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David Burleigh

For David Burleigh's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

A woman's world

/ Jun 24, 2012

A woman's world

PASSIONATE FRIENDSHIP: The Aesthetics of Girls' Culture in Japan, by Deborah Shamoon. Univ. of Hawai'i Press, 2012, 181 pp., $27.00 (paperback) The subject of this book is one that is baffling to outsiders, but visible on the streets of Tokyo, especially the more fashionable parts, ...

Japan's modern haiku master

/ May 6, 2012

Japan's modern haiku master

IKIMONOFUEI: Poetic Composition on Living Things, by Kaneko Tohta. Red Moon Press, 2011, 91 pp., $12.00 (paperback) THE FUTURE OF HAIKU: An Interview with Kaneko Tohta. Red Moon Press 2011, 137 pp., $12.00 (paperback) These two handy pocket-size volumes are the first of four to be ...

Japan's 'spiritual recrudescence'

/ Apr 1, 2012

Japan's 'spiritual recrudescence'

SOLDIER OF GOD: MacArthur's Attempt to Christianize Japan, by Ray A. Moore. Merwin Asia, 2011, 167 pp., $35.00 (paperback) India, the jewel in the crown of the British Empire, the largest the world has ever known, was won mainly by attrition, though some of the ...

/ Feb 5, 2012

Bold move into Tamura's cold verse

TAMURA RYUICHI: On the Life and Work of a 20th Century Master, edited by Takako Lento & Wayne Miller. Pleiades Press, 2011, 175 pages, $12.99 (paper) The expression of the poet Ryuichi Tamura, as he looks out at the reader from the cover of this ...

Close-up on a people's disaster

/ Dec 25, 2011

Close-up on a people's disaster

"Everything Is Broken: Life Inside Burma" is the second book by Emma Larkin, a Burmese-speaking American journalist who gathers her touching stories traveling incognito in Burma (aka Myanmar). Like her first book, this one has appeared in a popular edition, with a sub-title that is ...

Erotica to celebrate and educate

/ Nov 13, 2011

Erotica to celebrate and educate

The word shunga ("spring picture"), used to identify woodblock prints that portray erotic subjects, is not simply a euphemism for the awakening of natural urges. Rather, as both these books inform us, it is an abbreviation of a longer Chinese name, shunkyu higa ("secret ...

Sheer delight of graceful Kurahara

/ Oct 30, 2011

Sheer delight of graceful Kurahara

There is a persistent hum of activity among small-press publications in Japan, much of it concerned with poetry and a good deal of it translation. IWANA, by Kurahara Shinjiro, translated by William I. Elliott & Nishihara Katsumasa. Dowaya, 2010, 131 pp., ¥2,100 (hardcover) The bilingual or ...

Implacable merger of aesthetic and political

/ Sep 11, 2011

Implacable merger of aesthetic and political

"Trespasses" may be a puzzling term (if you grew up with the Lord's Prayer), but in a foreword to this selection of writings by Masao Miyoshi (1928-2009), Frederic Jameson speaks of the "Victorianist who turns into a Japanologist" and of the "implacable unification of ...

/ Apr 3, 2011

Burma, the broken country

EVERYTHING IS BROKEN: The Untold Story of Disaster Under Burma's Military Regime, by Emma Larkin. Granta, 2010, 265 pp., £12.99 (paper) Tropical storms are given names by meteorological offices around the world. In English we generally prefer to be anthropomorphic, using male and female names ...

/ Feb 13, 2011

Case of the mysterious mister

WHO IS MR SATOSHI?, by Jonathan Lee. William Heinemann, 2010, 295 pp., £12.99 (hardcover) Rob Fossick, a 41-year-old photographer, is drinking a glass of butterscotch schnapps when he witnesses the death of his mother in a retirement home, and is then left to sort out ...