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The subject of history is one that concerns politics, economics, and philosophy. Lessons from the past teach us how to proceed into the future. And yet, for so long, books on history have been simply that. Recently, however, a trend has emerged amongst historians: experts in world events of the past have taken to writing …

Read More about The New Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan BOOK REVIEW

Even if The Underground Village were to be underwhelming, it is worth attention for being perhaps the only collection of stories to come out of Japanese-occupied Manchuria (written by a lower-class female Korean communist born in what is now North Korea) that you’ll ever read. Fortunately, thanks in no small part to some witty and …

Read More about The Underground Village by Kang Kyeong-ae BOOK REVIEW

One of the most important and celebrated works of literature to come out of Korea in 2018 was Kyung-sook Shin’s The Court Dancer, a powerful work of historical literature based on a true story. And without the deft translation skills of Anton Hur, it would never have reached the English-speaking world. Following the book’s success, …

Read More about Meet the Translator: Anton Hur (Korean to English)

Two months ago I had already decided on my favourite novel, and novelist, of 2018: Convenience Store Woman and its author Sayaka Murata. I loved this book for its daring to go against the norm, something that is often far more punk rock here in Japan than it is in the West. But as we …

Read More about The Lonesome Bodybuilder by Yukiko Motoya BOOK REVIEW

For any curious lover of history, searching for an enlightening but comprehensive history of Japan, like what’s found here in Japan Story, there are many places to look. Just last year, Jonathan Clements published his excellent A Brief History of Japan, which does exactly as it says on the tin. Another book to capture the …

Read More about Japan Story by Christopher Harding BOOK REVIEW

Here is the second of two articles summarising and reviewing the stories found in the Keshiki series, brought to you by Strangers Press. Here’s part one. What is the Keshiki Series? Eight chapbooks, each containing a tale (or tales) of around thirty or forty pages, all by Japanese authors of varying successes that you may …

Read More about The Keshiki Series: New Voices from Japan (Part 2)

Eight chapbooks, each containing a tale (or tales) of around thirty or forty pages, all by Japanese authors of varying successes that you may not have heard of. If you have, here is more of what you already love. If you have not, these books are a wonderful treat indeed: a glimpse into the styles, …

Read More about The Keshiki Series: New Voices from Japan (Part 1)

Most established authors become known for their tropes, be they genre, theme, character type, or writing style. For Murakami, his tropes are his events. Read enough of his works (whilst listening to a few old jazz records) and the lines between them start to blur. You may come to ask yourself, which flashback to pre-war …

Read More about Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami BOOK REVIEW

Writing a memoir is, I imagine, the most daunting kind of writing we could dare ourselves to undertake. Opening your heart and your memories to countless faceless readers, to have them judge your life with complete freedom, leaves me with enough imagined anxiety just to consider it. And this is only half the fear. The …

Read More about All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung BOOK REVIEW