Excavating Japan's buried baseball history with Masanori Murakami

by Kris Kosaka

Sometimes historical analysis can’t compete with a good personal story, as Robert K. Fitts — a baseball expert and former archaeologist — proves with his newest book, “Mashi: The Unfulfilled Baseball Dreams of Masanori Murakami, the First Japanese Major Leaguer.” Mashi Robert K. Fitts, by 221 pages.University of Nebraska Press, ...

Invoking Manchuria's cross-dressing spy

Apr 11, 2015

Invoking Manchuria's cross-dressing spy

by Paul Mccarthy

She was born the daughter of a Manchu prince in Beijing in 1907. Later, as she grew up in Japan, she earned notoriety for her flamboyant challenges to gender roles and her military exploits as a princess-spy. Even today Yoshiko Kawashima still stokes controversy, ...

The messy, lonesome worlds of Risa Wataya

Mar 28, 2015

The messy, lonesome worlds of Risa Wataya

by Iain Maloney

In 2003, two young female authors won the Akutagawa Prize — arguably the most important literary prize in Japan. One winner was 21-year-old Hitomi Kanehara for her novel “Snakes and Earrings” (“Hebi ni Piasu”); the other was Risa Wataya, who was only 19 at ...