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.

Blossoms & Shadows

Books

Blossoms & Shadows

By Lian Hearn, Quercus Publishing, 2011, 400 pages, ISBN 978-0-85738-297-9; £12.99 Review by Susan Meehan Blossoms and Shadows is an absolutely riveting piece of historical fiction which brings alive a fascinating period of late nineteenth century Japanese history. The book begins in 1857 and spans ten years, which are the twilight of the Bakufu (the […]

Cymbeline

Theatre & Stage

Cymbeline

By William Shakespeare (Yukio Ninagawa’s production at the Barbican, London, 29 May 2012 to 2 June 2012) Review by Susan Meehan I was expecting this version of Cymbeline to display Yukio Ninagawa’s trademarks – unparalleled stage scenery, plush costumes and a magical ending. I was not disappointed. However, having recently enjoyed 11 Shakespeare plays […]

Blossoms and Shadows

Books

Blossoms and Shadows

By Lian Hearn, Quercus Publishing, 2011, 400 pages, ISBN 978-0-85738-297-9, £12.99 Review by Ali Muskett Blossoms and Shadows by Lian Hearn (real name Gillian Rubinstein), is set in 19th century Japan, and is narrated by fictional character Tsuru. The daughter of a doctor, Tsuru is raised in a world of medicine where, due to cultural […]

Pro Bono

Books

Pro Bono

By Seicho Matsumoto (translated by Andrew Clare), Vertical Inc. 2012, ISBN-10: 1934287024, RRP: £7.69 Review by Jack Cooke Fans of detective fiction are often obsessive, eagerly awaiting the next fictional crime scene to hit the market. When it comes to the cult surrounding one of Japan’s most idolised crime writers, Seicho Matsumoto, his followers are as […]

People Who Eat Darkness – An interview with Richard Lloyd Parry

Books

People Who Eat Darkness – An interview with Richard Lloyd Parry

‘People Who Eat Darkness’ – An interview with Richard Lloyd Parry Article by Michael Sullivan On July 1st 2000 Lucie Blackman went missing in Tokyo, months later her body would be found, dismembered, buried under a bath tub in a seaside cave in Miura, Kanagawa. The period of time leading up to that discovery would […]

Historical Dictionary of Japanese Cinema

Books

Historical Dictionary of Japanese Cinema

Historical Dictionary of Japanese Cinema, By Jasper Sharp, Scarecrow Press, 2011, 564 pages, ISBN-10: 0810857952, £59.95 Review by Roger Macy Let me introduce you to a cultural curiosity: the book. It has no links, it can’t be updated , it’s bulky and heavy, and is pretty much all the work of one person. Scarecrow Press […]

I Just Didn’t Do It

Books

I Just Didn’t Do It

Along with Confessions of a Dog [see issue 35], I Just Didn’t Do It is a damning indictment of the Japanese legal system. The audience palpably gasped at some of the more appalling scenes of unfathomable injustice and clapped as Masayuki Suo took to the front of the Institute of Contemporary Arts film theatre at the end of the screening to answer questions.

Crossfire

Books

Crossfire

Crossfire is the third novel by Miyuki Miyabe to be published in English. Originally this was a bestseller in Japan and was adapted into a movie in 2000 called Pyrokinesis [クロスファイア]. It was directed by Shusuke Kaneko [金子 修介], and starred Akiko Yada [矢田亜希子] and Hideaki Ito [伊藤 英明]. Miyabe is a full time writer and has received numerous literary prizes including the Naoki Prize.

Images of Japan 1885-1912: Scenes, Tales and Flowers

Books

Images of Japan 1885-1912: Scenes, Tales and Flowers

By Sir Hugh Cortazzi. In Images of Japan 1885-1912: Scenes, Tales and Flowers, Sir Hugh Cortazzi provides a compelling introduction to the multiple forms of visual material published in Japan for mostly European and American consumption. His carefully researched books is a much-needed addition to this rich and yet surprisingly under explored field.

Always Sunset on Third Street 2

Films & Series

Always Sunset on Third Street 2

Always Sunset on Third Street 2 (ALWAYS 続・三丁目の夕日), directed by Takashi Yamazaki (山崎貴), 2007, 146 minutes Review by Susan Meehan (contains plot spoilers) As the Embassy screening of Always Sunset on Third Street 2 ended, I wished I’d seen the first in the series; not just because it’s a delightful family drama, but because I […]