Ready for a little Yuletide reading?

| Dec 14, 2008

Ready for a little Yuletide reading?

FOR THE FIGHTING SPIRIT OF THE WALNUT by Takashi Hiraide, translated by Sawako Nakayasu (New Directions) In “For the Fighting Spirit of the Walnut,” Takashi Hiraide shows us that poetry need not be chopped-prose maunderings on the changing of the seasons, the sun setting ...

Drawing new life out of an old story

Nov 30, 2008

Drawing new life out of an old story

RED COLORED ELEGY by Seiichi Hayashi, translated by Taro Nettleton. Montreal: Drawn & Quarterly, 235 pp., $24.95 (cloth) Here’s a rough synopsis of the plot of Seiichi Hayashi’s “Red Colored Elegy”: A young couple, committed to their art, struggle to keep themselves, their art, ...

Sep 7, 2008

Takashi Hiraide's 'Walnut' is tough nut worth cracking

FOR THE FIGHTING SPIRIT OF THE WALNUT by Takashi Hiraide, translated by Sawako Nakayasu. New York: New Directions, 2008, unpaginated, $17.95 (paper) When a fan of the neglected American genius Guy Davenport wrote to tell him that she admired his ability to express himself, ...

May 25, 2008

Abu Ghraib stirs memory of a prisoner of conscience

BLACK GLASSES LIKE CLARK KENT: A GI’s Secret From Postwar Japan, by Terese Svoboda. Saint Paul, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 2008, 225 pp., $14 (paper) In most of the developed world, for most of the post-World War II era, the notion that torture might be ...

Mar 30, 2008

Hatching out some teaching blues

TONOHARU: Part One, by Lars Martinson. Minneapolis: Pliant Press, 2008, 128 pp., $19.95 (cloth) This account, in comic-book form, of an assistant English teacher’s experiences working at a junior high school in the Japanese outback is not bad. Neither, however, is it as good ...

Mar 9, 2008

Picture-perfect sending off of a wartime Shanghai

FAREWELL, SHANGHAI, by Angel Wagenstein, translated by Elizabeth Frank and Deliana Simeonova. New York: Handsel Books, 384 pp., 2007, $24.95 (cloth) The adjective “cinematic,” when applied to a novel, is usually meant to suggest that the book describes bounces from one action-crammed scene to ...

Dec 30, 2007

Certain 'connotations' of Asian Americans

SHORTCOMINGS, by Adrian Tomine. Montreal: Drawn & Quarterly, 2007, 108 pp., $19.95 (cloth) Comic books are respectable enough now that it is no longer necessary to attempt to burnish their image by renaming them “graphic novels.” Neither is it necessary to remind readers that ...

Sep 2, 2007

Transcending boundaries with writer Yoko Tawada

Facing the Bridge by Yoko Tawada, translated by Margaret Mitsutani. New York: New Directions, 2007, 186 pp., $14.95 (paper) WHERE EUROPE BEGINS by Yoko Tawada, translated by Susan Bernofsky and Yumi Selden, preface by Wim Wenders. New York: New Directions, 2007, 208 pp., $14.95 ...

May 13, 2007

Opening the shutter to internment

IMPOUNDED: Dorothea Lange and the Censored Images of Japanese American Internment, by Dorothea Lange, edited by Linda Gordon and Gary Y. Okihiro. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2006, 205 pp., $29.95 (cloth) Reviewed by DAVID COZY On Feb. 14, 1942, President Franklin D. ...

Works beyond Osaka's sun

Apr 19, 2007

Works beyond Osaka's sun

If your knowledge of Taro Okamoto’s work begins and ends with the sculpture “Tower of the Sun” that he created for the 1970 Osaka Expo, a visit to “Taro Okamoto and His Contemporaries in the Post-War Era,” now at the Setagaya Art Museum, is ...