Book Topics

Is this the first great Tokyo novel by a non-Japanese writer?

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Non-Japanese have written great books about Japan. Almost all of these masterpieces are nonfiction: essays, memoirs, monographs, histories, travel books. One might place, for example, Alan Booth’s “The Roads to Sata,” Donald Richie’s “Ozu,” Edward Seidensticker’s “Genji Days,” and Nicolas Bouvier’s “The Japanese Chronicles” among those exalted works. However, trying ...

Long Belts and Thin Men

Aug 27, 2016

Long Belts and Thin Men

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Japan’s postwar years were marked by raw needs and wounds, as well as great societal change. A glimpse of the era is offered in this collection of stories by Nobuo Kojima (1915-2006), most of which appear in English for the first time. Long Belts ...

Demythologizing Pure Land Buddhism

Aug 27, 2016

Demythologizing Pure Land Buddhism

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The bulk of “Demythologizing Pure Land Buddhism” is a collection of essays by Rijin Yasuda (1900-1982), a Shin Buddhist thinker in the modernizing tradition of Kiyozawa Manshi (1863-1903). Yasuda “taught a conception of Amida and the Pure Land that made them existential realities in ...

Forbidden Colours

| Aug 13, 2016

Forbidden Colours

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Written in 1951 and translated into English in 1968, the title of “Forbidden Colours” represents taboo desires and beliefs, most notably homosexuality and misogyny. Shunsuke is an aging writer whose vile views on women are given the opportunity for physical manifestation in Yuichi, a ...