the new exhibit, saying: “It may bring good luck. We’d like people to come and see it.”

The namako is about 15 cm long and weighs 75 grams. A local fisherman found it in January and offered it to the aquarium.

With the assistance of aquarium staff, visitors can even “feel” the namako by touching it, the aquarium said.

What Do Hikikomori’s Have to do With Birth Decline in Japan?

Why is Japan's Birth rate declining?Japan: Population Crisis 2016

Recluses and Overworked Husbands…

So what is all this talk about Japan and their population declining? Some say that they have enough people crammed over there already so whats the big deal? Well lets go through this and really analyze the situation so we can both better understand the decrease in birth rate in Japan.

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Right now the Japanese population has one of the lowest birth rates in the entire world. But at the very same time we see that they have the longest living populace. So Japan is leaning more towards the elderly. So if you are looking to learn Japanese, it’s best to start speaking the elderly language (which you can begin learning here).

But to continue on, just a few years ago Japan peaked 128 million people living in the bounds of Japan. The population is set to decline by around 1,000,000 people every single year from now on. It’s said that by the year 2060 it’s estimated that there will only around 80-85 million people living inside Japan. More then half will be 60-65 years of age.

At this pace Japan will not have enough people to take care and support all of the elderly that have retired. This will create huge problem in the long run. But maybe Japan’s robot city will come to the rescue?

But Why is the Japanese Birth Rate So Low?

Well if you checked out my post about how to properly say the word sake (Sah-Kay) you’ll also remember an anime called ‘Welcome to the NHK’ where a hikikomori name Sato locks himself in his apartment, playing games, watching porn and basically just not mingling with the outside world. This syndrome is a real condition in Japan. Most of these hikikomori’s end up shutting themselves in their apartments or at their parents house with absolutely NO human contact beyond those who take care of them.

In fact there are a few government out reach programs whose sole job is to help them come back into society. There is even a program where female outreach therapists known commonly as ‘rental sisters’ come to push the hikikomori out into the world again. Many times these hikikomori’s will become recluse’s because of a rejection by a woman or by general embarrassment in society.

But this can’t be the only reason why the society as a whole is dropping the birth-rate ball? Well, it’s a huge part but it’s also because many people in Japan are no longer getting married, and it comes down to a woman being tied down strictly to raising kids while their husband works 50 hours a week, hoping that karoshi (death from over work) doesn’t sneak in and steal away their husband in the dead of night.

A Japanese husband on average will help with the children and housework 1 hour a day, compare that with western men who help 3 hours a day. It’s a huge difference, and because of this many woman are not looking forward to getting with anyone and starting a family. The Japanese government is looking to push further incentives for house wives to have children and be able to work to pay for their family by offering more government assisted programs for day-care so they no longer have to choose between being able to survive, have children and a husband and not jump in front of a train.

So there you have it, over worked husbands, higher costs of living and hikikomori’s…

As you can already see I attached the first episode of “Welcome to the NHK” above. I’ll be adding this series in the Anime and Manga section soon!

5 Things About Tokyo You May Not Know

Learn 5 interesting facts about Tokyo Japan5 Interesting Facts about Tokyo

I did a little digging today to learn something about Tokyo I was unaware of. Here are a few things I took out of today’s research about the mighty Eastern Capital!

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1. Tokyo use to be Called Edo

It started as a small fishing village, first migrated to and settled in 3,000 BC.

Edo continued to grow in Japanese society because of it’s role as the main center of power for the Tokugawa shogunate, which happened to rule the country for around 250 years until 1868. This area was called the Edo period while it went through great change in cultural and economic growth.  By 1720 Edo had more then 1 million people living in it. Thus, making it one of the larger cities in the world. Edo changed to Tokyo (which means Eastern Capital) around 1868 when the shogunate period came to a hault and a new emperor, Meiji moved in to Tokyo.

But it’s interesting to note that it’s not officially ever been noted to be the ‘ACTUAL’ capital of Japan. Kyoto has been said to be more of the official capital of Japan over the years.

Tokyo Skyline - Population More then Any Other city2. Tokyo Houses More People Then any Other Area Like it in the World!

Tokyo houses around 35 million people inside it’s grasp. More then 13 million reside inside the city center. The city spreads out for more then 5,000 square miles and has been divided into smaller self governing sections over the years. Which include 23 ‘special wards’ that create the inner core of Tokyo, 36 smaller cities, towns and villages and a line of far off islands.

But interesting to note with all the area Tokyo has and being one of the most densely populated cities around, you’ll find it interesting that more then 1/3rd of the bigger metropolitan area has been designated as parkland under the protection of the Japanese political structure.

Emperor and Japanese Monarchy3. Tokyo is Home to the Oldest Monarchy EVER.

The Japanese Monarchy dates from around 660 BC. The imperial house of Japan has homed over ‘One Hundred Twenty Five!’ monarchs. They’ve been placed on what is called and known as the Chrysanthemum Throne.  In 2005 a panel recommended removing the laws restricting monarchy to just men. Obviously nothing since then has happened.  The current emperor of Japan is Akihito and he stepped into the throne in 1989.

Fun fact about Japanese Emperor’s. They are never allowed to eat Fugu fish!

Debris in Tokyo after the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake4. The Earthquake that Destroyed Tokyo

On September 1st 1923 a monster of an Earth Quake hit Tokyo, hitting 8.4 on the Richter scale, it hit around 30 miles south of Tokyo and unleashed a gigantic burst of terror that damaged both Tokyo and Yokohama. This was called the ‘Great Kanto Earthquake’, it destroyed nearly 50% of Tokyo and killed more then 135,000 people.

Which single handedly makes it the most deadliest natural disaster in Japans history at that time, and it’s second only to the Tohoku earthquake hit back in March 11th 2011. Interesting fact to take to mind about the Tohoku earthquake is that afterwards more then 5,000 Koreans were murdered as the Japanese ‘heard’ rumors about Koreans looting (which were never truly verified). It’s thought they also killed them because of the still touchy 1910 annexation of Korea. Either way, it still shows that things that happened over 100 years ago can still affect peoples attitudes when there is great stress and trauma.

Over all I witnessed more working together then ever before. But it is interesting that, that would still happen.

The Japanese Metro Transit System in Tokyo5. The Bustling Metro System in Tokyo

Tokyo first opened their metro system back in 1927. The mass transit system of Tokyo is the busiest bar none then any city in the world. 9 million commuters traverse this transit system daily and 3 billion annually.  Interesting fact, there are employees called oshiya (“pushers”) whose jobs are to actually push more people into the train cars.

Sardines anyone?

There are some really great Japanese shows and movies that have a lot of great historical facts inside them be sure to check out the ever growing recommendations.

-Nathan Scheer