The Ink Dark Moon

| Jan 24, 2015

The Ink Dark Moon

No other period in Japan’s literary history was as dominated by women as the Heian Period (794-1185). Most Japanophiles know names such as Sei Shonagon (“The Pillow Book”) or Murasaki Shikibu (“The Tale of Genji”) for their contributions to the world of literature, but ...

Lingering outside the way station for the dead

Jan 17, 2015

Lingering outside the way station for the dead

It’s a hardy soul who braves Osorezan (Mount Osore), a volcano in Aomori Prefecture known as the Japanese way station for the dead. For most, the name conjures up images of the supernatural and the unknown, but for Marie Mutsuki Mockett, it is a ...

Cat Town

Jan 17, 2015

Cat Town

Modernist 20th-century writer Sakutaro Hagiwara redefined Japanese poetry with his free-style verse and daringly common subject matter; he reached sublime heights by examining the mundane. Cat Town, by Sakutaro Hagiwara, Translated by Hiroaki Sato.NYRB Poets, Poetry. Published by the New York Review of Books’ ...

Cataloging the creatures of the unknown

Jan 10, 2015

Cataloging the creatures of the unknown

“Yokai dwell in the contact zone between fact and fiction, between belief and doubt … Yokai begin where language ends,” says Michael Dylan Foster in the introduction to “The Book of Yokai,” summing up what words often fail to conjure. His book takes readers ...

Curtains up on 2015

Jan 1, 2015

Curtains up on 2015

Innovation adds sparkle to traditional forms Looking into the crystal ball of Japan’s traditional performing arts in 2015 reveals a sparkling blend of change and tradition. In what is its 120th year, the film and theater company and pillar of kabuki, Shochiku, will mark ...

The Woman in the Dunes

| Dec 27, 2014

The Woman in the Dunes

Certain books must be read, even with the knowledge that the reading will be painful. Kobo Abe’s masterpiece “The Woman in the Dunes” is one such book. Called an “existential fable,” it is no surprise that Abe’s favorite writers were Franz Kafka, Friedrich Nietzsche ...

Dec 17, 2014

Acchi Cocchi spells festive fun for kids

Looking for a way to share some Christmas creativity with your children? The nonprofit Acchi Cocchi (Place to Place) holds its third annual Waku Waku (meaning “Exciting”) workshop of Christmas art, music and dance for children at Kanagawa Arts Theatre in Yokohama on Dec. ...

Get festive with a legend at Matsuyama's 'Nutcracker'

Dec 10, 2014

Get festive with a legend at Matsuyama's 'Nutcracker'

Christmas in the ballet world means “The Nutcracker,” and fans in Japan can take their pick from numerous productions of this mistle-toed magic originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov and premiered at the Marinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg on Dec. 18, 1892, ...

The Housekeeper and the Professor

| Dec 6, 2014

The Housekeeper and the Professor

Yoko Ogawa’s “The Housekeeper and the Professor” garnered instant acclaim when it was published in 2003, winning the Hon’ya Taisho award. Translated into English in 2009 by Stephen Snyder, this short tale has steadily gained fans worldwide, making it a modern Japanese classic. The ...