Book Topics

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The Great Wave

by Stephen Mansfield

The phrase oyatoi gaikokujin refers to foreigners hired by the Meiji Era government and various educational institutions to impart their skills to Japanese eager to advance in the modern world. The Great Wave, by Christopher Benfey.Random House, Nonfiction. There was a veritable legion of them, including Scottish sanitary engineer William ...

Black Rain

| Oct 11, 2014

Black Rain

by Kris Kosaka

Masuji Ibuse’s classic 1965 novel “Black Rain” takes readers into the everyday lives of a family poisoned by radiation sickness. The narrative structure carefully balances between the present time of the novel and journal entries from the bombings of Hiroshima to craft a carefully ...

Inner-city life, and the banal mystery that is other people

Oct 4, 2014

Inner-city life, and the banal mystery that is other people

by Matt Kamen

Beautifully banal. Perhaps not the most positive-sounding turn of phrase, but the one that best summarizes the appeal of Shuichi Yoshida’s interwoven narrative of five young adults and their struggles living in an overcrowded Tokyo apartment. Parade, by Shuichi Yoshida, Translated by Philip Gabriel.Vintage ...

A Drifting Life

| Oct 4, 2014

A Drifting Life

by Stephen Mansfield

Readers tired with the glut of violence, wonderment and sentimentality that defines manga fantasies centering on characters with extraordinary powers and cute, eroticized females will find the unsparing social realism of Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s autobiographical “A Drifting Life” a breath of fresh air. A Drifting ...

Confessions

Oct 4, 2014

Confessions

by Mark Schreiber

The award-winning 1950 Akira Kurosawa film classic “Rashomon,” based on two short stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, used different and contradictory accounts of a samurai’s death to explore humanity’s self-serving behavior. Kanae Minato’s first novel, “Confessions,” adopts a somewhat similar approach, with its six chapters ...

The Crimson Thread of Abandon: Stories

Oct 4, 2014

The Crimson Thread of Abandon: Stories

by Madeline Barbush

It’s a wonder “The Crimson Thread of Abandon” was never translated into English before. Shuji Terayama (1935-83) was a provocative artist and outlaw author, and his 20 stories fall nothing short of this reputation. Each borrows and mocks the conventions of a classic fairy ...

Time Killers

Sep 27, 2014

Time Killers

by Catherina Depaz

“Time Killers” is a collection of short stories by Kazue Kato in the realm of fantasy. The beautiful artwork takes the reader from the sea to the stars and across the globe. Time Killers, by Kazue Kato Translated by John Werry.Viz Media, Manga. The ...

Oh, Tama!

Sep 20, 2014

Oh, Tama!

by David Cozy

Mieko Kanai, a prize-winning poet, eminent critic and author of experimental fiction that evokes comparisons to the works of Borges and Kafka, has also, in her “Mejiro” series, produced a series of novels notably lighter in tone. In these books, two of which have ...

Netsuke

Sep 20, 2014

Netsuke

by Madeline Barbush

The British Museum’s Noriko Tsuchiya compiles an intricate selection of netsuke, a prized Edo Period (1603-1867) art form of miniature sculptures. Her book contains 100 photographs, paired with color illustrations to contrast composition and artistic expression. Netsuke, by Noriko Tsuchiya.The British Museum, Art book. ...