Stephen Mansfield

Photojournalist and author Stephen Mansfield’s work has appeared in over 70 publications worldwide, on subjects ranging from conflict in the Middle East to cultural analysis, interviews and book reviews. A longtime Japan Times contributor, his latest book is “Japan’s Master Gardens: Lessons in Space & Environment.”

For Stephen Mansfield's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

The temporal shift of Ainokura village

Apr 25, 2015

The temporal shift of Ainokura village

The tour conductor waved her flag furiously as she directed the bus driver into the last remaining slot in the parking lot that serves the village of Shirakawa-go. The jam of large vehicles and private cars was replicated in the droves of visitors streaming ...

Okinawa: In the crosshairs of war

Apr 4, 2015

Okinawa: In the crosshairs of war

“We always seem to be at the tail end of history, dragged along roads already ruined by others.” — “Memoirs of a Declining Ryukyuan Women,” Kushi Fusako On a recent trip to the Pacific island of Guam, I came across a peculiar omission in ...

Soraku-en: Kobe's well-grounded garden

Mar 28, 2015

Soraku-en: Kobe's well-grounded garden

On Jan. 17, 1995, as the city of Kobe suffered one of the country’s worst earthquakes in living memory, the rocks, artificial hills and root systems of Soraku-en, a Meiji period (1868-1912) circuit garden, held firm. This was rather remarkable, given the extent of ...

The wanderer, writer and suspected spy who embraced Japan

Mar 21, 2015

The wanderer, writer and suspected spy who embraced Japan

T.S. Eliot may have written that “April is the cruellest month,” but for Roger Pulvers, this spring is an extraordinarily felicitous one. In March, an English translation of his novel “Starsand” was published and in April, translations will be released of both an anthology ...

A tragic story of red tape and fatal ineptitude

Mar 14, 2015

A tragic story of red tape and fatal ineptitude

At 2:46 p.m. on March 11, 2011, a 9-magnitude megathrust earthquake triggered a tsunami that slammed into the aging Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant along the country’s northeastern coastline, less than 250 km north of the capital. In the worst nuclear accident since ...

The origin myth that beat the drums of war

Feb 28, 2015

The origin myth that beat the drums of war

Since the 18th-century — the age of English historian Edward Gibbon — Western theories of history have held that the past consists of causes, effects and events; there are no determining laws or theorems, and no divine purpose. This is the opposite of the ...

Taking a critical look at the prison of history

Feb 7, 2015

Taking a critical look at the prison of history

Those who write about history do so at their peril. The difficulties are manifest: how to contribute anything meaningful, to be divergent but remain credible and to research the past without losing sight of the present. Japan and the Shackles of the Past, by ...