My AP Stories in 2020

I do stories and sometimes photos and video for The Associated Press, the world’s biggest and most trusted news organization. The link to all my stories in 2019 and 2018, and I’m starting anew here with all my AP Stories in 2020, the Year of the Mouse:

My AP Story May 28, 2020 on how Nissan is closing auto plants, in Spain and in Indonesia, as it sinks into losses for the first time in 11 years.

My AP Story April 26, 2020 on how Japan is low-tech and challenged

My AP Story May 23, 2020 on the virus outbreak today.

My AP Story May 22, 2020 on the Bank of Japan helping provide lending to small and medium-size businesses amid pandemic hardships.

My AP Story April 11, 2020, an obit on Nobuhiko Obayashi, who devoted his works to depicting war’s horrors and singing the eternal power of movies.

My AP Story Jan. 23, 2020 with AP Photos by my colleague Jae C. Hong on the homeless of Tokyo and how they fear removal as the Olympics approach.

My AP Story May 6, 2020 on a 16-year-old who cared enough to come up with a free iPhone app to help people record their whereabouts to track possible virus infection.

My AP Story May 18, 2020 on Japan sinking into a recession amid the pandemic.

My AP Story May 21, 2020 on how exports are plunging for recession-hit Japan in their worst fall in a decade.

My AP Story May 7, 2020 on how Nintendo profits rose as people stay home and play video games amid the pandemic.

My AP Story April 10, 2020 on Toyota Chief Executive Akio Toyoda promising the Japanese auto industry will save jobs.

My AP Story April 2, 2020 on the workers at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

My AP Story April 3, 2020 on how the Athletes Village for the Tokyo Olympics could house virus patients.

My AP Story April 3, 2020 with My AP Photos on a paternity harassment case in Japan.

My AP Story April 2, 2020 on SoftBank ending its tender offer on WeWork.

My AP Story April 20, 2020 on Japan’s exports in March diving over the pandemic.

My AP Story March 8, 2020 of our daily virus story roundup, focusing on Italy’s quarantine of its northern areas.

My AP Sports Story March 2, 2020 on how the Japanese professional baseball season is in doubt.

My AP Story March 4, 2020 on a minister commenting about the Tokyo Olympics perhaps being postponed until later in the year.

My AP Story Feb. 15, 2020 with yet another photo by Jae C. Hong on how the U.S. Embassy says Americans aboard the quarantined ship will be flown home.

My AP Story Feb. 17, 2020 on 99 new cases confirmed on the Diamond Princess.

My AP Story Feb. 21, 2020 on how the virus outbreak may slash $29 billion from airlines’ revenue.

I’m a Contributor to this AP Story Feb. 17, 2020 on Americans getting flown out, off the cruise ship Diamond Princess.

My AP Story Feb. 17, 2020 on the Japanese economy sinking amid virus fears.

I’m a Contributor to this AP Story Feb. 16, 2020 on the ongoing virus outbreak and reactions from the world, including Japan.

My AP Story Feb. 12, 2020 on how Guinness certifies a Japanese as the oldest man.

And My followup Story Feb. 25, 2020 that he died.

My co-byline AP Story Jan. 29, 2020, on how the new virus poses a threat to a fragile world economy.

I am a contributor to this AP Story Feb. 7, 2020, about how the flow of Chinese tourists has declined after the virus outbreak.

Mario like Mickey? My AP Story Jan. 31, 2020, on how Nintendo is banking on profits from characters.

My AP Story Jan. 30, 2020, on how Toyota’s global vehicle sales for last year trails Volkswagen’s.

My AP Story Feb. 25, 2020 on Japan ordering 20 more Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

My AP Story Jan. 27, 2020 on how Bryant’s death is drawing tributes from Asia.

THE YEAR STARTS OFF WITH MY COVERAGE OF CARLOS GHOSN

My AP Story Jan. 9, 2020 about how Ghosn as fugitive is bringing global attention to Japanese justice.

My AP Story Jan. 30, 2020 on how Japan is seeking the arrest of Ghosn and three Americans who allegedly helped his escape.

My AP Story Jan 4, 2020 on how Ghosn’s lawyer is as outraged by Japan’s legal system as by the escape.

My AP Story Feb. 13, 2020 on Nissan sinking into losses as vehicle sales plummet.

My AP Story Feb. 18, 2020 on Nissan’s shareholders’ meeting where some began shouting angrily about crashing stock prices, zero dividends and quarterly losses after the Ghosn scandal.

My AP Story Feb. 12, 2020 on Nissan suing Ghosn seeking damages.

My AP Story Jan. 12, 2020 how the lawyer tallied the questioning of his client without a lawyer present, found it averaged seven hours a day.

My AP Story Jan. 3, 2020 on what’s known and not known about Ghosn’s case after his escape.

My AP Story Jan. 7, 2020 on arrest warrant for Nissan ex-chair’s wife Carole and Nissan saying Ghosn is still responsible for “serious misconduct.

My AP Story Feb. 28, 2020 on Japan sending justice official to Lebanon.

My AP Story Jan. 5, 2020 on Japan saying Ghosn’s escape was inexcusable, and it has ordered an investigation

My AP Story Jan. 10, 2010 on Ghosn’s lawyer slamming Japanese justice minister’s gaffe about suspects having to “prove” innocence.

My AP Story Jan. 16, 2020 on Hironaka and his team quitting from Ghosn’s defense.

My AP Story Jan. 17, 2020 on Ghosn’s lawyers refuting Nissan’s take on what happened.

My AP Story Jan. 6, 2020 on Justice Minister Masako Mori telling reporters Japan will improve border checks, bail after Ghosn flight.

My AP Story Jan. 3, 2020 on how Ghosn made his escape on a chartered plane, a co-byline with my colleague in Turkey.

My AP Story Jan. 1, 2020 on how by jumping bail, fugitive Carlos Ghosn is burning bridges to Japan.

My AP Story Jan. 2, 2020 on how prosecutors are raiding Ghosn’s Tokyo home.

RANDOM RENEGADE RENGA by TAYLOR MIGNON and YURI KAGEYAMA

Taylor Mignon _ photo by Joe Zanghi

RANDOM RENEGADE RENGA   

Written by Taylor Mignon and Yuri Kageyama

In Tokyo Spring 2020 as the World trembles in face of the Pandemic but Poets believe in the Power of the Word   

Santana muzak Oye Como Va

Make us yearn for Devo lounge

Digging Mi Ritmo in our Minyo village

Enya to tto Enya to tto Tito Puente

 —

 On the black sugar cane field a hurricane

 saved by voices: Ne Nezu & Yuricane

 —

 He came to her room, said little then went on

 To kill himself; jisatsu nante zurui (自殺なんてズルイ) So selfish so selfish

 —

彼は誰?何と言うてました?なんで自殺したんだろう。「質問祭り」

 —

The Poet with The Questions

 Taylor Mignon Taylor Mignon? Taylor Mignon!

Kageyama encapsulates tortoise mountain, Turtle Island & Yaponesia cornucopia

 —

Taylor is Razor Music entwined, David Bowie James Brown

Red Hot Chili Peppers George Clinton the Parliament-Funkadelic

Peter Tosh dangerous, yes to DB, P-Funk, JB —pass on Chili—am more Epic

Epic Poet Taylor screaming Eternal Tokyo  

Ephemeral this world this thought this poem

My Name Is Rio skips in this stuck lift, Duran Duran sand dance

The scream of poetry that pierces Tokyo

Hear him scream

(notes for Taylor reading: screams loud and long)

The funkqueen of poesie that grooves Tokyo

(Hear her riff, adlib or skat)

From funk fusion to depa-chika to Icarus galaxy to Joni Mitchell and back,

Taylor and Yuri are done but only for now    

AN UNDENIABLE FACT A haiku by Yuri Kageyama March 8, 2020 8:55 a.m.

AN UNDENIABLE FACT

A haiku by Yuri Kageyama

March 8, 2020 8:55 a.m.

Some

Writing

has no

Soul

No Voice (No Story being told)

It

Comes

from

Within

The Toy the Other Child has _ a poem by Yuri Kageyama


The Toy the Other Child is playing with, that’s the Toy he wants

Not that there aren’t a lot of other Toys

It has to be that one, no other,

The one the Other Child has

___

When the Other Child picks up another Toy, he drops the one in his hand

Not that there aren’t a lot of other Toys

That’s not the point, which is

The one the Other Child has

___

It goes around and around, reaching for what the Other Child picks

Not that there aren’t a lot of other Toys

It’s the Other Child’s having that makes him want,

Snatching what the Other Child has

___

The Other Child says: I’m going into my own room and shutting the door

There are so many Toys all over the world

As long as there’s a creative mind, a loving heart

I don’t need anyone else’s anything

___

It’s said the Other Child grew up to be a happy adult, and his children

Played with, oh, so many Toys

The one who kept taking the Toys shriveled up in a ball of hate

And died of empty envy.


SOME PEOPLE a poem by Yuri Kageyama

Artwork by Munenori Tamagawa

SOME PEOPLE a poem by Yuri Kageyama

Some people are Poison
In sheer Presence
Even from afar
Some people are Garbage
A stench of Gibberish
Even from afar
Some people are Ineffectual
A blob hanger-on
Even from afar
Some people are Broken
A Godzillion pieces
Never whole again
Some people are Forgotten
Hidden unbleedingly silent
Into the flesh of scars
Some people are Music
Wafting healing savory sweet
Even from afar

Haiku in Amsterdam

Self-Portrait by Van Gogh at the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam

Haiku in Amsterdam

By Yuri Kageyama (written in Amsterdam Sept. 2019.)

Like any city a Chinese restaurant

Glasses black hair he works hard

He is your son your first date

Your father

Your Lover for life

That Chinaman found everywhere

Our History

Our eternal plight

And he makes me fill with

Pity pride tears

While on the topic of Van Gogh in this Amsterdam reference, sharing my poem “Haiku for Van Gogh” in a reading from several years ago in San Francisco, with bass by Hiroyuki Shido.

My recent stories for The Associated Press

MY RECENT STORIES FOR THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, WHERE I WORK AS A REPORTER AND SOMETIMES ALSO DO PHOTOS AND VIDEO

Below are my AP stories for 2019 and 2018.

Please go to this site for my AP stories for 2020.

Please CLICK on the headlines below to jump to the full stories:

My AP Story Dec. 14, 2019 with My AP Photos about how cries of abuse in the Catholic Church are starting to be heard in Japan.

My AP Story Dec. 19, 2019 on Toyota’s upgraded humanoid robot.

My AP Story Dec. 8, 2019 on historical documents showing Japan’s role in WWII sex slaves.

My AP Story Nov. 25, 2019 on Iwao Hakamada, a former boxer who spent 48 years in prison for murders he says he didn’t commit, taking part in Pope Francis’ Mass at the Tokyo Dome. 

In this photo provided by Mario Marazziti, Iwao Hakamada sits in his seat at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo as he waits for Pope Frances’ Holy Mass on Monday, Nov. 25, 2019. Hakamada, a former Japanese professional boxer who spent 48 years in prison for murders he says he did not commit was among some 50,000 people greeting Pope Francis as he entered Tokyo Dome stadium to celebrate Mass on Monday. (Mario Marazziti/Giovanna Ayako via AP)

 

My AP Story Oct. 28, 2019 on Japanese film director Nobuhiko Obayashi, I also did AP Photos.

My AP Story Nov. 19, 2019 on Toyota worker’s suicide ruled work-related after harassment.

 

My AP Story Oct. 9, 2019 on a Court hearing a case on paternity leave at a Japanese brokerage.

 

My AP Story Sept. 9, 2019 with My AP Photo on paternity harassment lawsuits in Japan highlighting plight of dads.

My AP Story Sept. 12, 2019 on the Asics case opening.

My AP Story Oct. 12, 2019 on the typhoon that hit Tokyo and surrounding areas.

 

My AP Story Oct. 15, 2019 on how Japan had not been prepared for the typhoon in a new era of climate change.

 

My AP Story Oct. 13, 2019 the day after the typhoon on the flooding and rescue efforts.

 

My AP Story Oct. 14, 2019, on the continued search for missing people. 

I’m a Contributor to this AP Story Dec. 5, 2019, about a Japanese doctor killed in a shooting in Afghanistan. 

My Story Dec. 8, 2019, on his body coming home.

My AP Story Sept. 12, 2019 about Yahoo Japan making a tender offer for retailer Zozo at $3.7 billion.

My AP Story Aug. 5, 2019 on Japan’s NEC showing its “flying car.”

 It flew substantially longer than another flying car from Japan demonstrated in 2017: 

 

 

My AP Story Sept. 13, 2019 on Pope Francis’ visit to Japan and Thailand set for November.

 

My AP Story Aug. 19, 2019 on the history behind the worsening ties between South Korea and Japan, a collaboration with my Seoul colleague Kim Tong Hyung.

My AP Story Aug. 21, 2019 on the US Marines chief being worried about deteriorating Japan-Korea ties with My AP Photos.

 

My AP Story June 5, 2019 on how in #MeToo era a Japanese woman slams #KuToo heels dress code.  

My AP Story Aug. 20, 2019, on documents showing Japan’s wartime emperor had deep regrets.

My AP Story July 22, 2019 on Olympic robots.

 

My AP Story May 25, 2019 on how trade is a big issue during President Donald Trump’s state visit, but the deficit problem is worse with neighboring China. 

My AP Story July 1, 2019, co-bylined with my colleague in Seoul Hyung-jin Kim, on Japan’s restrictions on exports to South Korea. 

My AP Story May 21, 2019 on how Trump’s checking out sumo during his state visit is proving a head-ache. 

 

 

My AP Story April 1, 2019 on Toyota’s robot that can’t slam dunk but shoots  mean 3-pointer.  

 

 

My AP Story and My AP Photos May 13, 2019 on the U.S. Agriculture Secretary’s barbecue to sell Japan on buying American beef. 

 

My AP Story May 17, 2019 on a court case looking at the legality of Taiji dolphin killing, made famous in the Oscar-winning film “The Cove.” 

My AP Story May 29, 2019 about Japan’s aid to Bangladesh during leader’s visit.  

My coverage of Carlos Ghosn

My AP Story Dec. 31, 2019 on how Ghosn says he is in Lebanon and left Japan because of “injustice.”

My AP Story Nov. 22, 2019 on a court allowing Carlos Ghosn to talk with his wife Carole, whom he has not been able to talk or meet with for eight months.

My AP Story Oct. 24, 2019 on how Carlos Ghosn’s defense team is asking charges be dismissed, alleging widespread prosecutorial misconduct will endanger his getting a fair trial.

My AP Story Aug. 6, 2019 on how Mrs. Carole Ghosn is protesting the restrictions on communicating with her husband.

My AP Story April 17, 2019, in which I interview Mrs. Carole Ghosn. She says her husband is ready for a fight but she fears he may not get a fair trial.

My AP Story June 1, 2019, in which I interview Takashi Takano, a lawyer for Carlos Ghosn who criticized the bail conditions that prevent his client from seeing his wife as violating human rights.    

My AP Story Dec. 10, 2019, on Japanese regulators recommending a $22 million fine on Nissan.

My AP Story Dec. 2, 2019, on the new CEO Makoto Uchida stressing the importance of the Renault alliance.  

My AP Story Sept. 9, 2019 on Nissan’s Saikawa tendering his resignation after receiving dubious payments.  

My AP Story Oct. 8, 2019 on Nissan picking head of the China business as Saikawa’s replacement. 

 

My AP Story Sept. 5, 2019 about Nissan’s chief saying he got dubious payments but didn’t know.

My AP Story Oct. 23, 2019 on the Tokyo Motor Show, which had futuristic technology galore but Ghosn was gone.

My AP Story Sept. 3, 2019 on the new Tokyo chief prosecutor defending his office’s handling of Ghosn’s case.  

My AP Story July 25, 2019 on Nissan slashing 12,500 jobs as it reports dismal earnings. 

My AP Story July 24 2019 on Nissan directors on governance promising reforms but say job cuts are also coming. 

 

My AP Story June 7, 2019, about how Nissan had no say but had the technology that drove the merger talks between Renault and Fiat Chrysler. 

My AP Story June 5, 2019, about how the merger talks had left Nissan out in the cold. 

My AP Story Oct. 24, 2019 about Nissan, eager to put Ghosn scandal behind it, shows technology.

My AP Story June 10, 2019 about my visit to the Tokyo Detention House, where Ghosn was held for 130 days.

 

My AP Story June 25, 2019 on Nissan’s shareholders meeting where they approve governance steps and keep Saikawa on its board. 

My AP Story June 12, 2019 on how proxy companies are advising Nissan shareholders against approving the reappointment of Hiroto Saikawa as a board director.

My AP Story May 29, 2019 on Renault talking with Nissan about the Fiat Chrysler merger proposal.  

 

My AP Story June 20, 2019 about Mitsubishi Motors shareholders approving the ouster of Ghosn.

 

 

My AP Story May 13, 2019 A takeout on Nissan without Ghosn.

 

My AP Story May 14, 2019 on Nissan’s earnings results, slammed by Ghosn’s arrest. 

My AP Story April 25, 2019, in which a court approves Ghosn’s release on bail for his rearrest, and Ghosn walks out of detention.

 

My AP Story April 9, 2019 on Carlos Ghosn’s video statement in which he says a “conspiracy” at Nissan led to his arrest.

 

 

My AP Story May 17, 2019 about Nissan proposing new board members including Renault’s Bollore.

My AP Story May 9, 2019 on court denying appeal on restrictions about Ghosn’s contact with his wife. 

 

 

My AP Story April 4, 2019 about the rearrest of Carlos Ghosn on fresh allegations despite his release on bail.

 

 

My AP Story April 24, 2019 on Nissan slashing profit forecast on Ghosn fallout. 

My AP Story April 8, 2019 on Nissan shareholders approving Ghosn’s outster from the company board.

My AP Story April 10, 2019 on Ghosn’s lawyers appealing to the Supreme Court over the latest detention.

 

My AP Story April 11, 2019 about his wife getting questioned in a Tokyo court.

My AP Story April 7, 2019 on his lawyer clarifying the conditions for his initial release on bail.

My AP Story April 12, 2019 about his detention being approved through April 22.

My AP Story April 5, 2019 about his detention being approved through April 14.

My AP Story April 3, 2019 about Carlos Ghosn saying he will hold a news conference April 11,  noting he is ready to tell the truth about what’s happening.

My AP Story March 27, 2019, on Nissan’s governance committee that says Ghosn had too much power.

My AP Story March 12, 2019 on how Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi, with Ghosn gone, is forming a new alliance board.

My AP Story March 11, 2019 on a Tokyo court rejecting Ghosn’s request to go to a Nissan board meeting.

My AP Story March 8, 2019 on lawyer apologizing for Ghosn’s ‘disguise’ during his release.

My AP Story March 7, 2019 on the Japan reaction to Ghosn’s release.

My AP Story March 6, 2019 on Ghosn released from detention after more than 100 days.

My AP Story March 5, 2019 on the back and forth on the bail release.

My AP Story March 4, 2019 on Ghosn’s new lawyer Junichiro Hironaka hoping to gain release on bail.

My AP Story Feb. 13, 2019 on Carlos Ghosn tapping a lawyer famous for acquittals for his defense, replacing his previous attorney, a former prosecutor . 

My AP Story Feb. 15, 2019 on Ghosn’s new power defense: The high-profile cases by Junichiro Hironaka. Yoichi Kitamura, the attorney for Greg Kelly, who was arrested with Ghosn, was also on the defense team of Ichiro Ozawa, one of Hironaka’s acquittal wins.

My AP Story Feb. 28, 2019 on Ghosn’s new lawyers requesting release on bail. 

 

My reporting on Mr. Hironaka’s news conference April 2, 2019 is the bottom part of this AP Story out of Paris.

 

My AP Story Jan. 21, 2019 on Carlos Ghosn requesting bail and promising to live in Japan, wear an ankle tether and hire security, while asserting his innocence.

My AP Story Jan. 22, 2019 on bail being denied.

My AP Story Nov. 19, 2018 on the arrest of Carlos Ghosn, who led Nissan for nearly two decades. The arrest was on allegations he falsified his income reporting.

My AP Story Jan. 8, 2019, on Carlos Ghosn appearing in court to assert his innocence and question his detention nearly two months after his arrest.

Habeas corpus? In Japan, “hostage justice” My AP Story Dec. 23, 2018.

I am a contributor to this AP Story Feb. 8, 2019, with comments from Ghosn’s lawyer and spokeswoman about his Versailles wedding: Ghosn paid for all expenses, didn’t know the rental would be charged to Renault and offers to reimburse Renault.

Nissan CEO at the news conference in Yokohama headquarters. Photo by Shuji Kajiyama.

A COUP OR NOT A COUP? THAT IS THE QUESTION: My AP Story Dec. 13, 2018 on how the arrest of Nissan star Ghosn is raising such speculation

My AP Story Jan. 11, 2019 on Carlos Ghosn being charged with breach of trust, making his release unlikely for months to come.

My AP Story Jan. 18, 2019, on Mitsubishi Motors board considering new allegations against Ghosn.

My feet visible in the media huddle.

My AP Story Jan. 15, 2019, on Carlos Ghosn’s request for release on bail denied.

My AP Story Jan. 14, 2019 on how Carlos Ghosn’s wife slams detention as “draconian” in a letter.

My AP Story Jan. 11, 2019 on Carlos Ghosn coming down a fever and his wife issuing a statement.

My AP Story Dec. 5, 2018. I interview the Brazilian consul general in Tokyo, who says Carlos Ghosn is holding up, not worried about his plight and just asked he bring him thrillers next time, not the philosophy and history books he’d brought.

My AP Story Nov. 30, 2018 on the lawyer for the executive arrested with Ghosn, Greg Kelly, who says his client is innocent and abided by law and company policy.

My AP Story Dec. 31, 2018 about the court extending Ghosn’s detention by 10 days through Jan. 11.

The Tokyo Detention Center

My AP Story Dec. 3, 2018 on how Ghosn’s case highlights corporate governance failings in Japan

My AP Story Nov. 22, 2018 on Nissan’s board meeting voting unanimously to dismiss Ghosn as chairman.

My AP Story Nov. 27, 2018 on East-West auto alliances.

My AP Story Feb. 5, 2019 on Nissan board tapping Renault’s Senard and setting extraordinary shareholder’s meeting. 

My AP Story Jan. 30, 2019 on Nikkei’s interview with Ghosn in detention, quoting him as saying a “plot and treason” led to his arrest.

My AP Story Dec. 17, 2018 on how Nissan decides not to name a new chairman as a replacement for the ousted Ghosn.

My AP Story Nov. 26, 2018 on Mitsubishi Motors firing Ghosn as chairman.

My AP Story Dec. 10, 2018, on Ghosn getting charged by Tokyo prosecutors.

My AP Story Dec. 12, 2018 about Greg Kelly’s lawyers protesting prolonged detention

My AP Story Dec. 11, 2018 about Ghosn’s detention being extended through Dec. 20

My AP Story Jan. 9, 2019 on Nissan’s unveiling the new Leaf electric car after Ghosn’s arrest delayed it.

My AP Story Jan. 9, 2019 on Tokyo court turning down Ghosn’s appeal of long detention.

My AP Story Dec. 7, 2018, on Nissan disclosing more dubious inspections.

My AP Story Jan. 12, 2019, on Jose Munoz resigning from Nissan, the first high-profile departure publicly acknowledged as related to Ghosn’s arrest.

My AP Story Jan. 5, 2019 on a Nissan executive going on leave for tasks related to Ghosn’s arrest.

My AP Story Jan. 30, 2019 about global auto sales for Toyota, Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi versus Volkswagen.

More recent stories:

 

My AP Story June 5, 2019, about Mark Karpeles starting a blockchain business while fighting for exoneration.  

 

 

My AP Story March 29, 2019 about Mark Karpeles, former head of bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, appealing the ruling.

My AP Story March 15, 2019 about Karpeles’ getting a suspended sentence, avoiding jail time, on data manipulation but cleared of other charges.

 

 

My AP Story May 9, 2019 about Toyota and Panasonic combining their housing businesses in Japan.

My AP Story March 9, 2019 about Guinness naming Japanese woman as oldest person at 116.

My story about architect Arata Isozaki awarded the Pritzker

 

My AP Story March 6, 2019 on Isozaki being honored with architecture’s highest award.

My coverage of Shinya Tsukamoto, a legendary filmmaker

My AP Story on Shinya Tsukamoto’s new film “Killing,” inspired by the masters, horror of violence

And My AP Interview with the director Shinya Tsukamoto from last year.

My coverage of Okinawa and Gov. Denny Tamaki

My AP Story March 1, 2019 when Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki talks about his meeting with the prime minister on the referendum that rejected the Henoko relocation plan.

Denny Tamaki

My AP Interview with Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki Oct. 31, 2018.

My AP Story Feb. 25, 2019 on the referendum on the U.S. base plan.

My AP Story Feb. 24, 2019 on the referendum on the U.S. base plan. 

Denny Tamaki

My AP Story Oct. 1, 2018 when Denny Tamaki, critic of U.S. bases on Okinawa, won the election

My AP Story Oct. 2, 2018 on how the new Okinawa chief embodies the complexity of Japan’s U.S. bases

My reporting on the Mayweather exhibition fight in Japan

My AP Story Dec. 31, 2018, on how Mayweather stopped Nasukawa in the first round, flooring him three times.

My AP Story Dec. 29, 2018 when Mayweather arrives at last for the fight.

My AP Story Dec. 18, 2018 on how opponent Tenshin Nasukawa is looking for a real fight.

My AP Story on how the fight is on again Nov. 18, 2018.

My AP Stories on Naomi Osaka

My AP Story Jan. 24, 2019 on how Nissin drops Osaka ad after complaints but star remains focused on the game.

Naomi Osaka and Citizen

Naomi Osaka headed for big money with Japan, global appeal

Naomi Osaka and Nissan

The latest in my Godzilla coverage

godzilla

My AP Story and My AP Photo on Godzilla Oct. 31, 2018.

More recent stories:

Japan’s minister of cybersecurity has never used computer. My AP Story Nov. 15, 2018.

My AP Story July 26, 2019 on SoftBank announcing $108 billion Vision Fund 2.

Japan’s SoftBank invests in US office space-sharing WeWork. My AP Story Nov. 15, 2018.

SoftBank mobile unit to go for IPO raising some $20 billion, My AP Story Nov. 12, 2018.

Japanese Actor Koji Yakusho says his is a solitary craft in My AP Story Sept. 29, 2018.

softbank

SoftBank decries journalist’s death, defends Saudi fund

princess wedding

My AP Story Oct. 29, 2018 about a princess marrying a “salaryman”

india

My AP Story Oct. 28, 2018 about India’s prime minister visiting Japan

philip morris 2

philip morris

My AP Story Oct. 23, 2018 about Philip Morris in Japan

My coverage of the move from Tsukiji to Toyosu

AP Photo by Eugene Hoshiko

My AP Story Oct. 11, 2018

New fish market opens with tradition: the tuna auction

AP Photo by Eugene Hoshiko

Toyosu

A related AP story Oct. 5, 2018

Famed Tsukiji fish market uneasy over move to new site

AP Photo by Eugene Hoshiko

My AP Story and My AP Photo Oct. 16, 2018.

Official: Move of Japan fish market could have been better

My coverage of the Zozo CEO and his trip to the moon on Elon Musk’s rocket

zozo

My AP Story Oct. 9, 2018

Japanese tycoon going on SpaceX rocket says he trusts Elon Musk

And My AP Story with more background on MZ when he first announced the moon trip Sept. 19, 2018

SpaceX’s first traveler is moonstruck Japanese fashion tycoon

My visit to a nursery school that uses digital technology in their program

preschool

My Story Sept. 26, 2018

Japan preschool using tablets to prep tots for digital age

prschool 2

OTHER RECENT STORIES

My AP Story Feb. 1, 2019, on Nintendo seeking growth outside games.

My AP Story Jan. 22, 2019.

Toyota, Panasonic announce venture for green car batteries.

My AP Story March 28, 2019 on Honda and Hino joining the mobility service venture.

My AP Story Oct. 4, 2018

Toyota, SoftBank setting up mobility services joint venture

My AP Story Sept. 19, 2018

Will flying cars take off? Japan’s government hopes so

My AP Story Aug. 24, 2018

AP Interview: Japan official says Trump misunderstands trade

3D mapping

My AP Story June 14, 2018

Japan banks on 3D mapping deemed crucial for driverless cars

manufacturing

My AP Story June 8

manufacturing

As trade fears grow, US states reach out to companies

manufacturing

paternity

My AP Story June 7, 2018

Dad takes Japan Inc. to court alleging paternity harassment

My AP Story April 26, 2018

nintendo

Nintendo taps new president; profit improves on Switch sales

My AP Story April 20, 2018

nursing

Woman’s win of nursing home money a rarity in aging Japan

My AP Story April 12, 2018

Takata acquired by Key Safety Systems, president resigns

Isao Takahata

My AP Story April 6, 2018

Studio Ghibli co-founder, director Isao Takahata dies at 82

My AP Story March 28, 2018

Japan embracing cryptocurrencies despite big theft cases

My AP Story March 23, 2018

Nissan not changing autonomous drive tests over Uber crash

My AP Story March 3, 2018

Kobe Steel chief steps down over massive fake data scandal

esports

My AP Story Feb. 11, 2018

Esports officially arrives in Japan, home of game giants

My AP Story Feb. 2, 2018

Sony taps CFO as new president, replacing Hirai

A story shared from prison by Yuri Kageyama

I met the former inmate behind this story a few years ago, in 2016, when I was putting together my story “The Very Special Day” with artwork by Munenori Tamagawa. I was thinking of just stapling together printouts, but the visual artist had other ideas. He wanted a real book, and he said he knew someone who knew how to design books, a skill, as it turned out, he had learned in a Japanese prison. I didn’t ask questions. I just assumed he had committed a serious crime because of the long time he had been incarcerated, but felt he deserved to be treated no different from anyone else as he had served his time. I did not even know until he told me his story that he was asserting his innocence. This is his story:

He spent 15 years behind bars for a murder he confessed to, but he says he didn’t commit. His father hanged himself in shame. While in prison, he bit off a piece of his arm in a suicide attempt. Placed on half a dozen tranquilizer pills, he was an addict by the time he finally got out, four years ago.

Fengshui Iwazaki, who has changed his name to protect himself from the social backlash, is still trying to adjust to being back in the real world.  

“Fifteen years _ that’s a whole generation in a lifetime,” he says, his eyes clear, child-like, much younger than his 41 years. 

His story underlines the treatment convicts get in Japan, a society that’s so insular and crime-free most people don’t know much about what it’s like to live the life of a criminal. The arrest of Nissan’s former Chairman Carlos Ghosn, charged with financial misconduct, is helping bring international scrutiny to this legal system, which human rights groups have long criticized as harsh and unfair.

Iwazaki had never before spoken to me about his experiences, how two decades ago, he had made headlines as a murderer.   

“It was as though I was a monster,” Iwazaki recalled.          

^____<

Iwazaki and others who went through Japan’s criminal system say prosecutors and police come up with a story-line for a confession. While interrogated, Iwazaki was taken to the mountains where the body had been found and directed to point in the right spots, he said.

His girlfriend had been strangled to death, and he instantly emerged the prime suspect.

He resisted at first but signed the confession after three weeks of being interrogated daily without a lawyer present, standard practice in Japan.

He says he was bullied, his hair pulled, the table banged. After a while, it was easy to cave in.  

He believes the real murderer might be the man who had adopted his then-3-year-old daughter from a previous relationship. He had planned to live near her someday, not ever telling her he was the father, just to be close to her. She died in a car accident while he was serving time. 

Prosecutors say they are merely doing their jobs and didn’t create the system.

Defense lawyers say suspects sign false confessions and don’t realize it’s too late to assert innocence later in a trial.

That’s why it is called “hostage justice.”

Judges tend to believe the prosecutors’ story line: the conviction rate in Japan is higher than 99%.

Going against such a powerful trend takes tremendous courage. Unlike the U.S., prosecutors can appeal, meaning innocent verdicts can get overturned in a higher court.

^___<

The life of imprisonment Iwazaki describes is austere, isolated and regulated. Each prisoner gets a tiny cell with a toilet and bedding, unless the prison gets crowded and cells get shared, a condition that’s increasingly rare.

Communication among inmates is limited to the 30 minutes of outdoor exercise, or the evening hours, during which TV is allowed.

Whenever inmates are transported, they wait in enclosed booths lined next to each other so prisoners won’t mingle, called “bikkuri-bako,” or “jack-in-the-box.”   

Every morning, the convict changes into green prison garb and gets marched to a factory within the prison grounds.

Iwazaki did menial work like placing wooden chopsticks into paper wrapping and packing them in boxes. He also learned how to work the printing presses.

The toughest time was his three-year solitary confinement doled out as punishment for being a troublemaker, he said.

One time, out of frustration, he smashed a window with his bare hand, which added half a year to his sentence.

He was always curious about why others were locked up.

One inmate, he learned, had tried to steal money from an ATM to send his son to college. When a guard found him, he used a stun gun. The guard had a weak heart and died. And so the charge became murder while committing grand larceny, a serious offense.

“There are no really bad people in prison,” Iwazaki says with a conviction that is startling.  

^____<   

There is little in Japanese society that helps people adjust to life after incarceration.

When Iwazaki was released, he only had 1,000 yen ($9). He checked into a hospital, pleading insanity. He was running out of the pills prescribed at the prison.

He finally made it to Eizo Yamagiwa, a filmmaker who has devoted his life to supporting prisoners. Yamagiwa, who had visited Iwazaki in prison, gave him money, and Iwazaki finally made it home to his mom.

Yamagiwa says only the authorities’ side of the story gets relayed in Japan, influencing judges and juries so that trials tend to merely work as rubber-stamps for the prosecutors.

The prison system, he said, is so devastating most people come out sick and unable to continue with their lives.

He said Iwazaki was an exception in working hard to live a normal life.

^___<          

Iwazaki, who had originally planned to become a schoolteacher, has had his life forever changed.

Retrials to try to overturn guilty verdicts are rarely granted in Japan. Usually, totally new evidence such as a DNA test is needed.

Iwazaki is hesitant even to try. His case is tough because of the mounds of evidence submitted during his trial, including his confession. His mother has asked he doesn’t pursue a retrial; she doesn’t want to think about any of it ever again.

Iwazaki lives alone in a stark room with a tiny drab kitchen and a bathroom. A desk and two chairs are the only furniture.

On the walls are two drawings signed Masahiro, a man who died on death row. Done meticulously and entirely by pen and pencils, one depicts a bouquet of red roses, the other, Mary and baby Jesus. No one except for Iwazaki had claimed them.

Iwazaki also drew pictures while in prison: A big close-up of his open mouth filled with pills, a bird’s eye view of his cell, an inmate working so hard in the factory he is turning into a blur.

The drawings were part of a show of “art by outsiders” in April 2019, in Tokyo, a milestone for Iwazaki. While in prison, authorities had forbidden such exhibits.

Iwazaki is also in a training program to counsel addicts. He already works as a counselor, having studied various therapy methods, which he says helps calm him. Completing the training means better pay.   

He has also found a girlfriend, a carefree woman who works at a dot.com and is passionate about saving lions in Africa. They plan to get married and maybe have children.


.

Graves for the Living _ a poem by Yuri Kageyama

GRAVES FOR THE LIVING _ a poem by Yuri Kageyama

Graves aren’t for

Those Buried only

They’re for those

Who’re still Alive _

They don’t Speak Back,

They don’t expect Much,

Ready to be Forgotten

If not already Forgotten;

So Go There,

To the Graves,

While You Live,

To Be Forgiven:

Graves Are

Gifts From the Dead

For the Living.

THE VERY SPECIAL DAY _ A CHILDREN’S BOOK by YURI KAGEYAMA with PICTURES by MUNENORI TAMAGAWA; Also A FILM BY HAYATTO

Cover for the children's book THE VERY SPECIAL DAY by Yuri Kageyama with pictures by Munenori Tamagawa.

THE VERY SPECIAL DAY is also a film by stop motion artist HAYATTO (August 2019). PLEASE WATCH FOR SCREENINGS.

The trailer:

A birthday is very special for any little boy.
And a little boy is very special for any parent.
This book is an everyday but very special story about the trials and joys of growing up in an imperfect world.
THE VERY SPECIAL DAY by Yuri Kageyama (first published in KONCH, Ishmael Reed Publishing Co., 2013).

A TOKYO FLOWER CHILDREN 2016 publication picture book, with Illustrations by Munenori Tamagawa, Book design by Fengshui Iwazaki.

FOR ORDERS for the book, please go to this artist Munenori Tamagawa’s link , or write to us, using the contact section of this site.

A story about how a defiant young woman tries to make a birthday a very special day for her child all by herself.
A story about how discrimination begins in the home, and how the fight against discrimination also begins in the home.
A story about ice cream at a birthday party and French Fries at the aquarium.
A story about how “they didn’t like us because we were Japanese American, and not Japanese.”
A story about how stars can be that cure-all ideal but no-cost spiritual present.
A story that’s a bit sentimental but honorable and true, written for all the children in the world.
May they stay safe, may they enjoy peace, may they find love and may they know who they really are.

Reading THE VERY SPECIAL DAY at Inokashira Koen Tokyo SUN. Oct. 23, 2016.

Reading THE VERY SPECIAL DAY at Inokashira Koen Tokyo SUN. Oct. 23, 2016. Photo by Junji Kurokawa.

OUR READING OF THE VERY SPECIAL DAY at Inokashira Koen, Tokyo, SUN Oct. 23, 2016. Featuring Live Painting by Munenori Tamagawa, the illustrator of the book.
Left to Right: Yuri Kageyama (writer and storyteller), Hiroshi Tokieda (bass), Munenori Tamagawa (visual artist), Ryan Carter (guitar) and Kouzan Kikuchi (shakuhachi). PHOTOS by Junji Kurokawa.

Our Reading of THE VERY SPECIAL DAY at Inokashira Koen SUN Oct. 23, 2016.

Our Reading of THE VERY SPECIAL DAY at Inokashira Koen SUN Oct. 23, 2016. Photo by Junji Kurokawa.

Our Reading of THE VERY SPECIAL DAY at Inokashira Koen SUN Oct. 23, 2016.

Our Reading of THE VERY SPECIAL DAY at Inokashira Koen SUN Oct. 23, 2016. Photo by Junji Kurokawa.

Our Reading of THE VERY SPECIAL DAY at Inokashira Koen SUN Oct. 23, 2016.

Our Reading of THE VERY SPECIAL DAY at Inokashira Koen SUN Oct. 23, 2016. Photo by Junji Kurokawa.

Our Reading of THE VERY SPECIAL DAY at Inokashira Koen SUN Oct. 23, 2016.

Our Reading of THE VERY SPECIAL DAY at Inokashira Koen SUN Oct. 23, 2016. Photo by Junji Kurokawa.

Our Reading of THE VERY SPECIAL DAY at Inokashira Koen SUN Oct. 23, 2016.

Our Reading of THE VERY SPECIAL DAY at Inokashira Koen SUN Oct. 23, 2016. Photo by Junji Kurokawa.

So I thought about what could be a very special day for Mama, and so I asked her: “Mama, what would you like to do on your funeral?”
Mama stopped moving all of a sudden, and I thought she might even spank me because it was so all of a sudden, though she hardly ever ever ever spanks me.
That was how sudden it was.
Then she went back to normal and said, “I want a lot of beautiful music.”
So I said very quickly to catch up with her suddenness, “Mama, I will play that music. I will.”

_ Excerpt from “The Very Special Day,” a story first published in KONCH: Ishmael Reed Publishing Co. 2013, and a TOKYO FLOWER CHILDREN picture book, published 2016.

More photos from Inokashira Park courtesy park organizers:

06

BOOK PARTY free admission
featuring LIVE PAINTING by Munenori Tamagawa and poet Yuri Kageyama’s YURICANE spoken-word band with Kouzan Kikuchi (shakuhachi), Hiroshi Tokieda (bass), Trupti (vocals), Hirokazu Suyama (tabla).
Special Guests Kenwood Dennard, Biankah Bailey, Jacqueline Mujaya , Taylor Mignon and more.
SUN Aug. 7, 2016 2 p.m. Infinity Books. 1F Komagata Bashi Heights Bldg , 1-2-4 Azumabashi, Sumida-ku, Tokyo, 130-0001
SAT Aug. 13, 2016 2 p.m. Demi Cafe in sora Gallery. 3-14-1 Honcho Kokubunji-shi, Tokyo 85-0012

THE VERY SPECIAL DAY book party at Infinity Books in Tokyo SUN Aug. 7, 2016.

THE VERY SPECIAL DAY book party at Infinity Books in Tokyo SUN Aug. 7, 2016. Photos by Emiko Tokai.

Live Painting with the reading.

Live Painting with the reading.

Kenwood Dennard, professor at Berklee College of Music, reads his poetry at THE VERY SPECIAL DAY

Kenwood Dennard, professor at Berklee College of Music, reads his poetry at THE VERY SPECIAL DAY

Jackie Mujaya speaks about Tanaganika Kids at THE VERY SPECIAL DAY at Infinity Books in Tokyo.

Jackie Mujaya speaks about Tanaganika Kids at THE VERY SPECIAL DAY at Infinity Books in Tokyo. Cherie Willoughby, at right, who also read her poetry.