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New translation of the world's oldest novel

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‘The Tale of Genji,” written by Murasaki Shikibu around 1,000 A.D., is regarded by many as the world’s first novel and is arguably the most influential work of Japanese literature ever written, inspiring countless other works of drama, fiction and fine art. The Tale of Genji, by Murasaki Shikibu, Translated ...

Will 'neurotic' Japan go postcapitalist?

Jul 25, 2015

Will 'neurotic' Japan go postcapitalist?

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Is Japan on the threshold of postcapitalism? If it is, as Morris Berman suggests in “Neurotic Beauty: An Outsiders Look at Japan,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe doesn’t seem to have received the memo. Neurotic Beauty, by Morris Berman.516 pagesOne Spirit Press, Nonfiction. Abe is ...

Underneath the 'Orientalist' kimono

Jul 18, 2015

Underneath the 'Orientalist' kimono

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Is it “racist” for non-Japanese to wear kimono? That question has been fiercely debated since protesters entered Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts in late June to decry an exhibition encouraging visitors to try on a red uchikake kimono in front of a 1876 painting ...

Modernity and magical realism in rural Japan

Jul 11, 2015

Modernity and magical realism in rural Japan

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Tokyo may still be thriving, but in Japan’s rural hinterlands, the country has already plunged into a state of advanced senescence. At the start of Kazuki Sakuraba’s “Red Girls: The Legend of the Akakuchibas,” the book’s narrator surveys her hometown and struggles to reconcile ...

On mountain peaks and tourist trash

Jul 4, 2015

On mountain peaks and tourist trash

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Discussing Mount Hayachine, ethnologist Kunio Yanagita observed that it stood on, “a somewhat different plane from the normal world.” This could be a description of mountains in general, a landscape where we may experience nature in the raw, and even at times, a numinous ...