FICTION, POETRY & REVIEWS

Cherry Blossom 3

Cherry Blossom Epiphany: The Poetry and Philosophy of a Flowering Tree, by Robin D. Gill

May 25, 2020

“The Japanese have written thousands of poems about the cherry blossoms” is something I have said thousands and thousands of times over the years to my college classes in Japanese language…

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sharingahouse

Behind the Scenes of Miyazaki’s Magic

May 11, 2020

Alpert was employed at Ghibli’s parent company Tokuma Shoten and was tasked with making its films as successful abroad as they are in Japan.

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Year of Meats

My Year of Meats: An excerpt

April 27, 2020

It was Kato, my old boss at the TV production company in Tokyo where I had gotten my first job, strangulating English sound bites into pithy Japanese subtitles. Now, he said, he had a new program and could use my help.

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bonni rambatan illustration last man standing header crop

Last Man Standing

April 13, 2020

These young fellows nowadays, I tell you—not an iota of respect for their betters! These whippersnappers are so horrid, so horribly rude: they’ll look past you on the road, they won’t take any notice of you at all…

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geek in japan

KJ Spring 2020 Reads: Titles from Tuttle

April 10, 2020

Our reviews of the latest Japan travel and culture-oriented titles from the Asia specialist, Tuttle Publishing.

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Talking Architects

February 10, 2020

This collection of interviews, artwork, and newly-translated essays by and about 12 diverse postwar Japanese architects provides a fascinating “oral history” of Japanese society during the 1960s and 1970s, a period when the nation’s attention shifted from rebuilding from the ashes of war to finding its place in the international community.

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cutting back leslie buck

Pruning the Branch: Pruning the Mind

February 4, 2020

Reading Cutting Back taught my untrained eye to more fully appreciate the complexities of Japanese formal gardens and the folks who are entrusted to maintain them.

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History of the Kaifeng Israelites

By Any Other Name…

December 30, 2019

Tiberiu Weisz contends that contact between the Hebrews and the Chinese started probably sometime around 980BCE. If this is true, Israelite presence would have left traces in the historical records kept by the Chinese since their earliest dynasties.

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ghosts of the tsunami richard lloyd parry

Confronting Disaster

December 23, 2019

In Ghosts of the Tsunami, Richard Lloyd Parry confronts us with the startling human reality of this astonishing disaster. Parry’s chief concern is with the harrowing events that transpired at Okawa Elementary School in Ishinomaki, a heartbreaking drama that is notorious in Japan but perhaps less well-known internationally.

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Japanese Foods that Heal

KJ Autumn/Winter 2019 Reads: Titles from Tuttle

November 17, 2019

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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Painting in the Light of Two Suns

November 1, 2019

The evolution of Teraoka’s oeuvre now can be explored in the monumental 400-page Floating Realities: The Art of Masami Teraoka, almost a catalogue raisonné. In addition to beautifully printed full color reproductions, the book includes a forward by Mike McGee.

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Haiku: Birth & Death of Each Moment

October 7, 2019

Haiku brings us the birth and death of each moment. Everything is stripped away to its naked state.

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Words Necessary and Unnecessary

October 1, 2019

Translating out of one’s original language into a second language is a risky endeavor. In the case of translator Goro Takano, with this exquisite and slightly quirky bilingual chapbook-object, he acquits himself well.

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When the Envoys Returned

September 16, 2019

After thirty years of cresting mountain-high surges, the envoys brought back eagle-wood, ambergris, and an essence distilled from rose petals.

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auric shelter 2

Kazuki Takizawa’s Color From Green

September 4, 2019

While KJ is not primarily a literary publication, poetry has always been a vital component in our content mix. This poem by Elena Karina Byrne, along with others by Jane Hirshfield, Arkaye Kierulf, Tamara Nicholl-Smith and (in translation) Shinkichi Takahashi, is featured in KJ 95 (Wellbeing).

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For the love of neko

August 27, 2019

The Neko Project is a book that pays homage to Japan’s unyielding love of cats through its thoughtful and expansive photography. It is the result of an open call to their network of Japanese photographers on the theme of cats and features all the projects that were submitted, alongside historical anecdotes and insightful commentary in both French and English.

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Confessions of a Sushi Boat

August 11, 2019

I’m so tired of them washing me, or not washing me properly. The grains of rice tend to get stuck between my wooden planks. But when Chef Jiro Sakamoto does it, it’s always different. He gives me proper care and attention, pays heed to the details of my grooves and curves…

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shodo tuttle

KJ Summer 2019 Reads: Titles from Tuttle

July 14, 2019

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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year of dirt water zen japan tracy franz

Tumbling Assumptions

July 2, 2019

The author says she embarked on this year in Japan in order to undertake a spiritual practice of her own. She must occupy herself while her husband seeks Soto Zen priestly credentials by training in a nearby monastery, so she joins a pottery class as a deshi (disciple) of the elderly female teacher. But she cannot seem to make the dirt and water come together to make a smooth clay, either physically or metaphorically.

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Down and Out Poor Meiji Japan Book

Meiji Poor

June 20, 2019

Huffman focuses his inquiry on the very poorest of Japan’s urban poor—the hinmin, or paupers, who flooded into Tokyo at a rate of up to 1,000 people each week in the late 1800s and early 1900s, victims of government policies that pushed farm families to starvation and forced their sons and daughters to seek jobs in the swelling cities.

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Tengu

Tengu

April 27, 2019

Osamu Dazai meditates on the haiku of Bashô, Bonchô, and Kyorai.

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

KJ 98: Ma