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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.

The Call of Japan: A Continuing Story - 1950 to the Present Day

Books

The Call of Japan: A Continuing Story - 1950 to the Present Day

By Hans Brinckmann Part personal memoir, part professional flashback, part socio-cultural commentary, The Call of Japan chronicles the author’s experiences during his 40 years of living in Japan, from 1950 to 1974 as a ‘reluctant banker’, and from 2003 to the present as a writer. Review by Roger Buckley

One Love Chigusa

Books

One Love Chigusa

By Shimada Soji A kind of MTV-esque ‘greatest hits’ melange of science-fiction tropes rendered into a bullet-like, postmodernist package; taken as a whole it makes a riveting statement as a Frankenstein for our After-Corona age. Electrifying stuff. Review by Laurence Green

The Sphinxing Rabbit: Her Sovereign Majesty

Books

The Sphinxing Rabbit: Her Sovereign Majesty

Deceptively simple in appearance yet heavy in content, the Sphinxing Rabbit series of books starting with Her Sovereign Majesty aims to communicate tenets of freedom in an entertaining manner. Review by John O'Sullivan

Issue 88 (August 2020, Volume 15, Number 4)

Issues (PDF)

Issue 88 (August 2020, Volume 15, Number 4)

Welcome to a new issue of The Japan Society Review. We present here a small selection of thoughtful reviews and reading suggestions to accompany readers into the autumn season.

Flight Paths

Theatre & Stage

Flight Paths

Extant, the leading performing arts company and charity in the UK managed for and by visually impaired professional arts practitioners, has recently launched an online digital production of Flight Paths, an interactive reworking of the 2019 theatre production. Review by Susan Meehan

The Iconoclast: Shinzo Abe and the New Japan

Books

The Iconoclast: Shinzo Abe and the New Japan

By Tobias S. Harris With Abe Shinzo’s sudden resignation as prime minister, again on health grounds as after his first short period in office in 2007, it is right to ask what historians will think of him. This comprehensive and clearly written biography is the first book in English to offer answers about what made Abe Shinzo become Japan's longest-serving prime minister. Review by Bill Emmott

Breasts and Eggs

Books

Breasts and Eggs

By Kawakami Mieko Kawakami Mieko's epic novel zooms in on the experience of women, in particular three working-class women from Osaka. The novel was originally published as two separate books, now reunited in translation as one novel of two parts. Review by Susan Meehan

The World of Ito Jakuchu - Classical Japanese Painter of All Things Great and Small in Nature

Books

The World of Ito Jakuchu - Classical Japanese Painter of All Things Great and Small in Nature

By Sato Yasuhiro (Translated by Michael Brase) This timely volume sets forth the case for Edo-era painter Ito Jakuchu (1716-1800), known by his precise observation of nature. Among his most celebrated artworks is the Colourful Realm of Living Beings - a thirty scroll sequence donated by the artist to Kyoto's Shokokuji temple in 1765. Review by Laurence Green

Issue 87 (April 2020, Volume 15, Number 3)

Issues (PDF)

Issue 87 (April 2020, Volume 15, Number 3)

Politics, History and International Relations are front and centre in this June issue of The Japan Society Review which includes reviews of three recently published volumes on these topics.

Transnational Nazism: Ideology and Culture in German-Japanese Relations, 1919-1936

Books

Transnational Nazism: Ideology and Culture in German-Japanese Relations, 1919-1936

By Ricky W. Law Transnational Nazism is a cultural history of German-Japanese relations during the interwar era from the standpoint of their civil societies. It is crucial to highlight that ‘public discourse and perceptions mattered in interwar Japanese-German relations because few could afford firsthand interactions’ (p.2). Review by Francesco Cioffo