FICTION, POETRY & REVIEWS

In the Jade Garden

October 13, 2012

Japanese garden authority Marc P. Keane writes, “To walk the length of a roji (tea garden) is the spiritual complement of a journey from town to the deep recesses of a mountain where stands a hermit’s hut.”

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An Aesthetic for Toys

October 2, 2012

If you visit Japan, you are likely to get the feeling the country is obsessed with characters and toys: children and adults play video games on trains, there seems to be a character mascot for every single product, and a Murakami Takashi toy/sculpture may be exhibiting at the local museum. Toys are everywhere.

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Kobe Quake Notes

December 23, 2011

On a winter dawn the world shrugs
screams begin from below everywhere
and reality does not conform
to earthquake emergency plans

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Country Lives

December 13, 2011

The Japanese ethnologist Miyamoto Tsuneichi (1907-1981) walked more than 100,000 miles, mainly during the 1940s and 50s, gathering reminiscences of rural life from village elders…

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The Kaiser’s Navy: The Final Voyage

November 24, 2011

An Osaka swordsmith has made six traditional Japanese swords using part of a 4.6 billion-year-old meteorite that landed in Arizona…

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Geisha Tradition

November 13, 2011

Hannari — Geisha Modern is a documentary film about the lives and arts of geisha in contemporary Kyoto filmed from the perspective of a Japanese woman.

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Metabolic Syndrome

November 13, 2011

These lucid essays discuss Japanese architecture in the aftermath of the Bubble.

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On Cid Corman

November 2, 2011

“(Art) confronts the livingdying going on. . . from within and letting the cry most compassionately come forth and move out – in all direction – wherever the human touches.”

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Ryu and Me

October 30, 2011

Being a man with a tremendous appetite for life, Murakami Ryu began living large, traveling the planet and savoring its various pleasures. But he also began one of the most prolific and multi-faceted careers in literary history…

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100 Years of Japanese Cinema

October 27, 2011

As Donald Richie tells us, at the end of the nineteenth century, a cameraman from the Tokyo Mitsukoshi Department Store shot some of the first film footage in Japan, and thirty-odd years later, Japan was the world’s largest film producer…

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Japanese Constitution Cinema

October 24, 2011

Reading such a dry and formal document can be a real drag to people like me. But there are movies to boost our understanding of Japan’s Peace Constitution.

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The Korean Dream

October 24, 2011

The two decades captured in photographer Drayton Hamilton’s book coincide with the sweeping changes that moved Korea from dictatorship to democracy, from Third-World industrialization to high-tech de-industrialization…

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Call Me Okaasan, Losing Kei

October 15, 2011

Call Me Okaasan is the title of Suzanne Kamata’s collection of essays by twenty mothers raising multicultural children, mostly abroad, in a variety of situations.

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Rich Lives

October 13, 2011

During my years in Japan, I met people living in the countryside who were engaged in non-mainstream work…. I saw that, for all their differences…they all share…an uncompromising insistence on having time in one’s life…

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The Science of Satoyama

October 13, 2011

Japan’s traditional rural landscape, comprised of villages bordered by fields and tended woodlands, is known as “satoyama.”

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The Dharma of the Rings: A Buddhist Interpretation of the Lord of the Rings

October 7, 2011

The Lord of the Rings as a modern Buddhist myth? Not very plausible, on the face of it.

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Yosa Buson: Haiku Master

October 7, 2011

Yosa no Buson (1716-1783) was one in a triumvirate of haikai immortals of the Edo era in Japan: before him came the master, Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), and after him the “humanist” Kobayashi Issa (1763-1826).

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The Classic Kyoto Guide

October 3, 2011

For the traveler who wants to savor the hidden charm and beauty of this ancient city’s backstreets at a leisurely pace, Diane Durston’s updated and fully revised edition of her 1986 book, Old Kyoto, offers a warm and personable guide.

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Chronicling Japan’s Indelible Art

October 2, 2011

Traditional Japanese tattooing is one of Japan’s high arts and is widely recognized by the rest of the world as the pinnacle of the craft, though its virtues are widely denied in its native land.

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A Year at Eiheiji

October 2, 2011

Eiheiji’s reputation as the toughest Zen training center in Japan is born out in this memoir…after Nonomura passes through the Dragon Gate with seven other acolytes (three of whom will end up in the hospital within the first six months), he enters a kind of “boot-camp” hell…

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The Shape of Tokyo’s Art Scene

October 2, 2011

Art Space Tokyo charts the ever-shifting Tokyo art scene via essays and interviews with curators, collectors, artists, journalists, art fair directors, critics and bloggers.

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

KJ 92: Devotion