08/03/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Newsweek: "What If Paul Krugman Were A Woman?"

"Please do not believe all the talk about the green shoots of the Japanese economy, which I suspect you might have heard. We are in pretty bad shape."

Narika Hama, a professor of economics at Doshisha University in Kyoto, is a sort of Japanese version of Paul Krugman�"if Paul Krugman were a woman with a purple rinse, pink jacket, funky blue jeans, black patent leather pumps, and a vague British accent. Hama, who lived in the United Kingdom as a child in the 1960s, is something of an intellectual celebrity in Japan. (One of my Japanese hosts was excited to get her autograph after our meeting.) She's a respected academic economist and a well-known commentator. She writes a monthly column for the Japan Timesand is a regular contributor to Open Democracy. Like Krugman, she's a scholar and polemicist who doesn't shrink from speaking directly about politics. She's also got the columnist's gift for phrasing and buzzwords.