The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus Newsletter
Newsletter No. 46. 2013    

November 18, 2013    
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What will it take to keep the Asia-Pacific Journal free and vibrant?


 Our annual fund-raising campaign is now in its fourth week, with just over $4,000 raised with your generous support. Our short-term goal is $10,000, our long-term goal, to place the journal on a firm foundation: $50,000. If we succeed, we will be able to continue to make the journal available at no charge to readers. 12,000 regular readers now receive our work via the Newsletter or Facebook and Twitter, and we are investigating making content available through other electronic channels. This month, readers in 205 countries are on course to access more than 120,000 articles. We have created a major archive on Japan's 3.11 triple disaster, the flawed responses, and the creative search for new green energy approaches beyond nuclear power. And our work on US-Japan-Okinawa relations, on territorial conflicts in the Asia-Pacific, and on war and historical memory is now supplemented by a wide range of contributions in the realm of culture . . . film, music, anime, manga and the like in Asia-Pacific perspective. We are reaching out to schools and teachers through our course readers, with ten more to be published shortly. For the first time, The Asia-Pacific Journal is a 501 (C) (3) non-profit organization recognized by the Internal Revenue Service. Contributions are tax deductible. If you wish to support our campaign in the form of a subscription (we recommend $25 or $50; $10 for students and developing countries and hope that those in a position to provide more will do so) please go to the red Sustainer Button on our home page and use Paypal or a credit card. 

Check out the most widely read articles at APJ . . . in the last month, last year, last five years and all time: at Top Ten Articles on our home page.


Asia Pacific Journal NEW Free Downloadable Course Readers!!!


The Asia Pacific Journal: Japan Focus announces the release of our second set of volume-length e-book compilations of essays on selected topics with explanatory introductions by scholars. The volume editors have chosen articles from the archive that lend themselves particularly well to classroom use and work well as a set.All volumes have been peer-reviewed, in addition to the initial review process before each article was originally posted, and we have permission from all verified copyright holders.


New Course Readers:

** The Japanese Empire: Colonial Lives and Postcolonial Struggle edited by Kirsten Ziomek

** Japan's "Abandoned People" in the Wake of Fukushima edited by Brian Earl

** Public Opinion on Nuclear Power in Japan after the Fukushima Disaster edited by Brian Earl

** The Politics of Memory in Japan and East Asia edited by Sven Saaler & Justin Aukema


They join the earlier publications:

  1. War and Visual Culture edited by Hong Kal and Jooyeon Rhee.
  2. Environmental History edited by Eiko Maruko Siniawer.
  3. War in Japanese Popular Culture edited by Matthew Penney.
  4. Women and Japan's Political Economy edited by Valerie Barske.  


The volumes are downloadable from the Asia-Pacific Journal website as searchable PDFs. From the home page, please click on the button marked Course Readers at the top and center of the page, or go directly to the course reader page. Interested viewers may download a copy of any reader by clicking on the appropriate link at the course readers home page and entering their email address. In addition, viewers may directly download the table of contents of each course reader for a preview of the volume.  


Coming soon . . . ten new readers. 


If you are interested in creating a volume yourself, wish to participate as a reviewer and editor, have suggestions for new topics, or want to discuss another aspect of this project, please contact Laura Hein at




All recent articles  are now available on Kindle, as are several recent articles. If you experience any difficulty in accessing them, please let us know at


Our home page has a category Featured Articles. This will take you to the most widely read articles of recent times and over our decade of publication. Check it out to discover some of the most important work that has appeared in the journal..

Our home page has a number of important features. There is a powerful search engine that permits search by author, title, and keyword, found in top left of the home page. For most purposes, author's surname or a keyword entered in Title is most useful. Another is a regularly updated guide to the more than 100 articles we have published on the 3.11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power meltdown which is transforming Japanese politics and society, and is reshaping issues of nuclear power and energy policy in that nation and globally. In addition, we have added a guide to some of the most important, and liveliest, online and print sources on 3.11 including blogs and websites.  
We invite authors, publishers and directors to bring their books, films and events on East Asia and the Pacific to the attention of our readers. See the home page for information about presenting relevant books and films at our site and for examples of authors, publishers and filmmakers who are presenting their work at the Journal.

Contact Japan Focus by email at

To access our full archive with more than 2,000 articles, and to view the most widely read articles through their titles or via our index, go here. 
Subscription information
The Asia-Pacific Journal is freely available to all. We invite those who wish to support our work by allowing us to make technical upgrades, defray technical, mailing and maintenance fees, and to enable us to expand our output since the 3.11 earthquake and tsunami. Recommended support level: $25 ($10 for students and residents of developing countries); $40 for institutions including libraries, research centers, government offices. If you experience difficulty in subscribing, write to us with the error message at 
Winifred BirdEnvironmental Report: In Japan, Captive Breeding May Help Save the Endangered Wild Eel ...But Can the Seas Be Saved?
Japan is the world's top consumer of eels, but while most of what's grilled, glazed with sweet-salty sauce, and served up on rice herecomes from fish farms, none of those farms hatch their eels from eggs. Instead, they rely on wild young caught in rivers and coastal waters worldwide. Until very recently scientists knew little about the life of the animal in the open ocean.
Today, many wild eel populations in Asia, Europe, North America, and elsewhere are threatened or on the verge of extinction. As eel populations plummet worldwide, Japanese scientists are racing to solve a major challenge for aquaculture - how to replicate the life cycle of eels in captivity and commercially produce a fish that is a prized delicacy on Asian dinner tables.  
To prevent a piece of Japan's culinary heritage (and economy) from disappearing along with them, researchers seek to close the aquaculture loop by breeding eels in captivity. Can scientists design methods that work on a commercial scale? If so, would the resulting closed-loop eel aquaculture industry be environmentally sustainable? Can we help bring back wild populations?  
Winifred Bird is a freelance journalist living in Nagano, Japan. She writes for publications including the Japan Times, Christian Science Monitor, Dwell, and Environmental Health Perspectives. She is an Asia-Pacific Journal associate. See her website
Recommended citation: Winifred Bird, "Environmental Report: In Japan, Captive Breeding May Help Save the Endangered Wild Eel ...But Can the Seas Be Saved?," The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 46, No. 1, November 18, 2013. 
Mark Schreiber, Barking Dogs: All the Hype Unfit to Print

Exotic stereotypes have long been a feature of reporting on Japan, and this year has been no exception. In October, the British Observer newspaper carried a long article on why young Japanese people have stopped having sex. The story was read millions of times and triggered criticism and rebuttals. 


Then there was the great eyeball-licking fetish. According to the Huffington Post, young Japanese had started a craze for licking each other's eyeballs. The British Telegraph newspaper even carried a photo of two teenagers engaged in the practice of "oculolinctus", reporting that "as many as a third of a classroom full of 12-year-olds confessed to having tried it." There was only one problem - it was not true.   


In an era of sliding journalistic standards and cyber-driven demand for sensational content, what is the lesson of the great eyeball-licking hoax?  


Mark Schreiber is the "Tokyo Confidential" columnist, The Japan Times. He is the author of The Dark Side: Infamous Japanese Crimes and Criminals and the compiler of Tabloid Tokyo: 101 Tales of Sex, Crime and the Bizarre taken from Japan's Wild Weeklies.


Recommended citation: Mark Schreiber, "Barking Dogs: All the hype unfit to print," The Asia-Pacific Journal, November 18, 2013.


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