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 Guest Cat

Books

The Guest Cat

By Takashi Hiraide The prose in The Guest Cat bare and clinical. The pace of the book is lethargic, leaving the narrative to meander a little too often.The book is part of The New York Times and The Sunday Times best seller lists. Review by Chris Corker

An interview with Lisa Ueda

Events

An interview with Lisa Ueda

Mike Sullivan interviews violinist Lisa Ueda, who in addition as being part of the Ueda/Rinaldo Duo, she has an upcoming concert at Wigmore Hall which will be followed soon after with a tour in Japan. Interview by Mike Sullivan

Tango at the End of Winter

Theatre & Stage

Tango at the End of Winter

The play’s setting is a decrepit family-run cinema in a small northern town on the Sea of Japan coast, soon to be turned into a supermarket. It is here that we encounter Sei, a middle-aged actor, who, like the [...] Review by Susan Meehan

Designing Nature, The Rinpa Aesthetic in Japanese Art

Books

Designing Nature, The Rinpa Aesthetic in Japanese Art

By John T. Carpenter This catalogue was published with the exhibition ‘Designing Nature: The Rinpa Aesthetic in Japanese Art’. It introduces some of the most colourful paintings and artefacts of Edo Japan. Review by Sir Hugh Cortazzi

Tango at the End of Winter

Theatre & Stage

Tango at the End of Winter

Directed by Annabelle Sami Sei is a middle-aged actor, once brilliant, but now fading. His wife orchestrates a love affair between him and a younger co-star to reinvigorate his career and help him find the brilliance of his youth [...] Review by David Knox

Usagi Yojimbo

Theatre & Stage

Usagi Yojimbo

Directed by Amy Draper Usagi Yojimbo, presents an adventurous rabbit samurai and teaches us of war, responsibility and honour in Edo period Japan – austere subjects made delightfully light with the addition of rabbit ears. Review by Annabelle Sami

Unforgiven

Films & Series

Unforgiven

Directed by Lee Sang-Il The most surprising thing about this remake, directed by Korean Lee Sang-Il, is how closely it sticks to the source material, and how successfully it does so considering the wildly different settings. Review by Chris Corker

Japan’s Modern History, 1857-1937: A new political narrative

Books

Japan’s Modern History, 1857-1937: A new political narrative

By Junji Banno The book assumes that the reader has a fair grasp of the history of modern Japan. It is thus intended primarily for historians as it is not an introduction to Japanese political history for the newcomer to [...] Review by Sir Hugh Cortazzi

Across the Three Pagodas Pass: The Story of the Thai-Burma Railway

Books

Across the Three Pagodas Pass: The Story of the Thai-Burma Railway

By Yoshihiko Futamasu The sufferings of allied prisoners of war forced by the Japanese military to work on the have been recounted in many books. This book is the first publication in English of an account by a Japanese railway engineer. Review by Sir Hugh Cortazzi

Glorious Misadventures: Nikolai Rezanov and the Dream of a Russian America

Books

Glorious Misadventures: Nikolai Rezanov and the Dream of a Russian America

By Owen Matthews This well researched and well written book traces the career of Nikolai Rezanov who sought to establish and develop Russian settlements in North America from Alaska to modern day California. It covers his [...] Review by Sir Hugh Cortazzi