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‘Curse on This Country: The Rebellious Army of Imperial Japan’: Of insubordination and the road to WWII

15 hours 46 min ago

In “Curse on This Country: The Rebellious Army of Imperial Japan,” multi-lingual Hebrew University senior lecturer Danny Orbach tracks nearly 80 years (1860-1936) of the influence of the Imperial Japanese Army’s officer class on Japan. Curse on This Country: The Rebellious Army of Imperial Japan, by Danny Orbach.384 pages CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESS, Nonfiction. Based on […]

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‘The Fascist Effect: Japan and Italy, 1915-1952’: A look at the rise of fascism in Japan

15 hours 48 min ago

In “The Fascist Effect,” Reto Hofmann, a postdoctoral fellow at Waseda University, argues that it is pointless to ask whether Japan was fascist in the years leading up to and during World War II — until we listen to what Japanese at that time thought about fascism. The Fascist Effect: Japan and Italy, 1915-1952, by […]

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‘Second-Best Justice: The Virtues of Japanese Private Law’: Championing mediocrity in the courts

15 hours 50 min ago

Ignore the irony of a tenured Harvard professor railing against the pursuit of excellence and employment security and J. Mark Ramseyer’s book is fun and enlightening. Second-Best Justice: The Virtues of Japanese Private Law, by J. Mark Ramseyer.352 pages THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS, Nonfiction. By essentially settling for mediocrity, he argues, Japan’s civil justice […]

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Veteran heavy metal band Loudness cancels U.S. tour after barred by immigration

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 11:18

Pioneering Japanese rock band Loudness gets turned away by U.S. immigration for the first time, forcing it to cancel a tour and fly home.

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Japan, take pride in ‘Your Name.’

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 08:28

Two weeks ago, the United States’ box office saw a surprising animated feature take the top spot and generate large amounts of discussion — and memes — on social media. That was Dreamworks’ “The Boss Baby,” starring Alec Baldwin as a dapper, sassy infant. Further down the list was “Your Name.,” the highest-grossing movie in […]

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The amateur members of Tokyo Symphony Chorus perform like true professionals

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 07:21

The Tokyo Symphony Orchestra (TSO) opens its 2017/18 season on April 22 at Muza Kawasaki Symphony Hall, but the performance will be lacking one crucial element during the opening piece: the orchestra. Instead, the 48 members of the Tokyo Symphony Chorus (TSC) will take the stage in celebration of its 30th anniversary. In collaboration with […]

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Bill O’Reilly axed from Fox News Channel after 20 years amid harassment scandal

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 20:17

Fox News Channel’s parent company fired Bill O’Reilly on Wednesday following an investigation into harassment allegations, bringing a stunning end to cable television news’ most popular program and one that came to define the bravado of his network over 20 years. O’Reilly lost his job on the same day he was photographed in Rome shaking […]

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Roger Pulvers challenges the idea of a hero in directorial debut, ‘Star Sand’

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 09:00

Roger Pulvers has had the sort of free-ranging, multifaceted career that seems like a dream in this specialized age, when academics labor in their narrow professional silos. Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1944 to Jewish-American parents, he came to Japan in 1967, began teaching at Kyoto Sangyo University and was soon writing short stories […]

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Romance takes an unusual turn in ‘Love and Goodbye and Hawaii’

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 08:59

“Breaking up is hard to do,” goes the old song, and for some, it’s so hard that they never quite manage it. A typical example is the partner (or, worst-case scenario, the spouse) who one day tells you they’re back with an ex. An atypical example is the couple in Shingo Matsumura’s offbeat romantic drama […]

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Eco-blockbuster ‘Deepwater Horizon’ bypasses a bigger issue

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 08:58

With “Deepwater Horizon,” Hollywood attempts the difficult maneuver of having its cake and eating it too. It’s certainly possible to make a rabble-rousing liberal issue movie, and it’s even easier to make any sort of film that involves lots of CGI explosions, but it’s rare that a filmmaker gets the chance to do both in […]

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Prince William speaks with Lady Gaga online on mental health issues

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 20:47

Prince William has enlisted Lady Gaga in his campaign to persuade people to be more open about mental health issues. The heir to the British throne released a video Tuesday in which he speaks with the pop star via FaceTime. Lady Gaga, who last year spoke out about her struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder, places […]

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Dustin Wong is open to opinion on his latest album with Takako Minekawa

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 09:00

Musician Dustin Wong returned to Japan five years ago and, despite having grown up here, he encountered a few cultural differences after coming back. Sipping on a strawberry milkshake at a cafe near Shibuya Station, the composer and guitarist speaks carefully, but candidly, about those differences, one of which is a general lack of critical […]

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Kyotographie: from Kyoto, with love

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 08:59

Kyotographie — the brainchild of photographer Lucille Reyboz and lighting artist Yusuke Nakanishi — is 5 this year. Conceived and nurtured in Kyoto, it is now one of few substantial photography festivals in Japan, inarguably rivaling, even surpassing, many of the country’s other calendar art events. The present manifestation of the festival celebrates its anniversary, […]

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‘The Art of Eric Carle’

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 08:58

April 22-July 2 American illustrator, designer and writer Eric Carle attended the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design in Germany at the age of 16. While working as a freelance graphic designer in his 20s in 1950s New York, he was asked by author Bill Martin to create illustrations for children’s textbooks, a move […]

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‘A Fantastic World of Illustrations: Enjoy a Blissful Harmony Between Letters and Pictures!’

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 08:57

April 15-May 28 Book illustration has a long history, believed to date as far back as ancient Egypt, when funerary texts called the “Book of The Dead” were filled with hieroglyphs and detailed drawings of the soul’s path from the body. The power of both words and illustrations are highlighted in this exhibition that focuses […]

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‘Collection from Kahitsukan: Rosanjin — Quest for Japanese Beauty’

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 08:56

April 15-June 11 Born into a family of Shinto priests of the Kamigamo Shrine in Kyoto, Kitaoji Rosanjin (1883-1959) began his career as a calligraphy artist and seal engraver. Later, he also began to make classical forms of lacquerware, paintings, metalwork and ceramics, creating pieces that have not only been highly acclaimed within Japan, but […]

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Ken Domon and the artistry of real life

Sun, 04/16/2017 - 08:36

By 1957, photographer Ken Domon had reached the peak of his creative powers. A picture taken that year in Hiroshima, which he was visiting for the first time to chronicle the lingering effect of the bomb, shows him supremely confident: ram-rod straight on a stool, tripod in one hand, he casts a sideway glance at […]

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‘The Social Life of Kimono’: Innovation faces tradition in the fight to keep kimono relevant

Sat, 04/15/2017 - 13:56

In 1985, a 24-year-old art student from England visited Japan for a summer holiday, fell in love and never went home. The Social Life of Kimono, by Sheila Cliffe.256 pages BLOOMSBURY, Nonfiction. Sheila Cliffe’s passion is for Japanese kimono; she wears it every day and is a fierce advocate for its future. Her manifesto is […]

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‘The Just Bento Cookbook’: Riffing on the theme of the Japanese packed lunch

Sat, 04/15/2017 - 13:36

Nourishment means nurturing in Japan, and nowhere does this hold more true than in the daily bento. The Just Bento Cookbook, by Makiko Itoh.128 pages KODANSHA, Nonfiction. Gaining popularity around the world for its many healthy and money-saving benefits, bento is not just for doting mothers aiming to please their children or out-cute their peers. […]

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‘The Book of the Dead’: The first complete translation of Shinobu Orikuchi’s classic

Sat, 04/15/2017 - 13:34

Both influential and deeply mysterious, “The Book of the Dead” (“Shisha no Sho,” 1943) is the most famous work of fiction by Shinobu Orikuchi (1887-1953), a pioneer of folklore studies in Japan and renowned poet. Orikuchi was fascinated with the origins of Japanese religion and the connections between spirit possession and the role of an […]

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