Julian Ryall

Julian Ryall

Julian Ryall never expected to still be in Japan 24 years after he first arrived, but he quickly realised its advantages over his native London. He lives in Yokohama with his wife and children and writes for publications around the world.

Latest from Julian Ryall

Japan’s plan to beat labour woes? Vending machines for duty-free goods

The government is set to approve the plan as an influx of tourists coincides with a lack of personnel who can speak foreign languages, amid a worsening labour shortage.

5 Dec 2019 - 4:08PM

The government is set to approve the plan as an influx of tourists coincides with a lack of personnel who can speak foreign languages, amid a worsening labour shortage.

Japan’s plan to beat labour woes? Vending machines for duty-free goods
Beijing-Tokyo distrust lingers as record number of Chinese ships seen near Diaoyu Islands

Experts say one side setting foot on the islands, or an accidental collision between the vessels in the waters surround them, are potential flashpoints.

4 Dec 2019 - 11:09AM

Experts say one side setting foot on the islands, or an accidental collision between the vessels in the waters surround them, are potential flashpoints.

Beijing-Tokyo distrust lingers as record number of Chinese ships seen near Diaoyu Islands
Japan buys Mageshima island for US$146 million to conduct military drills with US

Planned base could be used to defend the Diaoyu Islands, which are known in Japan as the Senkakus and are the focus of territorial dispute with China.

3 Dec 2019 - 10:24AM

Planned base could be used to defend the Diaoyu Islands, which are known in Japan as the Senkakus and are the focus of territorial dispute with China.

Japan buys Mageshima island for US$146 million to conduct military drills with US
Pocari Sweat: how the iconic sports drink, huge in Asia, became one of Japan’s most successful beverages

Pocari Sweat is one of Asia’s most popular sports drinks and among Japan’s most successful beverages, despite English-speaking media mocking the name for years. Here’s how the little blue-and-white bottles did it.

30 Nov 2019 - 8:07PM

Pocari Sweat is one of Asia’s most popular sports drinks and among Japan’s most successful beverages, despite English-speaking media mocking the name for years. Here’s how the little blue-and-white bottles did it.

Pocari Sweat: how the iconic sports drink, huge in Asia, became one of Japan’s most successful beverages
Japan’s birth rate takes a nosedive amid rising costs of having a family

The country expects about 880,000 births this year, a decrease of around 200,000 from just a decade ago. Theories for the low birth rate include one that is hard to prove – that couples were waiting for the new Reiwa era after Emperor Naruhito’s coronation in May.

29 Nov 2019 - 7:21AM

The country expects about 880,000 births this year, a decrease of around 200,000 from just a decade ago. Theories for the low birth rate include one that is hard to prove – that couples were waiting for the new Reiwa era after Emperor Naruhito’s coronation in May.

Japan’s birth rate takes a nosedive amid rising costs of having a family
Japan scraps end-of-life ad campaign with comedian amid backlash

A poster that showed comedian Kazutoyo Koyabu lying on what looked like his deathbed, with a message encouraging people to make preparations for their final days was criticised for being in poor taste.

28 Nov 2019 - 10:21PM

A poster that showed comedian Kazutoyo Koyabu lying on what looked like his deathbed, with a message encouraging people to make preparations for their final days was criticised for being in poor taste.

Japan scraps end-of-life ad campaign with comedian amid backlash
In Japan-South Korea trade war, friendly gestures mean it’s worse than ever

Seoul agreed to extend a military intelligence pact and Tokyo said it would review export controls, but the moves mask an intractable dispute over wartime labour compensation, leaving analysts pessimistic about a true detente.

27 Nov 2019 - 10:49PM

Seoul agreed to extend a military intelligence pact and Tokyo said it would review export controls, but the moves mask an intractable dispute over wartime labour compensation, leaving analysts pessimistic about a true detente.

In Japan-South Korea trade war, friendly gestures mean it’s worse than ever
In Japan, sweet potato thefts raise suspicions of yakuza involvement

The theft of fruit and vegetables has become a serious problem in Japan in recent years as ageing farming communities struggle to contend with thieves that threaten their very livelihoods.

26 Nov 2019 - 10:07PM

The theft of fruit and vegetables has become a serious problem in Japan in recent years as ageing farming communities struggle to contend with thieves that threaten their very livelihoods.

In Japan, sweet potato thefts raise suspicions of yakuza involvement
Chinese tourists blamed after vandals deface pro-Hong Kong protest messages at Japanese shrines

Chinese tourists blamed after several temples reported similar incidents involving ‘ema’ tablets bearing messages of support for Hong Kong protesters.

25 Nov 2019 - 10:38PM

Chinese tourists blamed after several temples reported similar incidents involving ‘ema’ tablets bearing messages of support for Hong Kong protesters.

Chinese tourists blamed after vandals deface pro-Hong Kong protest messages at Japanese shrines
Chinese medicine ejiao has left the world’s donkey population in crisis, British study finds

Global population could be cut dramatically in five years if governments do not intervene, British study finds.

24 Nov 2019 - 4:03PM

Global population could be cut dramatically in five years if governments do not intervene, British study finds.

Chinese medicine ejiao has left the world’s donkey population in crisis, British study finds
Reunited, by a long shot: Japanese soldier’s photo album returns to family, 74 years after his death

After Hideo Shikata died in the Philippines in 1945, his photo album found its way to the US, where it was later picked up by collector Jarat Chopra

25 Nov 2019 - 8:40AM

After Hideo Shikata died in the Philippines in 1945, his photo album found its way to the US, where it was later picked up by collector Jarat Chopra

Reunited, by a long shot: Japanese soldier’s photo album returns to family, 74 years after his death
Japan’s death penalty activists hope Pope Francis’ visit helps make the case for abolition

Polls suggest widespread support for the death penalty, with about 80 per cent of Japanese considering it an effective deterrent and appropriate punishment.

22 Nov 2019 - 9:46PM

Polls suggest widespread support for the death penalty, with about 80 per cent of Japanese considering it an effective deterrent and appropriate punishment.

Japan’s death penalty activists hope Pope Francis’ visit helps make the case for abolition
Ex-US president Nixon and Japan agreed to deny existence of secret deal to place nuclear weapons in Okinawa, documents show

Former US president Nixon and Japan’s Eisaku Sato agreed to deny existence of agreement, documents show.

20 Nov 2019 - 4:55PM

Former US president Nixon and Japan’s Eisaku Sato agreed to deny existence of agreement, documents show.

Ex-US president Nixon and Japan agreed to deny existence of secret deal to place nuclear weapons in Okinawa, documents show
Did Indian war hero Subhas Chandra Bose die in Taiwan? DNA test may give answers

Indian freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose died in a plane crash in Taiwan in 1945 – but rumours about his fate abound, and his family hope a DNA test may settle the matter.

17 Nov 2019 - 4:11PM

Indian freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose died in a plane crash in Taiwan in 1945 – but rumours about his fate abound, and his family hope a DNA test may settle the matter.

Did Indian war hero Subhas Chandra Bose die in Taiwan? DNA test may give answers
Chinese tourists fill gap left by South Koreans as flights to Japan hit record

There are now over 1,000 flights a week between China and Japan. For Tokyo, the boom in Chinese tourists is helping to offset a boycott by South Korean travellers.

14 Nov 2019 - 7:20AM

There are now over 1,000 flights a week between China and Japan. For Tokyo, the boom in Chinese tourists is helping to offset a boycott by South Korean travellers.

Chinese tourists fill gap left by South Koreans as flights to Japan hit record
Japanese parents suspected of causing baby’s death with air gun pellets

Police allege that the infant, who was found with bruises ‘all over’ his body, was subjected to abuse in the weeks leading up to his death.

7 Nov 2019 - 11:24PM

Police allege that the infant, who was found with bruises ‘all over’ his body, was subjected to abuse in the weeks leading up to his death.

Japanese parents suspected of causing baby’s death with air gun pellets
Japanese strawberries: off the menu thanks to Typhoon Hagibis?

Recent typhoons caused damage worth more than US$2 billion to Japanese farms. But unions say the ‘invisible damage’ may be even worse, and could be the last straw for an ageing workforce under pressure from cheap imports

6 Nov 2019 - 11:07PM

Recent typhoons caused damage worth more than US$2 billion to Japanese farms. But unions say the ‘invisible damage’ may be even worse, and could be the last straw for an ageing workforce under pressure from cheap imports

Japanese strawberries: off the menu thanks to Typhoon Hagibis?
Okinawa tourism industry left reeling after fire guts Japan’s Shuri Castle, Unesco heritage site

Almost US$1 million has been raised to restore the ancient structure after 400 artefacts were destroyed and six buildings left beyond repair.

5 Nov 2019 - 9:55PM

Almost US$1 million has been raised to restore the ancient structure after 400 artefacts were destroyed and six buildings left beyond repair.

Okinawa tourism industry left reeling after fire guts Japan’s Shuri Castle, Unesco heritage site
Godzilla at 65: still wreaking havoc, but now a reminder of Japan’s anxious past

As one of Japan’s biggest pop-culture exports celebrates its 65th birthday, the monster’s backstory prompts memories of the nation’s harrowing struggle with nuclear conflict.

3 Nov 2019 - 9:46PM

As one of Japan’s biggest pop-culture exports celebrates its 65th birthday, the monster’s backstory prompts memories of the nation’s harrowing struggle with nuclear conflict.

Godzilla at 65: still wreaking havoc, but now a reminder of Japan’s anxious past
North Koreans in Japan rally against Shinzo Abe’s move to axe funding for Pyongyang-linked schools

Japan recently cut off funding for dozens of schools affiliated with Pyongyang, sparking anger from North Koreans who still pledge loyalty to the Kim regime.

2 Nov 2019 - 10:55PM

Japan recently cut off funding for dozens of schools affiliated with Pyongyang, sparking anger from North Koreans who still pledge loyalty to the Kim regime.

North Koreans in Japan rally against Shinzo Abe’s move to axe funding for Pyongyang-linked schools
Onitsuka Tiger: how Bruce Lee and actress Uma Thurman helped Japanese sports shoe brand become a global fashion must-have

An octopus salad inspired Kihachiro Onitsuka to launch extra-grip basketball shoes in the 1950s. Today, thanks to some star power, Onitsuka Tiger’s striped trainers are a fashion must-have, especially in China, Thailand and South Korea.

2 Nov 2019 - 6:14PM

An octopus salad inspired Kihachiro Onitsuka to launch extra-grip basketball shoes in the 1950s. Today, thanks to some star power, Onitsuka Tiger’s striped trainers are a fashion must-have, especially in China, Thailand and South Korea.

Onitsuka Tiger: how Bruce Lee and actress Uma Thurman helped Japanese sports shoe brand become a global fashion must-have
Japan faces multibillion-dollar bill as South American red fire ant colonies found in Tokyo

The country fears an invasion of South American red fire ants after colonies were found at Tokyo’s port.

30 Oct 2019 - 7:53PM

The country fears an invasion of South American red fire ants after colonies were found at Tokyo’s port.

Japan faces multibillion-dollar bill as South American red fire ant colonies found in Tokyo
‘I’m slipping’: body found in search for Mount Fuji climber who live-streamed his own fall from Japan’s highest mountain

Japanese police said they found a body on Mount Fuji on Wednesday and are verifying whether it is that of a man who was seen falling down a snow-covered slope.

30 Oct 2019 - 6:51PM

Japanese police said they found a body on Mount Fuji on Wednesday and are verifying whether it is that of a man who was seen falling down a snow-covered slope.

‘I’m slipping’: body found in search for Mount Fuji climber who live-streamed his own fall from Japan’s highest mountain
In Japan, workplace bullying and harassment are driving women to seek mental health treatment

A study found that a third of women seeking treatment for mental illness blamed sexual harassment, bullying and abuse of power by superiors, as Japan introduces new legislation on workplace harassment.

30 Oct 2019 - 10:14AM

A study found that a third of women seeking treatment for mental illness blamed sexual harassment, bullying and abuse of power by superiors, as Japan introduces new legislation on workplace harassment.

In Japan, workplace bullying and harassment are driving women to seek mental health treatment
Hong Kong unrest fuels negative image of China among Japanese

One-party rule and territorial disputes with Tokyo also weigh on perceptions despite governments striving to improve ties.

29 Oct 2019 - 10:11AM

One-party rule and territorial disputes with Tokyo also weigh on perceptions despite governments striving to improve ties.

Hong Kong unrest fuels negative image of China among Japanese
Japan braces for two more destructive storms, two weeks after chaos of Typhoon Hagibis

Gale-force winds and heavy rain are set to lash Tokyo and the surrounding regions, while Typhoon Bualoi is already battering the Ogasawara Islands south of Tokyo.

24 Oct 2019 - 10:54PM

Gale-force winds and heavy rain are set to lash Tokyo and the surrounding regions, while Typhoon Bualoi is already battering the Ogasawara Islands south of Tokyo.

Japan braces for two more destructive storms, two weeks after chaos of Typhoon Hagibis
Japan’s warships in the Middle East cast spotlight on Abe’s military ambitions

The deployment has raised fresh speculation over Abe’s aim of revising Japan’s war-renouncing constitution. Under him, Japan has bulked up defence spending in response to China’s military clout and nuclear-armed North Korea.

24 Oct 2019 - 10:54PM

The deployment has raised fresh speculation over Abe’s aim of revising Japan’s war-renouncing constitution. Under him, Japan has bulked up defence spending in response to China’s military clout and nuclear-armed North Korea.

Japan’s warships in the Middle East cast spotlight on Abe’s military ambitions
Japan and China hold first joint maritime drills in eight years in sign of warming ties

Ties between the nations have been frosty since a September 2010 dispute over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, but it is in the interest of Beijing and Tokyo to move away from confrontation and foster better trade relations, an expert says.

22 Oct 2019 - 10:14PM

Ties between the nations have been frosty since a September 2010 dispute over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, but it is in the interest of Beijing and Tokyo to move away from confrontation and foster better trade relations, an expert says.

Japan and China hold first joint maritime drills in eight years in sign of warming ties
Will South Korea and Japan reconcile after PM’s visit for emperor’s enthronement?

Analysts say Japan is unlikely to budge on its position on historical disputes, but a letter from South Korean President Moon Jae-in to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may indicate Seoul is ready to return to a better relationship.

22 Oct 2019 - 1:17PM

Analysts say Japan is unlikely to budge on its position on historical disputes, but a letter from South Korean President Moon Jae-in to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may indicate Seoul is ready to return to a better relationship.

Will South Korea and Japan reconcile after PM’s visit for emperor’s enthronement?
Typhoon Hagibis casts a cloud over Japanese Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement

World leaders and royals will attend Tuesday’s ceremony, but the open-top car procession has been postponed, out of respect for the people killed in the recent typhoon.

20 Oct 2019 - 8:45AM

World leaders and royals will attend Tuesday’s ceremony, but the open-top car procession has been postponed, out of respect for the people killed in the recent typhoon.

Typhoon Hagibis casts a cloud over Japanese Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement