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A Personal Matter

| Mar 14, 2015

A Personal Matter

by Iain Maloney

In the 1960s, Kenzaburo Oe began regularly writing about a character based on his autistic son, Hikari. A Personal Matter, by Kenzaburo Oe Translated by John Nathan 214 pages.TUTTLE, Fiction. “A Personal Matter,” first published in 1964, one year after Hikari was born, is ...

Above the East China Sea: A Novel

Mar 14, 2015

Above the East China Sea: A Novel

by Kris Kosaka

Although this is supposedly Sarah Bird’s “most ambitious” novel to date — and it is ambitious — it’s not the novel that falls short, it’s the marketing. Rather than Bird’s ticket to entering the “literary elite,” it is the best of young adult fiction. ...

China Online

Mar 14, 2015

China Online

by Mike Sunda

To paraphrase a blundering local politician quoted in this book, Chinese must be one of the easiest languages to learn — why else would nearly 1.4 billion people speak it? China Online Veronique Michel, by 160 pages.Tuttle, Nonfiction. “China Online” is an insight into ...

The Buried Giant

Mar 7, 2015

The Buried Giant

by Iain Maloney

Kazuo Ishiguro’s latest novel, “The Buried Giant,” is his best book to date. It’s a masterpiece of refined storytelling shot through with deep empathy. The Buried Giant, by Kazuo Ishiguro 317 pages.Knopf, Fiction. Continuing the trend of literary heavyweights embracing sci-fi and fantasy, the ...

The origin myth that beat the drums of war

Feb 28, 2015

The origin myth that beat the drums of war

by Stephen Mansfield

Since the 18th-century — the age of English historian Edward Gibbon — Western theories of history have held that the past consists of causes, effects and events; there are no determining laws or theorems, and no divine purpose. This is the opposite of the ...

Tokyo Camera Style

Feb 28, 2015

Tokyo Camera Style

by John L. Tran

The reflexive anxiety of checking out other people’s cameras to see if theirs is better than yours is not really something to be proud of. However, admitting to addiction is one step to putting it behind you. Tokyo Camera Style, by John Sypal 288 ...

Shimada Kenji: Scholar, Thinker, Reader

Feb 28, 2015

Shimada Kenji: Scholar, Thinker, Reader

by Ocean Gibson

Shimada Kenji, a Japanese scholar of China’s intellectual history who died in 2000, is endearingly represented in this short, incisive and, at times, personal book. In bringing together examples of Kenji’s writing with an interview and other critical texts, it provides a comprehensive, albeit ...

An embattled Japan engages a hostile world

Feb 21, 2015

An embattled Japan engages a hostile world

by Iain Maloney

It has been an eventful year for Japan since David Pilling’s “Bending Adversity” was published to critical acclaim. For many, including its reviewer in The Japan Times, the book was considered one of the year’s — if not the decade’s — best books about ...