Book Topics

The Nature of Japan

Feb 8, 2014

The Nature of Japan

by Elliott Samuels

The title of longtime Japan Times columnist Mark Brazil’s collection of essays sells itself a little short, for “The Nature of Japan” is less about identifying the web of life that inhabits this archipelago as it is about offering an insightful peek into the ...

Bending Adversity: Japan and the Art of Survival

Feb 1, 2014

Bending Adversity: Japan and the Art of Survival

by Jeff Kingston

The title of “Bending Adversity: Japan and the Art of Survival” refers to an old Japanese proverb about making the best of a bad situation or transforming crisis into opportunity. Japan is no stranger to crisis, or to monumental “bending,” but will the Great ...

Fujisan

Feb 1, 2014

Fujisan

by Elliott Samuels

The haunting tales included in this collection of short stories by Randy Taguchi all take place in the shadow of Mount Fuji. Fujisan, Randy Taguchi, Translated by Raj Mahtani, AMAZONCROSSING Taguchi, who has attracted something of a cult following in Japan since launching her ...

Heart of a Samurai

Feb 1, 2014

Heart of a Samurai

Heart of a Samurai, Margi Preus, AMULET BOOKS “Heart of a Samurai” is a fictionalized account of the remarkable true story of Nakahama Manjiro, who played an important part as a translator during the opening of Japan at the end of the Tokugawa Era. ...

Silence Once Begun

Jan 25, 2014

Silence Once Begun

by Victoria James

If you’ve ever thought book reviewing was a questionable business — so opinionated! so subjective! — this may be the review to prove you right.

The Tale of Genji

| Jan 25, 2014

The Tale of Genji

by Kris Kosaka

Recognized as the world’s first novel, Murasaki Shikibu’s “The Tale of Genji” is a spiraling epic that encompasses a beautifully complex portrayal of 11th-century Japanese Imperial Court life. The Tale of Genji, Murasaki Shikibu, Translated by Royall Tyler, PENGUIN CLASSICS DELUXE Penned by a ...

In Pursuit of Lavender

Jan 25, 2014

In Pursuit of Lavender

by Hanna Lange

Akutagawa-prize-winning author, Akiko Itoyama, is known to focus on human relations in her work and with “In Pursuit of Lavender” she explores the relationship between two mentally unstable people as they hit the road together on a journey across Japan. In Pursuit of Lavender, ...

Anime: A History

Jan 25, 2014

Anime: A History

by Elliott Samuels

Anime: A History, Jonathan Clements, PALGRAVE MACMILLAN Japanese animation has certainly come a long way in since it was founded by hobbyists through trial and error in the 1910s. Historian Jonathan Clements traces the evolution of anime by exploring the history of its production ...

A True Novel

Jan 18, 2014

A True Novel

by David Cozy

Like all artists, novelists find the impetus to begin in various places. Some inspire themselves with a formal challenge. Georges Perec, for example, asked himself what would happen if he tried to write a novel entirely bereft of the letter “e.” Others, in their ...

The Setting Sun

| Jan 18, 2014

The Setting Sun

by James Hadfield

Career nihilist Osamu Dazai had already attempted suicide four times when he published his most famous novel in 1947. “The Setting Sun” quickly became a byword for the decline of Japan’s aristocracy in the wake of World War II, but its portrait of a ...

'Henry Black: On Stage in Meiji Japan'

Jan 18, 2014

"Henry Black: On Stage in Meiji Japan"

by Edan Corkill

Former journalist Ian McArthur’s study of Henry Black, a Briton who became a professional rakugo-ka (storyteller) in Meiji Era (1868-1912) Japan, is a reminder that many colorful characters from that turbulent time — especially foreigners — remain little known to contemporary readers. “Henry Black: ...