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The Shikoku Pilgrimage: Japan’s Sacred Trail • John Lander

This illustrated book of Japan’s most famous pilgrimage, which connects 88 temples associated with the Buddhist monk Kobo Daishi (774–835), is like a serene stroll around a beautiful Japanese garden, and one in the company of a genial host. John Lander's images are – as befits the subject manner – [...]

Pearl City: Stories from Japan and Elsewhere • Simon Rowe

There are good reasons why publishers’ submission guidelines often include a warning that short story collections are unwanted. The literary form is seldom bought, little read, and usually badly written. While I wouldn’t go as far to say that a writer’s preference for short stories is a sign of moral [...]

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 [...]