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Number 1 Shimbun


NUMBER 1 SHIMBUN 2019 (121)

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From the Archives - Master of mime



Laughter reigned during the professional luncheon for world-famous French actor and mime artist Marcel Marceau at the Club on Oct. 30, 1986. Seated to his left is then Club President Bruce MacDonell (Globe Net), and to his right is Richard Pyle (AP), both mirthfully enjoying his presentation. Since his appearance at the Club, a photo of Marceau, holding fingers to lips in a call for silence, has occupied a conspicuous place in our library.


Born in Strasbourg, France, into a Jewish family as Marcel Mangel on March 22, 1923, Marcel Marceau took on the name he was to later make famous in order to evade the Nazi occupiers during WWII. He and his brother, Alain, who also took on the Marceau name, then joined the French Resistance and assisted Jewish children to escape into Switzerland. Fluent in French, English, and German, he joined the French army after the liberation of Paris and served as a liaison officer with the US army.

Soon after, under the early influence of a Charlie Chaplin film, Marceau took up the study of dramatic acting and mime in Paris. Early success in a pantomime role was followed by his creation of “The Overcoat,” a “mimodrama” presented in his silent style of dramatic action that brought major acclaim. In 1947 he more firmly established his reputation with “Bip the Clown,” a character drawn in part from Chaplin’s “Little Tramp,” and later founded the world’s only pantomime company. His extensive and numerous tours, especially across the US during the 1950s, further solidified his international popularity. He also appeared in several successful films.

Marceau’s achievements ranged from establishing a school in Paris to teach his so-called “art of silence” to creating a foundation in New York to promote this art form. He was the recipient of numerous French awards and a US Emmy. He was also declared a National Treasure here in Japan, where Noh drama was one of many early influences on his work. Returning the favor, he later had some influence on Japan’s evolving art of butoh. He was an inspiration to Michael Jackson, too, who based his “moonwalk” on Marceau’s movements, as well as to countless young performers in many countries.

After an illustrious career as a master of mime, Marcel Marceau died in Paris at the age of 84 on Sept. 22, 2007.

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

Freedom of the Press news - Under watch: Reporting in China’s surveillance state



THE FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS’ CLUB OF CHINA (FCCC), based in Beijing, recently surveyed foreign journalist members to assess how their reporting was being affected by state-electronic and human surveillance in the People’s Republic of China. The survey was conducted in December, and 109 of the 204 correspondent members responded.

According to the FCCC, the survey, released on Jan. 29 of this year, “painted the darkest picture of reporting conditions inside China in recent memory. Rapidly expanding surveillance and widespread government interference against reporting in the far northwestern region of Xinjiang drove a significant deterioration in the work environment for foreign journalists in China in 2018.”

Some highlights of the survey:

  • Nearly half of the correspondents directly experienced human surveillance, being followed or having their hotel room entered
  • 22 percent of respondents said they were aware of authorities having tracked them using public surveillance systems
  • 50 percent of respondents said surveillance impacted their reporting

The expanding scope of surveillance means journalists have been subject to intimidation in their personal lives, and made unable to contact sources or even report at all in some regions. Following are some of their experiences.

Multiple phone calls were cut off while discussing politically sensitive subjects.
Josh Chin, Wall Street Journal

Police officers told me they knew about a social event I was organizing that I had privately invited friends to using WeChat.
Yuan Yang, Financial Times

WeChat messages sometimes mysteriously disappeared from my phone while sharing politically sensitive information with my colleagues via a group chat.
Tomoyuki Tachikawa, Kyodo News

We (a TV crew of three) traveled to Wen’an, Hebei for a story on plastic recycling. Within about half an hour, a local official along with a couple of bao’an security officers and several other men in plainclothes drove up and met us. The official told us they’d been looking all over the small town for us and found us because of the surveillance cameras. They escorted us to the county line to ensure we left.
Bill Birtles, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Most of my trips to the field revolve completely around how to get as much as we can before we are likely stopped or detained, with a lot of strategizing about easier, less sensitive stories that could be done first so as not to come back completely empty-handed. On a trip to Ningxia, I aborted a story entirely out of fear that I had been compromised and would get anyone I subsequently interacted with in trouble.
Becky Davis, Agence France-Presse

In Xinjiang, in a lot of situations, I didn’t even try to conduct an interview, because we didn’t want to get anyone in danger. And when every corner is monitored, you do bring danger to your sources.
Axel Dorloff, ARD German Radio

I was followed and tracked for nearly 1,600 kilometers by at least nine cars and 20 people – most of whom refused to identify themselves or their organizations. I was also threatened with arrest, and had armed police approach my vehicle with shields raised and told to put my hands outside the car. I was detained numerous times. A police officer seized my camera and deleted pictures without my consent.
Nathan VanderKlippe, Globe and Mail

I’ve come into the office several times while dealing with a sensitive story and my computer hasn’t started up. One of my reporters had computer issues while covering the trial of a human rights lawyer. As a security measure, we recently decided to reimage every computer in the bureau.
• Bureau chief of a US news organization

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China is a Beijing-based professional organization comprising more than 200 correspondents from over 30 countries and regions.

Keepers of the books

Jorge Luis Borges wrote that he “always thought that paradise will be a kind of library.” This month we focus on the committee in charge of the lofty kingdom upstairs.

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Members of the committee in the library – Christoph Neidhart,
committee co-chair Koichi Ishiyama, Bobbie van der List and Todd Crowell.


By Julian Ryall


More tech upgrades, more elbow room, more attractive surroundings and access to more books, newspapers and periodicals than ever before. The Library, Archives and Workroom Committee has traditionally provided the tools to enable working journalists to go about their jobs, and the present 10-strong committee is busy enhancing the facilities and services in the FCCJ’s new premises.

The “brains and memory” of the Club, the library subscribes to 10 foreign and 15 Japanese-language newspapers, as well as 50 magazines, including Time, The Economist and Der Spiegel. It can access information from a number of databases, including those of Kyodo News, Reuters and the Factiva service, and has a comprehensive clipping archive that dates back to the 1950s.

The library staff are skilled in fulfilling Members’ requests for assistance in their research – a service that one journalist has described as “achieving the impossible in an infeasible amount of time” – while a collection of 300 rare books is the envy of many other institutions. Those titles include Lafcadio Hearn’s Fantastics and Other Fancies, from 1914, and the 1880 work, The Classical Poetry of the Japanese, by Basil Hall Chamberlain.

The library has approximately 11,000 books on its shelves, as well as more than 1,200 DVDs, with more being added regularly.

“I think we have a very good library service, with more space now than in the old location,” said Suvendrini Kakuchi, co-chair of the committee and correspondent for University World News. “It’s really important that we have these services as it’s one of the primary reasons that a journalist will join the FCCJ.”


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Talking books: Discussing with Head Librarian Hiroko Moriwaki.


GIVEN THE LIBRARY’S ROLE as a focal point of the Club, the committee has no plans to rest on its laurels, with digitization a key element of the upgrades. A database of all books is available through all the public computers in the library, enabling Members to search for a specific title, while an e-book library was introduced this past January. Further enhancements are under way, including providing access to online academic journals and the digitization of newspaper clippings.

The committee typically meets once a month – although meetings are suspended during August, when many people are away, and in the run-up to the Christmas and New Year holidays – to discuss the purchase of new books and magazines and any issues that have been raised by Members.

One of the committee’s primary responsibilities is to deliver a monthly Book Break event, with an author presenting his or her latest work and then taking part in a discussion with Members. “We discuss possible speakers at our monthly meetings and generally try to get authors of books about Japan or at least about East Asia. It varies from politics through economics, cultural issues, history, international relations and even some non-fiction books,” said Koichi Ishiyama, the other committee co-chair.

“To make an event viable for the Club, we need 15 people to attend and it is rare that we don’t get that many people, with 30 guests about the average,” Ishiyama said. The late Japanologist Dr. Donald Keene attracted nearly 90 guests when he spoke at the Club around four years ago, while ninjutsu master Masaaki Hatsumi brought in 127 for “Dojo Giga Heaven.”


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Co-chair Suvendrini Kakuchi.

OTHER EVENTS THAT HAVE proved particularly successful have been tie-ins with the publication of books, such as the memorable evening events dedicated to ninjas and practitioners of traditional Japanese tattoo artistry.

“We often get too many proposals, or a book might be too similar to something that we had relatively recently,” said Ishiyama. “But Book Break events are really important to the Club because they generate revenue and raise our profile. The Tokyo American Club and the Mori Hills Club, both of which have lending libraries for their members, don’t have anything similar. Since they are effectively our rivals, these events give us something unique and can attract new members to the FCCJ.”

Ishiyama says he considers being a member of the committee something of a perk when it comes to meeting famous authors who are releasing new and interesting books. “These are people that I’d probably never otherwise get a chance to meet,” he said. “They are really smart, they’re incredibly interesting to talk with and they’ve just written books that a lot of people want to read. I’m lucky to be able to speak with them.”

Members donate around 15 books to the library every month, while the committee approves the purchase of at least five new titles each time they meet. On occasion, when the selection is of a particularly high standard, that list expands to 10 books.

A good portion of the rest of the committee’s time is spent dealing with queries and complaints from users of the facilities, or issues that crop up – anything from a mug of coffee being spilled into one of the communal computers to articles being torn out of the shared newspapers or someone not being quite as considerate towards others as they should. Ishiyama shrugs: “It happens, and we have to deal with it.”

THERE HAVE BEEN A number of minor glitches in the library and correspondents’ work room that only became apparent after the move was completed, Ishiyama says, but are being ironed out. The layout of the space has been tweaked as it became apparent where improvements could be made, while other enhancements – such as better lighting in the area set aside for easy chairs and shared computer terminals – are being planned.

By and large, Club Members who use the space and staff who work there are extremely happy with facilities that are approximately 20 percent larger than the library in the Club’s former premises and far more stylish and up-to-date. What pleases Ishiyama and the committee most of all, however, is the sudden end to the disappearance of the library’s books and periodicals. 

“In the old library, we were losing around 200 books every year,” he said. “The stacks were open and anyone could go in, so people would take books and not always return them. That meant that we had to use our budget to replace those books every year.” The layout of the new book cases, and the need for anyone who wants to rummage through the selection to check in with the librarian first, appears to have remedied that problem, Ishiyama said.

Hiroko Moriwaki, who has served as the head librarian for six years, says the new database makes locating books easier, and the “more spacious and modern” library space makes her job more enjoyable. “Everyone who comes here to work likes the new facilities,” she said. “I think all the members of the committee are working very hard for the rest of the Club.

“It’s just a nice place to work.” ❶

Julian Ryall is Japan correspondent for the Daily Telegraph.

New in the library


The Bluestockings of Japan: New Woman Essays and Fiction from Seitō, 1911-16
Jan Bardsley
Center for Japanese Studies, The University of Michigan


Beyond the Gender Gap in Japan
Gill Steel (ed.)
University of Michigan Press


Ethical Capitalism : Shibusawa Eiichi and Business Leadership in Global Perspective
Patrick Fridenson and Kikkawa Takeo (ed.)
University of Toronto Press
Gift from Masahide Shibusawa


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The Unmaking of an American : a Memoir of Life in the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia
Roger Pulvers
Balestier Press
Gift from Roger Pulvers


New Members



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SAGUSTIN DE GRACIA is the Tokyo bureau chief for Agencia EFE, the Spanish news agency. He arrived in July, 2018, after four years as New York bureau chief covering Wall St. and the UN. He began his career on the news desk in 1979 – a position that has been followed with stints around the globe, from North America (Mexico, U.S.), Central America (El Salvador, Panama) and South America (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay), to Sub Saharan Africa and the Middle East.


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KATHRIN ERDMANN is the East Asia correspondent for ARD German Radio, part of the largest broadcasting network in Europe. Born in Berlin, she studied Political Sciences at Freie Universität Berlin, followed by “Volontariat” – a journalist apprenticeship. After working for an internet magazine, a public news radio station in Berlin and for Euronews in Lyon, in 2005 she moved to Hamburg to NDR. She won the “Deutschen Radiopreis” for one of her reports in 2011.


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YASUHIKO HORI is the general manager and chief foreign news editor for TV Tokyo Corporation. He graduated with a B.A. from the California State University, Hayward in 1984 and joined TV Tokyo the next year. His 30 years as a TV journalist has included 3 years as the New York bureau chief, and experience producing special programs featuring the popular journalist/commentator Akira Ikegami. He took on his present role at the company in 2018.



Takao Nagatake, Chunichi Shimbun
Kenichi Sakuma, Makino Publishing
Co., Ltd.


Goya Furukawa, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation
Shinichi Fukuoka, Real Estate Research Institute, Inc.
Ichiro Ishikawa, K And Blue Co., Ltd.
Satoshi Ihara, Sun Realty & Insurance Corporation
Masatoshi Kato, Nikka Shoko Co., Ltd.
Makoto Miyauchi, Toin Hospital
Yoko Niwa, Real Estate Research Institute, Inc.
Munenori Ogata, MUFG Bank, Ltd.
Tomohiro Omoda, Central Japan International Airport Co., Ltd.
Yohei Suzuki, Shihodo Gallery
Yasuhiro Tamai, K And Blue Co., Ltd.
Yoshinao Takashima, Tokyo Maine & Nichido Fire Insurance
Ichiro Yonahara, Japan Steels International Co., Ltd.


Noriko Takaku, No affiliation



Join the Film Committee . . .

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. . . on Thursday, April 4 at 6:30 pm for the must-see documentary debut of Miki Dezaki – Shusenjo: The Main Battleground of the Comfort Women Issue. Amassing the type of balanced, in-depth reporting that was once the purview of the news media, Dezaki spent several years meeting with a wide-ranging group of experts and eyewitnesses, gathering footage on this most contentious of disputes between Japan and Korea. As the film patiently deconstructs the dominant narratives and uncovers the hidden intentions of both supporters and detractors, it reveals that few are innocent of fanning the flames of outrage – and that few of us understand just why the issue has become so incendiary. Dezaki will join us for the Q&A session after the screening.

(USA, 2018; 122 minutes; in Japanese, English and Korean with Japanese and English subtitles.)
Karen Severns

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Hanif’s birthday

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Celebrating with Hanif were Anthony Rowley, Bob Kirschenbaum,
Mary Corbett, Pio d’Emilia and Pio’s friend Raffaela Cittadini.


FCCJ Members threw a surprise birthday dinner for long-serving star of the Club restaurant, Mohamed Hanif, at Antichi Sapori, an Italian restaurant in Minami Azabu. He was gifted a Marinella necktie – one of the oldest and most exclusive brands of tie in the world, made in Naples, Italy. People from Hollywood stars to Barack Obama possess one of these ties, as now does Hanif (who was made in Pakistan 67 years ago).

In Memoriam - Fumio Matsuo

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FUMIO MATSUO, ONE OF our most distinguished regular members and a veteran Japanese journalist known for his efforts in calling for “true” postwar reconciliation between Japan and the U.S, died of natural causes on Feb. 26 while on a trip to New York state where he was visiting his family. He was 85. 

A native of Tokyo, Matsuo joined Kyodo News in 1956 after graduating from Gakushuin University. He served as Kyodo’s correspondent in New York and Washington D.C. from 1964-69 and as Bangkok bureau chief from 1972-75, where he was president of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Bangkok from 1973-74. He returned to Washington as bureau chief from 1981 to mid 1984. He became a member of the FCCJ in 1985. When he retired from Kyodo he was deputy director of the agency’s economic news department. “He was a tough boss,” recalls Shiro Yoneyama, who worked under him at Kyodo. “But his colleagues admired his talent.”

In 2002 at the age of 68, he came out of retirement and returned to journalism, writing articles calling on Japanese and U.S. leaders to pay respective visits to Hiroshima and Pearl Harbor in symbolic acts of reconciliation between the former wartime foes. He received the Japan National Press Club Award in 2017 for helping the realization of landmark visits to these historic sites in 2016 by then U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Matsuo was recognized as an expert on U.S. political affairs. His interest in the United States stemmed from experiencing as a nine-year old schoolboy the Doolittle Raid on the Japanese capital and other places on April 18, 1942 following Japan’s December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. 

In 2004, he published the book, Democracy with a Gun: America and the Policy of Force, which won the 52nd Annual Award of the Japan Essayist Club and was translated into English in 2007. His editorial, “Tokyo Needs its Dresden Moment” in the Wall Street Journal of Aug. 16, 2005, generated significant discussion on both sides of the Pacific on the nature of reconciliation. Other books included The Day President Obama Offers Flowers at Hiroshima in 2009 and The Accommodating History of the U.S.-China Relationship in 2017. 

Although modestly regarding himself as one of the “analog generation,” he established his own home page and developed a blog – “America Watch” – to help get his message of “true reconciliation” across.

At the FCCJ, he was a familiar figure in the Main Bar, where he frequently held court at one of the Correspondents’ Tables.

Kyodo and other sources

Lens craft

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Stage right
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe walks to the podium before delivering
a speech at the LDP’s annual convention on Feb. 10
by Tomohiro Ohsumi


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A long night
A long-exposure shot from above Minato-ku in Tokyo
by Stirling Elmendorf


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Tasting victory 
Kawasaki Frontale’s Leandro Damiao celebrates his goal against 
Urawa Reds in the Fuji Xerox Super Cup in Saitama on Feb. 16
by Yoshikazu Tsuno

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