Ezra Vogel's "China and Japan" is a timely reminder of how public perceptions are shaped by political expediency, how new leaders and propaganda can efface existing goodwill.
Nicolas Gattig is a teacher and writer from San Francisco. His articles/essays about politics and education have been published in the San Francisco Bay Guardian, SOMA magazine, Street Sheet, and the Japan Times. He is greatly interested in literature and the effects of culture.
For Nicolas Gattig's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Hiromi Kawakami's "The Ten Loves of Nishino," a collection of interconnected short stories centering around the titular character, is a poignant examination of gender relationships in Japan and a bittersweet ode to an ageing playboy.
Through in-depth research and infographics, Parag Khanna's "The Future is Asian" details the 21st-century socioeconomic pivot to Asia and why the region deserves its newfound confidence.
A product of postwar Japan and virtually unknown internationally, Zainichi literature often explores the nature of exile and the conflict of identity between homes.
A strange and uneven novel, Yukio Mishima's "The Temple of Dawn," the third volume in the "Sea of Fertility" tetralogy, is an elegy to the loss of pureness in the Japanese national spirit.
In "Star," Yukio Mishima confronts issues of celebrity, youth and aging in hypercharged and manically subjective first-person prose.
In her new novel, "Tokyo Ueno Station," writer Yu Miri connects Japan's modern past with the homeless in Ueno Park, giving faces and voices to the dispossessed.
Kazufumi Shiraishi's novella "Stand-in Companion" offers an interesting male perspective on infertility, plumbing the frustrations of a childless couple and the self-accusation and unspoken blame that can eat away at a relationship.
Eugenia Kim's second novel, "The Kinship of Secrets," is a measuredly moving story of a girl losing and finding a home, the ways in which families grow into units and immigrants into citizens.
Like a bouquet of exotic flowers, the stories in "The Lonesome Bodybuilder" are varied and full of surprise, starting out with mundane situations and then turning strange in a way that feels uniquely Japanese.