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BUSINESS
April 1, 1990 | SAM JAMESON, TIMES STAFF WRITER
"Rice is the Japanese culture that has lasted for several thousand years. It is the Japanese people themselves," Tomio Yamamoto, Japan's new agriculture minister, declared as he took over his job. Rice, however, is no longer the culture it once was. Indeed, Japanese are eating less of it every year. Farmers themselves are cutting consumption even faster than city dwellers. Not even 15 years of campaigns to promote rice consumption have halted the decline.
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WORLD
September 22, 2011 | By Tom Miyagawa Coulton and John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times
The unmarked envelope floated into the living room of the home in northeastern Japan, riding the wave of tsunami floodwaters. Inside, the astounded resident found $40,000 in yen notes. More money has been found in wallets, paper bags, and other containers swept away from their owners and scattered across a landscape ripped apart by the March 11 earthquake. One woman found $26,000 in a purse she had spotted atop a pile of debris. One police locksmith opened the heavy door of a recovered safe to find $1.3 million in yen notes.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 3, 1995 | MAKI BECKER, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
More and more, agree the ladies of the San Fernando Valley Japanese American Community Center in Sylmar, it's up to the second generation--the Nisei--to keep the Japanese traditions of New Year's celebrations alive. These women, who frequent the weekly senior lunch and activities day, say their relatives in Japan buy prepackaged food, and their children and grandchildren would rather eat Chinese chicken salad and watch football.
BUSINESS
August 19, 2010 | Yuriko Nagano
Aya Yokura spends her days hunched over white sheets of paper, drawing intricately costumed characters whose creation can be painstaking and time-consuming. For the last two years, she has spent up to 100 hours a week at her workstation — a low-paying, labor-intensive job that helps bring Japan's famous style of animated cartoons to life. Although the 26-year-old earns only about $10,000 a year and lives with her mom to make ends meet, she and a few thousand Japanese artists like her fill a crucial role in the technical process of creating this visual entertainment form, known as anime.
NEWS
September 9, 1991 | KEIKO KAMBARA, THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
Click! Clack! Clack! Sadayoshi Morishita is beating wooden clappers together in a small Tokyo park. It's a beckoning sound, one that is vanishing rapidly in Japan. Morishita is about to begin kamishibai, the 60-year-old traditional art of storytelling with pictures. The click-clack is the signal for children to come and listen to colorful tales told by a professional storyteller. The listeners also buy his rice crackers, lollipops and fried noodles.
NEWS
July 14, 1999 | MARK MAGNIER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Do middle-aged men smell worse than everyone else? Shoji Nakamura, chief perfumer with Japan's exclusive cosmetics firm, Shiseido, certainly thinks so. And he's out to change that. Nakamura, whose million-dollar nose is reputedly able to distinguish among some 2,000 different odors, says he first noticed a distinctive smell among middle-aged and older men in 1987 and spent the next decade thinking about it. "I'm very interested in body odor," he says.
NEWS
February 16, 1989 | STEPHEN BRAUN, Times Staff Writer
Ever the proper businesswoman, Yuka Sakamoto is poised for that moment late in the night when the bankers and international trade executives who are her regular customers fish into their pockets for business cards. Dutifully, Sakamoto produces her own: "Yuka Sakamoto--Mama." It is the appropriate job description for her line of work.
NEWS
April 5, 1992 | DAVID COLKER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
In this era of Japan bashing, it's easy to forget that a couple years ago almost all things Japanese--design, technical innovation, fashion, sushi, workaholism--were practically worshiped in this country. But there was one aspect of Japanese life that never found much acceptance in the West--the Japanese bath. That's a pity. Indeed, there are other activities that are as relaxing, sensual or cleansing.
NEWS
July 19, 1999 | MICHAEL YUE, TIMES STAFF WRITER
When Hirotada Ototake's mother was allowed to see her newborn for the first time, a full month after his birth, she let out a happy squeal. "How cute he is!" That wasn't the reaction her doctors had expected--the child was born without arms or legs. The boy is now a college senior, and his autobiography, "No One's Perfect," has become the third-best-selling book in Japan since World War II. The book's many fans say it has fundamentally changed Japanese attitudes toward the disabled.
BUSINESS
August 12, 1991 | KARL SCHOENBERGER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Do we Americans really dislike the Japanese? What cause do we have for malice? Who among us has been truly threatened, wronged or otherwise hurt as a consequence of Japan's formidable economic power? These questions have been haunting the rarefied debate over U.S.-Japan relations for years, and now a congressional panel is offering a new high-resolution focus for the quandary: racial bias in the workplace.
NEWS
February 5, 2006 | Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press Writer
Masa sits on the couch in his apartment with his arm around Konoha's shoulders, gently brushing her hair away from her bright blue eyes. Iris stands behind them, decked out in a frilly dress. Masa speaks warmly to Konoha and Iris, greeting them brightly each morning and when he returns from work, but they never answer. His companions are life-sized dolls. Konoha is his favorite.
MAGAZINE
October 26, 2003 | MICHAEL T. JARVIS
When Stuart Levy started Tokyopop Inc. in 1997, he had a tough time convincing venture capitalists that Japanese comic books could be popular in America. But "comic books" doesn't adequately describe the mass appeal of manga, full-length black-and-white graphic novels spanning every genre from hard-boiled action-adventure sagas to sci-fi and fantasy. Today L.A.-based Tokyopop has a projected revenue of $35 million for 2003 and brings to the U.S.
WORLD
August 21, 2002 | MARK MAGNIER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
They cost as much as $20,000, hurt like you wouldn't believe and virtually guarantee pariah status in proper Japanese society. So why in the world would anyone seek such a thing? For those with full-body tattoos, known as horimono, it's about inner satisfaction, a link with centuries-old tradition and the chance to show you're a "real man"--or woman.
NEWS
January 10, 2002 | MARK MAGNIER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
It's an industry that thrives because Japan is still a nation that can't say no. For the right price, operatives will dump your girlfriend for you, lose your husband, drive away that mistress or fire that longtime employee. Wakaresaseya--literally "breaker-uppers"--are specialists in destroying relationships. In a nation that eschews confrontation and shuns public displays of passion, these terminators extricate clients from close encounters of the emotional kind.
NEWS
December 5, 2001 | JOHN O'DELL, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Newspapers in Japan have written extensive articles about the stores Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn prefers when he goes suit shopping. Hundreds of photographers at the recent Tokyo Motor Show jammed to the front of the stage when Ghosn introduced the new Nissan Z--not to take pictures of the car but to grab some candid shots of the heavy-browed executive.
NEWS
November 17, 2001 | MARK MAGNIER, TIMES STAFF WRITER
On the wedding day of Crown Prince Naruhito and Princess Masako in June 1993, a trained monkey named Tsurusuke peered into a crystal ball before a television audience of millions and predicted that the couple would bear three children, the first a girl. After an eight-year wait, a highly publicized miscarriage, endless speculation and a lot of hand-wringing, the nation is eagerly awaiting the royal couple's first child, expected any day now.
NEWS
November 19, 1992 | TERESA WATANABE, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Amid tatami mats and rice paper screens, one of Japan's most celebrated new writers lives in a weathered building of prewar wood. Calligraphy scrolls adorn the three-room flat. Hardcover collections of the novelists Ogai Mori and Riichi Yokomitsu fill wooden bookshelves. Sheafs of paper covered with handscrawled Chinese characters are scattered across two writing tables. Like his apartment, the writer's literary style is orthodox Japanese. But Ian Hideo Levy is blue-eyed and Berkeley-born.
NEWS
July 18, 1992 | TERESA WATANABE, TIMES STAFF WRITER
He was 19, handsome and athletic, the eldest son and brightest hope of his family. And when Satoshi Kaku began downing glass after glass of booze at a party one night last October, he was performing the rite of passage that would give the Chuo University freshman entree into the clubby world of his college ski group for the next four years. But he never made it. Within 24 hours, Kaku was dead.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 18, 2001 | WILLIAM WILSON, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
The art of every civilization is a mixture of tradition, observation and imagination. Maybe that's why a special exhibition at the Pacific Asia Museum is, initially, a little puzzling. Titled "The Nature of the Beast," about 50 drawings, scrolls and screens set out to show us how traditional Japanese art depicts animals. Earlier Japanese artists copied Chinese art. They were less interested in what animals really looked like than what they symbolized.
NEWS
June 24, 2001 | SONNI EFRON, TIMES STAFF WRITER
What happens to a prosperous, peaceful society whose women decide en masse they have better things to do than have babies? Nobody knows. It's never happened. But Japan is about to find out. This nation's young women are now offered an unprecedented array of personal and professional freedoms, but the joys of children and family life are still bound by traditional constraints. The result of millions of women's individual decisions is a collective baby strike.
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