Issue 29

Japan Book Review Issue 29 Volume 5 Number 5 (October 2010)

The theme of this issue is biographies and memoirs, offering a fest of fascinating new books looking at a host of extraordinary lives.

Britain and Japan: Biographical Portraits VII

This is another superb volume in the Biographical Portraits series which profiles people who have contributed to enhancing Anglo-Japanese relations. In this impressive publication, edited by Sir Hugh Cortazzi, the achievements of forty-four diverse individuals are chronicled ranging from Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to the Nobel Prize winning playwright George Bernard Shaw.

Private Yokoi’s War and Life on Guam, 1944-1972

This is a gripping tale of hardship and fortitude telling how Private Yokoi, who was sent to Guam in March 1944, refused to stand down after Japan’s defeat in 1945 and instead spent 27 years hiding in the island’s jungle until his captured in January 1972.

My Work: 10 Years as the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and Construction of Peace (私の仕事国連難民高等弁務官の十年と平和の構築)

Fumiko Halloran looks at Sadako Ogata’s Japanese language account of her turbulent decade as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the immense challenges she faced with a worldwide refugee problem of over 15 million people in countries ranging from Albania to Rwanda.

 

How to Become Myself (あしたの私のつくり方)

Susan Meehan explores this soul-searching film of teenage angst which attempts to capture the elusive essence of what make us a distinctive individual in our formative adolescent years. It’s a fictional biographical film that also resonates with adults making us recall our own teenage trials and tribulations.

A Life in Aikido: The Biography of Founder Morihei Ueshiba

Hugh Purser reviews this official English language biography of Morihei Ueshiba, Aikido’s founding father, detailing his life, the formation of his religious teachings and his legacy.

So Lovely A Country Will Never Perish: Wartime Diaries of Japanese Writers

As the title implies, this book by Donald Keene looks at the diaries of some of Japan’s best known, as well as not so well known, wartime writers and their attitudes towards the Pacific War and its traumatic aftermath.

Editor: Sean Curtin

Managing Editor: John Toppon

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21 Feb 11
How to Become Myself  (あしたの私のつくり方)

How to Become Myself (あしたの私のつくり方)

How to Become Myself (あしたの私のつくり方)

directed by Jun Ichikawa (市川準), 97 minutes, Release Date 28 April 2007

Review by Susan Meehan

A Life in Aikido: The Biography of Founder Morihei Ueshiba, by Kisshomaru Ueshiba (植芝 吉祥丸)

A Life in Aikido: The Biography of Founder Morihei Ueshiba, by Kisshomaru Ueshiba (植芝 吉祥丸)

A Life in Aikido: The Biography of Founder Morihei Ueshiba

by Kisshomaru Ueshiba (植芝 吉祥丸)
Kodansha International, 2008, 320 pages, ISBN-13: 978-4770026170

Review by Hugh Purser

Koizumi and Japanese Politics: Reform Strategies and Leadership Style, By Yu Uchiyama (内山 融)

Koizumi and Japanese Politics: Reform Strategies and Leadership Style, By Yu Uchiyama (内山 融)

In this impressive study Yu Uchiyama meticulously dissects the highly successful and by Japanese standards long lived administration of Junichiro Koizumi (26 April 2001 – 26 September 2006). Since stepping down from office, no Japanese prime minister has lasted longer than a year and none in the last two decades had such a reverberating impact on the Japanese political scene. How did Koizumi break the mould?

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