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Issue 104 (March 2024, Volume 19, Number 1)

Issue 104 (March 2024, Volume 19, Number 1)

The first quarter of 2024 has brought to the UK an exciting array of books, films and events exploring different aspects of Japan. This new issue of The Japan Society Review covers six of them thanks to the fantastic writing our volunteer reviewers.

We open our selection with a review of Abe Naoko’s new book, The Martyr and the Red Kimono. Following her successful previous work, ‘Cherry’ Ingram: The Englishman who Saved Japan’s Blossoms, Abe focuses now on the life of Polish monk Maximilian Maria Kolbe examining his connections with Japan through the lives of two individuals, atomic bomb survivor Ozaki Tomei and Asari Masatoshi, a key figure in the historical donations of cherry trees around the world.

Next, Naomi Pollock's The Japanese House Since 1945 takes us on a captivating journey through the evolution of Japanese residential architecture, offering profound insights into the cultural, social, and architectural forces shaping Japan's domestic landscape.

Written with the insight of an expert on Japanese organised crime, investigative journalist Jake Adelstein presents The Last Yakuza, a gripping first-hand account of Japan's notorious underworld, shedding light on the enigmatic world of the yakuza and its enduring impact on Japanese society.

In 100 Tales from the Tokyo Ghost Café by Julian Sedgwick, with illustrations by manga artist Kutsuwada Chie, readers are transported to the eerie yet captivating realm of Japanese folklore, where ghosts, spirits, and supernatural phenomena intertwine with the modern urban landscape of Tokyo.

On an Endless Road: Ito Noe and the Women Composers of her Time, by composer Francesca Le Lohé offers a compelling exploration of the female composers active in Japan during the life of Ito Noe, a feminist figure of the Meiji era whose story remains untold.

Lastly, we delve into the cinematic realm with Oscar award winner The Boy and The Heron directed by Miyazaki Hayao, a masterful animated tale that weaves together themes of friendship, adventure, and environmental stewardship with Miyazaki's trademark storytelling prowess.



Alejandra Armendariz-Hernandez

Cameron Bassindale, Laurence Green, Trevor Skingle, Hananircia Tchinhenha, David Tonge and Shehrazade Zafar-Arif.

Image: The Boy and The Heron.

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