Book Topics

Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories

Jul 5, 2014

Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories

by William Bradbury

It is noticeable that the tales in “Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories” by Ryunosuke Akutagawa change in tone and style alongside the mental state and interests of the writer. Akutagawa’s most famed early works (including the titular story) are intricately woven setups for moral ...

From the Japanese

Jul 5, 2014

From the Japanese

by Kris Kosaka

This fourth volume of poetry from Tokyo resident Paul Rossiter conveys his 40-year relationship with Japan in collected poems both thoughtful and thought-provoking. These range from the impressions of a startled first-time tourist in 1969 through to Rossiter’s visits to Ishinomaki in Tohoku in ...

Mori classic was the epitome of Meiji style

Jun 28, 2014

Mori classic was the epitome of Meiji style

by Roger Pulvers

There has been no period in the history of modern Japanese society so dramatic and so remarkably tumultuous and fluid as the Meiji Era (1868-1912), and no single work of fiction more revelatory in its depiction of that period than Ogai Mori’s “The Wild ...

Ring

| Jun 28, 2014

Ring

by Stephen Mansfield

There is a long history of spooking the reader in Japan. The humid summer months are supposed to be alleviated by spine-chilling ghost stories and scary Edo Period dramas. But no particular season makes contemporary Japanese horror any less terrifying. Ring, by Koji Suzuki ...

Murder on Bamboo Lane

Jun 28, 2014

Murder on Bamboo Lane

by Mark Schreiber

Since the appearance of “Summer of the Big Bachi” in 2004, Naomi Hirahara has produced five mystery novels in the ethnic detective genre, featuring Masao Arai, an elderly Japanese-American gardener (and Hiroshima A-bomb survivor) who drives around greater Los Angeles in a beat-up pickup ...

Zen Landscapes

Jun 28, 2014

Zen Landscapes

by Elliott Samuels

Zen Landscapes, by Allen S. Weiss.Reaktion, Nonfiction. Much has been written about Japanese gardens, with authors waxing lyrical about the craftsmanship and miniaturization that are often on display. These gardens, however, are much more than mere abstract designs; they are living landscapes that change ...

How a  master circled the system

Jun 21, 2014

How a master circled the system

by Rhiannon Paget

Favorites of today’s museum-going public, the lushly colorful, sensuous and grotesque paintings of beautiful women by Tsuchida Bakusen (1887-1936) have long been written into the canon of nihonga (Japanese-style painting). It is easy to forget, however, just how transgressive Bakusen’s images were at the ...

The Case of the Sharaku Murders

Jun 21, 2014

The Case of the Sharaku Murders

by Andrew Lee

Before winning the Edogawa Rampo Prize for “The Case of the Sharaku Murders” in 1983, Katsuhiko Takahashi was an ukiyo-e researcher and university lecturer, which perhaps explains why he chose to set his debut novel in the bitchy academic world of ukiyo-e scholarship — ...

Deep Kyoto Walks

Jun 21, 2014

Deep Kyoto Walks

by Patrick Mccoy

“Deep Kyoto Walks” edited by Michael Lambe and Ted Taylor is the perfect guide for anyone who wants to get off Kyoto’s beaten tourist track. With personalized views of what to see and do in Kyoto — by people who have lived there for ...

One woman's mark on the nation's Constitution

Jun 14, 2014

One woman's mark on the nation's Constitution

by Kris Kosaka

In December 2012, 89-year-old Beate Sirota Gordon knew she was dying. The women’s rights advocate and tireless promoter of cross-cultural exchange in the arts was ill at home in the New York borough of Manhattan. Yet, she pulled herself out of bed one morning, ...