Donald Richie was a scrupulous writer who paid finite attention to language and content. The following are 10 outstanding choices — titles that should be on any discerning readers’ bookshelf.
“Tokyo: A View of the City” (1999)
Here Richie manages to give the impression of someone who is encountering an utterly new city for the first time.
“Travels in the East” (2008)
A collection of travel essays, many of which first appeared in this newspaper.
“A Tractate on Japanese Aesthetics” (2009)
A little book with a lot to say on this most esoteric of subjects.
“Partial Views: Essays on Contemporary Japan” (1995)
An anthology that includes matchless compositions such as “The Nourishing Void” and a piece on his friend Yukio Mishima.
An examination of the work of the great cinema auteur Yasujiro Ozu, one of the finest director profiles written.
“The Inland Sea” (1971)
An account in the greatest tradition of literary travel writing.
“Tokyo Nights” (2005)
Captures the febrile materialism of Japan’s bubble-economy years better than any novel of the period.
“Different People: Pictures of Some Japanese” (1987)
Affectionate portraits of characters from celebrities to the unknown.
“The Japan Journals: 1947-2004” (2004)
The longest expatriate account of life in Japan ever written.
“The Image Factory: Fads & Fashions in Japan” (2003)
A strangely overlooked book. Contains illuminating chapters on popular culture.