Kyoto Journal Issue 92


(US$16.50 ex shipping)


KJ92 was inspired by the symbols and practices of devotion that are so ubiquitous in our own city. But devotion, wherever practiced, in whatever tradition, transcends the self, and is a commitment to something less momentary, more closely aligned with the eternal…


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“We’re most of us less happy when we’re trying to control or perfect something than when we’re giving ourselves up to it” — best-selling author Pico Iyer lends us his thoughts on why we need devotion in our lives;

Ann Tashi Slater reflects her experience of Bardo — the transitional state between life and death as described in the Tibetan Book of the Dead — during a tortuous sojourn in a Tokyo hospital with severe illness, and Lisa Nilsson interviews Minako Hiromi who, in response to personal tragedy, began hand-drawing mandalas of astonishing detail;

Kenny Fries visits the most sacred of Japan’s shrines and witnesses its awe-inspiring reconstruction; and Robert van Koesveld introduces us to the geiko (as geisha are known in Kyoto), Tsunekazu, and her long, distinguished career in the performing arts;

Author John Dougill recounts his travels through southern Japan to research the Hidden Christians, and understand why they “risked death and the ruination of their loved ones”; and Meredith McKinney goes to great lengths to honour a dear friendship;

Captivating scenes of devotion during some of Kyoto’s many festivals as shot by French photographer Patrick Hochner; and a glimpse at puja ritual purification at the holy city of Varanasi by Chris Roche;

Marilyn Stablein shares some of the letters and photos she sent home from India in the 60s, to where she travelled in order to study Buddhism as an 18 year-old; and Catherine Ludvik shares memories of her journey along the Shikoku 88-Temple Pilgrimage;

Leanne Ogasawara ponders why works of art have the power to induce “spiritual epiphany”, while William Lychak proves why the so-called “lucky birds” outside Shwedagon Pagoda really live up to their name.


Yen Nie Yong accompanies a tribe of head hunters-turned-devout Christians as they hold a ceremony in remote Sarawak;

Clara Kiyoko Kumagai attends a concert by the Sakamoto Ryuichi-led Tohoku Youth Orchestra;

A tale of unrequited love plays out at a Starbucks in Singapore in a fiction piece by Cherene Leong, illustrated by Justine Wong

A translation of Akutagawa Ryunosuke’s The Odd Tale by Richard Medhurst; and Khunying Chamnongsri Hanchanlash‘s Still Touched by Rain; Still Reached by Thunder translated from the Thai by Noh Anothai.

Plus a selection of poetry by Susan Rogers and Musan Cho Oh-Hyun, plus reviews including the latest picks from Tuttle Publishing and Taschen;


Cover by Minako Hiromi

128pp; Printed on Vent Nouveau fine art paper by SunM Color, Kyoto


¥1,800 (or US$16.50)

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