Book Topics

The Whale That Fell in Love with a Submarine

Jan 30, 2016

The Whale That Fell in Love with a Submarine

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Akiyuki Nosaka (1930-2015), was a man of many parts, variously a singer, lyricist, comedian and politician as well as a novelist and short story writer. His diverse successes in later life however betrayed an extraordinarily traumatic youth that saw his mother die soon after ...

Barefoot Gen

| Jan 23, 2016

Barefoot Gen

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With the recent announcement by North Korean authorities that they had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb, Keiji Nakazawa’s classic anti-nuclear manga, “Barefoot Gen,” once again deserves a full reading — both for newcomers or for those revisiting its brilliance. Barefoot Gen, by Keiji Nakazawa.10 ...

Wind/Pinball

Jan 23, 2016

Wind/Pinball

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“As long as I had something to transmit,” says the narrator of these two short novels from 1979 and 1980, “my existence would be assured.” Over three decades later, his creator Haruki Murakami is transmitting all over the world, a Japanese hero of postmodern ...

Lost Japan

| Jan 16, 2016

Lost Japan

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Originally published in Japanese in 1993 (with the English translation following in 1996), “Lost Japan,” the first book by Alex Kerr, has recently been re-released by Penguin. A fascinating chronicle of Kerr’s diverse interactions with the country, the book spans such subjects as restoring ...

Up From The Sea

Jan 16, 2016

Up From The Sea

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March 11 this year will mark the fifth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. Thus far, English-language literature has been slow to tackle the disaster. “Up From the Sea” by Tokyo-based Californian writer Leza Lowitz is, therefore, a welcome arrival. Up ...

The Making of Asian America: A History

Jan 9, 2016

The Making of Asian America: A History

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In 1922, a Japanese immigrant to the United States named Takao Ozawa applied for citizenship with the U.S. Supreme Court. Having lived in America for almost 30 years, Ozawa was fluent in English and an active Christian, assuring the court that his skin was ...

Pacific Burn

Jan 9, 2016

Pacific Burn

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Who’s killing off members of Kyoto’s artistic Nobuki family, and why? First a son is murdered on a visit to Napa, California; then a sniper nearly succeeds in gunning down the father, a famous artist. After the younger son and his fiance are thrown ...

New Selected Poems

Jan 2, 2016

New Selected Poems

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In the introduction to “New Selected Poems” Shuntaro Tanikawa is described as a “poetic volcano,” but a volcano, like the proverbial hedgehog, only does one big thing; Tanikawa offers something new in every book. New Selected Poems, by Shuntaro Tanikawa (trans. William I. Elliott ...