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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.

Issue 93 (June 2021, Volume 16, Number 3)

Issues (PDF)

Issue 93 (June 2021, Volume 16, Number 3)

The opening review of our June issue explores the fascinating life and career of Herbert Ponting, the photographer on Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole.

The Woman in the Purple Skirt

Books

The Woman in the Purple Skirt

By Imamura Natsuko Winner of the prestigious Akutagawa Prize, one of Japan’s highest literary honor, Imamura Natsuko is the latest in a growing list of contemporary female authors to be introduced to the British literary scene. Review by Cameron Bassindale

In Lotus-Land Japan

Books

In Lotus-Land Japan

By Herbert Ponting Published in 1910, In Lotus-Land Japan are the Japanese memoirs of Herbert Ponting, the British photographer on Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole, who offers a detailed account and several photographs of his visits to the country during the Meiji era. Review by Susan Meehan

Kintsugi: The Poetic Mend

Books

Kintsugi: The Poetic Mend

By Bonnie Kemske Kintsugi: The Poetic Mend is a beautifully illustrated book where artist, Japanese tea ceremony student and author Bonnie Kemske guides us through the origins and techniques of kintsugi, a Japanese art form and repair method to restore broken objects using lacquer and gold. Review by Eleonora Faina

Yamamba: In Search of the Japanese Mountain Witch

Books

Yamamba: In Search of the Japanese Mountain Witch

Edited by Rebecca Copeland and Linda C. Ehrlich The Yamamba – the mountain witch, crone, or hag, part of the widely recognised “old woman in the woods” folklore – can be traced back to the Muromachi period (1336-1573), a time of rapid population growth when merchants and villagers began to travel more frequently into the mountains. Review by Riyoko Shibe

Colorful

Books

Colorful

By Mori Eto Originally released in 1998 in Japan, Mori Eto’s Colorful - presented now for the first time in an English translation by Jocelyne Allen - will be familiar to many readers through Hara Keiichi’s animated adaptation from 2010. Review by Laurence Green

Yosuga

Theatre & Stage

Yosuga

By Kaneko Ayano Yosuga is the 6th full-length album from Kaneko Ayano, one of Japan’s best kept musical secrets. Since 2014, Kaneko has released a body of work which charts her considerable progress as a musician. Review by Cameron Bassindale

Herbert Ponting: Scott’s Antarctic Photographer and Pioneer Filmmaker

Books

Herbert Ponting: Scott’s Antarctic Photographer and Pioneer Filmmaker

By Anne Strathie Herbert Ponting, the photographer on Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole (1910 to 1913), is the fascinating subject of Anne Strathie’s latest book, which also includes an account of his visits, photographs and relations to Meiji Japan. Review by Susan Meehan

Ever Forward

Books

Ever Forward

By Claire Thom Ever Forward is a delightful collection of haiku poetry and watercolours dedicated to different animals. Any profit made from book sales will be given as a donation to the Guide Dogs charity in the UK. Review by Mary Ann Burrows

Grave of the Fireflies (BFI Film Classics)

Books

Grave of the Fireflies (BFI Film Classics)

By Alex Dudok de Wit In the first book-length study in English of Studio’s Ghibli’s 'Grave of the Fireflies', Alex Dudok de Wit explores its themes, visual devices and groundbreaking use of animation, as well as the political context in which it was made. Review by Laurence Green