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 Stephen Mansfield

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Stephen Mansfield
Photojournalist and author Stephen Mansfield's work has appeared in over 70 publications worldwide, on subjects ranging from conflict in the Middle East to cultural analysis, interviews and book reviews. A longtime Japan Times contributor, his latest book is "Japan's Master Gardens: Lessons in Space & Environment."
Rows of irises resemble a rice field at the Peter Walker-designed Toyota Municipal Museum of Art.
LIFE / Style & Design / Longform
May 4, 2024
The 'outsiders' creating some of Japan's greenest spaces
Once an exotic curiosity, Japanese gardens have gone on to inspire green thumbs around the world.
Japan Times
LIFE / Longform
May 29, 2023
In a Japanese garden, you’re never under the weather
As the rainy season approaches, the excess water is set to bring life to green spaces across the nation.
Japan Times
LIFE / Style & Design / Longform
May 2, 2022
Reworking utopia: Contemporary Japanese garden design
Modern gardens have moved away from seeking to mirror nature and instead function as mediums for self-expression.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink
Mar 20, 2022
Exploring the healthier aspects of salt in Okinawa
While common dietary advice says to watch our salt intakes, a company in Okinawa follows an old island line that says the best of the white stuff can be good for us.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Mar 13, 2022
Isabella Bird: Revisiting her intrepid journeys trekking the wilds of Japan
Geographer Kiyonori Kanasaka's extensive knowledge and commentary enrich the works of the 19th-century explorer.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink
Dec 4, 2021
Amid the pandemic, Ise’s ama divers keep the fires burning
Without the usual waves of tourists supporting their endeavors, the 'ama' divers of the Ise Peninsula expand the scope of their operations.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books / ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES
Jul 11, 2021
‘Tea Life, Tea Mind’: Celebrating the simple act of serving tea
Green tea began in China as a medicinal brew, and grew in Japan into an aid to wakefulness and meditation for Zen monks. In time, the ceremony of its preparation became a mode of refinement for a social elite versed in introspection and aesthetics. In the modern age, however, few Japanese have the time...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books / ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES
Jul 11, 2021
‘Impressions of Japanese Architecture’: A sense of discovery toward the traditional arts
Ralph Adams Cram's focus on traditional architecture, with design principles still relevant today, explains why his book “Impressions of Japanese Architecture,” first published in 1905, has stood the test of time.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books / ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES
Jul 4, 2021
‘Paradise in Plain Sight’: You don't need to look far for life lessons
In Karen Maezen Miller's book, the Zen garden she restores to its former beauty becomes a metaphor for life.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / Longform
Jun 28, 2021
Basics of bonsai: How miniature trees from Asia have transcended frontiers
Originating in India before spreading to China and Japan, bonsai art forms can now be found all over the world.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
May 30, 2021
Five nonfiction books about Japanese food to devour from cover to cover
In an age where the internet provides an abundance of information, to still be unaware of the varieties of Japanese cuisine could be seen as a form of self-exile from pleasure. While curating a list of the “best” nonfiction on the topic is certainly subjective, the following books, which offer immersive...
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Feb 13, 2021
How to truly define a Japanese garden
Japanese gardens come in many forms that are each interpreted differently, redefining what such spaces represent in the first place.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Jan 2, 2021
‘Japanese Zen Gardens’: Unearthing the complexity of Kyoto’s gardens
Yoko Kawaguchi's book shows readers how many of Japan's gardens incorporate Buddhist principles in their designs to function as spaces for meditation and enlightenment.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books / 2020 in review
Dec 19, 2020
Our critics’ favorite books published in 2020
As 2021 approaches, six Japan Times book reviewers look back on their top reads released in English this year.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Dec 5, 2020
‘Family Crests of Japan’: For the miniaturist who appreciates fine details
This comprehensive overview of Japanese family crests delves into the motifs and geometries that fill even the simplest designs with meaning.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Dec 5, 2020
‘36 Views of Mount Fuji’: Self-discovery through shifts in perspective
Cathy N. Davidson's memoir is a thoughtful and compelling account of a woman gaining a deeper understanding of herself and Japan through her travels.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Nov 21, 2020
A passion project that became a literary journey through Kyoto
“Kyoto: A Literary Guide' was painstakingly collated by a group of friends whose dedication to studying the city's literary legacy spans 10 years.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Oct 17, 2020
Hans Brinckmann: Bearing witness to Japan’s postwar transformation
The Dutch writer's follow-up to his 2005 memoir offers insight into Japan's economic, political and cultural changes between 1950 to the present.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Aug 8, 2020
‘Diary of a Mad Old Man’: This quick read reveals the realities of lust
Junichiro Tanizaki's final novel is a tragicomic tale about a man coming to terms with his ailing body and uncontrollable libido.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Aug 1, 2020
‘A Late Chrysanthemum’: A short story collection full of pathos and maturity
This anthology of short stories may tend toward the morally dubious, but it's a solid introduction to literary masters of the 20th century.

Longform

Father's Day is said to have come to Japan around 1950, shortly after the establishment of Mother's Day.
The evolving nature of fatherhood in Japan