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.

Whaling in Japan: Power, Politics and Diplomacy

Books

Whaling in Japan: Power, Politics and Diplomacy

Tokyo’s combative stance on whaling often seems at odds with its trademark consensual approach to international affairs. This position seems even stranger when one considers that the vast majority of the public have little interest or enthusiasm for the topic, yet the government vigorously pursues a highly controversial pro-whaling policy which tarnishes the country’s image.

The Japanese Consumer, An Alternative Economic History of Modern Japan

Books

The Japanese Consumer, An Alternative Economic History of Modern Japan

By Penelope Francks. Cambridge University Press, 2009, 249 pages including index and references, ISBN 978-0521-69932-7 (soft back). Review by Sir Hugh Cortazzi. Penelope Francks is an honorary lecturer in Japanese studies in the department of East Asian Studies at the University of Leeds. She has specialized in the study of Japanese economic history. Most books […]

The Japanese House, Material Culture in the Modern Home

Books

The Japanese House, Material Culture in the Modern Home

Until the Second World War individual Japanese houses retained some elements of the aesthetic which so pleased and inspired Edward Morse [author of “Japanese Homes and their Surroundings” – 1885], Bruno Taut [author of “Houses and People of Japan” – 1938] and others. In the war huge swathes of Japanese cities were destroyed by bombing and fire. Japan’s housing stock had to be almost completely replaced. Except in some country areas and in a few exclusive urban districts, the old style individual house generally ceased to exist.

Confessions

Books

Confessions

Directed by Tetsuya Nakashima If you think that a teacher revengefully lacing students’ milk with her late former lover’s HIV-positive blood is as macabre and horrific as it gets, the final scenes of Confessions will have you hooked and gripped to your seat in uneasy disbelief. Review by Susan Meehan

Japanese Intelligence in World War II

Books

Japanese Intelligence in World War II

By Ken Kotani (小谷 賢), translated by Chiharu Kotani, Osprey, 2009, 224 pages including end notes, bibliography and index, ISBN 13-978-1-84603-425-1. Review by Sir Hugh Cortazzi. “This study reveals a Japanese military that was in most respects dysfunctional in the field of intelligence. It was not so much a failure of the intelligence organizations themselves […]

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

Books

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

By David Mitchell This readable historical novel set in Japan has been well reviewed in the national press. Many Japan Society members will have read about it and some may already have read the book. Anyone interested in the life of the […] Review by Sir Hugh Cortazzi

The Moon over the Mountain and Other Stories

Books

The Moon over the Mountain and Other Stories

By Atsushi Nakajima, Translated by Paul McCarthy and Nobuko Ochner, Autumn Hill Books, 2010, 182 pages ISBN:9780982746608. Review by Adam House. Atsushi Nakajima (中島 敦) was born in Tokyo in 1909, his father came from a family of scholars specializing in the classics of ancient China, this would not only influence his reading but would […]

War and Militarism in Modern Japan, Issues of History and Identity

Books

War and Militarism in Modern Japan, Issues of History and Identity

Edited by Guy Podoler, Global Oriental, 2009, 242 pages including index and bibliography, ISBN978-1-905246-85-4 Review by Sir Hugh Cortazzi This collection of essays reproduces papers prepared for “The International Conference on Japan in Honour of Professor Ben-Ami Shillony,” which took place at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel between 29 April and 2 May […]

Norwegian Wood

Films & Series

Norwegian Wood

Directed by Tran Anh Hung, 2010, 133 minutes. Review by Susan Meehan.

Historical Dreadnoughts: Marder, Roskill and the Battles for Naval History

Books

Historical Dreadnoughts: Marder, Roskill and the Battles for Naval History

Professor Gough’s Historical Dreadnoughts is biography rather than autobiography. It is a joint biography of two historians of the Royal Navy in the twentieth century. While much of the book is taken up with disputes between these two historical giants – historians have been known to disagree! –it contains much of relevance to the story of the Asia-Pacific war.