Philip Patrick

Philip Patrick

Philip Patrick is an exiled Scot, who lectures at a Tokyo university and contributes to the Japan Times

Is Japan finally embracing immigration?

Japan has long been known for its steadfast refusal to submit to the allure of large-scale immigration, as a country that puts social cohesion and societal harmony well ahead of any desire for diversity. Notoriously as hard to get into as Switzerland or Monaco for would be migrants, and even refugees, the ‘yokoso’ (welcome) sign

Japan’s earthquake has brought back painful memories

The year 2024 began in the worst possible way for Japan. At least 30 people were killed by a powerful earthquake which struck the Ishikawa prefecture on the west coast of the country in mid-afternoon on New Year’s day. The death toll is expected to rise considerably. The quake registered 7.6 on the Richter scale,

Why can’t the BBC leave Agatha Christie alone?

I would like to report a murder. It took place in the evening of 27 December in millions of homes around the UK simultaneously. The victim was Dame Agatha Christie – well, one of her works, and to an extent her posthumous reputation. But unlike in the great Dame’s novels, there was no beguiling mystery

The admirable humility of Japanese sports stars

Who is the best paid sportsperson in the world? Cristiano Ronaldo perhaps? Or Kylian Mbappé? Lionel Messi? Novak Djokovic? LeBron James? Well, no. As of last week, it is someone even reasonably well-informed sports fans may not have heard of – a certain Shohei Ohtani, Japanese slugger and pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ohtani’s

The deep affinity between Japan and Israel

Tokyo Japan and Israel have a curious bond, which recent events have highlighted. A video showing a group of Japanese senior citizens singing ‘Japan loves Israel, and Israel loves Japan’ (in Hebrew) while waving Japanese and Israeli flags has received more than 900,000 views. The group, believed to be Christians, may be at the extreme

Everton’s problems are only just beginning

Pity the poor Everton fans. Just as their once mighty club, now a perennial relegation battler, seemed to have a climbed a few ladders in recent weeks to low mid-table, they land on a snake. Yesterday the Premier League handed them a ten point penalty for financial irregularities, plunging them back down into the danger

Japanese service is stiflingly polite

One thing you can be sure of on a visit to Japan is that the service will be at the very least good, and quite often superb. The chances of being short-changed, snubbed, or slighted are virtually zero and truly bad service is so rare I almost, after 24 years in Tokyo, crave it now

Celtic’s Remembrance Day shame is the final straw

A portion of the crowd at Celtic’s Parkhead stadium booed the minute’s silence for Remembrance Sunday. It was abandoned after 30 seconds. This latest embarrassment comes just a week after the club suspended the season tickets of over 250 of its most zealously committed fans – a faction of ultras known as the ‘Green Brigade’.

Is sumo wrestling dying out?

For any young athletes harbouring ambitions of being a sumo wrestler, there was some good news this week. The Japanese Sumo Association (JSA) has decided to relax its height and weight requirements for young recruits, opening up the sport to those previously barred for being too short or too slight. Now all the beleaguered association

Football’s shameful silence on Israel’s tragedy

Few top-flight football matches these days kick off without an expression of solidarity with a cause or condolence. Along with the customary tributes to footballing legends or club stalwarts, just last week Premier League players took the knee, yet again, to show their opposition to racism. In recent weeks, we have had silences for the

Is Fifa trying to destroy the World Cup?

It’s official, well almost. Fifa has announced the location for the 2030 (centenary) World Cup. And the winner is… all over the place. In an extraordinary departure the tournament will be played in three continents with matches in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Spain, Portugal and Morocco. The decision, which will surely be rubber stamped at next

The excruciating pain of being a Manchester United fan

Can there be a more wretched existence in football than being a Manchester United fan? Well, yes, would be the instant retort from legions of supporters around the country whose teams never get anywhere near the glamour palace of the Champions League; for whom grim, gritty survival in crumbling urinals is the order of the

The upside of living in Japan’s ageing society

For the first time more than 10 per cent of the Japanese population are aged 80 or older, according to new official data. This reinforces Japan’s reputation as the world’s oldest society with 29 per cent of the population now aged 65 or more, a full 5 per cent ahead of Italy in second place.

Was Luis Rubiales’ resignation really necessary?

Luis Rubiales, the embattled Spanish football chief, has bowed to the seemingly inevitable and resigned from both his positions as president of the Spanish football federation and UEFA vice president. He made the announcement during an interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV and then confirmed his decision in a subsequent statement for the press. Rubiales had been suspended

Does Japan not care about Kitagawa’s abuse?

The niece of Jonny Kitagawa, founder of the Japanese talent agency Jonny & Associates, stepped down this week from her role as president, acknowledging the decades long sexual abuse of the company’s young clients by its founder (who died in 1999). In a typically Japanese scene of corporate self-abasement, Julie Keiko Fujishima apologised to the victims and

The tragedy of Jordan Henderson

‘Money has never been a motivation,’ according to footballer Jordan Henderson, the ex Liverpool captain and recent recruit to Al Ettifaq in the Saudi pro-league. But it is hard to believe that the main reason for moving to the Middle East wasn’t the reported £700,000-a-week contract. For many football fans, Henderson tarnished his reputation with his

Things look grave for Luis Rubiales after his World Cup kiss

What’s in a kiss? More perhaps than just a moment of bliss. It was really rather stupid of Luis Rubiales, the president of the Spanish football association, to grip the women’s team captain Jenni Hermoso, as if she herself were the World Cup trophy, and plant a smacker full on her lips in the medal ceremony following the

The Fukushima water is safe. So why does no one trust it?

Japan will today begin releasing tritium-laced water from the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant into the ocean (weather permitting). Japan’s prime minister Fumio Kishida made the announcement on Tuesday after a meeting with relevant ministers. The Japanese government has stressed the necessity of the plan and its safety, but it has nonetheless escalated an international