With "Zen in Japanese Culture," Gavin Blair deftly sidesteps superficial how-tos and Orientalism to deliver a in-depth explainer that leaves readers wanting to dig even deeper.
For Iain Maloney's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
The recent reprint of Hal Gold's book, "Japan's Infamous Unit 731," keeps alive the memory of human rights atrocities committed by the Imperial Japanese Army.
Artist Kazumi Wilds retells Japan's creation myth, the "Kojiki," through vivid and accessible illustrations.
Masahisa Fukase's "Family," reissued with essays by Fukase himself and Tomo Kosuga, turns the idea of the family portrait on its head, simultaneously reinvigorating and ridiculing it.
Stephen Lyman and Chris Bunting's "The Complete Guide to Japanese Drinks" is a beautiful, carefully put together coffee-table book full of insights, anecdotes and thirst-inducing pictures of Japan's various alcohols.
Set in the early 17th century, "The Swords of Silence" focuses on the plight of Japan's hidden Christians and the closing of Japan to foreign trade and relations — with a fantasy twist.
Time travel, yakuza, street photography and more feature in the best upcoming J-Lit releases for this summer (and beyond).
Set in 1970s Osaka, "Inhabitation" is a surrealist, symbolic novel about one man's attempt to run from his past and build his own future.
Based on a real-life incident in which a 7-year-old boy was abandoned in the woods by his parents, "Backlight" examines the search and rescue operation through a philosophical lens.
Readers who like their yakuza with a dash of morality, lead characters out of their depths and their cops dumb and bent will find much to enjoy in Nick Hurst's thriller, "Falling From the Floating World."