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 ...

Richie turns painter again

Mar 9, 2007

Richie turns painter again

“Donald Richie: Still Lives and Nudes” will come as a pleasant surprise to those under the impression that Richie’s substantial oeuvre begins and ends with his writing. After studying with the American painter Maurice Grosser, Japan-resident Richie held his first show more than 20 ...

Feb 25, 2007

In fallen cities, where money trumps love

Love in a Fallen City, translated by Karen S. Kingsbury and Eileen Chang. New York: New York Review Books, 2007, 321 pp., $14.95 (paper) Money and the scramble to get it are at the center of many of our best novels, and this is ...

Dec 3, 2006

Magic in the ordinary world

BLIND WILLOW, SLEEPING WOMAN by Haruki Murakami, translated by Philip Gabriel and Jay Rubin. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006, 334 pp., $24.95 (cloth). Just as fiction that is purely mundane can be, well, mundane, fiction that is only fantastic is often only dull. ...

Nov 12, 2006

No ordinary guide to China

SHENZHEN: A Travelogue From China, by Guy Delisle, translated by Helge Dascher. Montreal: Drawn & Quarterly, 2006, 152 pp., $19.95 (cloth). Surely those dinosaurs who believed that comics were suitable only for stories of men in tights have all died off. With the popularity ...