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Blood & Guts

by J.J. O'Donoghue

“Blood & Guts” by Australian journalist Sam Vincent is a behind-the-scenes investigation into whaling and a tale of two countries. Australia is on one side, united in its love of whales and its condemnation of Japan, which has refused to stop killing whales in the Antarctic despite (or perhaps in ...

World Trigger

Nov 22, 2014

World Trigger

by Catherina Depaz

Any lover of science fiction, action and, of course, manga should enjoy “World Trigger” by Daisuke Ashihara. The unlikely hero, nerdy Osamu Mikumo, is a part of an elite monster-fighting organization called “Border.” The world is in constant danger from grotesque invaders from an ...

Holiday gifts they'll cherish from cover to cover

Nov 15, 2014

Holiday gifts they'll cherish from cover to cover

As the holiday season rolls around, it’s time to dash about in a mad panic in search of gifts that say “I’ve given this one some thought, honest.” Or you can just let us do the thinking for you, with gift suggestions from our ...

Finding Murakami in his own weird worlds

Nov 8, 2014

Finding Murakami in his own weird worlds

by J.J. O'Donoghue

Consider this hypothetical conundrum: Haruki Murakami is (finally) awarded the Nobel Prize in literature, but what does the author have to say for himself on Japanese television? The Forbidden Worlds of Haruki Murakami, by Matthew Carl Strecher.University Of Minnesota Press, Nonfiction. More than likely, ...

Phantasm Japan

Nov 8, 2014

Phantasm Japan

by Madeline Barbush

In simple terms, “Phantasm Japan” is a fantasy anthology on the theme of “light and dark, from and about Japan.” Phantasm Japan, by Multiple authors.Haikasoru, Fiction. To outsiders, the overriding image of Japan is of some fantasy land, a place that is impossibly real. ...

Fuminori writes noir, but not as we know it

Nov 1, 2014

Fuminori writes noir, but not as we know it

by Iain Maloney

Fuminori Nakamura has won many of the major literary prizes in Japan and is quickly making the same kind of impact in the English-speaking world. His third novel to be translated into English, “Last Winter, We Parted,” is out now. It’s a tense, layered ...

Malice

Nov 1, 2014

Malice

by Tim Hornyak

“The incident took place on April 16, 1996, a Tuesday.” This meditative, clever novel from the author of 2011′s “The Devotion of Suspect X” begins with a journal entry by Osamu Nonoguchi, a children’s author who happens upon the body of his friend and ...

The Sarashina Diary

Nov 1, 2014

The Sarashina Diary

by Madeline Barbush

The author known as Takasue’s Daughter, or Lady Sarashina, kept a diary to mark her bold 11th-century journey from the east of Japan to the capital. So enthralled did she become with writing that she continued for 40 more years, producing an account that ...

Spooky tales from beyond the grave

Oct 25, 2014

Spooky tales from beyond the grave

by Mark Schilling

Ghost stories are universal, but Japanese ghost stories, argues Zack Davisson in “Yurei: The Japanese Ghost,” are unique. So much so that Davisson, a translator and essayist who is something of a specialist in the supernatural, uses yūrei, the Japanese word for spook, throughout ...

No Longer Human

| Oct 25, 2014

No Longer Human

by William Bradbury

Osamu Dazai’s “No Longer Human” comprises a series of three fictionalized notebooks, with each increasingly darker than the last. The character writing these books, Yozo, is detached from the beginning and is afraid of human interactions, but he learns how to socialize with people ...

Perfidia

Oct 25, 2014

Perfidia

by Mark Schreiber

This sprawling period piece from the prolific author of such works as “L.A. Confidential” and “The Black Dalia” takes place in Los Angeles and environs between Dec. 5 and 29, 1941. Central to the plot are the enigmatic slayings of a Japanese family of ...