| Sep 21, 2008

Simplicity restored by poetic license

SONG AND STORIES OF THE “KOJIKI” as retold by Yoko Danno, illustrated by Horaku Nakamura. Tokyo/Ontario: Ahadada Books, 2008, 162 pp. $14.95 (paper) The “Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters)” is Japan’s oldest extant chronicle — a collection of events from the mythological age up ...

| Sep 7, 2008

Multiple interpretations of a tale told in many forms

ENVISIONING “THE TALE OF GENJI”: Media, Gender, and Cultural Production, edited by Haruo Shirane. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008, 400 pp., 11 color plates, 66 b/w illustrations, $32.50 (paper) “The Tale of Genji,” Murasaki Shikibu’s long monogatari, upwards of a thousand pages in ...

| Aug 17, 2008

'One scene/one shot,' one director

KENJI MIZOGUCHI and the Art of Japanese Cinema by Tadao Sato, translated by Brij Tankha, edited by Aruna Vasudev and Latika Padgaonkar. Oxford: Berg Books, 2008, 196 pp., with 35 photographs, £17.99 (paper) This is the English translation of Tadao Sato’s defining study of ...

| Aug 10, 2008

Best notes for the bamboo flute

THE SHAKUHACHI MANUAL FOR LEARNING, Revised Edition, by Christopher Yohmei Blasdel. Printed Matter Press, 2008, 202 pp. with many illustrations, musical notations, and an attached CD of practice exercises. ¥3,990 (paper) The shakuhachi is a vertical bamboo flute with five finger holes and a ...

| Aug 3, 2008

The new language of translated films

CINEMA BABEL: Translating Global Cinema, by Abe Mark Nornes. Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2008, 304 pp.,$22.50 (paper) Though foreign film is now seen by all, we are still dependent on translation to discover what is going on up on the big screen or on ...

| Jul 27, 2008

Zeami's notes: appreciating blossoming performances

ZEAMI: Performance Notes, translated by Tom Hare. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008, 528 pp., $45 (cloth) Zeami Motokiyo (1363-1443), the actor, playwright and aesthetic theorist who established the Noh drama as a classical theatrical art, left behind some 21 treatises. These were discovered ...

| Jul 20, 2008

Tokyo: A guide for a certain type of resident

TOKYO: The Complete Residents’ Guide, by Andy Sharp, Beau Miller, Frank Spignese, Jennifer Geaconne-Cruz, Julian Satterthwaite, Karryn Cartelle, Tamsin Bradshaw. Dubai: Explorer Group, Ltd., 2008, 444 pp., profusely illustrated, $14.99 (paper) This book, says the introduction, “is going to help you to get to ...

| Jul 13, 2008

Beauty of the beasts: mythological and real

A BRUSH WITH ANIMALS: Japanese Paintings 1700-1950, by Robert Schaap, with essays by Willem van Gulik, Henk Herwig, Arendie Herwig-Kempers, Daniel McKee and Andrew Thompson. Leiden: Society of Japanese Arts (distributed by Hotei/Brill), 2007, 206 pp. with 275 color illustrations, $117 (cloth), $81 (paper) ...

| Jul 6, 2008

Fearless bluestockings in Japan

THE BLUESTOCKINGS OF JAPAN: New Woman Essays and Fiction From Seito, 1911-16, edited by Jan Bardsley. Ann Arbor: Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan, 2007; xii + 308 pp., $70 (cloth), $26 (paper) In 1911 a new publication appeared in Japan. It was ...

| Jun 29, 2008

Having faith in traveling

EXCURSIONS IN IDENTITY: Travel and the Intersection of Place, Gender and Status in Edo Japan, by Laura Nenzi. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2008, 267 pp., illustrations IX, $57 (cloth) During Japan’s Edo Period (1603-1867), Dr. Laura Nenzi tells us, “physical mobility (traveling along ...