Book Topics

After the Banquet

| Feb 13, 2016

After the Banquet

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Considering Yukio Mishima’s reputation, it seems odd that a book as innocuous as “After the Banquet” could have had such an impact. The novel tells the story of Kazu, the owner of a restaurant frequented by the rich and powerful of Tokyo society, and ...

Once Upon a Time in Japan

Feb 6, 2016

Once Upon a Time in Japan

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“Once Upon a Time in Japan” is an ideal introduction to Japanese folktales. Published by Tuttle with NHK Japan Broadcasting Corporation, the stories in this children’s storybook were chosen from a popular series produced by Radio Japan, NHK World’s radio service broadcast globally in ...

The Silent Cry

| Jan 30, 2016

The Silent Cry

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On the surface “The Silent Cry”— first published in 1967 — is the story of Matsu, his wife Natsu and his brother Takashi, who return to the Shikoku village of their birth to negotiate the sale of some family property to “the Emperor of ...

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 ...