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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
“The Rise and Fall of the EAST” author Yasheng Huang blames the “keju,” the imperial national civil service exam, for the decline in China’s technological innovation. Its influence continues in the “gaokao,” the annual university entrance exam that high school students take in June.
Feb 19, 2024
‘The Rise and Fall of the EAST’: China’s ancient successes paint worrying picture of its future
Economist Yasheng Huang delves into the impact of the "keju" imperial national civil service exam on the ebb and flow of China’s technological innovation.
English translations of Japanese novels, like the ones seen here in a London bookstore, are getting a bump from TikTok.
Jan 25, 2024
TikTok and YouTube fuel a Japanese literature boom in Britain
Translated novels sold a total of some 2 million copies in Britain in 2023, and Japanese works accounted for one-quarter of those sold.


Things may look perfect to the outside world, but today's mom is fine with some imperfection at home.
How 'Reiwa moms' are reshaping motherhood in Japan