The Japan Society
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Issue 89 (October 2020, Volume 15, Number 5)

Issue 89 (October 2020, Volume 15, Number 5)

The aim of The Japan Society Review is to inform, entertain and encourage readers to explore the Japan-related works reviewed in its pages. With many events in the UK being held online, cancelled or postponed due to the current pandemic, this October issue concentrates on books, but nevertheless the scope of our publication is once again as diverse as always.

Our first review explores the recently published memoirs of Hans Brinckmann, a Dutch banker who has lived in Japan for over forty years. Covering a period from the early 1950s to the present, The Call of Japan offers an individual’s view and experience of postwar Japanese history.

Approaching history from the perspective of important events, Tanaka 1587: Japan’s Greatest Unknown Samurai Battle by Stephen Turnbull examines the historical siege and battle of Tanaka Castle occurred in the context of the reunification of Japan under Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

This issue also presents reviews of two fictional books, My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki and One Love Chigusa by Shimada Soji. Shimada’s short novel, translated by former Japan Society chairman Sir David Warren, is a dystopic story with cyberpunk touches which questions and challenges the meaning of life and love. My Year of Meats is set in the Unites States and follows the experiences of two women, a Japanese American filmmaker and a Japanese housewife, in the modern world determined by corporations and gender expectations.

Finally, we conclude this issue with the review of Japanese Prints: The Collection of Vincent van Gogh, the catalogue of the homonymous art exhibition at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam in 2018. Accompanied by splendid, full-colour prints of both European and Japanese works, this art book discusses the influence of Japanese arts and prints on the life and work of the celebrated Dutch painter. The review is illustrated with beautiful images that reveal visually how Van Gogh was inspired by the work of Japanese artists such as Utagawa Hiroshige.



Alejandra Armendariz-Hernandez

Roger Buckley, Laurence Green, Trevor Skingle, Azmina Sohail and Beau Waycott

Image: Detail from the cover of Japanese Prints: The Collection of Vincent van Gogh.

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