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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 the time — the youngest winner ...

Black Jack

| Mar 21, 2015

Black Jack

by Kris Kosaka

Although he is best known internationally for creating “Astro Boy,” Osamu Tezuka’s most popular work for adults in Japan is “Black Jack,” a series of short stand-alone stories from the 1970s, documenting the renegade antics of the unconventional title doctor whose mercenary facade masks ...

Mendeleev's Mandala

Mar 21, 2015

Mendeleev's Mandala

by Kris Kosaka

“Mendeleev’s Mandala” is the most recent collection of poetry from Kansai-based writer Jessica Goodfellow. Mendeleev’s Mandala, by Jessica Goodfellow 100 pages.Mayapple Press, Poetry. Each poem encompasses more than a world in a grain of sand; there is a universe on every page of this ...

Lizard Telepathy Fox Telepathy

Mar 21, 2015

Lizard Telepathy Fox Telepathy

by Delaney Lake

After randomly reading some pieces in this esoteric collection of poems and photography by Yoshinori Henguchi one might question why they picked up the book to begin with, or even their own existence. Lizard Telepathy Fox Telepathy, by Yoshinori Henguchi Translated by D. Michael ...

A tragic story of red tape and fatal ineptitude

Mar 14, 2015

A tragic story of red tape and fatal ineptitude

by Stephen Mansfield

At 2:46 p.m. on March 11, 2011, a 9-magnitude megathrust earthquake triggered a tsunami that slammed into the aging Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant along the country’s northeastern coastline, less than 250 km north of the capital. In the worst nuclear accident since ...

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 ...