Book Topics

Jaco the Galactic Patrolman

Jan 3, 2015

Jaco the Galactic Patrolman

by Elliott Samuels

Jaco the Galactic Patrolman, by Akira Toriyama, Translated by Tetsuichiro Miyaki.Viz Media, Manga. A gruff scientist named Omori lives alone on an island, attempting to succeed in his bid to travel in time. His tranquil life is interrupted when a spacecraft crash-lands off the ...

Mishima: sliced from the shackles of time

Dec 27, 2014

Mishima: sliced from the shackles of time

by Stephen Mansfield

Henry Scott Stokes, Yukio Mishima’s first biographer, once told me that the thing he most remembered about the writer was his exquisite manners — one of those telling details that lend a touch of authenticity to the work of those who knew Mishima personally. ...

The Woman in the Dunes

| Dec 27, 2014

The Woman in the Dunes

by Kris Kosaka

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 ...

The Strange Library

Dec 27, 2014

The Strange Library

by David Cozy

Haruki Murakami’s “The Strange Library” is a short story, not a novel. So why, one might wonder, has it been published as a single volume? Reading the story, two answers suggest themselves. The first is that, though it is short — 58 loosely printed ...

Man'yo Luster

Dec 27, 2014

Man'yo Luster

by Elliott Samuels

Man’yo Luster, by Susumu Nakahashi, Translated by Ian Hideo Levy, Photos by Hakudo Inoue.Pie Books, Poetry. Compiled in the eighth century during the Nara Period, the “Man’yoshu” (“Collection of 10,000 Leaves”) is the oldest anthology of domestic poetry. It includes the works of hundreds ...

Blowing the dust off Edo Period erotica

Dec 20, 2014

Blowing the dust off Edo Period erotica

by Victoria James

You always remember your first time. Mine was on a subway train in central London, late one September afternoon. It was 1999, shortly before I moved to Japan. My impression of the country I would soon be living in had just been thoroughly shaken ...

Rivers

Dec 20, 2014

Rivers

by Mike Sunda

Rivers, by Teru Miyamoto, Translated by Roger K. Thomas and Ralph McCarthy.Kudodahan Press, Fiction. Although relatively renowned and celebrated domestically, Teru Miyamoto hasn’t received much attention abroad as English translations of the novelist’s works are still sparse. This latest publication goes some way toward ...

Deep River

| Dec 13, 2014

Deep River

by Iain Maloney

In “Deep River” a group of elderly Japanese tourists and a couple join a tour of holy Buddhist sites in India. Motivated by different forms of grief and guilt, each is searching for healing. The narrative involves four main characters: Isobe, recently widowed, Kiguchi, ...

On the Brink: The Inside Story of Fukushima Daiichi

Dec 13, 2014

On the Brink: The Inside Story of Fukushima Daiichi

by Catherina Depaz

On the Brink, by Ryusho Kadota, Translated by Simon Varnam.Kurodahan Press, Nonfiction. The personal testimonials from “On the Brink: The Inside Story of Fukushima Daiichi” are riveting and heartbreaking. Compiled by Ryusho Kadota, each chapter recounts the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake ...