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.

Holy Foolery in the Life of Japan: A Historical Overview

Books

Holy Foolery in the Life of Japan: A Historical Overview

By Higuchi Kazunori Foreigners who only meet a few officials and business executives, may foster the idea that the Japanese have no sense of humour. In fact as Higuchi points out laughter and fun have played a significant role in [...] Review by Sir Hugh Cortazzi

Japan’s Asian Diplomacy: A Legacy of Two Millennia

Books

Japan’s Asian Diplomacy: A Legacy of Two Millennia

By Ogura Kazuo In this survey Ambassador Ogura looks at Japan’s relations with China and Korea since the earliest times. He notes that previous studies have concentrated on the ideology of the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity [...] Review by Hugh Cortazzi

Hamlet and Japan

Events

Hamlet and Japan

Hamlet and Japan was an ambitious attempt to cover aspects of Shakespeare’s extensive history in Japan through talks, music and performances all in the space of a few hours. Review by Susan Meehan

A Quiet Place

Books

A Quiet Place

By Matsumoto Seicho The story begins with a hardworking and dedicated government official receiving the news of his wife’s untimely death while he is away on a business trip in Kobe. This is followed by the proceeding twists [...] Review by Harry Martin

I Want to Kick You in the Back

Books

I Want to Kick You in the Back

By Wataya Risa Written by a nineteen year old student while she was still at university, the bestselling I Want to Kick You in the Back is a slim, deceptively simple tale about teenage life and love. It won the biannual [...] Review by Eluned Gramich

Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure

Books

Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure

By Furukawa Hideo Horses, Horses was first published in the Shinchō journal in July 2011, and therefore can be read as an almost immediate autobiographical response to the 3.11 tragedy. As a Fukushima native whose [...] Review by Alice French

Salad Anniversary

Books

Salad Anniversary

By Tawara Machi Salad Anniversary, is a delightfully small-sized book, with a washed pink cover, light but solid. And Tawara Machi’s poems are short but lively and personal. They feel more like an album of small photos telling a [...] Review by Chris Beckett

Islands of Protest: Japanese Literature from Okinawa

Books

Islands of Protest: Japanese Literature from Okinawa

By Davinder L. Bhowmik and Steve Rabson (eds.) This new collection of Okinawan literature refutes the image of a peaceful land where danger comes at the fangs of the habu snake or the box jellyfish rather than the tensions between its inhabitants. Review by Charlotte Goff

Tokyo Decadence: 15 Stories

Books

Tokyo Decadence: 15 Stories

By Murakami Ryū The stories of this collection, connected by topics of prostitution and unusual sexual proclivities, include shocking elements. From a trucker that enjoys self-emasculation and dressing up as a woman to the [...] Review by Chris Corker

Images

Books

Images

By Erica Facey This delightful bilingual collection is made up of one-vertical-line haiku in the Japanese, and 3-line haiku in English. The Japanese section meets its English counterpart in the middle coming the other way. Review by Chris Beckett