The Japan Society
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The Japan Society Review

The Japan Society Review is published on a bimonthly basis, both online and printed (members are entitled to receive a copy by post). Since the starting of the publication in 2006, each issue covers a selection of Japan-related books and films, as well as theatre and stage productions, tv series and exhibitions. Its purpose is to inform, entertain and encourage readers to explore the works for themselves.

The Japan Society Review is possible thanks to the work of volunteers who dedicated their time and expertise to help us to promote the learning and understanding of Japanese culture and society.

Taiko Do – Echo Of The Soul

Theatre & Stage

Taiko Do – Echo Of The Soul

By KyoShinDo Take a group of Italian percussionists, who just so happen to be karate experts too, and see what kind of musical concoction they can cook up. As Hirota Joji, who has been teaching the group for over ten years puts it, it’s ‘taiko with a martial arts touch’. Review by Laurence Green

Spark

Books

Spark

By Matayoshi Naoki Spark is a story about art and friendship, about countless bizarre drunken conversations and how far it’s acceptable to go for a laugh. A novel about comedy that’s as moving and thoughtful as it is funny [...] Review by Laurence Green

Tipping Point: Our World in Crisis

Theatre & Stage

Tipping Point: Our World in Crisis

By Café Reason Butoh Dance Theatre Café Reason is the only UK butoh group outside of London. Their latest piece, Tipping Point, uses a dash of butoh ‘characteristics’ alongside many other interesting ways of moving. Review by Alice Baldock

The Buddha in the Attic

Books

The Buddha in the Attic

By Julie Otsuka Julie Otsuka’s novel of the immigrant experience is beautifully written. Its powerful narrative encapsulates the lives of a forgotten people still alive in the memories of Japan. It confronts the issue of immigrant [...] Review by Azmina Sohail

Forty Seven Samurai : A Tale of Vengeance and Death in Haiku and Letters

Books

Forty Seven Samurai : A Tale of Vengeance and Death in Haiku and Letters

By Sato Hiroaki Sato Hiroaki’s examination is a close, comprehensive look at the Ako Incident through the context of its times, portraits of the main protagonists, and its literary legacy in the haiku of the avengers. Review by Trevor Skingle

Yasuke: The True Story of the Legendary African Samurai

Books

Yasuke: The True Story of the Legendary African Samurai

By Thomas Lockley and Geoffrey Girard A tale of the life of Yasuke, the African mercenary-turned-samurai who found himself, against all odds, immersed in the very heart of political and military power in 16th century Japan, thousands of miles from [...] Review by Laurence Green

Music Kyogen Scrooge

Theatre & Stage

Music Kyogen Scrooge

With Kyogen masters Juro Zenchiku and Daijiro Zenchiku Music Kyogen Scrooge is an innovative theatrical production that combines Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Japanese traditional comedy play Kyogen, and contemporary music. Review by Alice Baldock

Japanese Tales of Lafcadio Hearn

Books

Japanese Tales of Lafcadio Hearn

By Lafcadio Hearn This collection of fantasy tales is a great example of how literature has evolved and should continue to evolve in every sense of the word; in representation, theme and language. Review by Azmina Sohail

Japan and the West: An Architectural Dialogue

Books

Japan and the West: An Architectural Dialogue

By Neil Jackson This book discusses the architectural influence that Japan and the West have had on each other during the last 150 years. Based on extensive research, this book provides a synthetic overview that brings [...] Review by Andrew Nishiyama Taylor

The Memory Police

Books

The Memory Police

By Ogawa Yoko The novel takes place on an unnamed island where, for the past 15 years, things have regularly disappeared, not just physically but from memory. This disappearance is enforced by the Memory Police, the [...] Review by Jill Dobson