The Japan Society
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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.

Peak Japan

Books

Peak Japan

By Brad Glosserman In Peak Japan, Brad Glosserman explains his view on why Japan has not and will not change, concluding that Japanese horizons are shrinking and that the Japanese public has given up the bold ambitions of previous generations and its current leadership. Review by Duncan Bartlett

Stranger in the Shogun’s City

Books

Stranger in the Shogun’s City

By Amy Stanley A deeply researched work of history that explores the life of an unconventional woman during the first half of the 19th century in Edo (Tokyo) and a portrait of a great city on the brink of the encounter with the West. Review by Laurence Green

Where the Wild Ladies Are

Books

Where the Wild Ladies Are

By Matsuda Aoko Witty, inventive, and profound, Where the Wild Ladies Are by Matsuda Aoko is considered a contemporary feminist retelling of traditional ghost stories by one of Japan’s most exciting writers. Review by Charlotte Goff

The Aosawa Murders

Books

The Aosawa Murders

By Onda Riku The first novel by prolific and award-winning author Onda Riku to be published in English is prefaced by a transcript of a police interview with Hisako Aosawa, the sole survivor of a mass murder that has claimed the rest of her family. Review by Jill Dobson

The Swords of Silence

Books

The Swords of Silence

By Shaun Curry Based on the real-life incidence of systematic persecution of Christians in 17th century Japan by the Tokugawa Shogunate, the story of The Swords of Silence takes as its focus Father Joaquim Martinez, a Portuguese priest [...] Review by Laurence Green

The Last Paper Crane

Books

The Last Paper Crane

By Kerry Drewery Told through an interweaving of haiku, free verse and standard prose, The Last Paper Crane delights in flitting between mediums in an attempt to convey the essence of the Hiroshima story beyond the simple historical facts. Review by Laurence Green

The Only Gaijin In the Village

Books

The Only Gaijin In the Village

By Iain Maloney In 2016 Scottish writer Iain Maloney and his Japanese wife Minori moved to a village in rural Japan. This is the story of his attempt to fit in, be accepted and fulfil his duties as a member of the community, despite being the only foreigner in the village. Review by Azmina Sohail

Spark

Books

Spark

By Matayoshi Naoki Spark is a story about art and friendship, about countless bizarre drunken conversations and how far it’s acceptable to go for a laugh. A novel about comedy that’s as moving and thoughtful as it is funny [...] Review by Laurence Green

The Buddha in the Attic

Books

The Buddha in the Attic

By Julie Otsuka Julie Otsuka’s novel of the immigrant experience is beautifully written. Its powerful narrative encapsulates the lives of a forgotten people still alive in the memories of Japan. It confronts the issue of immigrant [...] Review by Azmina Sohail

Forty Seven Samurai : A Tale of Vengeance and Death in Haiku and Letters

Books

Forty Seven Samurai : A Tale of Vengeance and Death in Haiku and Letters

By Sato Hiroaki Sato Hiroaki’s examination is a close, comprehensive look at the Ako Incident through the context of its times, portraits of the main protagonists, and its literary legacy in the haiku of the avengers. Review by Trevor Skingle