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Number 1 Shimbun


NUMBER 1 SHIMBUN 2019 (147)

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Lens craft


You say tomato, I say food-related consumable product
Humanoid robots, called Foodly, pack lunch boxes alongside human workers for a demonstration of collaborative work at the FOOMA exhibition (a showcase of food-related equipment and technology) in Tokyo on July 11. 
by Yoshikazu Tsuno



Dance night
Bon odori at Zozoji temple, Tokyo. 
by Stirling Elmendorf



Fuji and fire
A Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Type 16 mobile combat vehicle fires ammunition during a live-fire exercise at the foot of Mt. Fuji, Aug. 22
by Tomohiro Ohsumi



The old bamboo
Aug 7: People at the annual and ancient Suhoutei Festival at Iminomiya Shrine in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi, gather at the shrine and walk around a giant stone with very tall bamboo attached to their body while playing gongs and taiko drums. 
by Richard Atrero de Guzman/ NUR Photo

Climate Change - Investigating the story of the century

07-1(Data from European Commission, Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research. 2017)


While it’s harder than ever to ignore the impact that climate change is having on our lives, reporting on such a massive story is not easy. Here are some ways to grab readers’ attention and improve understanding.

By James Fahn

At first glance, climate change may not seem the most obvious subject for investigative journalists to tackle. The science that underlies our understanding of global warming is complex, and so we often rely on technical experts to tell us, for instance, to what extent it exacerbates floods, droughts, hurricanes, heat waves, epidemics and health issues, coastal erosion, the decline of species and other phenomena.

But this is what’s shaping up to be the biggest story of the twenty-first century we’re talking about. As with most environmental issues, some people—usually poor and marginalized groups like women, youth and indigenous people—tend to suffer more than others from climate change, and are less able to adapt to it. And although we all, to a certain extent, are responsible for releasing the greenhouse gases that cause climate change, clearly there are some—wealthy consumers, fossil fuel companies, heavy manufacturing and transport industries, logging firms—that emit much greater quantities than others, and benefit more from the activities that cause this pollution.

That means climate change is not just an environmental issue, but also an economic and social-justice one, making it fertile ground in which investigative journalism can flourish. When it comes to environmental topics, we don’t just follow the money, we also follow the pollution: where it comes from, who benefits and who suffers from it.

What’s more, as climate change has gone from a vague environmental concern several decades ago to a confirmed global phenomenon that is today affecting virtually every aspect of our society—our economy, security, health, livelihoods, food supply and, yes, our politics—it has become ever more ripe for investigation.

So here are 10 promising investigative paths (some of which admittedly overlap with each other, or expand into many sub-topics) that journalists can explore to dig up the stories behind what the editor of the New York Times suggests will be the “story of our time.” Even if some of these issues have been covered in some places, there are many countries or regions around the world where such coverage has been lacking.



As the main driver of greenhouse gas emissions, the coal, oil and gas industries are the most obvious target for investigative reports. There have been some good investigations of the highest-profile corporations, such as the extensive probe of Exxon, for which InsideClimate News was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist. But there are many other companies, including some of the world’s largest, which have not been so thoroughly investigated. In particular, those include some of the state-owned petroleum companies like Saudi Aramco, Sinopec, China National Petroleum and Kuwait Petroleum, or other mammoth firms like Lukoil, Total and Eni that may be privately owned or publicly listed but still often serve as national champions.

It would be useful to know if these companies, or even more likely the trade associations they belong to, are lobbying for favorable laws, subsidies and regulations; financing politicians who support their industry; spreading disinformation; fighting legislation that addresses climate change; backing climate denier groups; and ignoring the findings of their own scientists.

These companies can also be investigated to see if they’re inflating the hypothesized “carbon bubble,” a potential overvaluation of their net worth, which could burst and possibly spark a new financial crisis. These companies are often largely valued based on their stated fossil fuel reserves, but scientists tell us that much of these reserves will have to remain in the ground if we’re to avoid catastrophic climate change, potentially turning some of the reserves into “stranded assets.” 

There is also a risk some of these firms could ultimately be held liable for the global warming their products are causing, much as the Master Settlement agreement with the major US tobacco firms required them to pay massive penalties.

In general, coal companies have garnered the most attention from the media—understandably, since coal is considered the most polluting of fossil fuels. Oil pipelines and fracking operations have also been subject to much scrutiny, due to environmental risks like explosions, leaks and contaminated water supplies.

Natural gas companies, on the other hand, generally get less attention, partly because burning gas is considered to be a less greenhouse gas-intensive fuel. This has lead the industry to argue it should be used as a “bridge fuel” as we move towards renewable energy sources. But there is much yet to be investigated in the natural gas industry: While methane, the main greenhouse gas waste product of natural gas, does not persist in the atmosphere as long as carbon dioxide, it is four times as powerful a warming agent. And even though natural gas companies have recently been found to be leaking far more methane into the atmosphere than previously thought, many of them have been fighting regulations aimed at preventing such leakage—a factor that may be relevant in any country from which you are reporting.



Although the burning of fossil fuels deserves the brunt of the blame for climate change, there are many other industries that are ripe for more in-depth reporting. Enterprising reporters can come up with good stories by investigating the supply chains of just about any industry to uncover which processes involve the greatest release of greenhouse gases, but here are a few industries that are particularly relevant:




Climate stripes
Annual average temperature across the globe, 1850-2018. This chart is made by Ed Hawkins at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (University of Reading). In making his charts free for public use, he deliberately avoids using figures, to illustrate the changes as visually and simply as possible. The 1971-2000 average is taken as a the boundary between colder (increasingly dark blue) and hotter (increasingly dark red) using statistical standard deviations between colour shades.




Agriculture, forestry, and land-use change are responsible for somewhere between a quarter and a fifth of all the global emissions that cause climate change, and yet it receives considerably less attention. Industrial agriculture is heavily reliant on the fossil fuel industry. The production of synthetic fertilizer, for instance, has been shown to be a significant producer of greenhouse gases by burning astounding amounts of natural gas and then releasing more heat-trapping gasses from soil bacteria. There are climate-friendly agricultural techniques available, and journalists should look into why they aren’t more widespread, especially since farming and food security are likely to be heavily impacted by global warming.

The impact of livestock husbandry on the global climate has often drawn snickers, mainly because it is funny to think that cow farts could be contributing to a global crisis. But the dairy and beef industry is responsible for around 8.5 percent of human-caused emissions (and in fact, cow belches are a bigger problem than farts, according to NASA). What’s more, a lot of tropical forest that could be used as vital “carbon sinks”—places that keep carbon stored rather than being released into the atmosphere—and as critical habitat for biodiversity, is being cleared to make way for cattle ranching and soybean farms (particularly in the Amazon) and palm oil plantations (especially in Southeast Asia).

One of the questions journalists are most commonly asked about climate change is, what can individuals do to help address it? Reporters can respond by investigating where our food comes from, how it is produced and shipped, and how that is contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.



Another cause of climate change where individual consumers can make a difference is in deciding what transportation to use. It is generally well-reported that air travel and the use of individual cars is a major contributor to climate change. But there are aspects of the transportation challenge that have received far less attention: the overall impacts of aviation and shipping on climate change and the efforts to regulate these industries, for instance, or the fact that housing policy is a part of climate policy because of the way it affects transportation.



Journalists could investigate many industries to uncover their sometimes-surprising impact on climate change. Few may know, for instance, that the cement industry generates around 8 percent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. If it were a country, it would be the third largest emitter in the world. And what about other industries, like steel, chemicals, air conditioning or refrigerants? All these are good investigative subjects.



The real estate industry deserves special mention here, not just because it uses a lot of concrete, or because housing policies have such a big impact on transportation options (and thus on emissions), but also because real estate and other infrastructure developers have such tremendous clout over climate-related policies, and even the way government communicates the challenge of climate change.

The role of real estate interests in ignoring climate change has received less attention than that of the fossil fuel industry, but there is little doubt that in places it has supported destructive policies, including purposely ignoring scientific models of climate change when determining coastal policies.

Journalists need to be particularly vigilant in coastal and flood-prone areas where developers—not just of real estate, but also of roads, bridges, seawalls, etc.—may be tempted to build and sell infrastructure they know will eventually be inundated. Just as a bubble could be forming in the overvaluation of fossil fuel companies, the value of coastal real estate could end up dropping precipitously if homeowners come to realize they can’t adequately protect or insure their homes. Digging deeper, enterprising reporters need to talk to regional planners who face an agonizing quandary: How do they decide what amount of sea-level rise or weather-related risk to factor into their zoning rules? ❶


Next month: Part II of “Investigating the Story of the Century”: The environmental impact of government rules, foreign aid, and carbon credits.


James Fahn is Executive Director of the Earth Journalism Network at Internews. He is also a lecturer at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley, where he teaches international environmental reporting. First published on the Global Investigative Journalism Network website. Reprinted with permission.

Putting on a show


Pictures at an exhibition
The Committee at the Club (beside the papercutting exhibition of Katsuyuki Yagi in August): Katsura Endo, Gavin Frew, Bruce Osborn, Robert Kirschenbaum and Katsuyoshi Ozaki, Absent on the day of the shoot were members Yoichi Yabe and Everett Kennedy Brown

The Club’s Exhibition committee members are responsible for making the hallways a location for timely, eye-catching images that cover a wide range of subjects

By Julian Ryall

Bruce Osborn has overseen no fewer than 106 displays of eye-catching photographs and images for the FCCJ’s Exhibitions Committee—but the 107th showcase, he says, was arguably the most difficult he has ever put together. “It is always a lot more than simply putting pictures on a wall,” he said. “Some of our monthly exhibitions are easier to prepare and others are harder, but this one was a major job. But it was also a labor of love.”

The exhibition, which opened on July 6 and was followed two days later by the now traditional reception, was an extension of 68-year-old Osborn’s “Oyako” project, in which he has for many years been taking photographs of parents with their children. The exhibition featured 25 images, ranging from the amusing to the poignant to the sad to the simply beautiful.

Photographer Natsuki Yasuda’s image was of a young woman who survived the March 2011 disaster that struck Japan’s Tohoku region as a schoolgirl, but is now a mother and has big dreams for her newborn daughter. Shisei Kuwabara contributed an iconic shot of a father holding his daughter, a severely disabled victim of Minamata Disease. Myanmarese photographer Zaw Min’s shot was a simple image of a woman from the Kayan people—famed for the coiled necklaces that give them elongated necks—as she breastfeeds her child.


IKUO NAKAMURA, A RENOWNED underwater photographer, took the theme in an interesting direction by showing a black-and-white image of a whale with her young calf. And Osborn’s contribution was another monochrome image, depicting a young girl facing the camera and with her arms locked with her parents either side. She was wearing a simple dress but her parents, who are facing away from the camera, were covered head to toe in intricately drawn traditional Japanese tattoos. 

“We had never attempted an event with this many photographers before so coordinating everything has been difficult at times,” he said. The 120 people who attended the opening night meant it was also the biggest reception the committee had ever hosted at the Club. 

Osborn, who is originally from Los Angeles and moved to Japan in 1980, first agreed to join the committee after previous chair Tony McNicol stood down. He says the FCCJ’s wall space is much in demand. “There is no shortage of artists who want to do shows here, which is great. But with only 12 exhibitions a year it means I have to tell a lot of people that we are not able to schedule their show,” he said. 

“With its selection of what to show, the committee wants to give priority to people who are working in the media—photographers, artists, designers—and offer a chance to share their work. It’s important that it is seen by as many people as possible. That is what we want our walls to be used for.


“I HAVE TO SAY that the Club’s new premises are a huge improvement on the old building for displaying these images,” Osborn said. “Before, the exhibitions were held in the bar area and it was difficult to see as customers were seated at tables in front of where the works were hung. Now we have the whole of that long hallway and a much-improved space to view the pictures.

“Every time I walk down that hall and I see people stopping and looking at images, I say to myself ‘great’,” he added. 

In addition to Osborn, the Exhibitions Committee has six members—Katsura Endo serves as deputy chair and the rest of the team is made up of Robert Kirschenbaum, Everett Kennedy Brown, Katsuyoshi Ozaki, Yoichi Yabe and Gavin Frew. It tends to use the monthly receptions as an opportunity to introduce artists and share new information. With all of the committee members busy working, much of their preparatory work is done over e-mail or the phone. 

As well as giving creators a space in which to display their work, the committee tries to be timely and in-sync with the news. In March 2011, Taishi Hirokawa had been preparing an exhibition for the following month, but he was able to quickly change direction and instead showed a series of images taken a few years previously of all 52 nuclear power plants operating across Japan, including the now infamous Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.


SINCE 2011, THE EXHIBITIONS held in the month of March have generally taken as their theme events related to the worst natural disaster to strike Japan in living memory. Members of the committee have traveled to Tohoku on a number of occasions in the intervening years to further document the lives of people who survived the disaster. Osborn himself has given workshops at local junior high and high schools. 

The Club also stepped in when Korean photographer Ahn Sehong was told by the Nikon Salon exhibition space in Shinjuku in 2012 that it was cancelling his show of images featuring “comfort women” from the years of Japan’s colonial control of the Korean Peninsula. 

“It was in the news a lot at the time and the right wing was being very vocal against it,” Osborn said. “I was concerned about not causing problems for the Club or the people working here—but we discussed it and agreed that this was exactly the sort of thing that we should be showing at the press club. We had to do it.” 

Another memorable exhibition featured the photographs of Liu Xia, a painter, photographer and poet who was under house arrest in China. Her husband, Liu Xiaobo, the world-renowned Chinese dissident and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, was imprisoned in a labor camp at the time. 

The committee generally has exhibitions lined up two or three months in advance. Osborn is very diplomatic about the one time when an event fell through less than a week before it was scheduled to open, resulting in a stressful rearrangement at the last minute. In order to avoid such crises, the committee generally has exhibitions lined up two or three months in advance. But it is all worthwhile, according to Osborn. 

“There are a couple of really good reasons to be on the committee,” he said. “I have great chances to meet a lot of really interesting and talented people, and I like being able to make connections between Club Members and exhibitors. It’s also fun to collaborate as a group and to see the overlap with other committees and people.” ❶


Julian Ryall is Japan correspondent for the Daily Telegraph.


Kathryn Wortley - Freelance


By Johann Fleuri

For as long as she can remember, Kathryn Wortley has wanted to be a journalist. At 16 years old, she was already writing stories for a local newspaper. “I don’t know where the pull came from,” she says. “I have always loved writing.”

When still in primary school, she began creative writing in genres like fiction and poetry. “The feeling that I should write, as a living, came very early for me,” she says. “When I entered high-school, I did research for projects and discovered that I loved fact-finding and analysis. Combining that with writing skills led me, naturally, to journalism.”

Born in Northern Ireland, Wortley moved to Scotland at 18 in order to do a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media and Japanese Studies, which included the country’s history and geopolitics as well as the language. Part of her degree included a semester at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, which turned out to be a life-changing experience. “I remember my first day in Japan very clearly,” she says. “It was winter and I’d gone out for a walk. Some local people gave me these magical kairo [pocket warmers] and I found a beautiful red torii, standing in the snow. It was so beautiful.”

Upon her departure following four months in Kansai living in the home of a local family and a further two months of traveling around Japan, Wortley knew that she wanted to return to the archipelago to work. While working toward her degree at the University of Stirling, she learned of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme, which recruits graduates to teach English and their culture in Japan. She decided against it at the time and, instead, accepted a job on a Scotland-wide outdoors magazine, for whom she would travel the country, writing about walking routes and doing profiles.




BUT THE PULL TO Japan was great and Wortley eventually applied for the JET Programme. After being accepted, she was posted to eleven schools in Kagoshima prefecture in southern Kyushu where she worked as an assistant language teacher. “It was fulfilling to learn about Japan and share my culture with the kids. And I wanted to give something back after my great cultural exchange at Kansai Gaidai,” she says. “I was planning to live there one year before returning to journalism, but I ended up remaining for five!”

Wortley talks about her past life in Kagoshima with a hint of nostalgia in her voice. “There was a great community and it was easy to become part of that,” she says. “Each year, I helped to plant and harvest rice with my neighbors, and I also took part in activities like the local festivals.”

When she moved to Tokyo five years ago, and returned to her first love of writing, she felt the cultural shock deeply. “I missed the local community feel but I soon grew to love Tokyo, too, for all it has to offer and the international life that it allows me to enjoy,” Wortley says.

Finally, she found a life combining her two passions: journalism and Japan. After writing contents for a project at the British Embassy in Tokyo and working as the editor of the magazine of the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan for a couple of years, Wortley became a freelance writer. Today, she contributes regularly to the Japan Times, Japan Today, Savvy Tokyo, TTG Asia (an Asia Pacific travel trade publication) and for International News Services (a UK agency). Her main topics are travel and tourism, culture, profiles, and business pieces related to trade, technology, innovation and other issues.

Wortley particularly enjoys reporting stories related to people and communities, such as regional tourism and cultural initiatives as well as artisans and their work. She remembers writing one story for the Japan Times on Yamagata yamabushi (ascetic mountain monks): “I spent four days with them, and it was amazing to have a behind-the-scenes insight into their culture and being able to reflect that in the story.”

Over her eleven years spent in Japan, Wortley has traveled to almost every prefecture—and going on the road is something she intends to continue. “There are so many great stories in regional areas of people doing amazing things in tourism, in community development, and in cultural avenues. Those are the stories I want to tell.” But despite the pull of the countryside, Wortley can’t see herself living anywhere but Tokyo at the moment. “I love my life here,” she says. ❶

Johann Fleuri is an independent journalist working for French media, including Ouest-France, Les Inrocks, Zoom Japan and other publications.

A journalism group that feels like family


Above, an Asia-chapter mixer in Atlanta (in August, 2019) with Maria Ressa from Rappler at center, top.

More than two decades after its foundation,
a US-based advocacy group’s Asia chapter is
deeply involved in building relations and developing
new generations of journalists and leaders.

By Yuri Nagano

In the weeks running up to early June, I felt like I spent more time communicating with my alternate “family,” a group of professional journalists, than with my actual one. That’s because I am one of more than a dozen dedicated volunteers of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA)’s Asia chapter.

The 1,500-member-strong AAJA was founded in 1981 by a group of Los Angeles-based journalists to support those coming from the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. “We formed AAJA to increase the number of Asian American journalists, boost and improve coverage of Asian Americans and provide support and training for the networking and advancement of Asian American journalists,” says co-founder Bill Sing, former editor and reporter for the Los Angeles Times.

It was during a time of recession when anti-Asian sentiment raged in part due to strong Japanese auto imports. Shortly after AAJA’s inception, a Chinese American named Vincent Chin was brutally murdered in Detroit, when two white autoworkers mistook him for Japanese, and assaulted him with a baseball bat. Chin died four days later. Both perpetrators pled guilty but never served jail time. Chin’s death remains to this day a symbol of chilling racism against the Asian-American community.

At the time, Asian Americans were badly underrepresented in newsrooms and in management, says Sing. Coverage of Asian Americans was often lacking or stereotypical, and few Asian American youth considered journalism as a career.

AAJA’s mission continues. The underrepresentation of minorities in newsrooms persists, according to a 2018 American Society of News Editors survey: Minorities made up only 22.6 percent of the newsroom workforce, well below the US census data indicating some 39 percent of its population to be minority. Even here in Asia, filled with journalists of color, race has mattered. It turns out the top decision makers of Western media in New York are still predominantly white males and we are impacted by their decisions.



Building and connecting 
the audience listening to a panel with New York Times’ bureau chief, Motoko Rich.


“NEWSROOM DIVERSITY IN RACE, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and every other way is so important if we in the news media are going to tell the story of our increasingly globalized world,” says former AAJA-Asia chapter president Ken Moritsugu, who is now Greater China news director for the Associated Press. “I am constantly learning from my colleagues who are not like me, and it makes me a better journalist.” 

How AAJA came to Asia goes back to two AAJA leaders from Portland, Oregon—Allen Cheng and Alan Ota—who moved to Asia to become foreign correspondents during the 1990s. “It was important to plant AAJA’s flag in Asia because Asian Americans journalists back in the US would benefit from having a network in Asia. And it is, after all, where all of us originated from somewhere along our ancestral line,” says Cheng, currently the founder and chief adviser of Beijing-based risk management advisory Advise Insight Ltd. In 1996, the Asia chapter was formed.

Fast forward to 2010, AAJA-Asia existed but growth had stagnated. That changed when then president Moritsugu proceeded to divide the chapter into subchapters with the largest membership clusters in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul. It’s a format that still exists today, with the addition of a South East Asia/Singapore subchapter that was added nearly five years ago. “By empowering rising leaders to develop subchapters in their cities, we were able to tailor programming to what people wanted locally and grow the organization exponentially,” says Moritsugu.

What was around 40 AAJA-Asia members until then, ballooned quickly to around 200 chapter members. Asia is now one of the largest and most active of the 20 some AAJA chapters, and part of that is thanks to the launch of its annual flagship event called New.Now.Next Media Conference (N3Con).


N3CON STARTED IN 2011, with a vision to organize something lacking at the time in Asia—a journalism conference for English-based media. Beijing-based CBS News Asia correspondent and former AAJA-Asia president Ramy Inocencio was one of the event’s key architects. The conference was launched as a way “to build and connect together an inclusive network of peers who we could be friends with and learn from,” he says.

N3Con offers panels and workshops attracting 300 attendees from across the region. We’ve featured high-profile journalists, including Filipino investigative journalist and Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, South China Morning Post CEO Gary Liu, CNN International anchor Kristie Lu Stout and many top newsroom managers including those from the New York Times, Associated Press and Bloomberg News. We’ve offered hands-on training workshops on data journalism from Investigative Reporters and Editors and leadership skills workshops from top US coaches. We’ve also offered newsroom tours. All this and more have been offered at a bargain programming rate of less than $100 for members.

One year we invited former AP photographer Jeff Widener, known for the “Tank Man” photo of a lone Chinese man standing up against a column of Chinese tanks the morning after the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. Another year we invited journalists from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists to speak on The Panama Papers. In the last couple of years, combating ‘fake news’ has been a key subject.

This year, N3Con was held from May 30 to June 2 at the University of Hong Kong—the reason for the limited time I spent with my real family in the period leading up to the event. But it was worth it. Not only were we able to offer a job fair, but we recognized up-and-coming young journalists through a Digital Journalism Student Award supported by Google, and partnered with Columbia University to offer student fellowships. N3Con is now a financially self-sustaining operation due to generous corporate donations, but it wasn’t always so. (For several years, Cheng donated thousands of dollars of his personal money so N3Con could host, for example, a welcome mixer to kick off the conference on a high note.)



Attendees from the American Asian Journalists Association’s Asia chapter’s N3Con at the University of Hong Kong


IN THE LAST FEW years, the chapter has been expanding its role. “AAJA-Asia strives to be a bridge between local and international media in the region, offering a diverse and inclusive community to support professional journalists and the next generation of news leaders,” says Hong Kong-based K. Oanh Ha, current chapter president and senior writer for Bloomberg News. The chapter supports programming for media professionals in public relations as well.

Since last year, the chapter has been hosting video conference versions of N3Con dubbed “Digital N3.” Held at several Bloomberg News bureaus in Asia and also U.S. cities including New York and Washington, D.C., these events explore such topics as reporting on North Korea.

Weekday and weekend events for veterans and students are being organized by regional chapter leaders. In Tokyo, for example, informal gatherings featuring local journalists dedicated to covering the Fukushima nuclear disaster have been held.

Subchapters hold mixers and regularly network with visiting AAJA members to their regions, throughout the year. For Tokyo, we’ve welcomed many U.S.-based members including CNN columnist Jeff Yang. I’ve been able to network with members in New York or Washington, D.C. and other cities myself, whenever I’ve traveled.

Staying true to AAJA’s journalistic values, chapter leaders have actively monitored the status of local press freedom. For example, this year AAJA-Asia issued statements on the proposed extradition agreement in Hong Kong in June and on the public targeting of a member in Seoul from March.

Since 2018, AAJA-Asia and Google have been teaming up to provide free training in digital tools for news gathering, reporting and storytelling under a special initiative called the AAJA-Asia Training Network. The initiative has served over 300 journalists across the Asia region from Hong Kong to Singapore to Manila.

I feel grateful to have been able to find a journalism community in Asia I could belong to. I’ve found the mission to support diversity, growing leaders of color and calling out stereotypes and connecting and helping each other meaningful. It’s truly been a privilege to be able to be part of AAJA and have a “family” I’m proud to call my own. ❶


Yuri Nagano is an American business/tech journalist who has reported for news organizations including the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times. Since 2010, Nagano has served on the AAJA-Asia board in roles including co-president.


From the Archives


Life-member Frank Gibney speaking at a Club event on June 12, 1995, commemorating coverage of WWII. Frank achieved renown in multiple roles—as journalist, author and editor.  He also wrote the Introduction for our history book, Foreign Correspondents in Japan, expanding on his memories of the earliest days of the Club when he was a U.S. Navy Public Information Officer prior to becoming a journalist. Seated next to Gibney, Bob Neff (Business Week) gives his words full attention.

Journalist, author, editor, scholar

Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 21, 1924, and raised in New York City, Frank Bray Gibney attended Yale University before serving in the U.S. Navy. There he was educated in the Japanese language as an intelligence officer during WWII. The duty brought him into contact with Japanese POWS and provided early insights on the Japanese people, which later led to his first major book in 1953, the humanistic Five Gentlemen of Japan. It was a book that had an early influence on me.

After further service as a public information officer for the Navy during the Occupation, Gibney became a foreign correspondent, and was posted to several countries prior to returning to Japan to cover the Korean War. He went on to cover other countries of Asia and Europe for Time magazine. He also became an editorial writer for Life magazine, and later was a feature writer for Newsweek before moving on to several start-up magazines in the early 1960s. In the late 1960s he worked for Encyclopedia Britannica, directing translations into Japanese, Korean, and Chinese as well as serving as vice-chairman of its Board of Editors and heading a joint venture with Tokyo Broadcasting System.

His important book, Japan: The Fragile Superpower, was published in 1975, followed in 1982 by Miracle by Design, describing the Japanese work ethic. The Pacific Century was published in 1992 and later made into a PBS series featuring the author, who also co-produced it.
In recognition of his cultural contributions, the Japanese government in the late 1970s awarded him, first, the Order of the Rising Sun (Third Class), followed a few years later by the Order of the Sacred Treasure (Second Class).

In 1979, Gibney founded the Pacific Basin Institute in affiliation with Pomona College in California, where he was a professor. He served as president until 1999.

Frank was married three times and sired seven children, of whom two became active in media, Alex in documentaries and James in journalism. Frank died on April 9, 2006, at age 81 of congestive heart failure.

– Charles Pomeroy
editor of Foreign Correspondents in Japan,
a history of the Club that is available at the front desk

What press freedom looks like in Hong Kong



















New in the library


10 8
Much Ado about Nothingness: Essays on Nishida and Tanabe

James W. Heisig


Cutting Back: My Apprenticeship in the Gardens of Kyoto
Leslie Buck
Timber Press


10 9
Selling Women: Prostitution, Markets, and the Household in Early Modern Japan

Amy Stanley; Matthew H. Sommer (fwd.)
University of California Press


Kibo wo Furu Shikisha : Gergiev to Haran no Russia
希望を振る指揮者 : ゲルギエフと波乱のロシア
Kazuo Kobayashi
Kamakura Shunjusha
Gift from Kazuo Kobayashi


Peak Japan : the End of Great Ambitions
Brad Glosserman
Georgetown University Press
Gift from Brad Glosserman


Suiunshi kara sekai no mizu e: Speeches on Water Issues
水運史から世界の水へ : Speeches on Water Issues
Crown Prince Naruhito
NHK Publishing

A Social History of the Ise Shrines: Divine Capital
Mark Teeuwen; John Breen
Bloomsbury Academic


New Members


10 6
John Frederick Ashburne is a freelance writer, editor and photographer, based in Kyoto. He mainly specializes in Japanese culture (especially Japanese food culture), but also writes on news and economics. He is Kansai Correspondent for the Japan Times, and has written for the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Kyoto Journal, Business Traveller Asia and other publications. He is the author of several books, including The Best of Kansai and editor-in-Chief of the website He is also a photographer and winner of several photography awards.


10 7

Benjamin N. Dooley has been named Japan Business Correspondent for the New York Times after three years reporting for Agence France-Presse in Beijing, focusing on politics, human rights and the economy. Before A.F.P., Dooley spent five years working for Japan’s Kyodo News in Beijing and Washington, where he covered the State Department, the Pentagon and the White House, with a focus on United States policy in Asia. Ben has a master’s degree in East Asian studies from Stanford and a bachelor’s in Asian studies from the University of Virginia. He speaks fluent Japanese and Mandarin.



Angus Mckinnon, The L.T. Funds
Gloria Sadler-Mooser, No affiliation
Yuki Kawanaka, Soka Gakkai
Mitsunobu Kojima, Ryobi Holdings Co., Ltd.
Yoshiko Yamaki, Ryobi Holdings Co., Ltd.
Toshio Kurino, Meikyo Trading Co., Ltd.
Eriko Katayama, LLC Eriko F Company Japan
Yayoi Oguma, Bridge International
Tetsuya Sawano, Tekken Co., Ltd.
Junko Saito, Keio Plaza Hotel
Jun Sasaki, Canpotex (Japan) Limited
Kaori Shindo, Envision Co., Ltd.
Eisuke Yoshihashi, Dentsu-Adgear

Lafcadio Hearn vs. Mokujiki Shonin: The stories of two nomads

10 1   10 2

Kamikiri (paper cutting artwork)
by Katsuyuki Yagi

Lafcadio Hearn, also known by his Japanese name Yakumo Koizumi, was a writer known for his books about Japan, particularly his yokai stories about supernatural monsters, spirits and demons in Japanese folklore. Originally born in Greece, he was raised in Dublin, educated in England and France and worked in the United States before moving to Japan in 1890. In addition to his writings, Hearn taught literature at Tokyo and Waseda universities, influencing many well-known Japanese writers at that time.

The other subject of this exhibition is Mokujiki Shonin, a wondering monk and artist who traveled throughout Japan depositing his smiling Buddha sculptures at the sacred sites he visited. During his pilgrimage—which took him from the northern part Hokkaido to the southern island of Kyushu—Mokujiki Shonin made over a thousand of “Min-gei” sculptures, the name that has been given to describe freedom and harshness of nature and innocence of this artwork.

Katsuyuki Yagi was born in Yaizu, Shizuoka in 1947 and began to specialize in paper-cutting art while working as a history and literature museum curator. Katsuyuki’s unique artworks are created by cutting authentic Chinese papers with traditional hand-made scissors and using a high-speed technique. His artworks are highly acclaimed in Lafcadio Hearn’s alma mater in England and Mokujiki Shonin’s birthplace in Yamanashi prefecture.



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