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David Cozy

For David Cozy's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Last Words from Montmartre

Jul 26, 2014

Last Words from Montmartre

Qiu Miaojin tells us that her novel features “a plot that has long since disappeared.” That these reflections on narrative are part of “Last Words,” the novel they serve to elucidate, and that they are apt, places Qiu’s novel squarely at the avant-garde end ...

Decadence in the time of evil encounters

May 17, 2014

Decadence in the time of evil encounters

For most of us the notion of life in a tight-knit village is pure fantasy: We have lived our whole lives in and around cities. One would think, therefore, that we would have grown comfortable with the anonymity and the promiscuous mixing with strangers ...

A True Novel

Jan 18, 2014

A True Novel

Like all artists, novelists find the impetus to begin in various places. Some inspire themselves with a formal challenge. Georges Perec, for example, asked himself what would happen if he tried to write a novel entirely bereft of the letter “e.” Others, in their ...

Burying the truth to survive in postwar, modern Japan

Aug 17, 2013

Burying the truth to survive in postwar, modern Japan

It is hardly necessary to note that comics and manga are capable of conveying just about anything. Philosophy? See Ryan Dunlavey and Fred Van Lente’s Action Philosophers series. Travel? Try Guy Delisle’s accounts of his sojourns in tourist hot spots such as Pyongyang and ...

Aug 10, 2013

Three versions of the 'good wife' in Japan

Once upon a time, not so long ago, it was unusual for a Japanese woman to aspire to be anything other than a “good wife and wise mother”— an aspiration so predominant that the Japanese for it, ryosai kenbo, is a set phrase in ...

Jul 6, 2013

Loss of innocence in war for a youth looking for some meaning

Koji Obata, the protagonist of Hiroyuki Agawa’s novel, tends not to feel strongly about things. He is, however, convinced that this detachment is an aspect of his character that he’d like to change. Early in the novel he decides that “he [is] looking for ...

Humble true tales of a 'good man'

Jun 16, 2013

Humble true tales of a 'good man'

The journals of Kenjiro Setoue, a doctor at a clinic on a small Kyushu island, chronicle a life that is, as the doctor himself notes, for the most part, unexciting. It is difficult to believe that a version of this life has been retold ...

Wit and wisdom endures in poetry

Jun 2, 2013

Wit and wisdom endures in poetry

In considering the collected poems of Nanao Sakaki, one has to deal with a problem: his life. That life, by all accounts a marvelous adventure, threatens even now, more than four years after the adventure’s end, to overshadow his work. HOW TO LIVE ON ...

Views of Japan through Western films

Apr 21, 2013

Views of Japan through Western films

Most readers encountering a book called "Under Foreign Eyes: Western Cinematic Adaptations of Postwar Japan" will expect it to contain an interesting claim or claims about these Western representations of Japan, and that the claim or claims will be buttressed by sophisticated analysis of ...