Book Topics

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,” ...

Mechademia 8. Tezuka Osamu: Manga Life

Mar 1, 2014

Mechademia 8. Tezuka Osamu: Manga Life

by Andrew Lee

“Mechademia” is an annual journal that gathers academic writing on manga, anime and games as well as on a broad range of activities related to popular culture in Japan, such as cosplay. In the eighth and most recent volume, however, the essays zero in ...

Japanese social issues await 'new dawn'

Feb 22, 2014

Japanese social issues await 'new dawn'

by Anthony Fensom

Japan is on the way up. That much is obvious from improved business confidence, its successful bid for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the early economic successes of “Abenomics,” with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe proclaiming to the world the arrival of “a new dawn.” ...

The Pillow Book

| Feb 22, 2014

The Pillow Book

by Kris Kosaka

Written by Japan’s original blogger, a mistress of wry observation and scalding wit, Sei Shonagon’s “The Pillow Book” retains its fresh, authentic appeal more than 1,000 years after its inception. Shonagon was a contemporary and presumed rival of Lady Murasaki, author of the “The ...

Decadent Literature in Twentieth-Century Japan

Feb 22, 2014

Decadent Literature in Twentieth-Century Japan

by Elliott Samuels

Decadent Literature in Twentieth-Century Japan, by Ikuho Amano.Palgrave Macmillan, Academic. Japan is not generally believed to be a decadent society, and yet there are certain periods in its history when phases of moral decay were accompanied by a surge in “aesthetic indulgence.” The bubble ...

Flux

Feb 22, 2014

Flux

by Kris Kosaka

Flux, the new collection of poems by Japan-based poet Jane Joritz-Nakagawa, reveals a myriad of fluctuations and transitions in style and theme. From the poet’s diverse choice of form to her penetrating eye on the collection’s wide range of subject matter, the poems here ...

Miyuki Miyabe's latest puts the history in Japanese horror

Feb 15, 2014

Miyuki Miyabe's latest puts the history in Japanese horror

by Matt Alt

Better known for her crime and fantasy writing abroad, precious few of the prolific Miyuki Miyabe’s tales of terror have actually made it into the English language. Haikasoru’s publication of “Apparitions: Ghosts of Old Edo” addresses this oversight. Capably translated by Daniel Huddleston, this ...

The Pornographers

| Feb 15, 2014

The Pornographers

by James Hadfield

Akiyuki Nosaka’s “Grave of the Fireflies,” a harrowing, semi-autobiographical tale of two young siblings fending for survival in the aftermath of World War II, helped him win the prestigious Naoki Prize for literature in 1967. The Pornographers, by Akiyuki Nozaka. ALFRED A. KNOPF, Fiction. ...

I Hear Them Cry

Feb 15, 2014

I Hear Them Cry

by Yasmine La Salle

In her debut novel, “I Hear Them Cry,” award-winning author Shiho Kishimoto explores how the pattern of violent behavior can be inherited from parent to child and how love and violence are often connected. I Hear Them Cry, by Shiho Kishimoto Translated by Raj ...

Apocalypse in Contemporary Japanese Science Fiction

Feb 15, 2014

Apocalypse in Contemporary Japanese Science Fiction

by Elliott Samuels

Apocalypse in Contemporary Japanese Science Fiction, by Motoko Tanaka.Palgrave Macmillan, Academic. Japan is no stranger to apocalyptic events, a fact drilled home with the catastrophes of March 11, 2011. The country has suffered all number of volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunami and nuclear bomb attacks, ...

Drawing on the past reveals the Showa Era

Feb 8, 2014

Drawing on the past reveals the Showa Era

by James Hadfield

The rest of the world knew him as Hirohito, but to his subjects he was always just “the Emperor.” Known posthumously as Showa, Japan’s 124th monarch reigned for over 60 years, during which he would be witness to both the best and worst of ...

Snow Country

| Feb 8, 2014

Snow Country

by Andrew Lee

Winter, when mornings are crisp, puddles frozen and the promise of snow floats in the air; it’s the perfect season to crack open “Snow Country” and let its well-known opening line — “The train came out of the long tunnel into the snow country” ...