Category: Books

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  • Dec.18

    ‘Ama, the Breath of Women’, a Feminist and Family-Orientated Odyssey by Pen


    Through the initiation story of a young city dweller, this graphic novel pays homage to the community of the ‘women of the sea’. Japan in the late 1960s. Nagisa, a young, chaste Tokyoite, meets her aunt Isoé on Hegura Island to escape from her past and family dramas. Far from the frantic pace of life…


    An Encounter with the Last Shamans in Japan by Pen


    Sociologist Muriel Jolivet’s book offers an analysis combined with a travelogue and interviews with these women with supernatural powers. They are known as the itako, yuta or noro. They are dispersed all over Japan, from the northern island of Hokkaido to tropical Okinawa and the urban environment of Tokyo. These shamans, all of whom are female, possess special powers…


    ‘Mononoke’, an Inventory of Strange Creatures by Pen


    In this book, Shigeru Mizuki offers an artistic interpretation of these supernatural beings found in Japanese legends. They are known as Bakki, Waira, Zan and Tenaga Baba, and they take the form of an ogre, a strange beast, a mermaid or a witch with white hair. Sometimes they live in lakes and sometimes in the…


    The Obsessed: An Interview With Irwin Wong by Gestalten


    From Lolita fashion and latex couture to neon-drenched big-rigs, anime-plastered vans, and chrome-heavy hot rods, subcultures in Japan are as varied as they are fascinating. Irwin Wong, co-editor of The Obsessed, delves into these worlds in order to reveal the extraordinary passion devotees have for their hobbies and lifestyles. An editorial and commercial photographer based in…


    Handmade in Japan by Irwin Wong (reviewed by The Japan Society)


    If like me you have an appetite for exploring all things related to Japanese design and crafts, Irwin Wong’s introduction to Handmade in Japan will surely prompt you to investigate further. Wong is a well-known commercial photographer based in Tokyo, so on the book’s announcement I knew it would be filled with evocative images of Japan and…


    Donald Keene, Famed Translator of Japanese Literature, Dies at 96


    By Ben Dooley, New York Times article Donald Keene, whose translations of Japanese literature into English and prodigious academic output helped define the study of the subject and made him a celebrity in Japan, died on Sunday in Tokyo. He was 96. The Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture at Columbia University confirmed his death….


    A Man of Intelligence by Ian Pfennigwerth

    Dec.22 David Morton

    A Man of Intelligence by Ian Pfennigwerth A review by David Morton A Man Of Intelligence is an excellent book about the life of Captain Eric Nave, an Australian Codebreaker and the basic founder of Australian cypher breaking against the Japanese during World War II. Eric Nave is no James Bond type, but in his…


    The Spy Across the Table: Mysterious Book Report No. 290

    Sept.10 John Dwaine McKenna

    A review by John Dwaine McKenna of Barry Lancet’s latest book Although prognostication and predicting the future isn’t what we normally do here at the MBR, there’s always exceptions, and this is one.  I’m gonna stick my neck all the way out to the cut-on-the-dotted-line tattoo and forecast the near future.  In about a week…