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Blowing the dust off Edo Period erotica

by Victoria James

You always remember your first time. Mine was on a subway train in central London, late one September afternoon. It was 1999, shortly before I moved to Japan. My impression of the country I would soon be living in had just been thoroughly shaken up. Shunga, by Ishigami Aki, Uragami ...

Rivers

Dec 20, 2014

Rivers

by Mike Sunda

Rivers, by Teru Miyamoto, Translated by Roger K. Thomas and Ralph McCarthy.Kudodahan Press, Fiction. Although relatively renowned and celebrated domestically, Teru Miyamoto hasn’t received much attention abroad as English translations of the novelist’s works are still sparse. This latest publication goes some way toward ...

Deep River

| Dec 13, 2014

Deep River

by Iain Maloney

In “Deep River” a group of elderly Japanese tourists and a couple join a tour of holy Buddhist sites in India. Motivated by different forms of grief and guilt, each is searching for healing. The narrative involves four main characters: Isobe, recently widowed, Kiguchi, ...

On the Brink: The Inside Story of Fukushima Daiichi

Dec 13, 2014

On the Brink: The Inside Story of Fukushima Daiichi

by Catherina Depaz

On the Brink, by Ryusho Kadota, Translated by Simon Varnam.Kurodahan Press, Nonfiction. The personal testimonials from “On the Brink: The Inside Story of Fukushima Daiichi” are riveting and heartbreaking. Compiled by Ryusho Kadota, each chapter recounts the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake ...

What's beneath all that latex, fabric and plastic?

Dec 6, 2014

What's beneath all that latex, fabric and plastic?

by James Hadfield

In 1910, a man named Otto James was arrested for parading down a busy street in Tacoma, Washington, wearing fancy dress. The charge of “public masquerading” — so quaint to modern ears — was itself nothing new, but the choice of costume was notable: ...

Kiska: The Japanese Occupation of an Alaska Island

Dec 6, 2014

Kiska: The Japanese Occupation of an Alaska Island

by Elliott Samuels

Kiska, by Brendan Coyle.University of Alaska Press, Nonfiction. The volcanic island of Kiska in the Aleutian chain was occupied by Japanese forces from June 1942 until August 1943. More than 7,500 Japanese personnel lived on the island until they heard Allied troops were moving ...

Crafting words with Osamu Dazai's translator

Nov 29, 2014

Crafting words with Osamu Dazai's translator

by Iain Maloney

Two of the most successful Japanese novels of the past few years that have been translated into English are Hiromi Kawakami’s “The Briefcase” and Fuminori Nakamura’s “Last Winter, We Parted.” Both were translated by Allison Markin Powell, a literary translator and editor based in ...

Quiet Accomplishment

Nov 29, 2014

Quiet Accomplishment

by David Cozy

Minor artists fear — and not without reason — that the ideas and visions of which their art is made are finite. They hesitate to share, therefore, and are jealous of other artists, especially young ones who threaten to supplant them. Quiet Accomplishment, by ...

The Power of the Weave

Nov 29, 2014

The Power of the Weave

by Madeline Barbush

The Power of the Weave, by Tanaka Yuko, Translated by Geraldine Harcourt.International House of Japan, Nonfiction. Most of us give little thought about the materials in, or construction of, our daily ensembles, let alone the possibility of them holding historical importance. In the essays ...

Blood & Guts

Nov 22, 2014

Blood & Guts

by J.J. O'Donoghue

“Blood & Guts” by Australian journalist Sam Vincent is a behind-the-scenes investigation into whaling and a tale of two countries. Australia is on one side, united in its love of whales and its condemnation of Japan, which has refused to stop killing whales in ...