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:

| Apr 6, 2008

Getting younger, getting older

I HAVEN’T DREAMED OF FLYING FOR A WHILE by Taichi Yamada, translated by David James Karashima. London: Faber & Faber, 2008, 195 pp., £10.99 (paper).He is in bed with her. “Take my nipple in your mouth,” she says. “Just like nobody can console a ...

| Mar 30, 2008

The big mysteries behind small things

THE ART OF SMALL THINGS by John Mack. London: British Museum Press, 2007, 224 pp., with 200 color illustrations, £19.99 (cloth)Here is a splendid catalog of the world made small — miniature works in the collection of the British Museum: Elizabethan rings, Benin masks, ...

| Mar 23, 2008

Utamaro, the women's brand name

UTAMARO AND THE SPECTACLE OF BEAUTY by Julie Nelson Davis. London: Reaktion Books, 2008, 269 pp., 114 illustrations, 66 color plates. £35 (cloth)Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806) is widely known as one of the most creative and influential artists of the ukiyo-e, those “pictures of the ...

| Mar 16, 2008

Poetic reasons to take a card game seriously

ONE HUNDRED POETS, ONE POEM EACH: A Translation of the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu, by Peter McMillan with a foreword by Donald Keene and an afterword by Eileen Kato. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007, 280 pp., with line drawings, $39.50 (cloth)This is a new ...

| Mar 9, 2008

The art of Frances Blakemore: a love affair with Japan

AN AMERICAN ARTIST IN TOKYO: Frances Blakemore — 1906-1997, by Michiyo Morioka. Seattle: The Blakemore Foundation/University of Washington Press, 2007, 200 pp., profusely illustrated, $35 (cloth)Living more than 50 years of her life in Japan, artist Frances Blakemore was a close and sympathetic observer ...

| Mar 2, 2008

'Kusamakura': What's the story?

KUSAMAKURA by Natsume Soseki, translated by Meredith McKinney. Penguin Classics, 2008, 152 pp., £9.99 (paper)In this early work (also known as “Grass Pillow”) by one of Japan’s best-known authors, the narrator is with a mysterious woman he meets at the hot spring. They are ...

| Feb 24, 2008

Asian art for art's sake

WHAT’S THE USE OF ART? — Asian Visual and Material Culture in Context, edited by Jan Mrazek and Morgan Pitelka. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2008, 314 pp., with illustrations, $58 (cloth)The question is rhetorical, that is, uttered for effect, to make a statement ...

| Jan 27, 2008

Making Japan 'borderless'

JAPAN AND ITS WORLDS: Marius B. Jansen and the Internationalization of Japanese Studies, edited by Martin Collcutt, Kato Mikio and Ronald P. Toby. I-House Press, 2007, 300 pp., ¥2,858 (cloth)The late Marius Jansen was America’s most eminent historian of modern Japan. Admired in Japan ...

| Jan 20, 2008

The Utagawa brand name

COMPETITION AND COLLABORATION: Japanese Prints of the Utagawa School, by Laura J. Mueller, with essays by Fujisawa Akane, Kobayashi Tadashi, and Ellis Tinios. Leiden/Boston: Hotei Publishing, 2007, 232 pp., 200 illustrations, $120 (cloth)The Utagawa school, founded in the 18th century and active throughout the ...

| Jan 13, 2008

Preferring to show and not to tell

AKIRA KUROSAWA: Interviews, edited by Burt Cardullo. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2008, 196 pp., $20 (paper)Once, when I asked Akira Kurosawa about the meaning of one of his films he answered: “If I could have said it in words, I would have — ...