Tag - essential-reading-for-japanophiles

 
 

ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES

Japan Times
CULTURE / Books / ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES
Sep 9, 2017
'All She Was Worth': Step into a world of loan sharks and debt in modern Japan
Give the lingering late-summer heat the slip and duck into the shadows with 'All She Was Worth,' a classic Japanese crime mystery.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books / ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES
Sep 2, 2017
'The Encyclopedia of Japanese Pop Culture': A quality guide to the Showa Era and beyond
As members of Japan's postwar baby boom generation approach their seventh decade, they have been wallowing in an extended nostalgia boom over the historical and cultural accouterments of the Showa Era (1926-89). If you feel left out of the discussion, the antidote is to hunt down a copy of this book, which offers a comprehensive look at cultural icons from television, cinema, popular music and others.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books / ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES
Aug 26, 2017
'Visions of Ryukyu: Identity and Ideology in Early-Modern Thought and Politics': Dueling conceptions of the archipelago
Okinawa at times is like heaven and hell in equal measures: tropical beaches next to ammunition dumps. A garrison island where people come to take vacations, the most politicized region of Japan can seem like being teleported back to the agitprop heyday of the late 1960s.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books / ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES
Aug 12, 2017
'Wabi Sabi: The Art of Impermanence': A surprisingly accessible guide to traditional Japanese aesthetics
Japan's passion for the modern coexists with aesthetic proclivities that favor antiquity and refinement.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books / ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES
Aug 5, 2017
'The Lake': Yasunari Kawabata at his darkest
Yasunari Kawabata is often seen in the West as one of the quintessential modern Japanese writers. His most famous novels are filled with tea ceremonies and geisha and his prose is a consummate example of mono no aware, the Japanese aesthetic that finds beauty in the transience of things.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books / ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES
Jul 29, 2017
'Dream Messenger': A woman searches for her son in Tokyo and New York
The Japanese novel has taken some interesting twists and turns in the post-bubble era, but quality has often been the price of experimentation.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books / ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES
Jul 22, 2017
'Building Japan, 1868-1876': Reflections from the father of Japan's modern public works
Richard Henry Brunton was a Scottish engineer who came to Japan in 1868, one of a number of o-yatoi-gaikokujin — foreigners hired to help Japan modernize at the beginning of the Meiji Era (1868-1912). This book is his memoir, the story of the eight years he spent living in Yokohama and traveling the country overseeing the dredging of channels and the building of lighthouses and bridges both literal and figurative.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books / ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES
Jul 15, 2017
'Tokyo Station': Taut thriller has slow start, strong finish
The bulk of Martin Cruz Smith's "Tokyo Station" is set in 1941, when the impending war with the Allied Forces was the talk of Tokyo.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books / ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES
Jul 8, 2017
'The Sea and Poison': Shusaku Endo dissects the human capacity for evil
This 1957 novel has at its heart Shusaku Endo's fascination with a seemingly tranquil and civilized postwar Japan still traumatized by the horrors of the Pacific War. Even a harmless-looking gas station attendant might be a grizzled war veteran involved in brutal killings on the front line little more than a decade before.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books / ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES
Jul 1, 2017
'A Diplomat in Japan': Eyewitness accounts of the birth of a modern nation
The "Great Man" theory of history has largely been discredited. Propounded by Thomas Carlyle in the 1840s, it suggests that history is moved and swayed by the personalities of "great men" such as Alexander the Great and Napoleon. While there are clearly examples throughout history of men and women who were "great," societal trends and technological advancements are now considered far more important drivers of history.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books / ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES
Jun 24, 2017
'The Informer': Portrait of a pivotal period in Japan
Based on the true story of a stock trader, the 1965 novel "The Informer" is remarkably prescient in describing the greed and venality that was, two decades later, to become a hallmark of the delirious days of Japan's bubble-era economy.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books / ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES
Jun 17, 2017
'Flowering of the Bamboo': Revisiting the mass poisoning of 1948
The acronym GUBU (grotesque, unusual, bizarre and unprecedented) fits the mass murder at the Teihoku Bank in Tokyo on Jan. 26, 1948. Sixteen people were deliberately poisoned, including an 8-year-old boy. More money was left behind than stolen.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books / ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES
Jun 10, 2017
'Milky Way Railroad': A beautiful if unfinished inquiry into meaning and happiness
This beloved classic of Japanese children's literature is testimony to the difficulties of translation. The title, variously called "Night on the Galactic Railway" or "Fantasy Railroad in the Stars," is a good example.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books / ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES
Jun 3, 2017
'Nagasaki: The British Experience, 1854-1945': Loving portrait of a storied city
Nagasaki is something of an outlier in Japanese history. While the country closed itself off from external influence between the 1630s and 1853, this western port remained partially exempt, a crack through which people, ideas and products could pass. Today, the city retains its cosmopolitan attitude and atmosphere.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books / ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES
May 27, 2017
'The Wages of Guilt: Memories of War in Germany and Japan': Is it fair to compare wartime experiences?
Despite regular, if sometimes half-hearted apologies, China and South Korea have repeatedly accused Japan of being unrepentant and insincere in its attitude to World War II. The nation's acceptance of defeat and acknowledgment or denial of guilt is most often compared with that of Germany.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books / ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES
May 20, 2017
'100 Poems from the Japanese": A classic collection
Kenneth Rexroth was heavily influenced by the moods and modes of Japanese poetry, which in turn reached those who were influenced by him. Named by Time Magazine as the “father of the Beats” and a friend of that other great Japanophile poet, Gary Snyder, Rexroth famously passed off his own poems “in the Japanese style” as those of a young female Japanese poet.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books / ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES
May 13, 2017
'Musashi: An Epic Novel of the Samurai Era' encapsulates feudal Japan
Those with an interest in feudal Japan are urged not to miss Eiji Yoshikawa's samurai epic, "Musashi: An Epic Novel of the Samurai Era" — just don't expect historical accuracy. In telling the story of Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1685), the famed swordsman and author of "The Book of Five Rings," Yoshikawa's sprawling novel relies mostly on imagination and invention, much to the dismay of historians.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books / ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES
May 6, 2017
'Target Tokyo: The Story of the Sorge Spy Ring': Uncovering a little-known chapter in history
Even some dedicated Japanophiles are unaware of an important international espionage ring that operated in Tokyo before and during World War II.
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books / ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES
Apr 29, 2017
'Beauty and Sadness': Yasunari Kawabata's last published novel explores the extremes of human emotion
Yasunari Kawabata's last published novel plumbs the depths of human emotion
Japan Times
CULTURE / Books / ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES
Apr 22, 2017
'Second-Best Justice: The Virtues of Japanese Private Law': Championing mediocrity in the courts
Ignore the irony of a tenured Harvard professor railing against the pursuit of excellence and employment security and J. Mark Ramseyer's book is fun and enlightening.

Longform

Historically, kabuki was considered the entertainment of the merchant and peasant classes, a far cry from how it is regarded today.
For Japan's oldest kabuki theater, the show must go on