The Japan Society
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The Japan Society Review

The Japan Society Review is published on a quartely 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.

Spirited Away (Play)

Theatre & Stage

Spirited Away (Play)

Adapted by John Caird Studio Ghibli’s Oscar-winning Spirited Away is imagined for the stage by Olivier and Tony award-winning director of Les Misérables, John Caird. Review by Michael Tsang

Exhibition - Yoshida: Three Generations of Japanese Printmaking

Events

Exhibition - Yoshida: Three Generations of Japanese Printmaking

Featuring over 75 exquisite prints, this exhibition journeys from the rich, nostalgic landscapes of the prolific artist and patriarch of the family, Hiroshi to the abstract work of the family’s later and current generations. Review by David Tonge

British Children’s Literature in Japanese Culture: Wonderlands and Looking-Glasses

Books

British Children’s Literature in Japanese Culture: Wonderlands and Looking-Glasses

By Catherine Butler In this book, Catherine Butler explore the multifaceted relationship between British children’s literature and Japan considering its many manifestations in print, on the screen, in tourist locations and throughout Japanese popular culture. Review by Kimberley Reynolds

Exhibition - Design Discoveries: Towards a Design Museum Japan

Events

Exhibition - Design Discoveries: Towards a Design Museum Japan

For this exhibition, prominent Japanese creators were asked the simple question – what does design mean to you? In responding they have chosen artifacts which resonate with them and their practice and have explained what makes them unique to the prefecture and worthy of inclusion in Design Museum Japan. Review by David Tonge

In the Service of the Shogun: The Real Story of Williams Adams

Books

In the Service of the Shogun: The Real Story of Williams Adams

By Frederick Cryns This new biography of William Adams places his life in a wider geopolitical context exploring the political intrigues of the Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch and English, the Western nations trading with Japan at the time. Review by Trevor Skingle

The Library of Heartbeats

Books

The Library of Heartbeats

By Laura Imai Messina In The Library of Heartbeats, the heart stands out as the central theme, infusing this charismatic tale with depth and resonance. Review by Renae Lucas-Hall

The Meiji Guillotine Murders

Books

The Meiji Guillotine Murders

By Yamada Futaro Set in 1869, two decades after the Black Ships forcibly lifted Japan’s policy of isolationism and Western ideas began to flow into the country, The Meiji Guillotine Murders takes place in a fraught but fascinating time of clashing institutions and ideologies Review by Chris Corker

Evil Does Not Exist

Films & Series

Evil Does Not Exist

Directed by Hamaguchi Ryusuke Hamaguchi Ryusuke’s new film is without doubt one of the most divisive films of the year. With awards at BFI London Film Festival and Venice Film Festival in 2023 but also with many finding the film puzzling, wanting, or even lacking. Review by Michael Tsang

Mongrel

Books

Mongrel

By Hanako Footman Hanako Footman’s debut novel, Mongrel, follows parallel stories of three Japanese women: Mei, biracial and living in Surrey, Yuki, a musician in London and Haruka a hostess in Tokyo. Review by Shehrazade Zafar-Arif

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

Issues (PDF)

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.