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.
Issues (PDF)Issue 88 (August 2020, Volume 15, Number 4)
Welcome to a new issue of The Japan Society Review. We present here a small selection of thoughtful reviews and reading suggestions to accompany readers into the autumn season.
Theatre & StageFlight Paths
Extant, the leading performing arts company and charity in the UK managed for and by visually impaired professional arts practitioners, has recently launched an online digital production of Flight Paths, an interactive reworking of the 2019 theatre production. Review by Susan Meehan
BooksThe Iconoclast: Shinzo Abe and the New Japan
By Tobias S. Harris With Abe Shinzo’s sudden resignation as prime minister, again on health grounds as after his first short period in office in 2007, it is right to ask what historians will think of him. This comprehensive and clearly written biography is the first book in English to offer answers about what made Abe Shinzo become Japan's longest-serving prime minister. Review by Bill Emmott
BooksBreasts and Eggs
By Kawakami Mieko Kawakami Mieko's epic novel zooms in on the experience of women, in particular three working-class women from Osaka. The novel was originally published as two separate books, now reunited in translation as one novel of two parts. Review by Susan Meehan
BooksThe World of Ito Jakuchu - Classical Japanese Painter of All Things Great and Small in Nature
By Sato Yasuhiro (Translated by Michael Brase) This timely volume sets forth the case for Edo-era painter Ito Jakuchu (1716-1800), known by his precise observation of nature. Among his most celebrated artworks is the Colourful Realm of Living Beings - a thirty scroll sequence donated by the artist to Kyoto's Shokokuji temple in 1765. Review by Laurence Green
Issues (PDF)Issue 87 (April 2020, Volume 15, Number 3)
Politics, History and International Relations are front and centre in this June issue of The Japan Society Review which includes reviews of three recently published volumes on these topics.
BooksTransnational Nazism: Ideology and Culture in German-Japanese Relations, 1919-1936
By Ricky W. Law Transnational Nazism is a cultural history of German-Japanese relations during the interwar era from the standpoint of their civil societies. It is crucial to highlight that ‘public discourse and perceptions mattered in interwar Japanese-German relations because few could afford firsthand interactions’ (p.2). Review by Francesco Cioffo
BooksKimono Couture: The Beauty of Chiso
By Vivian Li and Christine Starkman The catalogue of the exhibition 'Kimono Couture: The Beauty of Chiso' at the Worcester Art Museum focuses on the crafting practices behind kimono, telling the history of kimono from the view of one of Japan’s oldest kimono houses still existing today. Review by Carolin Becke
BooksThe Japan Affair
By David Howell Lord Howell of Guildford is a long-serving Conservative government minister who, since 1985, has been writing regularly for The Japan Times. This volume contains an edited collection of his columns with some interspersed comments to provide continuity and context. Review by Peter Kornicki
By Brad Glosserman In Peak Japan, Brad Glosserman explains his view on why Japan has not and will not change, concluding that Japanese horizons are shrinking and that the Japanese public has given up the bold ambitions of previous generations and its current leadership. Review by Duncan Bartlett