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Number 1 Shimbun

NUMBER 1 SHIMBUN 2019

NUMBER 1 SHIMBUN 2019 (121)

Children categories

Congratulations to the Swadesh DeRoy scholarship winners!

THE FCCJ CELEBRATED THE talent of the next generation of journalists with the announcement of the winners of the annual Swadesh DeRoy Scholarship. 

The initiative – named in honor of the late Swadesh DeRoy, a respected long-time journalist member of the FCCJ – aims to encourage and support university students interested in entering journalism. The award is intended to be used for purposes like language courses, travel, purchase of computer equipment or books, or living expenses during a journalism internship.

For the 2018-19 awards, the Scholarship Committee asked for submissions that addressed the broad topic “Japan's Future in a Changing World – Geopolitical, Economic, or Demographic Dynamics.”

The judges were impressed by the creative ways that entrants addressed the topic, and in some cases decided to award prizes jointly to recognize outstanding entries.

Full list of winners as announced at an awards ceremony at the FCCJ on April 17:


PEN CATEGORY:

1st: Tin Tung Jonathan Chu (Waseda University) and Marina Yoshimura (Waseda University/Yale College) – ¥200,000 each

2nd: Reiko Naka (Hosei University) and Makoto Iwahashi (Kyoto University) – ¥75,000 each

 

VIDEO CATEGORY:

1st: Chisato Tanaka (Waseda University) – ¥250,000

2nd: Chi Long Nguyen (Tohoku University) – ¥100,000

 

PHOTO CATEGORY:

1st: Alzbeta Kossuthova (Waseda University) – ¥300,000

 

From the archives: Japan’s International Civil Servant

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Yasushi Akashi, then head of the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), spoke at the FCCJ on July 29, 1993. UNTAC was a peacekeeping operation in Cambodia from 1992 that had organized and conducted elections there in May of 1993, resulting in a coalition government. Henry Scott-Stokes, Club treasurer, gives his full attention to the speaker’s comments.

Yasushi Akashi was born on Jan. 19, 1931, in Akita Prefecture. After graduating from the University of Tokyo in 1954, he went on to study at the University of Virginia under a Fulbright scholarship followed by studies focused on law and diplomacy at Tufts University. In 1957, he joined the UN – the first Japanese national to do so – initially as a junior officer. He represented his own country from 1974 to 1979, when he served in the Permanent Mission of Japan to the UN as a Counsellor, then Minister, and finally as Ambassador. 

An appointed international civil servant to the UN Secretariat, Akashi was named to two successive posts as an Under-Secretary-General (USG), for Public Information (1979) and for Disarmament Affairs (1987), before being named as the Special Representative of Secretary-General (SRSG) in Cambodia in 1992. In 1994 he became the SRSG in the former Yugoslavia. Both were areas of brutal civil wars and personal risk that an international civil servant accepted as part of the job. He served in 1995 as Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General before in 1996 again becoming a USG, this time as Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. Following 40 years of distinguished service in the UN, he retired in 1997.

Akashi’s public service did not end when he retired from the UN. He went on to serve as President of the Hiroshima Peace Institute as well as of the Asahi Shimbun Asia Network (AAN) until February of 1999. The Government of Japan then called on him to be its representative for Peace-Building, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction in Sri Lanka. He served, too, as Chairman of the International House of Japan from 2009 until his retirement in 2018. 

Akashi has also found time to write books on international relations, including The United Nations – Tracks and Prospects, Between War and Peace – People Across the Border, and Skills to Negotiate with a “Dictator,” that were published in Japanese. He ran for governor of Tokyo in 1999 with the support of the LDP and Komeito, but lost to Shintaro Ishihara, the well-known firebrand, author and former Diet member.

Akashi remains active today in a number of roles, including as a speaker at many forums.

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

Freedom of the press in Asia

Myanmar releases Reuters reporters

Wa Lone, 33, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 29, are now free. The two Reuters reporters spent more than 500 days behind bars after they were sentenced to seven years in prison for breaking Myanmar’s Official Secrets Act. Before their arrest, the pair had been investigating the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys by security forces and Buddhist civilians. Throughout their imprisonment, Reuters as well as press freedom and human rights advocates campaigned for their release. They were freed May 7 as part of a presidential amnesty for 6,520 prisoners. “I’m really happy and excited to see my family and my colleagues. I can’t wait to go to my newsroom,” Wa Lone told reporters as he left prison. 

• Source: Reuters

 

Philippines’ Duterte turns press on press

Once one of Asia’s freest media, the Philippines’ independent news outlets are under sustained attack by President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies, ranging from legal and political assaults to harassment by armies of online trolls.

The award-winning Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Rappler and Vera Files are being singled out for particular abuse, with the clear aim of destroying them. Rappler faces 11 politically-motivated legal cases, its respected editor Maria Ressa is under indictment, and its staff routinely get death threats for reporting on a government “war on drugs” that Human Rights Watch says has killed 23,000 people since 2016.

Pro-Duterte columnists are now attacking the modest funding that these nonprofits receive from overseas, claiming, without evidence, that they are part of a foreign plot to oust Duterte.

• Source: Global Investivative Journalism Network

 

Hong Kong public sees press freedoms falling

Press freedom in Hong Kong has hit a six-year low among the city’s public with Beijing’s influence labelled their main concern for the first time, according to an annual public opinion survey.

More than 1,000 members of the public gave the city’s press freedom an overall score of 45, on a scale of 0 to 100 – a record low since the survey, jointly released by the Hong Kong Journalists Association and the Public Opinion Program of the University of Hong Kong on Tuesday, started in 2013. More than a third of respondents – 368 – said Beijing’s influence was their main concern, followed by media self-censorship.

The survey also interviewed 535 journalists between January and February and found most were worried about self-censorship, followed by Beijing’s influence. They gave the city’s press freedom in 2018 a score of 40.9, roughly the same as the previous year.

Answering a question for journalists only, 112 of 516 respondents – 22 percent – said their superiors had applied pressure for less or zero reporting about the controversy surrounding those calling for the city’s separation from China.

• Source: South China Morning Post

 

South Korean gov’t party retreats from press criticism 

In March, South Korea’s ruling party withdrew personal criticism of a Bloomberg News reporter for writing an article about President Moon Jae-in, after international press groups warned the remarks threatened journalistic freedom and demanded a retraction by the party.

The Democratic Party of Korea removed from a statement posted on its website language mentioning the reporter’s name and describing the Sept. 25, 2018 Bloomberg article about Moon’s North Korean policy as “almost like treason.” The move came days after journalists’ organizations said that the comments had resulted in serious threats to the reporter’s personal safety.

“We would like to apologize to foreign journalists within South Korea, if we have caused any misunderstandings,” party spokesman Lee Hae-sik said in a statement. Moon’s office reaffirmed the president’s support for press freedom and issued a statement pledging “an appropriate countermeasure” against threats to any reporter’s safety.

• Source: Bloomberg

New in the Library

Japan Story: in Search of a Nation, 1850 to the Present
Christopher Harding
Allen Lane

 

Empire of Hope: the Sentimental Politics of Japanese Decline
David Leheny
Cornell University Press

 

Oyako: an Ode to Parents and Children
Bruce Osborn
Sora Books
Gift from Bruce Osborn

 

Tinian and the Bomb: Project Alberta and Operation Centerboard
Don A. Farrell ; Gordon E. Castanza (ed.)
Micronesian Productions
Gift from Mark Schreiber

 

Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter
Dan Ariely and Jeff Kreisler ; Matt Trower (ill.)
Harper
Gift from Jeff Kreisler

New Members

 

REGULAR MEMBER

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YUMIKO HORIE is the deputy editor-in-chief of AFPBB News, a Japanese affiliate of Agence France Presse. She started her career as a Yomiuri Shimbun correspondent, covering a wide range of social issues, including natural disasters and remnants of war in Japan. Her interests include conflicts and humanitarian responses, which led her to an MSc in conflict studies at SOAS, University of London, and a subsequent career with international organizations such as the UN and INGO. She returned to journalism in 2018 with AFPBB.



ASSOCIATE MEMBERS

Miho Hoshino, Chuo Gyorui Co., Ltd.
Masayuki Yamada, Chuo Gyorui Co., Ltd.
Yuji Kumahara, Daiwa Asset Management
Takeshi Maeda, Mitsubishi Corporation
Katsunori Nishikawa, Matsui & Company, Ltd.
Noriko Sato, US Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan
Atsushi Yamakoshi, Keizai Koho Center



REINSTATEMENT (ASSOCIATE MEMBERS)

Toshio Egawa, Egawa Strategics Laboratory
Nobuo Jinnai, Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Co., Ltd.
Hiroko Nakamoto, K.K. Nakamoto

 

Historic artwork returns

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“Blessing,” an artwork by the renowned artist Toko Shinoda that has long belonged to the FCCJ, was unveiled in a new place of honor by Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike on March 29. The work was restored and reframed by the Tolman Collection, whose founder, Norman Tolman, is an Associate Member. 

“Blessing,” now displayed at the junction of the main corridor leading to the Main Bar, is a stunning example of traditional Japanese calligraphy and modern abstract expressionism by Shinoda, who turned 106 the day before the event. 

A number of her other works were also on display at the Club for several weeks, courtesy of the Tolman Collection.

In her remarks at the unveiling, Governor Koike, an admirer of Shinoda’s art, expressed her appreciation to the Club for its support of Japanese artists.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike unveils the artwork alongside the Club’s Second Vice President Robert Whiting, and celebrates with Norman Tolman.

Join the Film Committee…

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… on Wed., May 8 at 7:00 pm for the award-winning debut of 22-year-old director Hiroshi Okuyama, Jesus. Suffused with a nostalgic glow and told entirely through the eyes of its 11-year-old protagonist, the film follows young Yura as he moves with his parents to a rural backwater and discovers that his new school is Christian. One day, the Son of God appears to him during the Lord’s Prayer, and when Yura’s initial requests are granted, he quickly develops a belief in His power. But a tragedy leads to a full-blown crisis of faith. The debut of a unique new voice, Jesus is both comical and melancholy, and a real treat. Okuyama will join us for the Q&A session after the screening with actors Chad Mullane and Hinako Saeki.
(Japan, 2018; 76 minutes; in Japanese with English subtitles.)

– Karen Severns

 

Portraits of African musicians

Tsunehiro Takukuwa Photo Exhibition

 

Tsunehiro Takukawa first set foot in Africa in 1991. Since then, he says, “I have taken numerous portraits of some tremendous African musicians using a large 4x5-inch camera. I believe that this format helps capture the soul of the subject.”

Song, dance and rhythm are an indispensable part of the daily lives of Africans, and Takukawa says his photos are unsolicited love letters to the people he’s encountered on his travels. “Their engaging faces,” he says, “seem to represent something of humanity that the Japanese are in danger of losing. ❶

 

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Takakuwa Tsunehiro was born in Nagoya in 1955. He continued his photography while working as an editorial designer and editor, establishing himself as a photographer at the age of 30.

Lens craft

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Hand outs
People reach for the new Imperial era (and the free, special-edition announcement)
with both hands at Yurakucho station on April 1.
by Katsumi Kasahara/Gamma-Rapho

 

 

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Kaze
Picturing the wind earlier this year.
by Bruce Osborn



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Hanami-iiiii!
People enjoying cherry blossoms and a roller coaster ride
in Toshimaen amusement park, Tokyo, April 6.
by Yoshikazu Tsuno

That’s entertainment!

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If the professional activities are the soul of the Club, the entertainment events are its heart. Meet the committee that brings the fun.

 

By Julian Ryall

 

After a long day chasing down leads, cajoling ministry officials to share information or placating a disgruntled editor, a hack really needs to be able to let his or her hair down, says Sandra Mori. And even today, in an era of instant amusement in a city that has countless outlets for relaxation, it is important that the FCCJ continues its tradition of putting on a show, she adds. 

That task falls to the Entertainment Committee, the group behind a surprisingly broad range of events at the FCCJ – from the annual family Christmas party to golf and billiards tournaments, national evenings, celebrations of cities and regions around Japan and the Club’s consistently popular Saturday Night Live events.

“The committee is here purely to satisfy our members,” said Mori, a Club member for more than 40 years. She first arrived in Japan in 1946, when her father was posted to General Douglas MacArthur’s occupation staff. “We are here to entertain and even educate, to provide members with music and culture that they might not otherwise have a chance to experience, such as local varieties of sake that are only available when a prefecture puts on one of its event nights,” she said.

 

MORI FIRST SERVED ON the Entertainment Committee as board liaison in 1999. She presently serves as chair of the five-strong team – “five is a good number because we get things done quicker and better” she confides – that plots members’ amusement for the months to come. She is keen, however, to make sure that credit for the foundations of the committee’s work is apportioned correctly. 

“Much of the good work was done by Glenn Davis, who started the Saturday Night Live program all those years ago. I remember going to dozens of live houses and other venues to check out acts that we wanted to bring to the Club,” she said.

“Saturday Night Live was dear to Glenn. Even after he retired and went back to the US, he keeps calling to ask what is going on and who is coming for the next Saturday Night Live,” she said. Davis remains an adviser to the committee, as does former Club president, Dennis Normile.

“After all the hard work that Glenn had done getting Saturday Night Live up and running, it was Dennis who really put meat on the event, making sure that we were bringing in really good performers and making it what it is today,” Mori adds.

Pressed for a personal favorite in all the years, she pauses. But it’s clear the hesitation is only because there have been so many memorable nights over the years. The night that brought together no fewer than 12 nations from Southern Africa, complete with their cuisine, music and dancing, is one that has stayed with her. So have the Christmas parties with wide-eyed children sitting on Santa’s knee, the benefit event for the New Orleans victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the evenings at which Japan’s legendary ninja got to show off some of their skills. A troupe of attractive dancers who put on a show at a Brazil night some years ago made for an unforgettable experience for everyone who was there, she added.

 

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Entertaining discussion

Members of the committee at the piano in the Main Bar:
left to right, Masayuki Hattori, Akihiko Tanabe,
Suvendrini Kakuchi, Kaori Furuta and (seated) Sandra Mori.
Sandra has been a Club Member for more than 40 years and on the Entertainment Committee for 20.

 

MORI IS A PROUD promoter of the events, pointing to the impressive crowds they regularly draw. “National nights always bring in more than 100 people and sometimes we can get as many as 150. It’s about the same for our city or regional nights,” she said. In February, she even asked for a night-out pass from hospital in good time to be able to attend the Club’s SNL Mardi Gras, with Washboard Chaz and Steve Gardener providing an authentic New Orleans sound. 

It’s obvious Mori has a soft spot for Saturday Night Live, which she describes as the “crown jewels” of the committee’s work – rattling off The Moonshots, Jim Butler, Gardener and jazz performer Harvey Thompson as some of her favorites. “With no cover and no music charge, it is always full,” she said.

The weekly treat is not only a must-attend for music lovers; it has become such a key part of the city’s live performance scene that bands are lining up for a chance to play at the FCCJ, Mori says. “These are bands that perform all around Tokyo and further afield, but they still want to come here for our members,” Mori said. “Right now, every slot is booked up for the rest of this year and nearly all of them only get one evening. They love the ambience, they know they’re going to be performing to a good crowd and that it will be a fun night out for everyone.”

 

MORI REFERS TO KAORI Furuta, who is the Club liaison on the committee, as “Miss Saturday Night Live,” and Furuta seems to embrace the role. “I really enjoy it because I get to see performers I have never heard of before and would not have a chance to see,” she said. “I have realized there is such a wide diversity of music on offer in Tokyo.”

Furuta said working with the committee is relatively straightforward because it operates so smoothly and musicians are booked as much as a year in advance. “We don’t really have to do too much work to get them here,” Furuta added. “They come to us asking to perform.” The new Club location has also helped attract musicians, with some saying that they prefer playing at the new premises, in part because the tiled floor in the new bar is acoustically far superior to the former FCCJ building, where the carpet served to muffle or deaden the sound. 

But leaving the Denki Building location after so many memorable events did result in some mixed emotions. Just before the move, the Entertainment Committee oversaw a “Sayonara Yurakucho” evening, an event that Mori describes as bittersweet. “We turned Saturday Night Live into a sayonara event as it was the very last event to be held there. It just seemed so fitting,” she said. Now, however, it is time to look to the future. ❶

 

Julian Ryall is Japan correspondent for the Daily Telegraph.

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