A young woman who has just turned 20 moves in with an eccentric distant cousin in Tokyo after her mother moves to China in Nanae Aoyama's “A Perfect Day to Be Alone.”
CULTURE / Books
May 21, 2024
'A Perfect Day to Be Alone': A touching and relatable examination of growing up
Nanae Aoyama’s Akutagawa Prize-winning novella captures the lonely juncture between adolescence and adulthood.
After his family loses its political influence, Prince Takaoka leaves his life in Japan behind and embarks on an adventure across Asia in Tatsuhiko Shibusawa’s “Takaoka’s Travels.”
CULTURE / Books
May 14, 2024
‘Takaoka’s Travels’: The fantastical romp of a real-life royal turned monk
Tatsuhiko Shibusawa’s outlandish novel is based on a real-life Japanese prince who set out for India, only to go missing along the way.
In his book "It’s Okay Not to Look for the Meaning of Life," Buddhist priest Jikisai Minami sprinkles in surprising declarations such as “Stop taking care of yourself,” “It’s okay not to have friends,” “People can live without hopes and dreams.”
CULTURE / Books
Apr 29, 2024
Buddhist priest grounds new book with practical advice and cheeky declarations
"It’s Okay Not to Look for the Meaning of Life" by Jikisai Minami addresses the ills of modern life by revealing the true nature of suffering.
Later this month, author Shogo Imamura will open Honmaru, a bookstore that allows other businesses to rent its shelves. It's part of a wave of ideas Japanese booksellers are trying to compete with online spaces.
CULTURE / Books / Longform
Apr 22, 2024
The story isn't over for Japan's bookstores
Shops without staff, shelves for rent, cafes and meetups are some of the ways the country's dwindling bookstores are trying to survive.
“Butter” author Asako Yuzuki was inspired by the real-life story of Kanae Kijima, who was nicknamed the “Black Widow” and the “Konkatsu Killer” by the media for killing three men she dated to maintain her luxurious lifestyle of gourmet meals and a high-end cooking school.
CULTURE / Books
Apr 12, 2024
Asako Yuzuki's 'Butter' is a heady serving of food culture and feminism
The author's foodie femme fatale character was inspired by a real-life "black widow" case that caught the public's attention in 2009.
Historian Frederik Cryns’ “In the Service of the Shogun” is a biography of William Adams, the inspiration for the character John Blackthorne (played by Cosmo Jarvis) in “Shogun.” Cryns also served as a historical adviser on the FX TV series.
CULTURE / Books
Apr 4, 2024
'Shogun' adviser dives into main character's real-life counterpart for new book
After working on the FX TV series, historian Frederik Cryns explores the life of William Adams in detail for his biography, "In the Service of the Shogun."
In Hideo Yokoyama’s “The North Light,” an architect sets out to solve a mystery when he finds out the family he built a prizewinning house for has vanished.
CULTURE / Books
Mar 23, 2024
'The North Light': One man's psychological journey subverts the crime genre
Hideo Yokoyama's novel centered on a man confronting the shattered pieces of his life offers a look into post-bubble Japan's architectural world.

Longform

People wait for the main act to begin at Summer Sonic, which holds simultaneous music festivals for those in Tokyo and Osaka.
Can Japan's summer music festivals adapt to a post-pandemic reality?