From the Editor

Justin McCurry

As the December issue of the Number 1 Shimbun neared completion, we learned the sad news that Robert Kirschenbaum, an FCCJ member for six decades, had died at a nursing home in Tokyo. He was 87. A wine lover, Bob was a familiar face in the club bar, where he would greet people with a huge smile and an invitation to chat. In his last email to me, he offered support for the Number 1 Shimbun but implored me to do more to promote it to a wider readership on social media. That’s on my (long) list of New Year’s resolutions. This issue leads with a review by me and David McNeill of Japan in 2023 - a year dominated by rising prices, extreme weather, the Unification Church scandal and, finally, the unraveling of the media omerta surrounding the serial child sex abuser Johnny Kitagawa. Elsewhere, Dylan O’Brien explains how Japan’s historical ties with Israel help shape domestic coverage of the Hamas-Israel war, while Ilgin Yorulmaz highlights award-winning women in photography. In their regular columns, Philip Brasor looks at the parlous state of sex education in Japanese schools, while Eric Johnston sounds a warning over the impact the 2024 Problem will have on Hokkaido’s logistics sector and wider economy. Drawing on a recent Deep Dive event at the club, Anthony Rowley asks if the world is heading for another Black Monday.

Artwork by Julio Shiiki