The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

Our December issue of The Journal takes you on a creative journey with stops in the realms of space-time, biochemistry, engineering, and animation.

Change comes quickly in today’s world, and a major shift took place as we put together this issue of The Journal when the US presidential election produced unexpected results. What this will mean for US–Japan relations and US businesses in Japan remains to be seen—and we will explore this in future issues. For now, I invite you to join us on another journey of change, one we set out on before the November 8 election.

Once found only in the realm of science fiction, cars that drive themselves are now a reality. In fact, the technology is nearing the point at which mainstream adoption will become practical. Change in the way you get from place to place may be closer than you think, and we explore projects by traditional automakers as well as visionary start-ups on page 8.

Another place where such futuristic visions can been found is anime—one of Japan’s best-known contributions to popular culture. This creative made for a domestic audience, but loved by the world, may soon see the tables flipped. Studios abroad are turning to Japan to create illustrated worlds for their local audiences. On page 12, we learn how China sees Japan as a partner in its entertainment future—and how US artists might play a role.

Nature is an artist as well. Just look at the world around you. We often think of biological creations as being something completely different from paintings, drawings, and even product inventions—but there are many similarities. Biochemist Yoko Shimizu is combining art and science to change how we see the world, and her work may potentially lead to new ways of producing the things we will need to live beyond Earth in the future. We visit her at Lab +1e on page 16.

Having crossed the bridge from art to science, we find ourselves in Gifu Prefecture at the Super-Kamiokande. Work at the world’s largest underground neutrino detector is changing our understanding of the universe and how it was created. Japanese scientist Takaaki Kajita won the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics for his contributions to our understanding of these difficult-to-detect particles, and this year he and his team at the Super-K won the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. On page 20, we bring you an exclusive interview with Kajita and his US colleague Mark Vagins.

I look forward to exploring with you the changes that 2017 will bring, and wish you a wonderful and safe holiday season with family and friends. See you in January.

Christopher Bryan Jones is Editor-in-chief of The Journal. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, he has lived in Japan since 1997.