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.
BooksHerbert Ponting: Scott’s Antarctic Photographer and Pioneer Filmmaker
By Anne Strathie Herbert Ponting, the photographer on Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole (1910 to 1913), is the fascinating subject of Anne Strathie’s latest book, which also includes an account of his visits, photographs and relations to Meiji Japan. Review by Susan Meehan
By Claire Thom Ever Forward is a delightful collection of haiku poetry and watercolours dedicated to different animals. Any profit made from book sales will be given as a donation to the Guide Dogs charity in the UK. Review by Mary Ann Burrows
BooksGrave of the Fireflies (BFI Film Classics)
By Alex Dudok de Wit In the first book-length study in English of Studio’s Ghibli’s 'Grave of the Fireflies', Alex Dudok de Wit explores its themes, visual devices and groundbreaking use of animation, as well as the political context in which it was made. Review by Laurence Green
Films & SeriesAge of Samurai: Battle for Japan
Directed by Stephen Scott for Netflix A six-part Netflix historical documentary series, Age of Samurai retells the final decades of the Sengoku Jidai, a 150-year period of near continuous civil war, examining the reunification of Japan through the rise of three figures: Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu. Review by Riyoko Shibe
Issues (PDF)Issue 92 (April 2021, Volume 16, Number 2)
With five reviews covering a wide range of topics and styles, from an academic monograph to memoirs, fiction, and an art book, the April issue of The Japan Society Review offers an excellent example of the rich variety of Japan-related publications regularly arriving in the UK.
BooksBeyond Zen: Japanese Buddhism Revealed
Edited by Katherine Anne Paul with contributions by Katherine Anne Paul & Ikumi Kaminishi A fascinating and long-overdue visual history of Japanese Buddhist art largely dating from the Edo period (1600–1868) to the present day, through one of the USA’s finest collections. Review by Timon Screech
BooksHandmade in Japan
By Irwin Wong Handmade in Japan takes a look inside the workshops of the country's artisans, revealing their endless pursuit of excellence, and what it means to dedicate one's life to the stewardship of irreplaceable cultural heritage. Review by David Tonge
BooksTowards Japan: A personal journey
By J. Arthur Stockwin Distinguished author and former Professor of Modern Japanese Studies at Oxford, Arthur Stockwin here explores his personal journey from being the son of medical/dental parents in Birmingham, England, to becoming a specialist in the politics and modern history of Japan. Review by William Horsley
By Mizumura Minae Negotiating ideas of nationhood and belonging, encompassing both language and identity, Mizumura Minae’s 'An I-Novel' offers a semi-autobiographical piece of extraordinary writing about the Japanese-American experience in the 1980s. Review by Laurence Green
BooksThere’s No Such Thing As An Easy Job
By Tsumura Kikuko Although first published in Japan in 2016, There’s No Such Thing As An Easy Job is apt for our current times, in which we are all working from home and the boundaries of the professional and the domestic feel more liminal than ever. Review by Beau Waycott