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 Kris Kosaka

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Kris Kosaka
Kris Kosaka, a resident of Japan since 1996, contributes regularly to The Japan Times. She is a lecturer at Meiji Gakuin University in the Faculty of International Studies.
A young woman who has just turned 20 moves in with an eccentric distant cousin in Tokyo after her mother moves to China in Nanae Aoyama's “A Perfect Day to Be Alone.”
CULTURE / Books
May 21, 2024
'A Perfect Day to Be Alone': A touching and relatable examination of growing up
Nanae Aoyama’s Akutagawa Prize-winning novella captures the lonely juncture between adolescence and adulthood.
“Butter” author Asako Yuzuki was inspired by the real-life story of Kanae Kijima, who was nicknamed the “Black Widow” and the “Konkatsu Killer” by the media for killing three men she dated to maintain her luxurious lifestyle of gourmet meals and a high-end cooking school.
CULTURE / Books
Apr 12, 2024
Asako Yuzuki's 'Butter' is a heady serving of food culture and feminism
The author's foodie femme fatale character was inspired by a real-life "black widow" case that caught the public's attention in 2009.
In Hideo Yokoyama’s “The North Light,” an architect sets out to solve a mystery when he finds out the family he built a prizewinning house for has vanished.
CULTURE / Books
Mar 23, 2024
'The North Light': One man's psychological journey subverts the crime genre
Hideo Yokoyama's novel centered on a man confronting the shattered pieces of his life offers a look into post-bubble Japan's architectural world.
While non-Japanese readers have in recent years been spoiled for choice when it comes to Japanese literature in translation, there is still a wealth of notable works that translators would love to see rendered into English.
CULTURE / Books
Dec 20, 2023
A wish list of hidden gems for Japanese literature lovers
Eight translators reveal their top Japanese books that English readers have yet to enjoy.
“Godzilla and Godzilla Raids Again” fully articulates the intentions behind the creation of Japan’s most infamous "kaijū" (monster) before Toho Studios releases the newest chapter in the “Godzilla” saga.
CULTURE / Books
Oct 29, 2023
‘Godzilla’ novellas expand on infamous monster’s origins
Shigeru Kayama’s entertaining and informative stories delve deep into the underlying pacifist beliefs of the entire “Godzilla” franchise.
Japan’s crime thriller genre owes a lot to Kido Okamoto and Taro Hirai, who is better known by his pen name of Edogawa Ranpo
CULTURE / Books
Oct 22, 2023
Japanese thrillers and crime mysteries to curl up with this fall
As the nights grow colder, pick up a recommended read in crime fiction and dive deep into this unique intersection of art and entertainment.
The Mikomotojima Lighthouse in Shimoda, Shizuoka Prefecture, was designed by Richard Henry Brunton, a Scotsman who was employed by the Meiji government to build lighthouses across Japan in the 19th century. In "The Japan Lights," author Iain Maloney connects his personal travels and experiences in Japan to Brunton's pursuits.
CULTURE / Books
Oct 1, 2023
'The Japan Lights' traces a journey of self-discovery in the wake of 3/11
Iain Maloney's wise book connects his travels in Japan to the pursuits of Richard Henry Brunton, a Scotsman who built lighthouses across the country.
Cuban American soprano Lisette Oropesa stars as Violetta in a restaging of Giuseppe Verdi’s “La Traviata” directed by Sofia Coppola in her opera directing debut in 2016
CULTURE / Stage
Sep 8, 2023
Rome Opera's tragic heroes resonate in modern times
For its Japan tour, the company will perform lavish productions of "La Traviata," directed by Sofia Coppola, and "Tosca," by Franco Zeffirelli.
Karen Hill Anton's “A Thousand Graces" centers on a young woman who takes her first steps toward adulthood by leaving her home in the countryside to go to college and live on her own terms.
CULTURE / Books
Aug 27, 2023
An intimate portrayal of resisting society’s expectations
Set in the 1970s, Karen Hill Anton’s novel captures a woman’s emotional struggle to bear the pressures of Japanese society while pursuing her dreams.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Jun 17, 2023
The quotidian madness of Mieko Kanai’s 'Mild Vertigo'
Originally published in 1997, “Mild Vertigo” is just as relevant today in its unpacking of meaning within the ennui of our often stultifying, consumer-driven modern age.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Jun 11, 2023
‘How Kyoto Breaks Your Heart’: Welcome sustenance for the Japan memoir genre
Author Florentyna Leow offers descriptive musings and pithy wisdom about love, food and Japan’s historical city as she traces the dissolution of a friendship in her new collection of essays.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
May 28, 2023
'Love at Six Thousand Degrees': Slow burn affair unfurls identity and trauma
Maki Kashimada's novel, which centers on two strangers whose sexual connection is complemented by their intimate conversations, is a fitting introduction to her work.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
May 14, 2023
'Honeybees and Distant Thunder' is an ode to nature informing art and life
Riku Onda's vibrant novel follows four characters as they navigate the pressures and joys of competing in a piano contest and examines the idea of genius in the world of classical music.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Mar 8, 2023
‘A Kamigata Anthology’: Everyday enjoyments of everyday people
The collection chronicles the rise of the “commoner arts' through genres like travelogs, poetry and easy-reading books that entertained the masses during the Edo Period (1603-1867).
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Feb 26, 2023
'Pink Waves': Poetry in conversation with grief and inspiration
Artist Sawako Nakayasu’s poetic composition, which was constructed in front of an audience over three days, offers a raw response to her sources of inspiration and her spectators.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Feb 11, 2023
'The Tatami Galaxy' is an imaginative romp through parallel worlds
Tomihiko Morimi’s rollicking novel about a disillusioned college student searching for his ideal life infuses looping narratives with lightly philosophical insights into choice and destiny.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Feb 5, 2023
'Idol, Burning' spotlights obsession and disillusion in a digital world
Rin Usami's novel about a teenage superfan of a J-pop idol plays with ideas of who we worship, what we find meaningful and what brings us love, connection and purpose.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Jan 29, 2023
Matsuo Basho's complete works reveal the sensuality and innovation of a master poet
Andrew Fitzsimons offers carefully considered translations of the poet’s works, including his famous haiku about a frog in a pond, in “Basho: The Complete Haiku of Matsuo Basho.”
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Jan 22, 2023
'An Open Parenthesis' finds music in the silences
Philip Rowland’s new collection of poems contains nine interwoven sequences that allow the entries to be read as both separate entities and parts of a complete work.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Dec 1, 2022
New Monkey imprint broadens the reach of contemporary Japanese literature
Stone Bridge Press and Monkey magazine have joined forces to expand the literary landscape of Asian writings in translation.

Longform

People wait for the main act to begin at Summer Sonic, which holds simultaneous music festivals for those in Tokyo and Osaka.
Can Japan's summer music festivals adapt to a post-pandemic reality?