Courtesy of Letibee

When 24-year-old Koki Hayashi first came out to his mom, he was a junior in college.

"I just kind of said it quickly, 'Hey, I’m gay,'" he recalls.

“Stop it. That’s disgusting,” she said, according to Hayashi. That really hurt.

Japan — unlike the US — doesn't have a Puritan history that says homosexuality is some kind of cardinal sin. And for years it wasn't uncommon to see a cross-dresser on TV giving fashion advice or a Japanese cartoon with gay characters.

In a much-anticipated speech, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his "profound grief" and "sincere condolences" for his country's role in World War II.

But the leader stopped short of renewing apologies extended by his predecessors, and he said he doesn't want future generations to be "predestined to apologize" for the war.

The name Hiroshima is so tied to the atomic bomb that it's hard to imagine there were other possible targets.

But in early 1945, the U.S. was still months away from building its first bomb and certainly didn't know what to hit.

"Should it be a city? Should it be a military installation? Should you be just displaying the bomb, without killing anybody?" These are questions that were yet to be decided, says Alex Wellerstein, a historian at the Stevens Institute of Technology.

Seven Pacific Northwest veterans of World War II leave for Tokyo Thursday. They're carrying 70 captured Japanese flags to return for the 70th anniversary of the end of the war.

A piece of a commercial fishing boat that was ripped from Japan's coast by the March 11, 2011 tsunami has turned up on near Oregon four years later, carrying a small diaspora of live yellowtail jack fish, native to east Asian waters, according to state park officials.

Japan Bans Possession Of Child Pornography

Jun 18, 2014

Japan has banned the possession of child pornography, with some notable exceptions: manga, animation and computer graphics.

Parliament's upper house approved the measure Wednesday; the lower house passed the bill last month.

After 180 years, it is not too late to say thank you. That is what a Japanese delegation did last week as it retraced the history-making path of three  castaways to the Makah Indian Reservation on the Washington coast.

AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko

Marcie Sillman talks with Seattle Times science reporter Sandi Doughton about Japan's efforts to rebuild after the devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.

EarthFix Photo/Ashley Ahearn

Following the 2011 tsunami in Japan, a nuclear reactor released hundreds of millions of gallons of radioactive water into the ocean. That sparked fear that contaminated water would reach the West Coast, but three years later, scientists say that radiation in our waters isn’t necessarily linked to the nuclear reactor. 

Bellevue SWAT, Japanese Farm Food, And Greendays Gardening

Apr 23, 2013
Flickr Photo/Steve Wilson

Bellevue’s SWAT Team Comes To A Seattle Neighborhood
Columbia City residents heard Monday night from Seattle and Bellevue officials about a shooting involving Bellevue police that happened in Seattle late last month. According to KUOW’s Patricia Murphy, the Seattle Police Department is investigating the incident.

Japanese Farm Food
Nancy Singleton Hachisu moved from California to Japan intending to stay a year. Instead she fell in love with the culture, the food and a local farmer. Now — many years and three kids later — she lives on an organic farm in an 80-year-old traditional Japanese farmhouse. She writes about life, love and food in her cookbook "Japanese Farm Food."

Greendays Gardening Panel
Gardening is not just growing vegetables, pruning ornamentals or planting natives. Modern organic gardeners are trying to incorporate practices and aestheticism that works in any kind of garden. Our gardening panel is just the group to bring the ideas together this week and every week on KUOW. They answer your gardening questions live at 10:40 a.m. Call 206.543.5869 or email weekday@kuow.org.

In Seattle, NTSB investigators and Boeing engineers examine the type of lithium ion battery used on the Boeing 787 to start the auxillary power unit and to provide backup power for flight critical systems.
courtesy National Transportation Safety Board

The hunt for a solution to the 787’s battery woes continues. Investigators are crisscrossing oceans looking for a cause to the battery overheating problems that have grounded the Dreamliner since January 16. Teams of investigators are fanning out and crossing paths.

Japan Broadcasting Corporation

Major global news services are reporting that two Japanese airlines have grounded all of their Boeing 787 jets. All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines made the announcements following an emergency landing Wednesday morning in Japan.

SALEM, Ore. – The state of Oregon is at odds with the federal government over how to use money from Japan meant for cleaning up tsunami debris. It can’t be used to reimburse the state for money it’s already spent.

The Japanese government donated $5 million to the US this fall to help pay for the cost of cleaning up debris from last year’s deadly tsunami. But Oregon hasn't seen a penny of that money so far.