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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."
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Nov 10, 2017
Taking a spiritual journey into the mystic on hallowed Mount Koya
Even with its convenience stores, souvenir outlets, tour buses and boutique coffee shops, Mount Koya might be modestly alluded to as a Japanese Lhasa. There is no living being, of course, who embodies the doctrines of a religious order such as the Dalai Lama, but in the person of the saintly priest Kukai,...
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Oct 27, 2017
Northern exposure: Discovering silence in Okinawa
Learning to relax beyond Nago in the southern archipelago.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Oct 20, 2017
Living color: Basking in Tochigi's golden hues
Traveling into the Shiobara Valley by bus, visitors are assailed by the rich, intensely cultivated fields of Nasunogahara. The reformations that characterized Japan's Meiji Era (1868 -1912) were not confined to political or social change, the volcanic wasteland of Nasunogahara undergoing a transformation...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Sep 16, 2017
'Bushido and the Art of Living': Lessons from Japan's 'way of the warrior'
What we learn by the end of this urbanely written, empirically tested book is that Bushido is not merely a set of strategies for combat but a system of thinking eminently suited to preparing us for life and all its concealed hazards.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books / ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES
Aug 26, 2017
'Visions of Ryukyu: Identity and Ideology in Early-Modern Thought and Politics': Dueling conceptions of the archipelago
Okinawa at times is like heaven and hell in equal measures: tropical beaches next to ammunition dumps. A garrison island where people come to take vacations, the most politicized region of Japan can seem like being teleported back to the agitprop heyday of the late 1960s.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books / ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES
Aug 12, 2017
'Wabi Sabi: The Art of Impermanence': A surprisingly accessible guide to traditional Japanese aesthetics
Japan's passion for the modern coexists with aesthetic proclivities that favor antiquity and refinement.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Aug 4, 2017
Hiroshima's past is one of many reasons to pay a visit
The early morning light on this summer day, illuminating the under canopies of trees and sending warm, golden strobes across the oyster cafes over the embankments of the Kyobashi River, is enchanting.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books / ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES
Jul 29, 2017
'Dream Messenger': A woman searches for her son in Tokyo and New York
The Japanese novel has taken some interesting twists and turns in the post-bubble era, but quality has often been the price of experimentation.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Jul 14, 2017
Saitama's Nagatoro is home to stillness, motion and an endless variety of color
It wasn't immediately clear what the man tossing large pebbles at the torii of a shrine was trying to achieve.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books / ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES
Jun 24, 2017
'The Informer': Portrait of a pivotal period in Japan
Based on the true story of a stock trader, the 1965 novel "The Informer" is remarkably prescient in describing the greed and venality that was, two decades later, to become a hallmark of the delirious days of Japan's bubble-era economy.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Jun 24, 2017
'Discover Sumo: Stories from Yobidashi Hideo': A jack-of-all-trades sheds light on the sport
The rituals, theatrical constructs and sartorial styles connected to this ancient martial art may seem visually arresting to the uninitiated, but as "Discover Sumo" tells us, there is much more to Japan's national sport than meets the eye.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle / CHILD'S PLAY
Jun 18, 2017
Dipping into Hakone's more unusual hot spas
"I love red wine, it's my favorite thing!" These are perhaps not the words that a mother particularly likes to hear from her young daughter — especially when she is only 4 years old.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Jun 17, 2017
'In the Woods of Memory': Okinawan novelist makes history visceral
It is almost impossible to find a serious novel that does not touch on the subject of death. "In the Woods of Memory," taking for its theme the death of the soul, is no exception.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Jun 16, 2017
Drifting through the storied sand dunes of Tottori
The woman from Ethiopia, resplendent in a scarlet headdress and gold ear pendants, blended in splendidly with the vast dune plateau.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
May 20, 2017
'Another Kyoto': Alex Kerr's roving thoughts on Kyoto as it stands today
It appears that when the Japanologist Alex Kerr was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, his tutors despaired at his unorthodox use of his time there, with one particularly testy don complaining, "He researches only the ephemera that draw his interest," going on to rail against Kerr's fascination with "superstitions,...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Apr 29, 2017
'The Grain of the Clay: Reflections on Ceramics and the Art of Collecting': Deep thoughts on the urge to gather
The book for someone who has everything.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Apr 21, 2017
Home of the cultured pearl, Toba in Ise-Shima has both history and living tradition
"To Bond," Ian Fleming wrote in his 1964 novel, "You Only Live Twice," "they all seemed beautiful in the soft evening light ... the gleaming, muscled buttocks, cleft by the black cord, the powerful thong round the waist with its string of oval lead weights."
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Apr 8, 2017
Disputatious legacies: examining the historic ties that bind Okinawa and China
Commenting on the pervasiveness of his own culture while on a trip to Indonesia, the Nobel Prize-winning poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote, "I see India everywhere." A traveler to Okinawa today from continental Asia, might well say, "I see China everywhere."
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Mar 31, 2017
Yoronto: A small island with unique culture where time and space expand
The sea is only as blue as the sky permits. Even in the deep southern islands of the Nansei-Shoto, an overcast day can turn the sub-tropics into a mirror image of some of the more relentlessly dreary resort towns of my own country, England. One thinks of the ingloriously named Minehead, the estuary wilderness...
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Feb 18, 2017
'Homecomings: The Belated Return of Japan's Lost Soldiers': Portraits of lives transformed by war
It's staggering to think that, at the end of the Pacific War, almost 7 million Japanese servicemen and civilians were awaiting repatriation in various parts of Asia.

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