After the Banquet

| Feb 13, 2016

After the Banquet

by

Considering Yukio Mishima’s reputation, it seems odd that a book as innocuous as “After the Banquet” could have had such an impact. The novel tells the story of Kazu, the owner of a restaurant frequented by the rich and powerful of Tokyo society, and ...

The Silent Cry

| Jan 30, 2016

The Silent Cry

by

On the surface “The Silent Cry”— first published in 1967 — is the story of Matsu, his wife Natsu and his brother Takashi, who return to the Shikoku village of their birth to negotiate the sale of some family property to “the Emperor of ...

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 ...

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 ...

The Karma Of Words

| Dec 19, 2015

The Karma Of Words

by

Subtitled “Buddhism and the Literary Arts in Medieval Japan,” William R. LaFleur’s book surveys an expanse of Japanese literary history ranging from the “Nihon Ryoiki” of the early ninth century to Basho’s posthumous “Narrow Road to the Deep North” (1702). This is a more ...

Bedtime Eyes

| Dec 12, 2015

Bedtime Eyes

by

A direct influence on authors Risa Wataya and Hitomi Kanehara, Amy Yamada was part of the shinjinrui (new breed) generation that came of age in the late ’70s, the first to grow up in an affluent, peaceful postwar Japan. Side-effects of prosperity included ennui ...

The Waiting Years

| Dec 5, 2015

The Waiting Years

by

A tale of unanswered prayers, Fumiko Enchi’s “The Waiting Years” is an elegy on the subservience that once haunted Japanese womanhood. The Waiting Years, by Fumiko Enchi204 pagesKodansha USA, Fiction. p>Set in the early Meiji Era (1868-1912), the story begins when Yukitomo Shirakawa, a ...