Topics

Black illumination: The unhuman world of Junji Ito

by

We’ve all had sleepless nights. You toss and turn, get up and go back to bed, trying to ward off the claustrophobia of wakefulness. But what about the reverse? What if the problem is not that you can’t go to sleep, but that you can’t wake up? Gradually, the time ...

New breed of comic superhero rises in Africa

Jan 24, 2016

New breed of comic superhero rises in Africa

In the first issue of “Aje,” a Nigerian comic offering a new breed of superheroes strictly from Africa, university student Teni casts a curse on her boyfriend in a rush of jealous rage and purple lightning. “Koni dara fun o ni yi aye” (“It ...

Insect Literature

Jan 23, 2016

Insect Literature

by

The Berlin-based author Yoko Tawada recently remarked that one of the difficulties she faced when translating Kafka’s short story “Metamorphosis” into Japanese was that the associations Japanese people had with insects — even presumably giant beetles — were different to those of Europeans. Tawada ...

Barefoot Gen

| Jan 23, 2016

Barefoot Gen

by

With the recent announcement by North Korean authorities that they had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb, Keiji Nakazawa’s classic anti-nuclear manga, “Barefoot Gen,” once again deserves a full reading — both for newcomers or for those revisiting its brilliance. Barefoot Gen, by Keiji Nakazawa.10 ...

Wind/Pinball

Jan 23, 2016

Wind/Pinball

by

“As long as I had something to transmit,” says the narrator of these two short novels from 1979 and 1980, “my existence would be assured.” Over three decades later, his creator Haruki Murakami is transmitting all over the world, a Japanese hero of postmodern ...

The ink stained road: 'age of adventure'

Jan 16, 2016

The ink stained road: 'age of adventure'

by

If foreign visitors to Japan in the Edo Period (1603-1868) ran certain risks by committing their impressions of the country to paper in a totalitarian state that worked hard to maintain its obscurity, the new Meiji Era (1868-1912) positively encouraged attention. July 4, 1879, ...

Lost Japan

| Jan 16, 2016

Lost Japan

by

Originally published in Japanese in 1993 (with the English translation following in 1996), “Lost Japan,” the first book by Alex Kerr, has recently been re-released by Penguin. A fascinating chronicle of Kerr’s diverse interactions with the country, the book spans such subjects as restoring ...

Up From The Sea

Jan 16, 2016

Up From The Sea

by

March 11 this year will mark the fifth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. Thus far, English-language literature has been slow to tackle the disaster. “Up From the Sea” by Tokyo-based Californian writer Leza Lowitz is, therefore, a welcome arrival. Up ...

The Making of Asian America: A History

Jan 9, 2016

The Making of Asian America: A History

by

In 1922, a Japanese immigrant to the United States named Takao Ozawa applied for citizenship with the U.S. Supreme Court. Having lived in America for almost 30 years, Ozawa was fluent in English and an active Christian, assuring the court that his skin was ...

Pacific Burn

Jan 9, 2016

Pacific Burn

by

Who’s killing off members of Kyoto’s artistic Nobuki family, and why? First a son is murdered on a visit to Napa, California; then a sniper nearly succeeds in gunning down the father, a famous artist. After the younger son and his fiance are thrown ...

'Game of Thrones' author says latest installment delayed

Jan 3, 2016

'Game of Thrones' author says latest installment delayed

“Game of Thrones” fans were let down Saturday, when author George R.R. Martin admitted he had missed a Dec. 31 deadline to complete the latest installment in the fantasy series. ” ‘The Winds of Winter’ is not finished,” Martin announced in a lengthy blog ...