This Week In Japan #18 (August 7th, 2020)

Three prefectures enter state of emergency as Corona cases continue to rise. And other big news stories!

August 8, 2020

Listen to Our This Week In Japan Podcast here:

  • Listen on Apple Podcasts
  • Listen on Spotify
  • Listen on Google Podcasts

Hosts of This Week In Japan

Julian Domanski

Born in England, Julian is a writer, videographer & musician living in Tokyo. When he’s not drinking copious amounts of English Tea, he can be found studying Japanese or trying to master the surprisingly complex basics of the Jiuta Shamisen.

Yasuharu Matsuno

Founder of Japan Insider (Former Ryu Tokyo). Japanese-born entrepreneur. Yasu spent his life around the globe – Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, Australia, and the U.S. He hopes he had more time to play Japanese RPGs. MBA from Columbia University in the City of New York.

Okinawa, Aichi, and Mie Prefectures Go Into A State of Emergency

Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki declares a state of emergency. Image sourced from sankei.jp

As Corona cases continue to hit new records in Japan, some prefectures are starting to take their own measures. On July 31st, Okinawa announced that it would be entering a state of emergency from August 1-15 after a sudden spike in cases. 

Despite requesting tourists not to visit while Corona cases rise, it seems a large number of beach goers still flocked to Okinawa. The Okinawa Governor, Denny Tamaki, stated that he feels the national government should also call for another state of emergency. 

Following Okinawa’s announcement, Mie Prefecture also issued a state of emergency this Monday after record cases followed by Aichi Prefecture on Wednesday the 5th. Aichi, which hit 144 new cases this Wednesday, will stay in a state of emergency until August 24th and encourages its citizens not to cross into other prefectures during this time. The Obon holiday next week is one where many people often return to their family homes.

As with the previous state of emergency, these are strong warnings put in place by the prefectural governments which encourage people to stay inside and avoid going out as much as possible. For Okinawa, Mie, and Aichi, business hours will also be shortened until 10pm.

Terrace House Star Shion Okamoto Arrested

Model Shion Okamoto, who goes by Sean, posing for a photo. Taken from https://kalteng.antaranews.com

Shion Okamoto, one of the stars of the Terrace House`s 2017-2018 season: OPENING NEW DOORS, has been arrested on charges of possession of cannabis. 

When he was on Terrace House, the half-American, half-Japanese aspiring model was a fan favorite. His blossoming relationship on the show with Tsubasa, an ice-hockey player from Karuizawa, portrayed him as smart and caring and viewers couldn’t get enough. Following the show, it was eventually announced that he and Tsubasa had split following complications in their long-distance relationship. 

Since his time on the show, the 25-year-old has continued growing his modeling all over Japan. On the Saturday morning of August 1st, he was arrested at his home near Setagaya, Tokyo after being suspected to have cannabis. The following afternoon police gave a statement regarding his arrest. 

According to the report, Shion was originally found to be carrying a canister with a cannabis-like liquid substance inside after being questioned on the street by police the previous day. This led to a search of his apartment, where dried cannabis was found stored in a bag. He has admitted to the charges.

As of this Monday, his professional home page has been deleted and is no longer viewable to anyone. He currently has over 210,000 followers on Instagram.

The Demon Slayer Movie Is Almost Here

Demon Slayer’s new visuals show Tanjiro battling a sly-looking demon atop a train.
Taken from https://kimetsu.com/anime/

Kimetsu no Yaiba:Mugen Resshahen, or Demon Slayer: Infinity Train, is nearing its big premiere. The website for the movie released new visuals and information concerning the main theme song. 

The movie will feature one of the 9 hashira, the strongest swordsmen in the demon slayer corp, the flame hashira Kyojuro Rengoku. The main theme song for the movie is going to be sung by the artist LiSA and it is fittingly called “ほむら” or flames.

The key visuals released depict Tanjiro, the main character, facing off against a suited-up demon on top of a train. Shots of Kyojuro Rengoku with his flame sword unsheathed were also released.

The movie will follow the story where the anime season ended, continuing the events of the manga and is set to premiere on October 16th, 2020. Ticket sales for the movie will begin from today.

Japan’s Population Drops By 500,000

Elderly residents rest in the grounds of a temple in Tokyo. (Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images)

Japan’s declining population continues to fall this year, with the total population at 124,271,318, a decline by over 500,000 people according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. This year marks the 11th straight year that Japan has had a drop in population size.

Population decline is a serious issue for Japan and its economy. An ever growing population of elderly combined with lowering birth rates are concerning for the future of the working population. This year’s number of over 500,000 is the largest drop since Japan started the survey back in 1968. But that was not the only new record of the population. Foreigners in Japan rose to a new high with a record 2,866,715 people.

In terms of population increase by area, only 3 areas, Tokyo, Okinawa, and Kanagawa, saw an increase in population.

The trend has been continuing naturally for some time, but now with fear of getting Corona and state of emergency declarations, there are even more factors playing into why people are going to be more hesitant when considering whether or not to raise a child.

Sumo Wrestlers Flee From A Scary Housewife?!

Two Sumo wrestlers out for a stroll. Image sourced from news.yahoo.co.jp

On August 4th this Tuesday, 9 sumo wrestlers fled their living quarters in Tokyo and escaped to a local karaoke box. It is from this small karaoke box that the 9 giant sumo wrestlers made a desperate call to their local Sumo organization, complaining of the living conditions and their landlady. 

The wrestlers were eventually calmed down by the representative and they returned to their rooms. However, if other sumo wrestlers complain as well, an investigation is planned. So, what is it that had these large men willing to sneak out in the middle of the night?

According to them, they are the targets of moral abuse from the master`s wife. When the master became sick, his wife took over some of the teachings to the athletes. Within a group chat with the wife, severe warnings were given to anyone who did not reply fast enough. Also, wrestlers were forced to take a picture and post on the group Line chat whenever they received a parcel from home.

When the news outlet Nikken Sports attempted to call one of the wrestler`s personal cell phones for a statement, it was instead picked up by the master`s wife who stated, “I am unable to trouble you so please ask the association.”

Aside from the escapee Sumo, other residents of the house are also dissatisfied as well. The local Sumo association plans to conduct interviews of all residents involved in an attempt to solve these issues.

Christian Dakin

Christian Dakin is an editor, designer, and video game director currently based out of Tokyo, Japan. Originally from a small town in Georgia, he studied in Japan for a year in college before returning again for work. Christian enjoys studying Japanese and the outdoors. In his off time, he is most likely to be found adventuring to a castle, belting it out in karaoke with friends, or in a gym somewhere.

More articles by Christian Dakin

Related Articles


This Week in Japan #35 (December 11th)

This week in Japan an unexpected Nintendo item becomes a collectable, Tokyo aims to eliminate gas cars, Demon Slayer wins out over parents, and more big news stories!

December 13, 2020

This Week in Japan #34 (November 27th)

This week in Japan, the Go-To Travel campaign is suspended, former Nissan Motor chairman Carlos Ghosn’s arrests found “illegal” by U.N. council, and more big news stories!

November 28, 2020


avatar for Christian DakinChristian Dakin

Christian Dakin is an editor, designer, and video game director currently based out of Tokyo, Japan. Origin...

avatar for Yasu MatsunoYasu Matsuno

Founder of Japan Insider. Japanese-born entrepreneur. Spent his life around the globe, including To...

avatar for Kevin MurasakiKevin Murasaki

Kevin Murasaki grew up moving back and forth between Chicago and Yokohama, Japan. Known as a "hafu", Kevi...

avatar for Mark KennedyMark Kennedy

Mark Kennedy is a native of Chicago who has spent more than 20 years living, studying, and working in Jap...