Jan 11, 2020
Jan 3, 2020
Japanese Classics series: Vintage Classics gives timeless Japanese literature a look for the new decade
Jun 23, 2018
Mar 24, 2018
A young lady from Osaka begins to attend an art class and, while painting a picture of the Kannon (the goddess of mercy), substitutes the head for that of a beguiling student. Soon, she is drawn into a complex web of lesbian passion, pitted against the social norms of marriage in a deadly game that will engulf both the women and their male partners.
Dec 2, 2017
Opening with one of the most famous lines in Japanese literature — "Emerging from the long border tunnel, they entered snow country," shifting us at speed from the darkness of the tunnel into the bright light of the snow — Yasunari Kawabata's novel "Snow Country" tells of a city-dwelling, worldly aesthete Shimamura who travels to an onsen (hot springs) retreat in winter and resumes his casual affair with Komako, a beautiful young "mountain geisha," a rustic panderer to male desire.
Nov 18, 2017
Junichiro Tanizaki is best known for his novels, "Naomi" and "The Makioka Sisters," and is widely considered one of Japan's greatest writers of modern literature. This collection of his early stories "Red Roofs & Other Stories," published between 1917 and 1926, begins with a novella-like story that alludes to Robert Louis Stevenson's "Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," as well as Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado."
Aug 5, 2017
Nov 6, 2015
May 23, 2015
Richard Brautigan dedicated "Sombrero Fallout" — his seventh novel, published in 1976 — to writer Junichiro Tanizaki. Indeed, he echoes Tanizaki in the worship of his protagonist, a Japanese woman named Yukiko. "She had a beautiful laugh which was like rain water pouring over daffodils made from silver," writes Brautigan.
Apr 25, 2015
A 55-year-old science lecturer is found naked on a university campus. His student lover has made him strip as a show of devotion — "Get naked to show me your love," she reportedly demanded — and then scampered off with his clothes. The lecturer resigns, apologizes for "causing considerable trouble," and returns to living with the student.
Aug 30, 2014
Outside the vista windows of the Hotel New Otani's Garden Lounge cafe in Tokyo, it's snowing, in March, and it suddenly feels like the spring flowers in the Japanese garden below may have popped too soon. David Mitchell wonders aloud what kind of flowers they are, before returning to our discussion.
Jun 14, 2014
There's a scene in Junichiro Tanizaki's serialized novel "Naomi" (originally titled "A Fool's Love") from 1924 where the besotted protagonist, Joji, watches his wife, Naomi — part Lolita, part Madame Bovary, all trouble — through the pine trees. Having just emerged from a seaside villa, she is sashaying across the sand in nothing more than a cloak and high heels; the pied piper to no less than four men. The beach is Kamakura's Yuigahama, which was a draw for moga — the new so-called modern girls who emerged after the 1923 Tokyo earthquake shook up the city and its culture. (The term "Naomi-ism" was also used at the time to describe the new phenomenon of modern girls, but I guess that one didn't stick.)