From the Editor

Justin McCurry

This issue of the Number 1 Shimbun leads with tributes to our friend and colleague Bob Kirschenbaum, who died towards the end of last year. As well as tributes from members, we have reprinted a 2016 profile from “the other Bob” – his great friend Robert Neff. Elsewhere, N. Shibly cautions the media against indulging dog-whistle politics in times of conflict, while FCCJ members offer their 2024 predictions for Japan and beyond. In their regular columns, Philip Brasor surveys recent blanket coverage of “malicious” host clubs, and Eric Johnston looks at what the coming year has in store for Hokkaido. Based on high-profile press conferences the FCCJ has hosted in recent weeks, Ilgin Yorulmaz salutes the bravery of Rina Gonoi, who called out sexual abuse in Japan’s self-defense forces, and David McNeill looks at the host club problem from the perspective of two men whose nonprofit helps female patrons who are coerced into sex work to pay off their debts.

Cover artwork: Julio Shiiki - Photo courtesy of Bob Kirschenbaum's family.