Hans' YouTube Book Japanese Society and Culture in Perspective
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Painting by Jiro Oyamada from Brinckmann's private collection
Photo © Hans Brinckmann

Habri Opinion Habri Diary Attention!

This is the season of the cherry blossoms, when in Japan we all rejoice at the sight and fragrance of spring's harbinger - the Japanese sakura. So why don't we welcome you with a happy picture of a flowering cherry tree instead of this depressing image of a worn-out human effigy, painted by avant-garde artist Jiro Oyamada (1914-1991)?

You will find the answer in the Habri Diary of this month, where we report on the shocking number of Japanese workers who die from overwork, and the decision by the Abe administration to cap overtime to - get this - 100 hours a month, that's an average of 5 hours' overwork per weekday! I know, that's the maximum. But don't be fooled. Heavy overwork is entrenched in Japan's business culture. As a result, many workers end up feeling like the figure above...

To balance the negative news about Prime Minister Abe - and there's more - we also report on something positive: the huge amount of cash lost and found in Tokyo and reported to the police.And, oh, something about Brexit having been in the air for the past 20 years or longer, as perceived by yours truly, Hans Brinckmann, in a lengthy article he wrote in April 1997 for a Dutch daily newspaper...

In Attention! we report on Brinckmann's recent lecture in Tokyo based on his memoir of the last winter of the Second World War in his native Holland, known as the Hongerwinter, the winter of starvation. And to balance that, we've added some cherry viewing images at the end of Habri Diary. Enjoy the virtual hanami!