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The Ise Stories

| Mar 22, 2014

The Ise Stories

by Kris Kosaka

Before there was “The Tale of Genji,” the “The Ise Stories” (“Ise Monogatari”) presented ancient Japanese audiences with a titillating series of loosely connected episodes of love that are believed to be based on the romantic encounters of the poet and aristocrat Ariwara no ...

The Art Lover's Guide to Japanese Museums

Mar 22, 2014

The Art Lover's Guide to Japanese Museums

by Elliott Samuels

The Art Lover’s Guide to Japanese Museums, by Sophie Richard.The Japan Society, Nonfiction. There is an abundance of art museums in Japan, with the Ministry of Culture counting more than 1,200. Bearing this in mind, it was always going to be ambitious for author ...

Portrait of the assassin as a young man

Mar 15, 2014

Portrait of the assassin as a young man

by Mark Schreiber

Sometime in the 1970s, as more Americans began to rally against the Vietnam War, an unknown cynic parodied the U.S. Army’s promotional recruitment tagline with the slogan, “Join the Army! Travel to unusual places. Meet interesting people, and kill them.” The killing part, at ...

Scandal

| Mar 15, 2014

Scandal

by Stephen Mansfield

When a respected Catholic novelist by the name of Suguro meets an inebriated woman at a party, he is astounded to hear that she recognizes him from a portrait hanging in a club she claims he patronizes in one of Tokyo’s more sleazy night ...

Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible

Mar 15, 2014

Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible

by Yasmine La Salle

In her new book, ” Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible,” award-winning author Suzanne Kamata shows her young audience that invisibility is not always a superpower, and becoming a young adult is not always easy. Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible, by ...

Stray Dog of Anime: The Films of Mamoru Oshii

Mar 15, 2014

Stray Dog of Anime: The Films of Mamoru Oshii

by Elliott Samuels

The international success of Japanese animation films at the box office over the past two decades can largely be put down to the work of two men: Academy Award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki and the self-proclaimed “stray dog of anime,” Mamoru Oshii. Stray Dog of ...

Photos found after the tsunami leave a mark

Mar 8, 2014

Photos found after the tsunami leave a mark

by Elliott Samuels

Family photographs are essentially a collection of memories, snapshots of happiness frozen in time. As treasured as these printed images may be to the individuals captured in them, they are no match for the destructive power of the tsunami that swept away town after ...

Ranma 1/2

Mar 8, 2014

Ranma 1/2

by Andrew Lee

The premise behind Rumiko Takahashi’s massively popular manga “Ranma ½” is delightfully bizarre: A father and son martial arts duo who are cursed to change form when doused in hot or cold water — the dad, Genma, into a giant panda and the 16-year-old ...

Doraemon, the robot cat, gets your tongue

Mar 1, 2014

Doraemon, the robot cat, gets your tongue

by Kris Kosaka

An earless blue robotic cat, one pocket bulging with gadgets from the future and a lifelong fear of mice: Who is he? Japan roars the answer — but English readers may be stumped. Because, even though he’s a government-appointed “cultural ambassador” and a familiar ...

The Ruined Map

| Mar 1, 2014

The Ruined Map

by Stephen Mansfield

Angela Carter wrote that Tokyo possessed the “indecipherable clarity of a dream,” one in which you might think you are in control, but have, in fact, been “precipitated into somebody else’s dream.” A similar sensation occurs when reading Kobo Abe’s novel, “The Ruined Map,” ...