FICTION, POETRY & REVIEWS

Rain and Thunder

January 5, 2019

STILL TOUCHED BY RAIN   I once liked walking in the rain, the harder the better; liked facing the drops and letting them drench my hair, then follow individual courses under my collar; I liked letting them flow into my ears; letting them run in rivulets inside my mouth, letting my tongue have a taste;…

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KJ Winter 2018 Reads: Titles from Tuttle

December 28, 2018

As part of their 70th-year anniversary celebrations, KJ has teamed up with Tuttle Publishing, the Asia specialist, for this four-part series.

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Unstinting Courage

December 27, 2018

In his views Lu Xun showed himself to be an unstinting supporter of modernity, a fearless enemy of atavism, and a savage critic of his country’s culture.

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Exit West by Mohsin Hamid cover book review

Separately Ever After

December 27, 2018

Throughout the novel, the writer introduces us to people from all corners of the world, who have walked through similar magical doors that lead them to other parts of the world. Although some of these people are peripheral to the plot, they throw light on the phenomenon of migration, helping us see how migration changes countries, cities, towns, neighbourhoods and people.

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Persimmons

December 18, 2018

Split: a star-like reflection.
Flesh like the fire-belly of a newt,
only since coming each autumn
have I taken to swallow firm
fresh mouthfuls,
the jam-insides
of others sun-dried.

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Thirty-Six Times

November 2, 2018

It is the mountain’s presence that most inspires when viewing Hokusai’s thirty-six prints. Rain or shine, snow or wind, clear skies – seen from village, sea, or city – the mountain is a timeline against which all of life is measured.

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The Manchurian Bodhisattva

October 18, 2018

In 772 the Tang dynasty emperor Daizong decreed that, for the welfare of the empire, Manjusri should be worshipped in every Buddhist monastery in China. Each of the five peaks (or ‘terraces’) of Wutaishan became associated with a different manifestation of Manjusri; accounts of visionary encounters and apparitions abound.

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Records of a Travel-worn Notebook

October 14, 2018

During his copious amount of travel, Rowe grew particularly interested in the storytellers he encountered, especially those who are able to embed us strongly in the soil of those places where their stories take root.

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Japan Dissents

October 7, 2018

Andrews doesn’t paint radicals as innocent victims, however. He describes in great detail the violent, sometimes deadly infighting that tore apart the protest movement in the 1960s and 70s, and argues that this self-destructive behavior nudged the general population toward political apathy in the decades that followed.

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ToPoJo’s “Deep Beatitude”

September 27, 2018

The whole matter of Beat Lit/Beat Culture’s engagement with Japan has been overdue for thoughtful attention for too long. With writing on Beat Generation personalities and their work at near-saturation point in English, Japan’s pivotal informative role in helping incubate Beat ethics, aesthetics, and insight practices especially has remained oddly elusive.

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The Allen Ginsberg of Japan

September 27, 2018

Kazuko Shiraishi, in person, is similar to her poetry: vivacious, playful, intelligent, flirtatious and most important, loving. This year she turns 87, but still exhibits some of these characteristics, both in her personality and in her work.

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The Stone Carver

September 15, 2018

He walked back to the main street, along the row of stone workshops.  Through the open doors of one he saw, through a haze of white dust, a row of squatting carvers working frantically, pounding their chisels into the stone in a clanging chorus.

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Knowing Nature

September 11, 2018

The pre-modern Japanese were not, of course, innocent of environmental exploitation—they razed many mountainsides and turned many fields after reciting the requisite prayers—but they understood their relationship to the environment in a radically different way than modern Japanese do.

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Just Enough Living Green Traditional Japan Tuttle Cover

KJ Summer 2018 Reads: Titles from Tuttle

September 1, 2018

As part of their 70th-year anniversary celebrations, KJ has teamed up with Tuttle Publishing, the Asia specialist, for this four-part series.

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Into the Hills

Into the Hills

August 30, 2018

Up into the Northern Hills,
up the slender, winding road
to the last bus stop; get out, walk
the narrowing valley to the end,
climb steep stone stairs.
Pause there for a cup of tea.

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Tuttle Kimono Design

Kimono Design: An Introduction?

August 27, 2018

This is an extremely beautiful book. Every page explodes with color and pattern: exquisite embroidery, wonderful hand painting, complex dyeing, evocative renditions of natural motifs. An astonishing variety is presented.

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Seoul buildings

Distant and Far Apart

August 25, 2018

Watching painters work was something I’ve always been drawn to. How they licked their lips. How their eyes never seemed to blink. How they paced alone in cluttered rooms, stared at things as if defusing bombs, and every breath was a hiccup from boom…

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Xu Lizhi Eleanor Goodman Chinese factory worker Kyoto Journal poetry Zhan You Bing

Left Behind: A Selection of Poems by Xu Lizhi

August 24, 2018

Xu Lizhi’s work is steeped in the vocabulary and experiences of the factories, a world in which he himself lived. The selection of poems presented here show his sense of desperation and acute observations of his internal psychology and the larger world.

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john gohorry ostrich cadenzas kyoto journal

Ostrich Defies Containment

August 23, 2018

Adventures and fates of seven birds freed in the town of Okuma, Japan, following the Daiichi nuclear reactor meltdown in Fukushima, 11 March 2011.

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Sarasoju

Meditation on Sarasôju

August 19, 2018

sarasôju blossoms       

in the morning
shining with dew
in the evening
moldering

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Pachinko Min Jin Lee

A Universal Korean-Japanese Story

August 19, 2018

Lee opens this epic narrative of the lives of Korean immigrants to Japan in the fishing village of Yeongdo—“a five-mile-wide-islet beside the port city of Busan”—in 1910, the same year that Japan formally annexed Korea. She concludes it in Tokyo in 1989…

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Before you go, be sure to check out our latest issue:

KJ 92: Devotion