Reviews

Knowing Nature

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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Kimono Design: An Introduction?

Tuttle Kimono Design

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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A Universal Korean-Japanese Story

Pachinko Min Jin Lee

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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God in Pictures

Korean shaman painting

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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Rediscovering Kyoto

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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Half-Awake

Dalai Lama Awakening is a documentary film by director Khashyar Darvich. In what the director claims is an uncompromised version of his previous film Dalai Lama Renaissance, 40 Western thinkers gather in India to meet with the Dalai Lama to transform the world.

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Real Geisha Real Women

Kyoto Journal geisha

“Real Geisha Real Women,” is a remarkable documentary that opens the shojifor us all, if only for 52-minutes. It allows us a peek into the private lives of 10 active and retired Kyoto geisha…

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Excerpts from Whisper of the Land

“Let the photo-taking sessions be a ballet instead of a military-style attack or a grueling marathon. In the garden, drink the sun, sweep with the wind, sing like a bird, and dance with a shovel and a rake.”

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Picaro Rising

n China’s major cities there is an elite one percent or so that drive nice cars, eat in nice restaurants, and generally live pleasant lives. They do so thanks in large part to the ninety-nine percent…

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Poetry and Prose, Mirrors and Distance

  Poems of a Penisist by Mutsuo Takahashi. Translated by Hiroaki Sato. Twelve Views from the Distance by Mutsuo Takahashi. Translated by Jeffrey Angles. he University of Minnesota has recently published two remarkable volumes of Japanese literature in translation by one of Japan’s most significant contemporary poets, Mutsuo Takahashi: Poems of a Penisist, and the…

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Nature and Spirit Reunion

There is much work to be done—not only in “saving the Earth,” as the mantra of the environmental movement goes, but also in saving ourselves and our own souls in the process.

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Far From Home

“The novel hinges on Rashomon-like multiple takes on the hellish circumstances in which one individual prisoner was beaten to death”

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Eye-witness News, Revisited

Memories have inevitably faded during the 25 years that have passed since the tragic end of the 1989 Tiananmen student protests, and for the younger generation in China, it’s hardly even a blip in the country’s historical flow to present-day prosperity.

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The Unyielding

Okamoto began to write prose of lyrical and, at times, hyperbolic intensity, exploring modernist concepts of the artist and/or the individual in collision with society, spiritual alienation, and the moral, ethical, and political dilemma of the abandonment of tradition.

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Mishima: Creation, Love, Patriotism, Death

Persona is like a flashcard pastiche, much of it based on interviews and private correspondence fused with the historical events through which Mishima moved. Mishima’s lifelong obsession with death and suicide and his sensational death by seppuku at forty-five, haunts the biography.

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Edo Expansion in Hokkaido

The sheer lack of general information in English on the indigenous peoples of Hokkaido (formerly known as Ezo) and this book’s focus on two endangered intangible aspects of human survival – ecology and culture – attracted me. But this is no travelogue of pretty pictures and nifty rituals.

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The Korean Way of Tea

Korea has had a “Way” of tea but it hasn’t been widely seen, much less described or studied by foreigners. This new guidebook full of color illustrations, created by Brother Anthony and Hong Kyeong-Hee is a welcome edition to one’s tea or Korean culture library.

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

KJ 92: Devotion