The Japan Society
Publications Books & Journals

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.

That Last Glorious Summer 1939: Shanghai - Japan

Books

That Last Glorious Summer 1939: Shanghai - Japan

Review by Tomohiko Taniguchi The author's unusual talent brings the readers back to Setonaikai (Seto Inland Sea) and Karatsu (in Saga Prefecture), in the short summer of 1939, letting them see what she saw, smell what she smelled, and feel the way that she felt toward a handsome young Japanese student she spent time with on the beach. Readers will find themselves seeing pre-war Japan through the eyes of a 16-year old Jewish girl. If traversing history is part of the joy of reading, then this small book is a shining jewel.

Jomon Reflections: Forager life and culture in the prehistoric Japanese archipelago

Books

Jomon Reflections: Forager life and culture in the prehistoric Japanese archipelago

Review by Sir Hugh Cortazzi This is an introduction to the archaeology of the Jomon period in Japan which explores the complex relationships between Jomon people and their rich natural environment. From the end of the last Ice Age 12,000 years ago to the appearance of rice agriculture around 400 BC, Jomon people subsisted by hunting, fishing and gathering; but abundant and predictable sources of wild food enabled Jomon people to live in large, relatively permanent settlements, and to develop an elaborate material culture. In this book Kobayashi and Kaner explore thematic issues in Jomon archaeology: the appearance of sedentism in the Japanese archipelago and the nature of Jomon settlements; the invention of pottery and the development and meaning of regional pottery styles; social and spiritual life; as well as the astronomical significance of causeway monuments and the conceptualization of landscape in the Jomon period.

The Left in the Shaping of Japanese Democracy: Essays in honour of J.A.A. Stockwin

Books

The Left in the Shaping of Japanese Democracy: Essays in honour of J.A.A. Stockwin

Review by Sir Hugh Cortazzi Leftist thought and activism stands as a defining force in the articulation of political culture and policy in modern Japan. Operating from the periphery of formal political power for the most part, the Japanese Left has had an impact that extends far beyond its limited success at the ballot box. The essays that compose this Oxford Festschrift range over a wide set of themes including the tragic careers of two prewar left-wing martyrs (Goto-Jones); Hisashi Asô, the great Socialist apostate (Kersten); the Left’s evasion of constitutional sovereignty (Williams); the rise and fall of Nikkyô-sô (Aspinall); the Left’s impact on privatization and bureaucratic reform (Nakano); the demise of parliamentary Socialism (Hyde); the Left’s recent embrace of free market principles (Schoppa); critical Japan studies and American empire since ‘9.11’ (Williams); and history’s final judgment on the fate of this great political movement (Banno).

Risk Management and Innovation in Japan, Britain and the United States

Books

Risk Management and Innovation in Japan, Britain and the United States

Review by Sean Curtin Assessing and managing risk is vitally important, and is increasingly studied in a range of areas including politics and international relations, finance and insurance, and innovation and the valuing of intangible assets such as patents and intellectual property. The degree to which innovation is encouraged or otherwise – a key factor for many businesses - depends in part on the attitude towards risk in the context in which it takes place. Taplin considers the different attitudes towards risk and innovation, and the different ways in which risk and innovation are handled, in Japan, Britain the USA. Providing a broad and detailed examination of the subject, she discusses topics including risk management standards, managing risk in marketing, the insurance industry, patents, and in venture capital, and of how risk management in organizations has evolved.

Courtyard Gardens of Kyoto's Merchant Houses

Books

Courtyard Gardens of Kyoto's Merchant Houses

Review by Sir Hugh Cortazzi A detailed guide to Kyoto's 'tsuboniwa', or courtyard gardens: compact, hidden urban oases not easily accessible to the casual visitor. Each garden is a unique auesthetic treasure tucked away inside business and residential structures originally built by Kyoto's merchant class. Following 'Landscapes for Small Spaces' and 'The Hidden Gardens of Kyoto', Mizuno has photographed and described 81 gardens within 52 buildings (including shops, inns, teahouses, restaurants and private homes) to offer an unprecedented display of the flawless taste of Kyoto aesthetics. Includes detailed plans and diagrams, as well as concise explanations of the plants and stones that form such an important part of the overall aesthetic.

Tokyo Love Hello

Books

Tokyo Love Hello

Review by Clare Barclay Emerging from the sideline images taken during his four-year study of Fuji-san, Chris Steele-Perkins has produced a photographic overview of everyday life from the instantly recognisable in western society to that only seen by someone truly immersed in the culture of Japan.

Old Japanese Photographs: Collectors' Data Guide

Books

Old Japanese Photographs: Collectors' Data Guide

Reviews by Sir Hugh Cortazzi If you are interested in the field of Japanese photographs as a collector, researcher, dealer, curator or auction house then this book is, quite simply, indispensable. The author has written on and researched the subject for many years and has brought together in one volume the results of exciting new research and also data which has been gathered from long-forgotten and largely inaccessible nineteenth-century sources.

Photography in Japan 1853-1912

Books

Photography in Japan 1853-1912

Reviews by Sir Hugh Cortazzi Photography in Japan 1853-1912 is a fascinating visual record of Japanese culture during its metamorphosis from a feudal society to a modern, industrial nation at a time when the art of photography was still in its infancy. The 350 rare and antique photos in this book, most of them published here for the first time, chronicle the introduction of photography in Japan and early Japanese photography. The images are more than just a history of photography in Japan; they are vital in helping to understand the dramatic changes that occurred in Japan during the mid-nineteenth century. These rare Japanese photographs--whether sensational or everyday, intimate or panoramic--document a nation about to abandon its traditional ways and enter the modern era. Taken between 1853 and 1912 by the most important Japanese and foreign photographers working in Japan, this is the first book to document the history of early photography in Japan a comprehensive and systematic way.

Hokusai's Project: The Articulation of Pictorial Space

Books

Hokusai's Project: The Articulation of Pictorial Space

Review by Sir Hugh Cortazzi David Bell explains that his study concentrates on how Hokusai employed "pictorial conventions in the organization of pictorial space" or in other words how he set about making pictures. Bell is concerned not with who Hokusai was or what he did but rather with "why his works appear the way they do."

A History of Japan, 1582-1941: Internal and External Worlds

Books

A History of Japan, 1582-1941: Internal and External Worlds

Review by Ben-Ami Shillony Offering a distinctive overview of the pressures responsible for the emergence of modern Japan, Louis Cullen rejects the traditional boundaries of Japanese historiography and combines economic, social, and political approaches to create a powerful analysis. Cullen reviews the Japanese experience of expansion, social transition, industrial growth, economic crisis and war, to present an island nation that is a growing industrial power with little perception of its worldwide context.