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.

The Bite

Theatre & Stage

The Bite

By Suzuki Atsuto What to do when the dolphin you are ‘keeping’ in a fish tank at home ‘evolves’ – introducing himself as meat-eating Putin, born to parents from the Sea of Okhotsk? The play is hilarious, full of surprises and [...] Review by Susan Meehan

Japan Now

Events

Japan Now

Japan Now, an all-star panel with writer Ian Buruma, journalist Richard Lloyd Parry, and Professor Shimazu Naoko, and chaired by Christopher Harding who pulled together conflicting view points and provocative [...] Review by Jenny White

Six Four

Books

Six Four

By Yokoyama Hideo 1989 saw Japan move to the Heisei era. In the closing days of Shōwa, the novel’s first victim, seven-year-old Amamiya Shoko, was kidnapped and killed. The ascension of a new Emperor underlined the failure of [...] Review by Charlotte Goff

The Tokyo Zodiac Murders

Books

The Tokyo Zodiac Murders

By Soji Shimada In 1930s Tokyo, an eccentric artist is found dead by his seven residing female relations, inside a room that appears to have been locked from the inside. With the body is discovered a note, detailing a plan to [...] Review by Chris Corker

Kamikaze Girls

Films & Series

Kamikaze Girls

Directed by Tetsuya Nakashima Despite its English-language title, “Kamikaze Girls” actually has nothing to do with war, pilots or even women taking on traditionally masculine roles. The literal translation of its Japanese title is ‘Shimotsuma [...] Review by Simon Cotterill

Death by Water

Books

Death by Water

By Oe Kenzaburo In a small, forest-shrouded settlement in rural Shikoku, it is conventional wisdom that as a person dies, he or she goes “up into the forest.” Returning to this, his childhood home, is Kenzaburo Oe’s protagonist [...] Review by Charlotte Goff

Japan and the Shackles of the Past

Books

Japan and the Shackles of the Past

By R. Taggart Murphy This is a book by an American author directed primarily at American readers. It makes many good points and Japan specialists will want to read and carefully consider some of his analysis of modern Japan. Review by Sir Hugh Cortazzi

Men to Devils, Devils to Men

Books

Men to Devils, Devils to Men

By Barak Kushner The latest tour de force by Dr Barak Kushner covers the ambiguous post-war period in East Asia where congealing Cold War divisions and power vacuums created by the absence of peace in China [...] Review by Richard Coxford

The Book of Tokyo: A City in Short Fiction

Books

The Book of Tokyo: A City in Short Fiction

Edited by Michael Emmerich, Jim Hinks and Masashi Matsuie The likely audience for this book will surely be expecting to be able to ‘discover’ Tokyo through this selection of short stories by ten different authors. Its emphatic title and stylish front cover highly resemble a [...] Review by Annabelle Sami

Pinball/Wind

Books

Pinball/Wind

By Haruki Murakami These two novellas, available for the first time in English outside of Japan, were Haruki Murakami’s first works. They form the first two parts of the informally named Trilogy of The Rat. Review by Chris Corker