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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
Feb 19, 2006
Women writers opened window on Heian life
OBJECTS OF DISCOURSE: Memoirs of Women of Heian Japan, by John R. Wallace. Ann Arbor: Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan, 2005, 326 pp., with VII illustrations, $65 (cloth). The four major court memoirs written in the late 10th and early 11th century are the "Kagero nikki" (translated...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Feb 12, 2006
Still life on a moving train
SUBWAY LOVE, photos by Nobuyoshi Araki with an interview (bilingual: English/Japanese), art direction by Toshine Ishihama. Tokyo: IBC Publishing, 2005, 226 pp., over 200 b/w images, 3,200 yen (paper). Between 1963 and 1972, photographer Nobuyoshi Araki took the subway to work. Always with his cameras,...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Feb 5, 2006
Frightening, yet beautiful: ghosts, ghouls and monsters
YOSHITOSHI'S STRANGE TALES by John Stevenson. Amsterdam: Hotei Publishing, 2005, 160 pp., 71 full-page prints and 25 illustrations, 2005, $95 (cloth). Another beautiful edition de luxe from Hotei Publishing, this volume presents two series by Taiso Yoshitoshi (1839-1892), a late print artist often remembered...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Jan 29, 2006
A reliquary for the story of Buddha
BUDDHISM: On the Path to Nirvana, by Swati Chopra, foreword by Lokesh Chandra, photo editor Lance Dane. New Delhi: Brijbasi Art Press, Ltd., 2005, 160 pp., 200 color photos, $35 (cloth). The true accomplishments of any leader are often compromised when legend wraps itself around the man himself. This...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Jan 22, 2006
The new Japanese woman, from virginity to menopause
INSIDE AND OTHER SHORT FICTION: Japanese Women by Japanese Women, compiled by Cathy Layne, foreword by Ruth Ozeki. Tokyo: Kodansha International, 2006. 237 pp., 2,400 yen (cloth). As Ruth Ozeki writes in her foreword to this very interesting collection of new writing: "Japanese society is undergoing...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Jan 15, 2006
Spreading the word on popular literature
THE BAMBOO SWORD AND OTHER SAMURAI TALES by Shuhei Fujisawa, translated by Gavin Frew. Tokyo: Kodansha International, 2005, 254 pp., 2,400 yen (cloth). Japanese critics have long made a distinction between taishu bungaku, "popular literature," which is simple entertainment, and jun bungaku, "pure literature,"...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Jan 8, 2006
Resurrection of 47 masterless samurai
KUNIYOSHI: The Faithful Samurai, by David R. Weinberg, translations and essay by Alfred H. Marks, Foreword by B.W. Robinson. Amsterdam: Hotei Publishing, 2005, 192 pp., map, pictures, color plates. 39.50 euro (paper). This is the paperback edition (first published in 2000) of one of the most interesting...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Dec 25, 2005
Cultural depths of celluloid
READING A JAPANESE FILM: Cinema in Context, by Keiko I. McDonald. Honolulu: Hawai'i University Press, 2005, 294 pp., photo illustrations. $20.00 (paper). Films are not only to be passively watched, they are also to be actively "read." The viewer deciphers not just the story but all the other indications...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Dec 4, 2005
Between life and death stands culture
FINAL DAYS: Japanese Culture and Choice at the End of Life, by Susan Orpett Long. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2005, 288 pp., $45 (cloth). This book asks how the final days might be different for Japanese patients and for those in the United States. Both Japanese and Americans state that they...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Nov 27, 2005
The Indianapolis Museum of Art takes some tradition back to Japan
JAPANESE MASTERWORKS: Paintings From the Indianapolis Museum of Art; edited by Heisaku Harada and John Tadao Teramoto; foreword by Anthony Hirschel; introduction by Christine M.E. Guth; and essays by Tae Nishida, Shiji Hashimoto, Takeshi Nagai and Yumiko Kuniga. Seattle: University of Washington Press,...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Nov 20, 2005
Words of war, peace and the future
THE THOUGHT WAR: Japanese Imperial Propaganda, by Barak Kushner. Honolulu: The University of Hawai'i Press, 2006, 244 pp., $45.00 (cloth). This completely individual and very interesting account of the uses of propaganda in Japan concludes with the observation that it would be historically naive to pretend...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Nov 13, 2005
On the edge and out of our seats
UNSPEAKABLE ACTS: The Avant-garde Theatre of Terayama Shuji and Postwar Japan, by Carol Fischer Sorgenfrei. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2005, 340 pp. with illustrations, $45.00 (cloth). Shuji Terayama (1936-1983) remains one of Japan's most intriguing modern writers. Playwright, novelist,...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Nov 6, 2005
The dangerous liaisons of ambassadors to China
AMBASSADORS FROM THE ISLANDS OF IMMORTALS: China-Japan Relations in the Han-Tang Period, by Wang Zhenping. Honolulu: Association for Asian Studies/University of Hawai'i Press, 2005, 388 pp., with illustrations, $53.00 (cloth). Relations between Japan and China may be troubled right now, but then they...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Oct 30, 2005
The freedom found in anominity
A MAN WITH NO TALENTS: Memoirs of a Tokyo Day Laborer, by Shiro Oyama, translated by Edward Fowler. Ithica/London: Cornell University Press, 2005, 140 pp., $21.00 (cloth). Toward the end of his account of what life is like at the bottom of Japan's social structure, Shiro Oyama (a pseudonym) observes...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Oct 23, 2005
Genghis Khan: Greatest leader or brutal monster?
GENGHIS KHAN: Conqueror of the World, by Leo de Hartog. London/New York: Tauris Parke, 2004, 230 pp., with maps, $12.99 (paper). The warrior who united the Mongol tribes and created an empire that was the largest the world has known, has long defied historians.
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Oct 16, 2005
Willam Empson, 'The tale of Genji' and the Westerner's view of Japan
WILLIAM EMPSON: Volume I -- Among the Mandarins, by John Haffenden. Oxford University Press, 2005, 695 pp., 16 illustrations, £30 (cloth). Author of several major critical works, notably "Seven Types of Ambiguity" (1930) and "Some Versions of the Pastoral" (1935), William Empson (1906-1984) was...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Oct 9, 2005
Breaking the silence on sexuality in Japan
GENDERS, TRANSGENDERS AND SEXUALITIES IN JAPAN, edited by Mark McLelland and Romit Dasgupta. London: Routledge, 2005, 218 pp., £60 (cloth). Now that the conspiracies of silence have begun to evaporate, scholarly works on gender and transgender have begun to proliferate. This very interesting collection...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Oct 2, 2005
The looking glass of Chinese history
MIRRORING THE PAST: The Writing and Use of History in Imperial China, by On-cho Ng and Q. Edward Wang. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2005, 307 pp., $50 (cloth). It was the 19th-century English historian E.A. Freeman who observed that "history is past politics, and politics is present history."...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Sep 11, 2005
The curious Mr. Longfellow
LONGFELLOW'S TATTOOS: Tourism, Collecting, and Japan, by Christine M.E. Guth. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2004, 256 pp., 123 illustrations, $29.95 (paper). After the new Japanese government was officially installed in 1868, only a decade or so after the country had been, more or less, forcibly...
CULTURE / Books / THE ASIAN BOOKSHELF
Sep 4, 2005
For the love of Bollywood
BEHIND THE SCENES OF HINDI CINEMA. Edited by Johan Manschot and Marijke de Vos. With contributions by P.K. Nair, Deepa Gahlot, Gayatri Chatterjee et al. Foreword by Amitabh Bachchan, Amsterdam: KIT Publishers, 2005, 160 pp., profusely illustrated (cloth). The subtitle of this beautifully produced, lavishly...

Longform

Things may look perfect to the outside world, but today's mom is fine with some imperfection at home.
How 'Reiwa moms' are reshaping motherhood in Japan