JARED SIVILA WRITES – Manga (Japanese graphic novels) is a globally cherished medium comprised of emotionally charged and exciting stories accompanied by charming, distinct illustrations. These works are very difficult to produce-just ask the many authors who dare to tackle the high-pressure challenge of producing their manga on an extensive…Full Article JAPAN: A LEGENDARY MANGAKA IS BACK TO WORK, BUT WILL HE SURVIVE?
BOOK REVIEW EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ELLA KELLEHER WRITES – In an unnamed country, a family of three settles into a creaking house at the edge of an ominous forest. The father cannot help but notice that something is quite off about this place. Are the trees coughing? No… laughing? As so many…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: AT THE EDGE OF THE WOODS (2022) BY MASATSUGU ONO – THE EXISTENTIAL TERROR OF THE MODERN MAN
AIDAN SMITH-FAGAN WRITES – Tapio Tokunaga still remembers the first time he saw George Lucas’ Star Wars films. “I fell in love with it,” he tells me, recalling borrowing the DVDs as a seven-year-old in Yokohama, Japan. Tapio would go on to learn as much about the story, characters, and…Full Article JAPAN AND STAR WARS: IN A SHOGUNATE FAR FAR AWAY
BOOK REVIEW EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ELLA KELLEHER WRITES – “The sky is about to fall. Where do you go?” To be a child is to imagine a world made of glass. All your romanticized beliefs about your country and its people are contained within one fragile crystal sphere that can fracture at…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: THE COLOR OF THE SKY IS THE SHAPE OF THE HEART (2022) BY CHESIL – A BEAUTIFUL AND HEARTBREAKING COMING-OF-AGE STORY
BOOK REVIEW EDITOR ELLA KELLEHER WRITES – Society’s rejection of Takiko is not solely because of her sudden pregnancy at the tender age of twenty-one. It is Takiko’s unfettered commitment to herself and her happiness that causes her family and Japanese society to ostracize and condemn her. Takiko’s self-conviction is…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: WOMAN RUNNING IN THE MOUNTAINS (2022) BY YŪKO TSUSHIMA – WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A SINGLE PARENT?
BOOK REVIEW EDITOR ELLA KELLEHER WRITES – What would happen if your country sank into the ocean? Would you still have a claim to your “homeland”? What about the language you speak? Could it still be considered your “native language”? In Yoko Tawada’s latest release of dystopian fiction, Scattered All Over…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: SCATTERED ALL OVER THE EARTH (2022) BY YOKO TAWADA – ‘THE LAND OF SUSHI’ VANISHES
MARISA TORRE WRITES – Despite the flurry of major retailers halting business in Russia, the major Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo, with its 49 stores in Russia, has no plans to follow the trend. Tadashi Yanai, the CEO of Uniqlo’s parent company, Fast Retailing, maintains an anti-war stance but described clothing…Full Article JAPAN: IS THE COMPANY ‘FAST RETAILING’ SELLING OUT ON HUMAN RIGHTS?
BOOK REVIEW EDITOR ELLA KELLEHER WRITES – What exactly is the ‘self,’ and how can it be defined? From modern psychology, we know that human minds can be usurped through drastic techniques such as brainwashing, manipulation, and even hypnosis. Elusive and slippery in nature, the malleable ‘self’ forms and reforms…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: MY ANNIHILATION (2022) BY FUMINORI NAKAMURA – A SADISTIC NEW THRILLER THAT QUESTIONS YOUR REALITY
ELLA KELLEHER WRITES – Through a vulnerable child’s eyes, parents represent stability, protection, and even eternity. What happens when eternity grows small and seemingly insignificant? Adolescents, ostensibly indestructible and infinitely hot-headed, get their first taste of personal freedom and start to detach from their nurturers. As one generation grows stronger and…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: LONGING AND OTHER STORIES (2022) BY JUN’ICHIRŌ TANIZAKI – A CLASH OF DIFFERENT GENERATIONS.
TRISTIN CLINT WRITES – The prowess of Japanese baseball players is recognized internationally, and a couple of talents have personified athletic greatness just this century. Seiya Suzuki could very well join Ichiro Suzuki and Shohei Ohtani as an unforgettable Japanese ballplayer. Shohei Ohtani famously took over Major League Baseball in…Full Article JAPAN: YET ANOTHER SUPERSTAR PLAYER SCORES BIG FOR HIS COUNTRY
BADER ZAINAL WRITES — Like many countries around the world, Japan has suffered significant negative impacts to its tourism industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, but signs of travel restrictions easing bring hope for recovery. The beauty and mystique of Japan have long enticed visitors from international locales, with tourism soaring…Full Article JAPAN: WILL GLOBAL TRAVELERS GET TO SEE THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS THIS YEAR?
ELLA KELLEHER WRITES — Is it possible that some relationships teeter on the edge of societal acceptance while others are too tame? Ranging from cosplay sex with an older, married woman to a couple that rarely touch each other, Misumi Kubo’s new novel explores five deeply intimate and intertwined stories…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: SO WE LOOK TO THE SKY BY MISUMI KUBO (2021)
BRIEYA MOORBERG WRITES —The deer in Japan’s famed tourist destination, Nara Park, located in Nara Prefecture, have been dying. This year alone, 1,000 deer died after consuming plastic bags left behind by tourists. Now, to the rescue: A local Japanese entrepreneur, Hidetoshi Matsukawa, a souvenir wholesale agent who has invented…Full Article JAPAN: TOO MANY DEER HAVE BEEN EATING THEMSELVES TO DEATH
ELLA KELLEHER WRITES – “We can’t know what happens behind closed doors” is a frustrating and insidious phrase that is too often weaponized to reduce instances of sexual assault to minor misunderstandings. In Japan, if a sexual assault occurs in a space without any witnesses, the case becomes a “black…Full Article BOOK REVIEW: BLACK BOX (2021) BY SHIORI ITO – THE MEMOIR THAT SPARKED JAPAN’S #METOO MOVEMENT
DEREK GARCIA WRITES — Star Wars’ ‘Visions’ was a great TV series that pushed the boundaries of the ‘Star Wars’ franchise and animation, but why didn’t it get more buzz? Well, Disney severely hurt and possibly killed its potential due to its method of release management. Let’s begin with what,…Full Article ANIME: DISNEY’S NEW ‘STAR WARS’ SERIES HAS CRASHED ON EARTH
LAUREN CRAVEN WRITES — In the US, we have Halloween. Then there is the Day of the Dead, which originated in Mexico. In Japan every year, the Obon festival is celebrated in most regions from the 13th to the 15th day of August. It’s an incredibly popular event in Japan,…Full Article JAPAN: WHO NEEDS HALLOWEEN WHEN YOU HAVE OBAKE?