Donald Richie

Donald Richie began writing regularly for The Japan Times in 1954, initially writing film and stage reviews. In the early ’70s he began writing book reviews and continued contributing until 2009. He wrote more than 40 books on Japanese aesthetics, and he is widely considered the pre-eminent expert on Japanese cinema.

For Donald Richie's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Dec 7, 2013

The Japan Times review of 'Ukigusa (Floating Weeds),' Nov. 26, 1959

‘Ukigusa” is the latest film of Yasujiro Ozu, the director whom most Japanese consider “the most Japanese director.” His films are quiet yet powerful, meditative yet implying the strain beneath the surface; they are composed, almost like a mosiac, of small, clear-cut, occasionally even ...

Jan 17, 2013

Donald Richie on 'Koshikei (Death by Hanging)'

This review as originally published on Sunday, Jan. 28, 1968. Director Nagisa Oshima occupies somewhat the same place in the Japanese cinema that Jean-Luc Godard does in the French. A complete intellectual, he is much more interested in ideas than stories, and has more ...

| Oct 11, 2009

Lessons of total devotion and high cruelty

LONG ROAD HOME: Testimony of a North Korean Camp Survivor, by Kim Yong (with Kim Suk Young). Columbia University Press, 2009, 168 pp., $24.50 (hardcover) The author of this excruciating memoir led an unquestioning life in North Korea until one of the routine checks ...

| Sep 27, 2009

Inner life of a giant revealed

REFLECTIONS IN A GLASS DOOR: Memory and Melancholy in the Personal Writings of Natsume Soseki, by Marvin Marcus. Honolulu: Hawaii University Press, 2009, 268 pp., $49 (hardcover) Author of a well-received study of the biographical writings of Mori Ogai (“Paragons of the Ordinary,” 1993), ...

| Aug 30, 2009

The artistic influence of the East

This large and lavish volume is the catalog of an important art exhibition at the New York Guggenheim Museum that ran from Jan. 20 to April 19 this year. Since the show itself is not traveling to other venues, this excellent account of its ...

| Aug 16, 2009

The pure horror of Hiroshima

In 1946, just after the first anniversary of the destruction of Hiroshima, “The New Yorker” magazine’s Aug. 31 issue published the complete text of John Hersey’s portrait of the atom bomb and its effects on the Japanese city. HIROSHIMA by John Hersey. London: Penguin ...

| Aug 2, 2009

When does popular become canonical?

Some scholars would seem to think that methodologies (systems of methods used to focus on particular areas of study) never alter. Other scholars know that the methods change as the area under study enlarges and that ways of looking at the subject are always ...

| Jul 19, 2009

A bird's-eye view of Japanese arts

Books on the specifics of Japanese culture (as compared to those on cultural generalities) were not always as available as they are now. The concept of culture did not have the political intentions that are now so much a part of it. Books on ...

| Jul 5, 2009

The Shanxi trilogy: films that never made it back home

Sometimes called the most significant of the current generation of Chinese film directors, Jia Zhangke (b. 1970) enjoys the distinction of never having had some of his finest work commercially shown in his own country. JIA ZHANGKE’S “HOMETOWN TRILOGY”: Pickpocket, Platform, Unknown Pleasures. Text ...