Ring

| Jun 28, 2014

Ring

by Stephen Mansfield

There is a long history of spooking the reader in Japan. The humid summer months are supposed to be alleviated by spine-chilling ghost stories and scary Edo Period dramas. But no particular season makes contemporary Japanese horror any less terrifying. Ring, by Koji Suzuki ...

Vita Sexualis

| Jun 14, 2014

Vita Sexualis

by Stephen Mansfield

Ogai Mori was either a very fearless writer or someone confident enough to believe his literary status would insulate him against the fallout from publishing a novel guaranteed to raise the eyebrows of even the most enlightened Meiji Era (1868-1912) reader. Vita Sexualis, by ...

One Man's Justice

| May 24, 2014

One Man's Justice

by Stephen Mansfield

To borrow historian John Dower’s expression, the conflict in World War II between Japanese and American forces was a “war without mercy.” The atrocities committed by Japanese forces are well documented, those by American military personnel less so. One Man’s Justice, by Akira Yoshimura ...

Vibrator

| May 17, 2014

Vibrator

by Andrew Lee

Modern Japan can be a lonely place. Especially in Tokyo, where sometimes it seems everyone is walking around in cones of silence and is too shy or afraid to talk to strangers. You can see it in the statistics too, which say that 32 ...

Kokoro

| May 10, 2014

Kokoro

by Kris Kosaka

Peering into the great human divide between the isolated self and the need for emotional validation, Natsume Soseki’s “Kokoro” is a psychological glimpse into the “heart of things” that defies easy categorization: It is not a love story, although it retells a love story; ...

Akira

| May 3, 2014

Akira

by James Hadfield

“Kanedaaaa!” “Tetsuoooo!” For a generation of teenagers growing up in the 1990s (this writer included), Katsuhiro Otomo’s “Akira” was our gateway drug to the imaginative excesses of Japanese pop culture. With its immaculately rendered visions of high-tech chaos, psychokinetic battles, revolutionary sects and unfeasibly ...