In Praise of Shadows

| Nov 22, 2014

In Praise of Shadows

by Kris Kosaka

In Praise of Shadows, by Junichiro Tanizaki.Leete’s Island Books, Nonfiction. Revered novelist Junichiro Tanizaki’s essay, “In Praise of Shadows,” is a must-read for anyone interested in the darker side of the Land of the Rising Sun. Everything about this slim tome — from its ...

No Longer Human

| Oct 25, 2014

No Longer Human

by William Bradbury

Osamu Dazai’s “No Longer Human” comprises a series of three fictionalized notebooks, with each increasingly darker than the last. The character writing these books, Yozo, is detached from the beginning and is afraid of human interactions, but he learns how to socialize with people ...

The Great Wave

| Oct 18, 2014

The Great Wave

by Stephen Mansfield

The phrase oyatoi gaikokujin refers to foreigners hired by the Meiji Era government and various educational institutions to impart their skills to Japanese eager to advance in the modern world. The Great Wave, by Christopher Benfey.Random House, Nonfiction. There was a veritable legion of ...

Black Rain

| Oct 11, 2014

Black Rain

by Kris Kosaka

Masuji Ibuse’s classic 1965 novel “Black Rain” takes readers into the everyday lives of a family poisoned by radiation sickness. The narrative structure carefully balances between the present time of the novel and journal entries from the bombings of Hiroshima to craft a carefully ...

A Drifting Life

| Oct 4, 2014

A Drifting Life

by Stephen Mansfield

Readers tired with the glut of violence, wonderment and sentimentality that defines manga fantasies centering on characters with extraordinary powers and cute, eroticized females will find the unsparing social realism of Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s autobiographical “A Drifting Life” a breath of fresh air. A Drifting ...

Low City, High City

| Sep 13, 2014

Low City, High City

by Mark Schilling

Best known for his translations of “The Tale of Genji” and the fiction of Yasunari Kawabata, for which the author won a Nobel Prize, Edward G. Seidensticker was also an accomplished essayist and historian. Low City, High City, by Edward G. Seidensticker.KNOPF, Nonfiction. The ...