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Inner-city life, and the banal mystery that is other people

Oct 4, 2014

Inner-city life, and the banal mystery that is other people

by Matt Kamen

Beautifully banal. Perhaps not the most positive-sounding turn of phrase, but the one that best summarizes the appeal of Shuichi Yoshida’s interwoven narrative of five young adults and their struggles living in an overcrowded Tokyo apartment. Parade, by Shuichi Yoshida, Translated by Philip Gabriel.Vintage ...

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 ...

Confessions

Oct 4, 2014

Confessions

by Mark Schreiber

The award-winning 1950 Akira Kurosawa film classic “Rashomon,” based on two short stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, used different and contradictory accounts of a samurai’s death to explore humanity’s self-serving behavior. Kanae Minato’s first novel, “Confessions,” adopts a somewhat similar approach, with its six chapters ...

The Crimson Thread of Abandon: Stories

Oct 4, 2014

The Crimson Thread of Abandon: Stories

by Madeline Barbush

It’s a wonder “The Crimson Thread of Abandon” was never translated into English before. Shuji Terayama (1935-83) was a provocative artist and outlaw author, and his 20 stories fall nothing short of this reputation. Each borrows and mocks the conventions of a classic fairy ...

Read up on books about books about Japan

Sep 27, 2014

Read up on books about books about Japan

by Kris Kosaka

Revving up the metabolism of culture with the pulse of new artistic voices, a good literary journal doesn’t usually have much to do with profit — it’s all about circulation. Japanese literary journals enjoy a healthy transmission here, thanks to the financial backing of ...

Time Killers

Sep 27, 2014

Time Killers

by Catherina Depaz

“Time Killers” is a collection of short stories by Kazue Kato in the realm of fantasy. The beautiful artwork takes the reader from the sea to the stars and across the globe. Time Killers, by Kazue Kato Translated by John Werry.Viz Media, Manga. The ...

Studio Ghibli inspires endless adaptations

Sep 20, 2014

Studio Ghibli inspires endless adaptations

by Ian Martin

As one of the most important and acclaimed animation studios in not only Japan but the world, it’s unsurprising that Studio Ghibli has also inspired a wealth of printed material. Helen McCarthy’s “Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation” about the studio’s most celebrated director ...

Oh, Tama!

Sep 20, 2014

Oh, Tama!

by David Cozy

Mieko Kanai, a prize-winning poet, eminent critic and author of experimental fiction that evokes comparisons to the works of Borges and Kafka, has also, in her “Mejiro” series, produced a series of novels notably lighter in tone. In these books, two of which have ...