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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, ...

Geling Yan draws from life in a tale 
of women in war

Dec 12, 2015

Geling Yan draws from life in a tale 
of women in war

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At the opening of Chinese-American author Geling Yan’s best-selling novel “Little Aunt Crane,” a 16-year-old girl by the name of Tatsuru, or “Crane,” escapes a mass suicide that Japanese elders in a Manchurian village order to preserve their honor. The young girl’s problems, however, ...

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 ...

Award-winning novelist Akiyuki Nosaka dies at 85

Dec 10, 2015

Award-winning novelist Akiyuki Nosaka dies at 85

Novelist and former Upper House lawmaker Akiyuki Nosaka, best known for his award-winning “Grave of the Fireflies,” died Wednesday at a hospital in Tokyo due to heart failure, police sources said Thursday. He was 85. Nosaka had been undergoing rehabilitation after a stroke in ...

Ametora: How Japan Saved American Style

Dec 5, 2015

Ametora: How Japan Saved American Style

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Tokyo, September 1964: A squad of plainclothes police descend on the tony Ginza shopping district and round up hundreds of Japanese youths who had outraged local businesses. Their crime? Loitering in what was then outre style — button-down shirts, skinny ties, suit jackets and ...

The Waiting Years

| Dec 5, 2015

The Waiting Years

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A tale of unanswered prayers, Fumiko Enchi’s “The Waiting Years” is an elegy on the subservience that once haunted Japanese womanhood. The Waiting Years, by Fumiko Enchi204 pagesKodansha USA, Fiction. p>Set in the early Meiji Era (1868-1912), the story begins when Yukitomo Shirakawa, a ...

Hanzai Japan

Dec 5, 2015

Hanzai Japan

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Hackneyed writing and plot devices grow like kabi (mold) in crime fiction, but this anthology of 16 stories by writers in and outside Japan serves up tasty surprises. “Jigoku” by Naomi Hirahara is a heartfelt, surefooted tale by a serial killer confined to a ...

Can Asian selfies democratize fashion?

Nov 28, 2015

Can Asian selfies democratize fashion?

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‘When I was growing up and reading magazines, I didn’t see anybody that looked like me,” fashion blogger Aimee Song says in a video on her Song of Style blog. Asians Wear Clothes on the Internet, by Minh-Ha T. Pham 272 pages Duke University ...