FICTION, POETRY & REVIEWS

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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basho-john-givens-fiction-kyoto-journal

The Green Summer Wind

August 19, 2018

The old man opened his travel pouch and removed a roll of rice paper. He lifted out his writing kit—a bronze tube ending in a bulbous bronze pot fitted with a tight lid, like a metallic leek with a metallic ball-onion fused on at one end. The tube held his writing brush, and the onion-pot was stuffed with wadded cotton fibers soaked with ink.

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John Einarsen Sacha Idell fiction

Moon Landings

August 17, 2018

I let Grace pick where we lived. No, Grace had opinions about where we lived, and I did not. We were together because we had nowhere better to be.

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magda rittenhouse shanghai kyoto journal

Look How Far the Sun Fell

August 9, 2018

Bathwater swallowed the tube with a nervous plop and the ripples lapped gently at Yasi’s stiffening chest. The once comforting smell of tobacco was swiftly replaced by the tang of burning hair and he could not fight through the powerful clench of his jaws to scream…

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Korean shaman painting

God in Pictures

January 10, 2018

I was baffled by her effort to pay homage to a large, framed (glass, metal) painted image of the mountain spirit (a wizened old man with a tiger and young attendant) that was up a pathway on the north side of Manisan Mountain peak, when we could actually at minimum address the spirits of the peak in front of us.

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Ties that Bind

September 15, 2017

The relationship between Grandpa Thong-in and Grandma Jan became more intense, to the point that on some days he would arrive at dawn and not leave until after dusk.  This very much upset Grandma Jan’s daughter, who felt utterly ashamed by her mother’s obnoxious behaviour…

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Rediscovering Kyoto

November 13, 2016

I work as a guide for foreign tourists and though I mean to introduce them to the charms of Japan, instead it is often they who remind me of my country’s beauty.

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

KJ 92: Devotion