Damian Flanagan Title: Damian Flanagan
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The Mainichi Damian Flanagan - Contributer

Mainichi article

Mishima influence can be seen in early Murakami novels

Haruki Murakami has always been insistent that he has been very little influenced by Yukio Mishima and far prefers Japanese authors like Natsume Soseki, Junichiro Tanizaki and Ryunosuke Akutagawa. That may be true, but when I read the early novels of Murakami I see the influence of Mishima everywhere.

The Mainichi Damian Flanagan - ContributerContributer

Mainichi article

James Bond embraces Japan as British imperial order crumbles worldwide

Japan existed at first in Fleming's imagination as the ultimate "other," positioned on the far edge of the world, with an impenetrable culture. But then, following the humiliation of the Suez Crisis in 1956, the certainty of Fleming's colonial world view began to crumble and Fleming suddenly began to embrace the "other" of Japan.

The Mainichi Damian Flanagan - Contributer

Mainichi article


Century-old postcard sheds light on dark Days of author Soseki's life in UK

A postcard has emerged sent by the Japanese engineer Nagao Hanpei to a Japanese scholar of German literature then living in Berlin.. and is co-signed by a "Natsume Kinnosuke" (the real name of Natsume Soseki). The card specifically indicates being in Edinburgh on Nov. 1, 1901... It has always been thought that  apart from a single night... Soseki never left London. But this postcard potentially explodes that idea.
The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - Contributing writer

Japan Times article
Kobo Abe's 'Kangaroo Notebook' is absurdist, surrealist and occasionally exasperating

Is this bizarrely oneiric journey, daikon sprouts and all, really just Kobo Abe's exteriorized exploration of a tortured psyche?

(Part of the Japan Times series Essential reading for Japanophiles) 
The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - Contributing writer

Japan Times article


Twenty-five years on, Alan Booth's voice is brought back to life

"This Great Stage of Fools" offers a collection of Alan Booth's uncollected journalism and writings between 1979 and his untimely death in 1993. Booth is be considered one of the greatest writers on Japan of his generation.
The Irish Times Damian Flanagan - Columnist

Irish Times article

Know your builder’s limits – they can’t do everything

You might not be familiar with “corbels” – neither was I until they led me unwittingly into the greatest building disaster of my 25-year career in property, nearly bankrupting me and literally bringing a building down upon my head.

(An article for Damian Flanagan's Property Consolations column.)

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - Voices - Foreign Agenda

Japan Times article

Zen and the art of Premier League dominance: Buddhist philosophy links Manchester United, Arsenal and Japan

Can the success of Alex Ferguson's 'kids' and Arsene Wenger's 'Invincibles' be linked to Buddhist philosophy? It's worth a try.
The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - Books / reviews

Japan Times article


Yasunari Kawabata's 'Dandelions' probes the nature of mental illness

Initially published by Yasunari Kawabata (1899-1972) in 22 installments between June 1964 and October 1968, and subsequently revised from his notes after his death, "Dandelions" examines the nature of memory.

(Part of the Japan Times series
Essential reading for Japanophiles)

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - Books / reviews

Japan Times article


Kenzaburo Oe's 'Seventeen and J: Two Novels': 1960s Japan on the brink of social revolution

On the cusp of the 1960s sexual revolution and the anti-Vietnam War movement, "Seventeen" and "J" are intriguing primers on the seething social turbulence of the age.

(Part of the Japan Times series Essential reading for Japanophiles)
The Daily Telegraph Damian Flanagan - Contributer

The Daily Telegraph article

It's a crisis for democracy that Manchester has become a one-party Labour state. Will London be next?

Between 2010 and 2016 every single councillor in the 96-seat Manchester City Council hailed from the Labour Party... How can a country operate when its governing party has been completely banished from its second city?

(Note: this article is behind the Daily Telegraph paywall, but can be accessed for free with online registration.)

The Irish Times Damian Flanagan - Columnist

Irish Times article

'When they left my tenants defacated on the carpet as a parting gift'

A mental hit parade of traumatic renters. One Landlord's tale.

(An article for Damian Flanagan's Property Consolations column.)

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

Lose yourself in 'The Face of Another,' Abe's exitensial fantasy

Losing face and the public humiliation associated with it is something that we all dread but, in Kobe Abe's 1964 fantasy 'The Face of Another', the metaphorical term is made real.

(Part of the Japan Times series Essential reading for Japanophiles)

The Irish Times Damian Flanagan - Columnist

Robots and modular homes: are we ready to step into the future?

Techological advancements are set to revolutionise the way we live. Are you ready? Or will you yearn for self-determined individuality?

(An article for Damian Flanagan's Property Consolations column.)

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - CONTRIBUTING WRITER


Haruki Murakami: Literary lightweight or global superstar?

You know you've made it as an author when there are week-long conferences dedicated to your work that attract scholars, critics and translators from all over the world and which you, the author, do not feel the need to attend.

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

'Quicksand': A racy transition from old Tanizaki to new

This 1931 novel is classic Tanizaki and whos off his talent for exuberant storytelling within a multi-layered narrative of sexual obsession.

(Part of the Japan Times series Essential reading for Japanophiles)

The Irish Times Damian Flanagan - Columnist


Househunter beware: nothing is "final" until the contract is signed

A handshake is never binding - expect reversals at every turn.

(An article for Damian Flanagan's Property Consolations column.)

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

The Irish influence on Soseki, a pioneer of Japanese literature

St. Patrick's Day is the time of year when many raise a glass in their local "authentic Irish" pub to Ireland's literary greats, from master satirist Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) to poet Seamus Heaney (1939-2013). In Japan too, the dynamic interaction of Ireland and Japan's ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

The Japanese lessons of a 'plastic Paddy'

A Briton of Irish stock finds the "Irishness" he seeks not on the Emerald Isle itself but in the expat pubs of his adopted land.

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

Sowing the seeds of a great Tanizaki biography

Into the world of the familial memoir steps this slim, but fascinating volume titled, "Remembering Tanizaki Junichiro and Matsuko: Diary Entries, Interview Notes, and Letters, 1954-1989."

The Irish Times Damian Flanagan - COLUMNIST


An arts education might just come in handy in a property career

'"You don't need a degree to succeed in business," is a mantra my mother has always repeated to me...'

Consolations of a property investor column.
The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

Exploring the leaps and bounds of Japanese feminism

"Rethinking Japanese Feminisms" is a collection of short essays by 15 academics on diverse aspects of gender issues in Japan. Topics range from the androgynous eroticism in the art works of Taisho Era (1912-1926) illustrator Kasho Takabatake to reactions to the enactment of the ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

1970s Japanese TV series 'Monkey' had a magic that has never been matched

The news that "Monkey" has been remade by Australia's ABC in a co-production with TV New Zealand and Netflix is likely to cause those in the know to fan two fingers in front of their mouth, Monkey-style, to summon a flying cloud.
The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

Yukio Mishima: Saints and seppuku

In March 1937, an official in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Azusa Hiraoka, traveled to Europe on government business and acquired some guides to Italian museums. Prudishly fearing, however, that his 12-year-old son might be exposed to the depictions of female nudes contained within, ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

'Secret Rendezvous' reveals primeval urge for knowledge and sexual satisfaction

"Secret Rendezvous" opens with an ambulance in the dead of night: The narrator's wife is taken to an underground hospital from which she vanishes. The connections to Franz Kafka's "The Trial" in the absurdist, comical and sinister world of Kobo Abe are unmissable, but ...

(Part of the Japan Times series
Essential reading for Japanophiles)
The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

Yasunari Kawabata's surrealist window on the world

Opening with one of the most famous lines in Japanese literature — "Emerging from the long border tunnel, they entered snow country," shifting us at speed from the darkness of the tunnel into the bright light of the snow — Yasunari Kawabata's novel "Snow ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

You're living in Japan — so now for something completely different

In a way, foreign residents who gravitate toward a third culture are simply following in a fine Japanese tradition.

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

'Hiroshima Notes': Kenzaburo Oe on Hiroshima and the U.S. Occupation

In 1963, 28-year-old novelist and rising star Kenzaburo Oe was sent to Hiroshima to report on the rancorous split between political groups calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Hiroshima Notes, by Kenzaburo Oe.192 pages GROVE ATLANTIC, Nonfiction. It would be the first of multiple visits to ...

(Part of the Japan Times series Essential reading for Japanophiles)

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

Natsume Soseki's Pre-Raphaelite dreams

In 1900, the future novelist Natsume Soseki — then a scholar of English literature — arrived in London to commence two years of study abroad. Back in Japan, his best friend, the renowned haiku poet Masaoka Shiki, had — as explained in the first ...

The Irish Times Damian Flanagan - COLUMNIST

Some would-be tenants are intimidated by grandeur, despite the price.

'If you are in the property business, generally speaking it makes sense to adopt an emotionally neutral position towards the properties you are offerin
g for rent.'

Consolations of a property investor column.
The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

'In Search of the Way': looks for enlightenment

Richard bowring, religion, shinto , Confucianism, China, Shingo Buddhism

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

How the visual arts shaped Japan's modern literature

Early on in Natsume Soseki's 1908 campus novel "Sanshiro" — one of the most important expositions of the inter-connectedness of visual and literary art ever written — a young scientist, Nonomiya, looks up at a long, thin, white cloud floating diagonally in the sky. "Do ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

Buying a house in Japan can be an investment in joy

The "return" on your investment in a home in Japan is best measured in terms of the pleasure it will yield and the doorway to the intimacies of community and the Japanese mind it will lure you into.

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

'Devils in Daylight' and 'The Maids': The literary sleuthing of Junichiro Tanizaki

Question: Is it really the case that for a large part of the 20th century Japan enjoyed a golden age of literature? Or is this just misty-eyed nostalgia? One of the hallmarks of a golden age is an atmosphere of competitive creativity in which a ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

Hideo Kobayashi: Spearheading the age of the professional critic

In the autumn of 1956, Japan's most renowned literary critic, the 54-year-old Hideo Kobayashi, engaged in taidan ( a "conversation" to be published in a magazine) with 31-year-old rising literary star Yukio Mishima. Early that year Mishima's novel, "The Temple of the Golden Pavilion," had ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

How a love of Japan led me to stop dating its women

A British academic concludes that the only way he can truly enjoy and develop his love for Japan is by excluding his love life from the equation.

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

Junichiro Tanizaki: Speaking to the light from the shadows

In 1933, when Junichiro Tanizaki (1886-1965) published his short but landmark essay "In Praise of Shadows," it could hardly be seen as anything other than a riposte to the "enlightening" agenda of the great cultural critic Fukuzawa Yukichi of the preceding Meiji Era (1868-1912). Fukuzawa ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

To find the joys of 'real Japan,' get on your bike

Japanese society and culture seem intrinsically suited to bicycles, which require a degree of safety of environment and intimacy that are alien to many thunderously car-based, brash and crime-ridden Western societies.

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

'The Sea and Poison': Shusaku Endo dissects the human capacity for evil

This 1957 novel has at its heart Shusaku Endo's fascination with a seemingly tranquil and civilized postwar Japan still traumatized by the horrors of the Pacific War. Even a harmless-looking gas station attendant might be a grizzled war veteran involved in brutal killings on 

(Part of the Japan Times series Essential reading for Japanophiles)

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
Japan - Where the Suburbs Meet Utopia

'The Suburbs, that infinite sprawl of tedious families and tired salarymen, that vast waiting room for the weekly revels of the city... I longed to move downtown [but once entrusted with] a convenient pied-a-terre in the heart of the city... but after just one night, I quickly came to change my mind.'
The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
Fukazawa Yukichi Japan Times Damian Flanagan Fukazawa Yukichi: A cultral critic truly ahead of his time

"The greatest of all the cultural critics — and the true founder of modern Japan — was Fukuzawa Yukichi (1835-1901), whose sagacious visage looks out at us from the 10,000 note."
The Daily Express Damian Flanagan - FEATURE ARTICLE
Daily Express Damian Flanagan Japan

Why modern Japan is a joy for westerners

"What’s most precious about Japan is something which I can experience in my own little house there and while pottering around the suburb without going anywhere. 
It can be summarized in a single word: service. And it’s a quality which the UK would benefit in learning from the Japanese."
The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - FEATURE ARTICLE
Damian Flanagan - Japan Times article on Ian Fleming and You Only Live Twice
The extraordinary untold Japan story of 'You Only Live Twice'

Ian Fleming wrote You Only Live Twice after touring Japan in 1959 with his hard-drinking Australian journalist friend Richard Hughes. He immortalised this already larger than life character as Dicko Henderson in his novel.

The real story of Hughes turns out to be more fantastical than even a Jamese Bond story. There was indeed more to the convivial Australian than met the casual eye. Damian Flanagan unpicks the story using the techniques of Sherlock Holmes himself.
Daily Express Damian Flanagan - FEATURE ARTICLE

Damian Flanagan, Daily Express Father's Day article
'Wasn't like that in my day' Damian FLANGAN reflects how growing up has changed

Damian Flanagan has a lot to say to his young children: "Go play in the garden... stop watching TV... those sweets will rot your teeth... [and of course] things were different when I was a child!"

But when he rediscovered his diary written when he was 9 years old, it wasn't quite how he remembered it...
The Irish Times Damian Flanagan - COLUMNIST
Damian Flanagan - Irish Times Property Consolations Column - Landlord types

PROPERTY CONSOLATIONS COLUMN

JUNE 15, 2017

Landlord types are always an extension of their personality

The 'business model' is about more than profiteering

"In business, although we all operate within the parameters afforded by profit and loss, it's impossible not to operate in a manner which projects your own personality, regardless of whether this actively leads to increased success or not."
Sydney Morning Herald Damian Flanagan - FEATURE ARTICLE

Damian Flanagan - Sydney Morning Herald article on James Bond and Richard Hughes
You Only Live Twice: Australian double agent the secret of James Bond classic

The extraordinary story of the renowned Australian Correspondent and spy Richard Huges who inspired Ian Fleming when he wrote the Jamese Bond classic You Only Live Twice.

The Irish Times Damian Flanagan - COLUMNIST
Damian Flanagan - Irish Times - Property Consolations - Reverse Psychology

PROPERTY CONSOLATIONS COLUMN

MAY 23, 2017

Small room or large? The reverse psychology of house sharing

Friends love to live together - but when it comes to bedroom allocation, size matters

Our relationship to property can offer considerable insights into human nature but the reverse is also true - understanding human psychology can help you succeed when it comes to property.

Daily Express Damian Flanagan - FEATURE ARTICLE

You Only Live Twice, anniversary: The amazing true story behind the film

It is only now that the fascinating true story behind You Only Live Twice is coming to light. At the crux of it is an eccentric highly secretive and apparently boorish Australian foreign reporter called Richard Huges who was a close friend of Ian Fleming and an obsessive fan of Sherlock Holmes.
The Irish Times Damian Flanagan - COLUMNIST
Irish Times - Scarlett



PROPERTY CONSOLATIONS COLUMN

MAY 19, 2017

What Scarlett O'Hara can teach you about buying a house

Welcome to the school of tenacious property owners. 

"What is easy to miss about Gone With the Wind though is the strong Irish aspect resonating through every aspect of the novel. Scarlett’s ancestors have themselves been dispossessed of land back in Ireland and now her Irish father is determined that, come what may, that will never happen again. The very estate name “Tara” harks back to the burial ground of Irish Kings."

The Japan Times
Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

APR 15, 2017

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

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 ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


BOOK

JAN 21, 2017

The triumphant second coming of Endo's 'Silence'

Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of “Silence,” Shusaku Endo’s tale of Catholic missionaries suffering brutal repression in 17th-century Japan, has met with mixed reviews. Some have found it ponderously overlong and, for those unfamiliar with Japanese history, baffling in context. It is, in fact, not a ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


BOOK

JAN 14, 2017

Mishima and the maze of sexuality in modern Japan

In June 1948, novelist Osamu Dazai committed suicide. The 38-year-old, who had just completed his masterpiece, “No Longer Human,” and whose fame was peaking, jumped into Tokyo’s Tamagawa Canal with his mistress, Tomie Yamazaki, and drowned. With his acid wit and nihilistic vision, Dazai ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


TRAVEL

DEC 17, 2016

Natsume Soseki and 'The Orient's No. 1 Elevator'

What is the top tourist destination in the Kansai region? Is it Kyoto’s geisha district? Is it the temples and bamboo forests of Arashiyama? Is it the town of Yoshino, with Japan’s most famous cherry blossoms? The majestic views from Mount Rokko in Kobe? ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


BOOK

DEC 17, 2016

Love, obsession and perverted desires in Japan's age of steam

Japan began to open its doors to the West in the 1850s, after centuries of remaining closed. In the following decade, foreigners’ “concessions” were established in port cities such as Yokohama and Kobe to cope with the new visitors. The Japanese, with their characteristic ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


BOOK

NOV 26, 2016

The hidden heart of Natsume Soseki

Dec. 9 marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Natsume Soseki (1867-1916), a novelist widely regarded as being the one of the greatest writers of modern Japan. Events commemorating this anniversary have been held throughout 2016 but, in case you think it will ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


BOOK

NOV 19, 2016

The shifting sexual norms in Japan's literary history

More than 3,000 women and almost 900 men — that’s the number of lovers the main protagonist in Ihara Saikaku’s 1682 novel “Koshoku Ichidai Otoko” (“The Life of an Amorous Man”) tallies up as he reminisces. Saikaku, born in Osaka in 1642, became a ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


TRAVEL

NOV 5, 2016

Kofu: the mountain fortress of warlord Takeda Shingen

In Akira Kurosawa’s classic 1980 film “Kagemusha” (“Shadow Warrior”), the 16th-century daimyo Takeda Shingen is mortally wounded by a sniper after being lured by the sound of a flute during a castle siege. Takeda’s clan know that rival warlords Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


TRAVEL

OCT 8, 2016

The 'onsen' retreat that transformed Natsume Soseki

Shuzenji, an onsen (hot-spring) town in the heart of the Izu Peninsula, is a little piece of heaven. Nestled in the densely wooded hills of Shizuoka Prefecture, its collection of baths, guesthouses and shops line up on either side of the rushing Katsura River, ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


TRAVEL

SEP 24, 2016

Shizuoka: Where writers go to hide from the world

Ask a Japanese person which part of Japan they most associate with writer Lafcadio Hearn and they are likely to instantly respond: Matsue, a seaside town in Shimane Prefecture. Hearn is the man who introduced Japan to the West in the Meiji Period (1868-1912) ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT



REVIEW

AUG 13, 2016

Writing Technology in Meiji Japan

The industrial and social revolution that Japan underwent in the Meiji Era (1868-1912) was accompanied by an equally tumultuous revolution in the Japanese language. It’s perhaps hard to fathom today that throughout the latter half of the 19th century, an almost unbridgeable gulf existed ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


BOOK

JUL 30, 2016

Bushido: Soseki, 'Star Wars' and the samurai

In September 1912, Gen. Maresuke Nogi — a hero of the Russo-Japanese War — committed ritual suicide. His sensational death took place on the day of Emperor Meiji’s funeral, making it an act of junshi (following one’s lord in death) and a high-water mark ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT



REVIEW

JUL 30, 2016

'Inventing the Way of the Samurai': Debunking the myths surrounding Bushido

Oleg Benesch’s “Inventing the way of the Samurai” is a seminal, scrupulously researched work that teems with ideas. Its content is profoundly relevant to current political developments in Japan, as questions about the Constitution and the nation’s identity come to the fore. Inventing the ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


TRAVEL

JUL 23, 2016

Wandering the 'real Japan': Following the far-north footsteps of Alan Booth

Renowned travel writer Bruce Chatwin believed passionately in the importance of walking in the wild. The problems of humanity, he contended, were borne out of people being settled and static. But if you wanted to rediscover your nomadic self in a heavily urbanized country ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


BOOK

JUL 23, 2016

Bushido: The samurai code goes to war

In a scene from the 1957 film “The Bridge on the River Kwai,” a haughty British Col. in a prisoner-of-war camp confronts the camp’s Japanese commandant. Citing the Geneva Convention as justification, he argues that his officers should not be forced into manual labor ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


REVIEW

JUL 23, 2016

'The Maid': A mind reader probes the intimate thoughts of her employers

In Japan, true feelings (known as honne) are often hidden behind the mask of a false front (tatemae). So the comic potential of a mind-reading maid working in private family homes — encountering sexual frustrations, jealousy and the mutual resentment of parents and their ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


BOOK

JUL 16, 2016

Bushido: The awakening of Japan's modern identity

Opinions are divided when it comes to Japan’s current Constitution, issued during the U.S. Occupation of 1945 -52: Is it an American imposition that unfairly refuses to recognize the nation as a “normal country” or a precious war-renouncing document that reflects Japan’s unique status ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


BOOK

JUN 18, 2016

Why are Japanese women still bewitched by the Brontes?

Some years ago a sassy Osaka lady asked me to introduce her to the pleasures of Western literature. I duly handed her a variety of classic books, including “The Turn of the Screw,” “Heart of Darkness,” “Lolita” and “A Study in Scarlet.” They were ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


REVIEW

MAY 14, 2016

'Spectacular Accumulation' explains three warlords' obsession with objects

In “Spectacular Accumulation” Morgan Pitelka relates the thrilling interactions between three “unifiers” of Japan in the tumultuous decades of the late 16th century and early 17th century. This trio of warlords includes the bloodthirsty Oda Nobunaga, the vainglorious Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu who ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


REVIEWESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES

APR 30, 2016

'Toddler-Hunting and Other Stories' is feminist fiction at its most disturbing

“Toddler-Hunting and Other Stories” is a superb collection of short stories written in the 1960s by one of the most significant feminist writers of postwar Japan. Toddler-Hunting and Other Stories, by Kono Taeko, Translated by Lucy North.276 pagesNew Directions, Fiction. Kono Taeko — who ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


REVIEW

APR 23, 2016

In search of Japan's own Shakespeare

April 23 marked the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare (1564-1616), the greatest dramatist of the English speaking world. The anniversary has a particular resonance here: Few countries in the world have embraced Shakespeare with Japan’s sustained passion. The Bard in Japan: ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


REVIEW

MAR 5, 2016

Ryu Murakami turns on another light in Tokyo's lurid basement

This collection of short stories arrived with a warning from the publisher: “Graphic sexual content.” Perhaps it was worried that reviewers would blush to the tips of their toes upon reading it. However, anyone who has encountered Murakami’s excruciating 1992 sadomasochistic film “Topazu” (“Tokyo ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


............

REVIEW

JAN 30, 2016

The Whale That Fell in Love with a Submarine

Akiyuki Nosaka (1930-2015), was a man of many parts, variously a singer, lyricist, comedian and politician as well as a novelist and short story writer. His diverse successes in later life however betrayed an extraordinarily traumatic youth that saw his mother die soon after ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


BOOK

JAN 23, 2016

Insect Literature

The Berlin-based author Yoko Tawada recently remarked that one of the difficulties she faced when translating Kafka’s short story “Metamorphosis” into Japanese was that the associations Japanese people had with insects — even presumably giant beetles — were different to those of Europeans. Tawada ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


REVIEWESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES

JAN 16, 2016

Lost Japan

Originally published in Japanese in 1993 (with the English translation following in 1996), “Lost Japan,” the first book by Alex Kerr, has recently been re-released by Penguin. A fascinating chronicle of Kerr’s diverse interactions with the country, the book spans such subjects as restoring ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT




REVIEW | ESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES

JAN 2, 2016

A Fantastic Journey: The Life and Literature of Lafcadio Hearn

Paul Murray, biographer of both Lafcadio Hearn and his close contemporary Bram Stoker, has combined working as a writer with a distinguished career in the Irish Foreign Service, including a stint in Tokyo in the 1970s before eventually becoming Irish ambassador to South Korea. ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


........

BOOK

DEC 26, 2015

Flipping back through the good reads of 2015

Before we turn the page on the year, here's a selection of our reviewers' favorite books. 

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT



REVIEW

DEC 26, 2015

Partners in Print: Artistic Collaboration and the Ukiyo-e Market

The purported thesis of this book — that the art of publishing is a collaborative process involving the cooperation of writer, illustrator, patron, publisher and (shock) even consumer — seems obvious. Yet the four academic essays on ukiyo-e art contained within are both stimulating ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


GENERAL

NOV 21, 2015

Yukio Mishima's enduring, unexpected influence

Forty-five years ago this week — at just after 10 a.m. on the bright, cold morning of Nov. 25, 1970 — a telephone rang at the Tokyo home of popular enka singer Hideo Murata. On the line was author Yukio Mishima, a man who ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


REVIEWESSENTIAL READING FOR JAPANOPHILES

NOV 14, 2015

'Living Carelessly in Tokyo and Elsewhere' with translator John Nathan

John Nathan arrived in Japan in the early 1960s and set about constantly pushing his limits, becoming the first Westerner to graduate from the esteemed University of Tokyo. And by age 25, he had published a translation of Yukio Mishima’s “The Sailor Who Fell ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


VOICES

FOREIGN AGENDA

NOV 11, 2015

Let women and the world into kabuki and watch it flourish

Kabuki has the ability to enrich the imagination of the world; it should not be held back by insular vision and outmoded conservatism.

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

REVIEW

OCT 24, 2015

Natsume Soseki goes back to hell in 'The Miner'

Natsume Soseki’s 1908 novel “The Miner” has often been regarded as an oddity. It stands aloof both in subject matter and style from the two great “trilogies” Soseki penned between 1908 and 1914. The Miner, by Natsume Soseki, Translated by Jay Rubin. 264 pages ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
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BOOK

Lefkada's Hearn: Europe reclaims its literary 'lost son'

The Greek island of Lefkada, rising from the Ionian Sea south of Corfu, is famed for its white beaches and vertical cliffs from which the poet Sappho is said to have leaped to her death. The island is also claimed as the one of ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


BOOK

SEP 12, 2015

Jesus Christ, the Nobel Prize and Shusaku Endo

In 1994, on the day when Kenzaburo Oe was announced as the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature — the second Japanese writer to receive the award — eminent literary scholar Donald Keene received a long-distance call from Peter Owen, publisher of novelist ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

REVIEW

SEP 12, 2015

Martin Scorsese and experts analyze Shusaku Endo's 1966 novel in 'Approaching Silence'

An adaptation of Shusaku Endo’s 1966 novel “Silence” — about Jesuit priests and Christian converts suffering repression in 17th-century Japan — is currently being filmed by Martin Scorsese in Taiwan and scheduled for release next year. Approaching Silence, Edited by Mark W. Dennis and ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

BOOK

SEP 5, 2015

Literature critic John Nathan dissects Japan's Nobel Prize laureates

There is one critic of Japanese literature that towers above the rest: professor John Nathan, erstwhile associate of Yukio Mishima, Kenzaburo Oe and Kobo Abe. But he’s not only a respected critic, Nathan’s extraordinary career has seen him in the roles of film director, ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

BOOK

AUG 29, 2015

Mishima, Murakami and the elusive Nobel Prize

Will he or won’t he? It’s about the time of year when the Japanese media descends into a frenzy of speculation about whether Haruki Murakami will land the Nobel Prize in literature, becoming the first Japanese literary laureate since Kenzaburo Oe in 1994. There ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
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AUG 22, 2015

Descending to the depths of Yukio Mishima's 'Sea of Fertility'

It was 45 years ago this summer that Donald Keene, a leading critic and translator of Japanese literature, visited Yukio Mishima at his summer writing retreat on the Izu Peninsula. This was the last time the two close friends would leisurely enjoy each other’s ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

BOOK

AUG 1, 2015

New translation of the world's oldest novel

‘The Tale of Genji,” written by Murasaki Shikibu around 1,000 A.D., is regarded by many as the world’s first novel and is arguably the most influential work of Japanese literature ever written, inspiring countless other works of drama, fiction and fine art. The Tale ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

REVIEW

JUN 6, 2015

'Chopsticks' sifts through the cultural mysteries of Asia's eating implements

In Q. Edward Wang’s hands, chopsticks are transformed from banal, everyday objects to a means of contemplating both the unfolding of world history and the subtleties of social norms. Chopsticks: A Cultural and Culinary History Q. Edward Wang, by 224 pages.Cambridge University Press, Nonfiction. ...

The Japan Times Damian Flanagan - SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


BOOK

FEB 14, 2015

The three-cornered world of Glenn Gould and Natsume Soseki

Two years after it was published, a copy of Natsume Soseki's novella "The Three-Cornered World" was placed in the hands of one of the world's most celebrated pianists, Glenn Gould.




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