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.

Sennan Asbestos Disaster

Films

Sennan Asbestos Disaster

Directed by Hara Kazuo Hara’s film gives the briefest of briefings on the historical background before spending nearly all of its four hours following a group of ex-workers during their eight-year struggle to get compensation from [...] Review by Roger Macy

The Dark Maidens

Films

The Dark Maidens

Directed by Yakumo Seiji The story is set in the prestigious all-girls Virgin Mary Christian academy where we find our main characters; the members of the literary club chaired by the principal’s daughter Itsumi. She is admired and [...] Review by Morgane Chinal-Dargent

My Falling Down House

Books

My Falling Down House

By Jayne Joso It is difficult to say whether Joso’s masterful My Falling Down House is an advertisement for, or a warning against, isolation from society. It follows the thoughts, dreams and humble adventures of Tanaka Takeo [...] Review by Alice French

Echoes: Writers in Kyoto Anthology 2017

Books

Echoes: Writers in Kyoto Anthology 2017

Edited by John Dougill,‎ Amy Chavez and Mark Richardson Echoes is a compilation of short stories (fact and fiction), poems and literary extracts which draw on individual experiences and the personal influence Kyoto has exerted on a selection of writers who have lived [...] Review by Harry Martin

Japanese Girls Never Die

Films

Japanese Girls Never Die

Directed by Matsui Daigo The film focuses on the disappearance of Azumi Haruko (Aoi Yu), a 27 years old woman who lives in a suburban city and shares her house with her mother, father and grand-mother. She works as an office lady [...] Review by Morgane Chinal-Dargent

The Japanese Garden

Books

The Japanese Garden

By Sophie Walker Those who have had the pleasure of visiting gardens in Japan will know what a wonderful experience it can be. Walker's focus is ‘not on the history or scholarship of the many types of Japanese garden, but [...] Review by Graham Hardman

The History Problem. The Politics of War Commemoration in East Asia

Books

The History Problem. The Politics of War Commemoration in East Asia

By Saito Hiro The phantoms of Japan’s imperium, and the complex post-1945 landscape of commemoration and memorialization that Hiro Saito wrestles with in this thoughtful account, whose arguments span the [...] Review by Andrew Levidis

Beasts Head for Home

Books

Beasts Head for Home

By Abe Kobo Kuki Kyuzo, the story’s teenage protagonist, is still in Manchuria, despite the fact that the vast majority of Japanese settlers have already been repatriated. He’s living among a group of Soviet officers, but soon [...] Review by David Boyd

Edo Kabuki in Transition: From the Worlds of the Samurai to the Vengeful Female Ghost

Books

Edo Kabuki in Transition: From the Worlds of the Samurai to the Vengeful Female Ghost

By Shimazaki Satoko Satoko’s seminal work focuses on the developments and changes in kabuki since the 1825 premiere of Tsuruya Nanboku IV’s play Tokaido Yotsuya Kaidan. She uses that play as a starting point and, contrary [...] Review by Trevor Skingle

The Art of Shiguchi. Japanese Joinery on Display

Books

The Art of Shiguchi. Japanese Joinery on Display

By Takishita Yoshihiro This book, in addition to illustrations of some of the shiguchi Takishita-san has kept in his store room, contains essays by experts and connoisseurs including ‘The Power of the Shiguchi’ by Peter Grilli [...] Review by Sir Hugh Cortazzi