Book Topics

Scandal

| Mar 15, 2014

Scandal

by Stephen Mansfield

When a respected Catholic novelist by the name of Suguro meets an inebriated woman at a party, he is astounded to hear that she recognizes him from a portrait hanging in a club she claims he patronizes in one of Tokyo’s more sleazy night ...

Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible

Mar 15, 2014

Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible

by Yasmine La Salle

In her new book, ” Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible,” award-winning author Suzanne Kamata shows her young audience that invisibility is not always a superpower, and becoming a young adult is not always easy. Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible, by ...

Stray Dog of Anime: The Films of Mamoru Oshii

Mar 15, 2014

Stray Dog of Anime: The Films of Mamoru Oshii

by Elliott Samuels

The international success of Japanese animation films at the box office over the past two decades can largely be put down to the work of two men: Academy Award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki and the self-proclaimed “stray dog of anime,” Mamoru Oshii. Stray Dog of ...

Photos found after the tsunami leave a mark

Mar 8, 2014

Photos found after the tsunami leave a mark

by Elliott Samuels

Family photographs are essentially a collection of memories, snapshots of happiness frozen in time. As treasured as these printed images may be to the individuals captured in them, they are no match for the destructive power of the tsunami that swept away town after ...

Ranma 1/2

Mar 8, 2014

Ranma 1/2

by Andrew Lee

The premise behind Rumiko Takahashi’s massively popular manga “Ranma ½” is delightfully bizarre: A father and son martial arts duo who are cursed to change form when doused in hot or cold water — the dad, Genma, into a giant panda and the 16-year-old ...

The Ruined Map

| Mar 1, 2014

The Ruined Map

by Stephen Mansfield

Angela Carter wrote that Tokyo possessed the “indecipherable clarity of a dream,” one in which you might think you are in control, but have, in fact, been “precipitated into somebody else’s dream.” A similar sensation occurs when reading Kobo Abe’s novel, “The Ruined Map,” ...

Mechademia 8. Tezuka Osamu: Manga Life

Mar 1, 2014

Mechademia 8. Tezuka Osamu: Manga Life

by Andrew Lee

“Mechademia” is an annual journal that gathers academic writing on manga, anime and games as well as on a broad range of activities related to popular culture in Japan, such as cosplay. In the eighth and most recent volume, however, the essays zero in ...

Japanese social issues await 'new dawn'

Feb 22, 2014

Japanese social issues await 'new dawn'

by Anthony Fensom

Japan is on the way up. That much is obvious from improved business confidence, its successful bid for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the early economic successes of “Abenomics,” with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe proclaiming to the world the arrival of “a new dawn.” ...

The Pillow Book

| Feb 22, 2014

The Pillow Book

by Kris Kosaka

Written by Japan’s original blogger, a mistress of wry observation and scalding wit, Sei Shonagon’s “The Pillow Book” retains its fresh, authentic appeal more than 1,000 years after its inception. Shonagon was a contemporary and presumed rival of Lady Murasaki, author of the “The ...

Decadent Literature in Twentieth-Century Japan

Feb 22, 2014

Decadent Literature in Twentieth-Century Japan

by Elliott Samuels

Decadent Literature in Twentieth-Century Japan, by Ikuho Amano.Palgrave Macmillan, Academic. Japan is not generally believed to be a decadent society, and yet there are certain periods in its history when phases of moral decay were accompanied by a surge in “aesthetic indulgence.” The bubble ...

Flux

Feb 22, 2014

Flux

by Kris Kosaka

Flux, the new collection of poems by Japan-based poet Jane Joritz-Nakagawa, reveals a myriad of fluctuations and transitions in style and theme. From the poet’s diverse choice of form to her penetrating eye on the collection’s wide range of subject matter, the poems here ...