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Thu-Huong Ha
Thu-Huong Ha is the culture critic at The Japan Times, focusing on contemporary art and fiction. Previously she was a reporter for Quartz, an editor for TED.com and an executive producer of TEDxNewYork. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Wired, The Believer, and ArtReview, among others. Her debut novel, "Hail Caesar," was published by Scholastic/PUSH in 2007. Get in touch: [email protected] or instagram.com/whatthusee.
For Thu-Huong Ha's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
PODCAST / deep dive
Mar 23, 2023
The cherry blossoms are here and business is blooming
Kathleen Benoza explains what"s at stake during the hanami season, while Thu-Huong Ha and Alyssa I. Smith discuss the science, symbolism and culture of sakura in Japan.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Mar 19, 2023
'The Flowers of Buffoonery': Osamu Dazai's unexpected portrait of camaraderie
The novel adds new texture to the author"s classic "No Longer Human," while bringing levity to a somewhat dire thesis: The world is full of inauthenticity.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Mar 14, 2023
The guilt of fatherhood helped shape Kenzaburo Oe’s literary vision
The award-winning writer attempted to give his disabled son a voice through fiction.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Mar 11, 2023
Artizon Museum's Dumb Type installations will leave you cold
Recent works by Dumb Type have been recreated in and adapted for the Tokyo museum as “2022: remap.” But even for this high-concept collective, some of the works are especially hard to grasp.
Japan Times
PODCAST / deep dive
Mar 2, 2023
Infinity and beyond: Yayoi Kusama’s next evolution
Culture critic Thu-Huong Ha joins the podcast to explain Yayoi Kusama’s latest stage of evolution.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Stage / Reviews
Feb 23, 2023
TeamLab goes to the opera
The art collective teamLab attempts to expand its creative empire with a foray into opera. This poses the question, is "Turandot" a fair play?
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Feb 18, 2023
Is this Yayoi Kusama's final evolution?
A recent branding campaign with luxury brand Louis Vuitton raises the question: Is she still interesting?
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Jan 17, 2023
Could the Akutagawa Prize get its first American winner?
Gregory Khezrnejat, whose short story u201cKaikonchiu201d is up for the literary award, sees writing in Japanese as a minor rebellion against Englishu2019s assumed dominance in global culture.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Music / Sound Off
Jan 8, 2023
A love letter to hot springs at music festivals
Getting covered in grime, mud and sweat is an expected part of attending a multiday outdoor festival, but in Japan, hot springs provide a surprisingly liberating dimension to the weekend.
Japan Times
LIFE
Jan 7, 2023
Across Japan, baby names are getting more creative
Despite a government-managed list of acceptable kanji, parents are choosing more unique readings for their children than ever before.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Our Lives / 20 QUESTIONS
Dec 29, 2022
Answers in 2022 encouraged activism, recommended books and provided advice
The 20 Questions section discusses people's experiences of Japan in their own words. As we emerge from the pandemic, an underlying theme in 2022 was fighting for change.
Japan Times
LIFE / Food & Drink
Dec 24, 2022
Is a ¥6,600 parfait worth every bite?
Asako Iwayanagi's premium desserts are as ambitious as they are puzzling.
Japan Times
PODCAST / deep dive
Dec 21, 2022
Culture in 2022: Good books, outdoor art and 'Tokyo Vice'
Culture editor Alyssa I. Smith talks to culture critic Thu-Huong Ha about the books they read, the festivals they went to and how Japanese stories are currently capturing Hollywoodu2019s attention.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art / 2022 in Review
Dec 17, 2022
Art came alive in the great outdoors in 2022
Major art events returned to far-flung locales with tactile and communal experiences in nature.
Japan Times
LIFE / Lifestyle
Dec 17, 2022
All I want for Christmas is fewer illuminations in Japan
Tokyo in December is all lit up with more glitz than good cheer.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Dec 3, 2022
Junko Takase’s Akutagawa Prize-winning novel is a feminist’s nightmare
u201cOishii Gohan ga Taberaremasu Yoniu201d reads at first like a work place drama but ultimately makes a sinister argument about contemporary feminism.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Nov 26, 2022
'I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki': Compelling confessions of an exhausted millennial
South Korean author Baek Seheeu2019s bestselling mental health memoir is uncomfortably vulnerable and compulsively readable.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books
Nov 16, 2022
Do you have what it takes to be a novelist? Let Haruki Murakami decide.
In u201cNovelist as a Vocation,u201d the prolific author paints himself as an everyman while giving frustratingly unclear advice on being a professional writer.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Art
Nov 8, 2022
Notes from Setouchi: At Naoshima, three giants of Japanese art wrestle for attention
In spaces that opened earlier this year on Naoshima, the severe architecture of Tadao Ando brings a new edge to the art of Yayoi Kusama and Hiroshi Sugimoto.
Japan Times
LIFE / Travel
Nov 1, 2022
Review: Is the new Ghibli Park worth all the hype?
The new theme park in Aichi Prefecture signals a change of direction for the legendary animation studio as it prepares for the next phase of Hayao Miyazakiu2019s legacy.

Longform

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In disaster-prone Japan, some communities consider major moves