Japan

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Maritime Ryukyu, 1050-1650 • Gregory Smits

I’ve always taken Napoleon’s side when it comes to the Ryukyu Islands of Japan. No, his ambitions never extended that far east. I’m referring to an 1817 conversation Napoleon – then a captive on the lonely island of Saint Helena – had with British naval officer Captain Basil Hall. As [...]

Okinawa Moon • Arthur Oroz

This likeable novel opens on the island of Guam in the Marianas, where twenty-year-old Airman 2nd Class John Montez is stationed with the 19th Bomb Group, Far East Air Force.  He’s angry with himself for not joining the Marines like many of his friends and relatives have. A tough fighting unit with [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]