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Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’

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When a bigger guy like China pushes us, a puny nation, the first reflex is not to fight back because we are too small. But when push comes to shove, we rethink our position in two ways. First, in our anger and helplessness, we may want to fight back, not caring if we lose, which would be suicidal. Second, we may look for “creative” ways of fighting back.

Posted: April 20th, 2014 in Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

A living past in Kyoto

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When you pick up a travel book on Japan, one of the first sentences you’ll read is: “If you go to only one place in Japan, Kyoto should be it.”

Posted: March 31st, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

China rides roughshod on neighbors

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The Philippines and the United States on Saturday jointly expressed concern over recent incidents in the South China Sea that “threaten freedom of navigation in disputed waters,” an apparent reference to China’s increasing assertiveness in pressing its territorial claims in the region.

Posted: March 10th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

The global pressure on education

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Invited to participate in the external review of a Japanese university’s program to systematize its globalization thrust, I found myself in Tokyo this past week meditating on what the term “globalization” means for education.

Posted: March 9th, 2014 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Looting at Ground Zero

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While the pious among us continue to wag accusing fingers at the looters in devastated Tacloban City, it would be wise for them to pause and reflect on the universality of this seemingly perverse human instinct. For it is obvious that just as in individuals there is a tipping point in behavior when civility or [...]

Posted: December 4th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Japan in Philippine history

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Hasekura Tsunenaga was a Japanese samurai who was received in Mexico, Spain, the Vatican, and the Philippines as a Spanish ambassador in a romantic seven-year journey. He was given an audience by King Philip III in Madrid, was baptized at the Real Monasterio de Descalzas Reales where the Duke Lerma stood as ninong, then was received by Pope Paul V and granted honorary citizenship by the City of Rome.

Posted: October 31st, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Making useless information useful

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Someone once asked why I always open a book starting from the back rather than the title page. He presumed that I picked up this odd habit from many extended stays in Japan, where people start reading from what appears to us as the back or end of the book.

Posted: August 9th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Bosom buddies and BFFs

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Significantly, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the Philippines last week, right after the electoral sweep by his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) of the upper house (House of Councillors) of the Japanese Parliament (National Diet) on July 24.

Posted: August 3rd, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Territorial disputes in East Asia

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SOURCE:AP/FRANCE24.COM/LITTLEGREENFOOTBALS.COM INQGRAPHIC: ERNIE SAMBO

The rapidly unfolding reconfiguration of societies in the world today has generated new and more nuanced ideas about international relations, state-citizen interactions, national identity and state sovereignty.

Posted: August 3rd, 2013 in Infographics,Inquirer Opinion,Talk of the Town | Read More »

Becoming the world’s most bullied

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In 2000 I covered the Women’s International War Crimes Tribunal in Tokyo that investigated and tried atrocities against women in countries occupied by Japan during World War II. This was some 60 years after the war crimes were committed. The trial was initiated by civil society, human rights and women’s groups from Asia, Europe and the host country, Japan.

Posted: May 22nd, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Editor's Pick,Inquirer Opinion | Read More »

Insensitive statement

The mayor of food-loving Osaka has spoken and his statement is extremely hard to swallow. Mayor Toru Hashimoto said that the so-called “comfort women” of World War II served a “necessary” role to enable beleaguered soldiers to let off steam.

Posted: May 20th, 2013 in Inquirer Opinion,Letters to the Editor | Read More »

The Hashimoto Controversy and Japan’s Failure to Come to Terms with its Past

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The words were so brazen that they have created a firestorm globally. This was the comment of Mayor Toru Hashimoto of Osaka, described as “outspoken” and “brash” in the international media, that “comfort women”– the thousands of Asian women who were forced to serve as prostitutes during the Second World War–were “necessary” for the morale of the Japanese troops.

Posted: May 17th, 2013 in Columnists,Columns,Featured Columns,Featured Headline,Viewpoints | Read More »

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