Stephen Mansfield

Photojournalist and author Stephen Mansfield’s work has appeared in over 70 publications worldwide, on subjects ranging from conflict in the Middle East to cultural analysis, interviews and book reviews. A longtime Japan Times contributor, his latest book is “Japan’s Master Gardens: Lessons in Space & Environment.”

For Stephen Mansfield's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

The origin myth that beat the drums of war

Feb 28, 2015

The origin myth that beat the drums of war

Since the 18th-century — the age of English historian Edward Gibbon — Western theories of history have held that the past consists of causes, effects and events; there are no determining laws or theorems, and no divine purpose. This is the opposite of the ...

Taking a critical look at the prison of history

/ Feb 7, 2015

Taking a critical look at the prison of history

Those who write about history do so at their peril. The difficulties are manifest: how to contribute anything meaningful, to be divergent but remain credible and to research the past without losing sight of the present. Japan and the Shackles of the Past, by R. Taggart ...

Mishima: sliced from the shackles of time

/ Dec 27, 2014

Mishima: sliced from the shackles of time

Henry Scott Stokes, Yukio Mishima's first biographer, once told me that the thing he most remembered about the writer was his exquisite manners — one of those telling details that lend a touch of authenticity to the work of those who knew Mishima personally. ...

Isolation helps preserve Ishigaki's unique charm

Dec 27, 2014

Isolation helps preserve Ishigaki's unique charm

In his 1926 story, "The Man Who Loved Islands," D.H. Lawrence wrote, "Isolate yourself on a little island in the sea of space, and the moment begins to heave and expand in great circles, the solid earth is gone, and your slippery, naked dark ...

Mirei Shigemori: at home with stone

Nov 29, 2014

Mirei Shigemori: at home with stone

Between the years 1924 and 1975, Mirei Shigemori (1896-1975) designed more than 180 gardens in Japan, an extraordinary creative output by any standard. If Shigemori was best known as a landscape designer, an artist in the placement of stones, it is worth noting that his ...

Cultivating shrunken worlds in Bonsai-mura

Nov 1, 2014

Cultivating shrunken worlds in Bonsai-mura

Omiya is one of greater Tokyo's rare pockets of residential comfort that can accurately be defined as middle class — a trait it shares with places such as Chiba's Ichikawa Mama or southwestern Tokyo's Denenchofu district. Bonsai-mura (literally: "Bonsai Village") is a neighborhood of Omiya, ...

The Great Wave

/ | Oct 18, 2014

The Great Wave

The phrase oyatoi gaikokujin refers to foreigners hired by the Meiji Era government and various educational institutions to impart their skills to Japanese eager to advance in the modern world. The Great Wave, by Christopher Benfey.Random House, Nonfiction. ...