The Japan Society

Latest News

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (31)

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (31)

For once, we can certainly say that we didn’t go to the Annual Dinner for the food. Nor did we go to the Christmas Party for the drink, even though the Japan Society members who attended were taught how to make a nifty looking cocktail involving sake and cold tea.

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (30)

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (30)

As the year moves to a close we are all in a poor position to make the usual plans for Bonenkai and Christmas parties, but one tradition endures: the choosing, usually by publishers eager for attention, of “words of the year”.

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (29)

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (29)

The British novelist Martin Amis once published a book of his essays entitled The War Against Cliche, arguing that all great novels are battles against clichés not just of writing but also of the mind and the heart.

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (28)

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (28)

There is much in common between Britain and Japan, but one thing that certainly differentiates us is our relationship to Mother Nature. We British are fortunate to have weather that even at its wildest is none too extreme, a stable geology and fauna that presents few dangers to life, limb or even livestock.

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (27)

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (27)

Until somebody pointed it out to me – perhaps wanting to send me a message? – I had no idea that Friday 13 November was World Kindness Day, or at least that that is how some countries have labelled it since 1998

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (26)

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (26)

So how was it for you? No prizes for guessing to what I am referring. Obviously, it was pretty good in the end for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, less so for Donald Trump and Mike Pence, though better than expected for the Republican Party as a whole.

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (25)

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (25)

It feels a bit early to quote a Christmas carol, with Hallowe’en only just behind us and the weather not even very cold. Mind you, to an Englishman of my generation the celebration of Hallowe’en feels rather alien, since although Japan long ago adopted this American festival of pumpkins, ghosts and ‘trick or treat’, it is a much more recent import into the United Kingdom.

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (24)

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (24)

Freedom of speech is one of those aspects of our modern, thankfully democratic, life that we have come to think of in Britain and Japan as being as natural as sunshine or water, but the merest glance at history tells us that this is far from so.

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (23)

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (23)

Politics is a distinctly unedifying process. The quote usually, perhaps apocryphally, attributed to Otto von Bismarck gets it about right: “laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made”.

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (22)

Japan Society Chairman's Blog (22)

A key text from my long-ago student days was Walter Bagehot’s “The English Constitution” from 1867, in which this great Victorian writer and editor laid down, unofficially but ultimately influentially, some of the fundamental principles by which this country’s unwritten constitution functions.