Book Topics

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 ...

The Karma Of Words

| Dec 19, 2015

The Karma Of Words

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Subtitled “Buddhism and the Literary Arts in Medieval Japan,” William R. LaFleur’s book surveys an expanse of Japanese literary history ranging from the “Nihon Ryoiki” of the early ninth century to Basho’s posthumous “Narrow Road to the Deep North” (1702). This is a more ...

Flowers That Kill: Communicative Opacity in Political Spaces

Dec 19, 2015

Flowers That Kill: Communicative Opacity in Political Spaces

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Academia has wised up to marketing, as seen in this title evoking botanical butchery. Far from carnivorous mischief, this scholarly work shows how state propaganda changes the meaning of cultural symbols. Flowers That Kill: Communicative Opacity in Political Spaces, by Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney296 pagesStanford University, ...

Bedtime Eyes

| Dec 12, 2015

Bedtime Eyes

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A direct influence on authors Risa Wataya and Hitomi Kanehara, Amy Yamada was part of the shinjinrui (new breed) generation that came of age in the late ’70s, the first to grow up in an affluent, peaceful postwar Japan. Side-effects of prosperity included ennui ...