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Donald Richie
Donald Richie began writing regularly for The Japan Times in 1954, initially writing film and stage reviews. In the early '70s he began writing book reviews and continued contributing until 2009. He wrote more than 40 books on Japanese aesthetics, and he is widely considered the pre-eminent expert on Japanese cinema.
For Donald Richie's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Apr 7, 1999
Romantics roam the garden
SHARAWADGI: The Romantic Return to Nature, by Ciaran Murray. Introductions by Seamus Deane and Mine Okachi. Bethesda: International Scholars Publications, 1998, 352 pp., unpriced. As Seamus Deane says in his introduction, Ciaran Murray here proposes "a new axis for the intellectual history of the 18th century," one which favors "altogether more irregular personalities." One that also favors uncommon means.
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Mar 24, 1999
Martin and the king of Siam
A RESOUNDING FAILURE: Martin and the French in Siam, 1672-1693, by Michael Smithies. Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books, 1998, 156 pp., 395 baht. Of the many mercantile adventures that marked European exploitations of Asia, one of the most entertaining is that of the French in Siam. This is a well-known story that has been told by many historians, among them Maurice Collis, E.W. Hutchinson and Michael Smithies himself. All have chronicled this classic failure, which began with the seeking of converts and trade and ended with troops, occupation and abject withdrawal.
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Mar 17, 1999
Sacred road maps to paradise
JAPANESE MANDALAS: Representations of Sacred Geography by Elizabeth ten Grotenhuis. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1999. Pp. 228; color plates 22; b/w illustrations, 104. $52.00 (cloth); $29.95 (paper). The mandala has been defined (by Toga no Shozui) as "a symmetrically arranged symbolic diagram used in Hinduism and esoteric Buddhism to express fundamental religious doctrine for the purposes of ritual and medication."
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Mar 7, 1999
The meaning of good breeding
DOUBTFUL PARTNERS, by John Haylock. London: Arcadian, 1998, 188 pp., 10.99 British Pounds. This is John Haylock's sixth novel. Like the others, it is a diverting essay on the English sense of class. His characters are members of the gentry in a world -- Asia -- where the pretensions of British birth and breeding cannot exist. These comic figures are undone by their new reality.
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Mar 2, 1999
Where Japan draws the line
EROS IN HELL: Sex, Blood and Madness in Japanese Cinema. Texts by Jack Hunter, Rosemary Hawley Jarman, Johannes Schonherr, Romain Slocombe. London: Creation Books, 1998, 228 pp., b/w photos, profusely illustrated, 14.95 British pounds. In 1966, Jack Hunter says, when the notorious publication "Death Scenes," photographs of murder/suicide victims, was imported into Japan, "customs officials were reportedly outraged -- because a few of the mangled, rotting corpses were naked."

Longform

Yayoi Kusama’s “Pumpkin,” once the victim of high waves that dragged it into the sea, sits at the end of a pier on the south side of Naoshima.
Why is the most exciting art in Japan so hard to get to?