Short Course covering Culture, Stereotypes, Management and Brexit

In July 2019 I had the opportunity to do a special short course of 8 lectures at the Ariake Campus of Musashino University. The lectures covered ‘Cross-Cultural Misunderstandings and Clichés’, ‘Symbols and Marketing Trains and Planes’, ‘Education and Cross-Cultural Management’, ‘Managing a Transport Company’, ‘Nationalism and Internationalism in Management’, ‘Managing the Challenges of Depopulation’, ‘Disaster…

End of Eras

I first travelled to Japan in July 1989, in the first year of the Heisei era. In January 2019 I made my 43rd trip to Japan and the final one of the Heisei era since there will be a change during the year. One of the highlights of my first trip was taking a 100-series…

My research about the shinkansen

The image of the shinkansen or ‘bullet train’ passing Mount Fuji is one of the most renowned images of modern Japan. Yet, despite its international reputation for speed and punctuality, little is understood about what makes it work so well and what its impact is. Since 2000 I have been conducting research on the shinkansen…

Reflecting on 25 years of the Japanese Railway Society

When the Japanese Railway Society was established in 1991, I was still an undergraduate student at Sheffield University studying Japanese & Business. Somewhat coincidentally, I was just starting to try to formalise my studies about the Japanese railways, having put in a proposal to study some aspect of them for my final year dissertation. In…

Fast Women: The Shinkansen and the Changing Japanese Gender Roles

“A woman has taken the controls of a Japanese bullet train to claim a history first… On the whole, although job opportunities for women are improving in Japan, a glass ceiling remains in most sectors.” (British Broadcasting Corporation, 2000)   In terms of jobs that women regularly do in Japan, the two that involve the…

Contrasting Experiences of Growth and Decline in Regional Japan

An area of vital importance at the national and local levels where there are inter-connected factors of cause and effect, and which have deep implications for social and economic stability in Japan’s shrinking regions, is in the relationship between depopulation and infrastructure development. One factor that has long been identified as contributing to geographical peripherality…

The Shinkansen’s Local Impact

The shinkansen began operations in 1964. In subsequent years it went from being merely the ‘bullet train’ and a means from travelling at high-speed and on time between major cities to becoming a potent symbol of Japan’s development. Other changes have occurred that not only reflect the changing nature of the transportation market and the…

War on the Tōkaidō

The history of the Tōkaidō goes back over 1200 years. The original ‘road’ (in reality not much more than a path) linked Heijōkyō (modern-day Nara) with provinces in the East of Japan. The main competition for those who plied their trade along the route came in the form of boats along Japan’s Pacific coast. With…

Photographing the Shinkansen: Fuji

The view of the shinkansen passing Mount Fuji is probably the most well known and well used image of the shinkansen. This article will explain where to go to get that shot… what it cannot do it help you with the weather. Winter is a better bet than summer – but Mount Fuji tends to…

Photographing the Shinkansen: Tōhoku Shinkansen in Kantō

When most visitors to Japan think of the shinkansen, I suspect the typical image that comes to mind is that of the white and blue livery of the Tōkaidō Shinkansen. That many of Japan’s attractions lie along the route to Ōsaka, as well as beyond into Kyūshū, further underlines this. This is a shame, for…

Photographing the Shinkansen: Okayama

So far this series of articles has concentrated on photo locations which are easily accessible by public transport and by foot. While the locations in this article can be done by using buses or local trains, I would not recommend it. Instead, hire a car. This is not difficult and, assuming the car has –…