Japan

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Palm-of-the-Hand Stories • Kawabata Yasunari   

Reviewed by Karen Kao

Kawabata Yasunari was born in 1899 and committed suicide in 1972. He watched Japan open itself to the world, indulge in dreams of empire and survive the ensuing firestorm. His characters were ordinary people: prostitutes, abandoned wives and children. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in […]

By |June 21st, 2018|Uncategorised|0 Comments

Katsuren: An Okinawan love story • Celine Nisaragi

In this charming low-key romance between a young American woman archaeologist and a Japanese journalist, the Okinawan settings come to life as characters in their own right. There are the ruins of Katsuren Castle, giving the novel its title, and the remote island of Yonaguni, especially fascinating to a Taiwan […]

By |October 2nd, 2017|Uncategorised|0 Comments

Author Interview: Brian Burke-Gaffney

Brian Burke-Gaffney is the leading Western expert on the history of Nagasaki and one of the most prolific foreign writers in Japan. A second-generation Canadian from Winnipeg, Burke-Gaffney first came to Japan in 1972 and trained for nine years as a Zen monk. A resident of Nagasaki since 1982, he has […]

By |September 22nd, 2017|Author interviews|0 Comments

In Search of Japan’s Hidden Christians: A Story of Suppression, Secrecy and Survival • John Dougill

I read so many excellent books that it’s hard to name a favourite, but seeing as I so often ask people to recommend a book they’ve read recently and to also choose an all-time favourite, it’s only fair I answer these questions myself. My all-time pick is Nostromo, Joseph Conrad’s […]

By |December 30th, 2016|Uncategorised|0 Comments

Japan and America: A Contrast • Carl Crow

Japan and America (1916) is a forceful warning about Japan’s diplomatic duplicity and its expansionist plans. Carl Crow (1883–1945), an American newspaperman based in Shanghai, was vehemently anti-Japan, but his strident tone seems justified given how subsequent events unfolded. He ends the book with a prophetic prediction:
In their hearts the […]

By |October 9th, 2016|Uncategorised|0 Comments

Author Interview: John Dougill

John Dougill grew up in Grimsby, England. Since 1988 he has lived in Kyoto, Japan, where he is professor of British Studies at Ryukoku University. He has written numerous books about Japan (on travel, religion, and history) and England. His 2012 In Search of Japan’s Hidden Christians: A Story of Suppression, […]

By |May 23rd, 2016|Author interviews|0 Comments

Silence • Shusaku Endo

Endo’s Silence: the Grim Japanese Novel behind Martin Scorsese’s New Film

Reviewed by Eric Mader

The first Christian missionaries arrived in Japan in 1549. By 1583, an estimated 200,000 Japanese, from both the upper classes and the peasantry, had converted to the new faith, convincing the Catholic Jesuits who had started the […]

By |March 31st, 2016|Uncategorised|0 Comments

How Does One Dress to Buy Dragonfruit? • Shannon Young (Editor)

How Does One Dress to Buy Dragonfruit? True Stories of Expat Women in Asia explores the feminine side of expat life. Edited by Hong Kong-based writer Shannon Young, the anthology covers the stories of 26 women, mostly split between China, Hong Kong and Japan (from Tokyo to Fukushima), and differs […]

By |December 14th, 2015|Reviews, Uncategorised|0 Comments