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1. Japanese Culture, 4th Edition
2. Zen and Japanese Culture: (New
3. The Japanese Mind: Understanding
4. Japanese Business Culture and
5. A Dictionary of Japanese Food:
6. The Encyclopedia of Japanese Pop
7. The Japanese Have a Word for It:
8. Introduction to Japanese Culture
9. Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop
10. Japanese Aesthetics and Culture
11. The Culture of Japanese Fascism
12. The Cambridge Companion to Modern
13. Japan Pop!: Inside the World of
14. Tokyo Cyberpunk: Posthumanism
15. Recentering Globalization: Popular
16. Traditional Japanese Arts And
17. Japanese Art & Culture (World
18. An Absent Presence: Japanese Americans
19. The Japanese Art of War: Understanding
20. Pandemonium and Parade: Japanese

1. Japanese Culture, 4th Edition (Updated and Expanded)
by H. Paul Varley
Paperback: 400 Pages (2000-05-28)
list price: US$22.00 -- used & new: US$15.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0824821521
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
For nearly three decades Japanese Culture has garnered high praise as an accurate and well-written introduction to Japanese history and culture.This widely used undergraduate text is now available in a new edition.Thoroughly updated, the fourth edition includes expanded sections on numerous topics, among which are samurai values, Zen Buddhism, the tea ceremony, Confucianism in the Tokugawa period, the story of the forty-seven ronin, Mito scholarship in the early nineteenth century, and mass culture and comics in contemporary times. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best
By far the best overall coverage of Japanese cultural history-- cogent, intelligent, readable, for the rank novice thru the specialist's reference shelf-- that I have found in 30 years of studying & teaching the subject.On second thought, not only the best but in fact the Only.Lovely illustrations too.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good, but u'll need a complement
This book came to me in a very good condition. Has a good quantity of images and it is a good introduction to Japan's history. But if you are studing it or if you are really interested on this subject, I would recomend to read others books too..

4-0 out of 5 stars I think Japanese should cherish the culture as Japanese too.
I have lived in Tokyo, Japan since I was born here. Though I can say about the case in Tokyo only, even I can not look at the Japanese historical things in my ordinaly Tokyo life. Tokyo is same as another big town over the world, developed town with high stores building, the imported fashion from mainly U.S.A etc. Certainly, the modern life in Tokyo may be comfortable, but I think that the life is not truth things, that is, that may be physical comfot, not mental.

If I say honestly, in fact, I am very tired in Tokyo life since my birth, especially mental part: the overpopulated city, dirt air from the rannning cars, people followed with benefit.

In such condition, I think that Japanese should get back the vanished Japanese history again. Japanese long history and cultures is not just culture, I think, they have been made on the reasonable means, for instance Japanese Buddhism would be born on the tender mind that take care of other person. But in modern Japanese city, there are little people that beleive in reliegions.

Thank you for reading poor writing.

5-0 out of 5 stars 10,000 Years In 300 Pages
The tracings of Japanese culture go back some 10,000 years - speaking conservatively.Since then there has been a remarkable continuity of inhabitation on the Japanese islands, which has resulted in one of the richest and complex cultures in the world today.Originally heavily influenced by the neighboring Chinese culture in the period from 300 BC to 300 AD, the islands quickly found their own way and over the ensuing years have developed a breadth of integrated experience that is often baffling to the outsider or curious student.

Paul Varley's book, in it's fourth edition and showing no signs of losing its value, is an attempt to present the significant cultural and historical developments, covering the past two millennia.OF course, most of the focus is from the eighth century on as Japanese civilization shifted from day to day survival to a complex political framework with a great flourishing of substantive creative art.

Considering that my standard historical reference on Japan has some seven volumes and thousands of (often tedious) pages, Varley's task is considerable and his success worthy of note.In a mere three hundred pages of tiny print Varley manages to draw a picture of the Japanese people that, while far from complete, misses none of the key culture moments.

He does this in a plain, business-like writing style that pours out unending amounts of information with merciless patience.He is very readable, but not what I would call enjoyable, since the sheer quantity of information can be overwhelming.If simply read straight through, it is easy to lose track of the thread of ideas.But the book rewards repeated study and the reader will soon find that all this information contributes much towards an understanding of the Japanese experience.

4-0 out of 5 stars Typical history
This book is good.I'm not going to call it great, nor will I say that it isn't a worthwhile read; however, it gets wordy at points.It could be improved with an overview of each chapter and then have the in-depth information to follow.Regardless, there is a wealth of information within!I personally love the history parts because I fell asleep when I took east asian history, and this is a good way of refreshing my memory to prepare for my college major of East Asian Studies come 2005 ;). ... Read more

2. Zen and Japanese Culture: (New in Paper) (Bollingen Series)
by Daisetz T. Suzuki
Paperback: 608 Pages (2010-10-03)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$16.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691144621
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

Zen and Japanese Culture is one of the twentieth century's leading works on Zen, and a valuable source for those wishing to understand its concepts in the context of Japanese life and art. In simple, often poetic, language, Daisetz Suzuki describes his conception of Zen and its historical evolution. He connects Zen to the philosophy of the samurai, and subtly portrays the relationship between Zen and swordsmanship, haiku, tea ceremonies, and the Japanese love of nature. Suzuki's contemplative work is enhanced by anecdotes, poetry, and illustrations showing silk screens, calligraphy, and examples of architecture.

Since its original publication in 1938, this important work has played a major role in shaping conceptions of Zen's influence on Japanese traditional arts. Richard Jaffe's introduction acquaints a new generation of readers with Suzuki's life and career in both Japan and America. Jaffe discusses how Zen and Japanese Culture was received upon its first publication and analyzes the book in light of contemporary criticism, especially by scholars of Japanese Buddhism.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars One step closer to enlightenment
The books purpose is to explain how Zen, (Zen Buddhism), the practice and philosophy have influenced Japanese culture. The author has a deep knowledge of Zen its origins and history, how it came to Japan from China and was shaped by Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism and Buddhism. The author describes the history of the philosophy, the key users, how it was practiced, refined and its impact on Japanese culture as we see it today. Suzuki writes to provide a broad overview of the topic and sprinkles, quotes, historic tales and detailed insights that allow the reader to get a closer view of Zen, what aspects appealed and how the Japanese have refined it.

The book is structured into six chapters covering a range of topics including a preliminary to the understanding of Zen, general remarks on Japanese Art culture, Zen and the samurai, Zen and swordmanship, Zen and the study of Confucianism and lastly Zen and the Tea-cult.

The author's style is quite free flowing and shares a range of ideas, themes and topics. In some cases delves deeper into points of interest. As with any translation it is hard to really judge the original idea in its true form, so one must allow a broader assessment of the topic and content.

It is aimed at those readers looking for a deeper meaning to Zen and I believe it does help to get a better understanding of the topic. Does it achieve it's goal, yes by slowly circling the topic and forcing the reader to read between the lines for the deeper meaning. An art form in itself.

Personally, I found the book informative particularly on the history aspects of tracing the philosophies roots and evolution over time. Chapters discussing its use by samurai, it's relationship with swordmanship and the tea-cult were most enjoyable as they gave concrete examples as to how and why Zen was accepted and applied. Did I get closer to Zen? Yes, I think so!

It will be of interest to those who have an interest in Zen, Japanese culture and enlightenment.

5-0 out of 5 stars Zen can not be learned only experienced.
Through this delightful and profound text the concept of Zen is presented as the facets in a diamond. Suzuki does so by presenting Zen in a variety of ways: from a swordsman's perspective, painting and other art forms.

The simplicity of Suzuki's style never cheapens nor detracts from the teachings; on the contrary, it seamlessly guides us through all the nuances and difficult to explain concepts.Hiswriting style contributes to the "feeling",if I may say so, of the flow of Zen.

It is not dogma.It does not pretend to give answers.It is
a guide or portal to the way of Zen and gives us an awareness that may help us find our own way to it.

If organized religion does not do it for you this may be the path you are looking for.

4-0 out of 5 stars Look smart feel great
If you'd like to look like you are all fancy and smart then I suggest buying this book. It will give you an air of authority when the conversation inevitably turns to zen things. The chapter on swordsmanship is (as the British might say) spot on. Oh, and get you some of that sweet, sweet haiku analysis from a zenorific perspective. After you read this book you will be prepared to quickly forget all of the knowledge that the tome contained and empty your mind in the style of the zen masters. Really, you must read about the tea ceremony and consider for yourself the zenishness of setting some tea leaves in some hot water. In short, I applaud this book loudly with one hand.

5-0 out of 5 stars Clear, Poetic, and all Quality.
This is the best book I have ever read on any subject.This is a beautiful book, Suzuki's clear explanation is unique and fluid.Every facet of this book is intriguing.I especiialy appreciate Suzuki's chapters on The Art of Tea.A book everyone should study!.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good - if you read the later, revised editions.
I respect D.T. Suzuki enough, to have visited the Suzuki family graveyard in Kita Kamakura, upon my first arrival in Japan. I say this as a prelude, because I am going to say some critical things about the Ist edition of this book - which contained - in places, unspeakable nonsense for a man who would otherwise have to be regarded as one of the best inter-cultural bridge builders of the 20th c.

To get to the point, the first edition of this book was an exercise in Nihon-shugi or 'Japanism' - tinged with blatantly
nationalistic feelings, as against the spiritual riches of a study like Suzuki's 'Nihon Teki Rei-sei.' I love the best of Japanese culture, have a Japanese wife - and am blessed with Japanese friends, dear to my heart. The sort of thing found in the Ist edition of this book, would make most of them choke on their rice, because it is dreadful caricature.

Like many other people, I owe Suzuki a lot. His other writings are far more meaningful and I regret that he wrote this book at all - if adjudged by the Ist ed. For a while, he was caught up in the Japanese megalomania of the 30's. The glorification of massed Bushido in this book was stupid (nothing to do with the Samurai, anyway). This stuff doesn't scream at you from every page - that's the rub of it. It lurks here and there, among otherwise delightful observations and anecdotes. But you can't help objecting to observations about how the Chinese 'lost' the beautiful culture they had once inspired in Japan, by dint of contact with Zen. In the Ist ed of this book, the mere fact of being 'Japanese' is enough to make culture and enlightenment ooze out of every crack and pore of life. Its a little more sophisticated than that - and, like some Italians, say, who live amid artistic splendours without the least feeling for it, not all Japanese value what is beautiful and good about their country and culture.

I regret having to say unkind things about dear old Daisetzu, who has otherwise brought me much inspiration. ... Read more

3. The Japanese Mind: Understanding Contemporary Japanese Culture
by Roger J. Davies, Osamu Ikeno
Paperback: 280 Pages (2002-03-15)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$10.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0804832951
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
In The Japanese Mind, Roger Davies offers Westerners an invaluable key to the unique aspects of Japanese culture. Readers of this book will gain a clear understanding of what really makes the Japanese, and their society, tick.
Among the topics explored:aimai (ambiguity), amae (dependence upon others’ benevolence), amakudari (the nation’s descent from heaven), chinmoku (silence in communication), gambari (perseverence), giri (social obligation), haragei (literally, "belly art"; implicit, unspoken communication), kenkyo (the appearance of modesty), sempai-kohai (seniority), wabi-sabi (simplicity and elegance), and zoto (gift giving), as well as discussions of childrearing, personal space, and the roles of women in Japanese society. Includes discussion topics and questions after each chapter. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

1-0 out of 5 stars Weak analysis, poorly written, repetitious, not beneficial to read
[This was originally written for the JALT (The Japan Association of Language Teachers) Journal's Book Reviews Section]

At 270 pages, this is a slim collection of essays on "key concepts in Japanese culture" (p. 1). Intended as a text, each of the 28 essays is followed by discussion questions which are separated into two groups: one for Japanese students of EFL and the other for foreign students of Japanese Studies. Furthermore, the co-editors intended that through clarity, well-documented research, and demonstrated field-testing, the text would also appeal to the general reader.

Unfortunately, this text fails on almost all accounts. Written by Japanese undergraduate seniors, the explanations are simplistic, superficial, and inconsistent. The first essay on the purportedly unique-to-Japan chinmoku (silence) is an illustration. It is used during times of thoughtfulness, hesitation, restraint, conflict avoidance, defiance. and indifference, in public and in private (pp. 53-55). This "unique" Japanese cultural trait has been defined so broadly as to become meaningless, since it covers almost every moment of silence one could experience anywhere.

The superficiality of the research is reflected in the use of E. Reischauer's (1990) comments originally made in 1977 on the contemporary status of marriage in Japan: "Japanese women are often said to have difficulty in socializing freely... However, women seem willing to play their own roles in maintaining the household as good wives and mothers" (p. 67). One wonders how "freely" socializing women or "good wives and mothers" who are unhappy with their roles and divorce their husbands fit into these nearly thirty-year-old arguments. There is also the incorrect statement that White Day is only found in Japan (p. 98). It is also found in South Korea. Furthermore, there is an inconsistent level of analysis. Honne and tatemae (private versus public persona) receive only two pages of text, but soshiki (funerals) receives 14 pages, even though the latter is high on detail and low on analysis.

However, this text's greatest weakness lies in the editing, for, as the editors admit, the essays are patchworks of many papers on the same or similar topics, which is why no single essay is credited to any one author. The results are frequent jumps in argumentation and awkward or altogether puzzling insertions within the essays, as well as much overlap and repetition among the essays. For example, the concept of amae is defined twice and explained multiple times (pp. 17-19, 67, 103-104). The concept of vertical society is defined three times (pp. 10-11, 144, 187-188). Both honne and tatemae (pp. 104-105, 115-116, 195) as well as ie (pp. 61-62, 119-124, 217-218) are defined three times. Many other concepts are similarly over-defined. There are also basic grammatical and sentence structure errors, including run-on sentences, capitalization, and verb-agreement problems. It is surprising that this book was edited by two professors and has gone through Tuttle's editing process.

The book's basic premise is to explain and create discussion on contemporary Japanese culture. However, it is centered on a historical Japan that not only has changed, but also is changing in many of the areas covered. Not to be found are discussions on contemporary Japanese cultural traits exemplified by enjokosai (teenage prostitution), furiita (young, part-time workers with little hope or belief in the future), or tomodachi-oyako (an unhealthy parent-child friendship deficient in minimal socialising functions that are usually derived from parental hierarchy). From these (admittedly negative) contemporary Japanese cultural traits there is much to be mined, such as the fixation on youth, with the inherent fetishising of school girls and pressure on older women and mothers to be young and girlish, and the effects of 10 years of economic decline on a disenfranchised youth.

This text presents concepts that fit in with the tea garden and mossy stone view of Japan, while in reality, Japanese culture is a vibrant and dense culture in flux, equally as modern as any other. Unfortunately, poor research, writing, and editing misrepresent traditional cultural traits while neglecting contemporary ones. For sociological analyses of Japan, the reader should stick to monographs put out by trained sociologists. Perhaps the flip side of that is linguists should tread carefully in areas that are not their expertise.

Reischauer, E. (1990). The Japanese today: Change and continuity. (M. Fukushima, trans.). Tokyo: Bungei Shunju. (Original work published 1977.)

5-0 out of 5 stars Very interesting, I wish they had more books like this for other cultures
The Japanese Mind is a group of short essays on different Japanese values. It introduces the reader to the meaning of being Japanese. I wish they had more books like this one about other nations and cultures. Without having to trouble, you feel you understand how the Japanese live their lives. In a sense you get in their shoes and see the world through their eyes.

2-0 out of 5 stars Gosh, those inscrutable Japanese!
This is yet another one of these 'Guides to Japaneseness' that continue to enjoy widespread support -- usually from people who will be spending no more than two or three years in that country.The academic backgrounds of the authors -- both are, in essence, ESL teachers (or 'applied linguists' to use the word of the day -- should give you a good idea of what their agenda is.

It's not that this book is not helpful -- if you really need to have a pundit explain to you why Japanese people like to give gifts, or that it's ok to slurp your ramen noodles, or that 'saving face' is a leftover ideal of Feudal social rules . . . well, feel free to sit at the feet of these economy class pundits.But, honestly, there are many books that cover the same stuff as this book, in far better detail. Boye De Mente's "Japanese Cultural Code Words" was a more informative and exhaustive read, and I suspect these authors borrowed significantly from him, and his methodology.But do you really, really need somebody to tell you what 'Japanese' people are like?I mean, these books read like those WWII American service manuals about Iraq or France:"The French are a winedrinking nation . . ."

The discussion exercises, obviously intended for the classroom, are hilarious in their imploring tones:"Japanese people don't like . . ."or "It is often said that Japanese people . . ." or "imagine you're a Japanese businessman whose senior has just . . ."To give you a sense of the kind of audience this book is getting . . . a 3rd year course on Japanese literature (taught in the English Department, of all places) used this book as its 'cultural component'.I suppose that, as a primer, it could be helpful.But more likely I think the text was used to buff up the insider's credentials of the professor, whose own linguistic skills in Japanese were non-existent, and whose template for 'Japaneseness' was about as formulaic as the ones found in this book.In short, these kinds of works give you the illusive quality of 'immersion' without having to really talk to people.
The authors should be taken down to a hip-hop bar in Osaka for a while.I'd recommend Ian Condry's excellent book 'Hip-Hop Japan' for a real antidote to the Meiji-era slop these authors are distilling.

Here's an idea:spend your money on 'The Rough Guide to Japan', which has just as much information on etiquette and customs without the academic dross.Save your money and invite a Japanese friend out for food or drinks:you'll get more insight than this didactic volume will offer.

I don't know what it is about Japan that publishers continue to push out these 'insider's guides' and 'secrets of the Japanese psyche' type guff.I could only imagine the response if you read a Japanese visitor's experiences of child beauty pageants, post-Katrina 'rescue' operations, and the ration of money spent on bullets as compared to beds . . . does that define the 'American mind'?Of course not.

5-0 out of 5 stars A fundamental book...
This is a fundamental book if you have to deal with japanese people, but even if you don't. Learn the right interpretation of their feelings. A cult.

4-0 out of 5 stars Only an introduction, but a pretty good one
Both editors are professors at Ehime University in Matsuyama, both working in fields relating to England language education, and they have put together a collection of twenty-eight relatively brief essays -- all written by fourth-year students and then polished with the help of the faculty -- on such key attitudes, patterns of behavior, traditions, and social underpinnings. These include group consciousness, the Japanese and ambiguity, personal space, childrearing, the Japanese sense of beauty, male/female relationships, seniority, and other topics that often are puzzling to Westerners. The writing is uniformly clear, even when explaining complex concepts, and there's a detailed bibliography (much of it to works in Japanese, however). A very informative resource for any American trying to figure out the Japanese. ... Read more

4. Japanese Business Culture and Practices: A Guide to Twenty-First Century Japanese Business
by John P. Alston
Paperback: 184 Pages (2005-06-16)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$12.70
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0595355471
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

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Japanese Business Culture and Practices: A Guide to Twenty-first Century Japanese Business presents valuable insight on the proper ways to conduct business in Japan. It focuses on the principles of Japanese culture that influence business-related behavior, including the ways Japanese executives develop loyalty among workers.

Drawing on their practical real-life experiences, authors Jon P. Alston and Isao Takei describe not only how Japanese work, entertain, make decisions, and use language in unique ways, but they also offer practical advice on how to work for and with Japanese. The combination of cultural facts and extensive descriptions of behavior provide an easy-to-understand guide to conducting business in contemporary Japan. Because the Japanese are loyal to those they trust and respect, foreigners will gain respect and facilitate success by knowing and adhering to the minutiae of Japanese social etiquette and business protocols.

From advice on how to avoid cultural misunderstandings to the proper techniques for negotiations, Japanese Business Culture and Practices is your guide to forming productive work relationships the “Japanese way.” ... Read more

5. A Dictionary of Japanese Food: Ingredients & Culture
by Richard Hosking
Paperback: 240 Pages (1997-01-15)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$8.73
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0804820422
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
At last, what every Westerner in a Japanese restaurant or market needs: the first truly comprehensive dictionary of Japanese food and ingredients.Standard dictionaries can often mislead us--with akebia for akebi, sea cucumber for namako, plum for ume. Hosking's dictionary includes not only dishes and ingredients, everything from the delicate mitsuba leaf to the dreadful okoze fish: colorful appendices disclose such aspects of Japanese culture as the making of miso to the tea ceremony and the influence of vegetarianism.
With Japanese-English and English-Japanese sections, A Dictionary of Japanese Food explains the nuances and eliminates the mysteries of Japanese food. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (14)

3-0 out of 5 stars Great if you're a language student who want a primer in cooking/food terminology- otherwise stay away
I give this book one star. It largely contains ingredients/cooking methods described in Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art. Since that book is written more than 30 years ago, you get the selection of what one author considered relevant for a Western audience at that time. For instance wagyu beef isn't mentioned at all. So the current book is just a derivate, not worth getting.

Then I would give this book four stars. It contains around 1,000 entries in romanji (and kana/kanji). If you pick up this vocabulary you will get a good start. I have not seen any other books in English that accomplishes this. As a dictionary the book isn't really great, so you should consider the four star rating as relative. If you want such a book, this book is decent.

Finally, the author is really Anglo-Saxon in his writing sometimes. We get to know that the author likes tonkatsu and that some people cannot digest mackerel, etc. Furthermore, the author has added a lot of kanji because he has found many rare ones and would like to preserve them. So much help for the language student :)

4-0 out of 5 stars Beyond Sushi
A Dictionary Of Japanese Food: Ingredients & Culture is that - a dictionary - but also more. With entries from A to Z in alphabetical order one should not expect a book one reads from start to finish yet Richard Hosking has done an admirable job of going beyond the norm to make the volume valuable.
The dictionary covers everything from Abekawamochi (grilled cut mochi) to Zuwaigani (pacific snow crab) with detailed annotations, explanations and the occasional illustration. It is not a dictionary of what is eaten in Japan by the Japanese, but a listing and explanation of food items, dishes and ingredients that are traditionally and quintessentially Japanese. Although Sushi is mentioned those who want expansive information on it or eat Kushi (Korean 'Sushi') or Cushi (Chinese 'Sushi') will likely be disappointed. The author has lived and taught in Japan since 1973 and has done a delicious job.

- Past an introductory section, the bulk of the book is comprised of the Japanese-English part. Following the heading one will find the equivalent Hiragana and Katakana Japanese words. Then comes the obscure scientific or Latin word for the most accurate cross-reference possible.Finally, each entry receives at least a line or two, if not more, of annotations and detail. It is not just marketing that the word 'culture' appears in the title either. Hosking delves into both culture - Hanami, for instance, is Japanese for 'cheery blossom viewing' - and historical context and even adds some of his own tastes and opinions as well as self-references into the mix. Unsurprisingly, not everyone would agree with the assertion that Wasabi is meant to be mixed into Shoyu when eating Sashimi or that garlic in Gyoza is subservient for usage to Nira (Chinese chives)!
- Next follows a shortened section for the English-Japanese, which adds a few words to the comprehensive list covered in the previous section, although it is essentially just an index.
- In the third part of the book the author offers the reader 17 appendices in 36 pages. The topics covered are both interesting and concise and range from chopsticks to Saké to Wasabi. And yes, Sushi has and appendix of its own.
- A list of recommended books and a reference list round up this very useful book, sorry dictionary, and by this time the reader is more knowledgeable on Japanese cuisine and its ingredients. In this sense, the dictionary is also ideal as a companion for shopping in Japan or at Japanese markets overseas.

A Dictionary Of Japanese Food Ingredients & Culture is comprehensive for practical purposes, rich in taste and fun to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Finally!Ingredients explained.
For those of us who love food, Japanese food is exquisite and mysterious.So many ingredients have no counterpart in Western kitchens.When someone translates konnyaku as 'Devil's Tongue Jelly', you are still left wondering what 'Devil's Tongue Jelly' is!

A Dictionary of Japanese Food gives the Japanese kanji, kanna, and romajii along with the Latin, and English common names (if there is one).Detailed descriptions of each term are combined with common usages in food preparation to enlighten us and help bring culinary understanding to the masses.

As for cultural understanding, this book was a life-saver!Japanese are surprised and delighted when I express an indepth understanding of their ingredients and usage.Food is ever a bridge to understanding and acceptance.Anyone for shiokara?

5-0 out of 5 stars Great for those who love to cook Japanese food
This book is very detailed. It helped me a lot when I got to a Asian Market to look for food. Plus at least when I know what it is. I recommend.

5-0 out of 5 stars A valueable pocket guide to take shopping
This ten-year old dictionary remains unsurpassed
as a guide to the ingredients, methods and utensils
used in japanese cooking. It is a portable volume
with romanized, kana and kanji versions of all the
names and so is ideal for a trip to the market
where many unfamilar ingredients may be presented
to the english--speaking food lover.

There are seventeen useful appendices that cover
topics like:
The kitchen and its utensils
The Meal
Soy sauce
The tea ceremony
Umami and Flavor
Wasabon Sugar

In addition, many of the entries have enough
detail to be useful to the Western chef who
wants to incorporate Japanese ideas into his
or her cooking. Hoskins is an admirably concise
writer who packs a lot of information into a
small amount of graceful prose.

Be aware that this is not an encyclopedia. If
you use the English-Japanese section to look
up `mushroom' for instance, you'llfind the
translation `kinoko' but not a comprehensive
list of Japanese mushrooms or techniques for
cooking them.

So leave the browsing to other books and keep
this one for trips to the market You'll be glad
to have it.

--Lynn Hoffman, author of THE NEW SHORT COURSE IN WINE and the forthcoming novel bang-BANG from Kunati Books. ISBN 9781601640005 ... Read more

6. The Encyclopedia of Japanese Pop Culture
by Mark Schilling
Paperback: 344 Pages (1997-05-01)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$6.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0834803801
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
In the West, Japanese culture comes in the form of Power Rangers, Godzilla movies, and Sanrio products, but of course the indigenous pop culture is much richer. Rather than focus on what the rest of the world has already encountered, Mark Schilling provides an encyclopedic compendium of books, movies, music, comedians, and cultural scandals that have had the greatest impactin Japan. Thus, for the outsider,The Encyclopedia of Japanese Pop Culture is an insider's guide to post-war Japan. Not content to simply catalog his entries, Schilling provides real depth and analysis in his articles, opening up Japan's rich pop heritage to the world at large.Amazon.com Review
In the West, Japanese culture comes in the form of Power Rangers, Godzilla movies, and Sanrio products, but of course the indigenous pop culture is much richer. Rather than focus on what the rest of the world has already encountered, Mark Schilling provides an encyclopedic compendium of books, movies, music, comedians, and cultural scandals that have had the greatest impact in Japan. Thus, for the outsider, The Encyclopedia of Japanese Pop Culture is an insider's guide to post-war Japan. Not content to simply catalog his entries, Schilling provides real depth and analysis in his articles, opening up Japan's rich pop heritage to the world at large. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars A really great primer on Japanese pop culture covering fifty-years from the end of World War II... but which is becoming dated
I read this book back when I was a university student.I made a point of reading at least one article a day (but usually many more), until I had finished it.It really was, and is, a great overview of Japanese pop culture.I certainly still recommend it, however 12-years after it was published, it is certainly looking dated.I live in Japan now and can say with honesty that a large cross section of the current book would be new information to the children and teens of today.I would certainly love to see a second edition published with more content from the last decade!

5-0 out of 5 stars Obviously a labor of love...
This is such a great read - I live in Japan and thought it would get me in touch with the people around me. Since most of the entries feature pop culture from the late 1950s through the early 1990s, though, what I've ended up with is a lot of fun stories which the Japanese 30-somethings around me have never even heard!

The result? Everyone thinks I'm that weird foreigner who knows about and likes Pink Lady, who knows how many members there were in SMAP when they first started, and all the different generations of Ultraman.

The author lives in Japan, and does know what he's talking about. He pokes fun at some of the goofy stars and trends which have come along, without ever getting mean about them.

This makes for a highly readable book of short essays - highly recommended!

4-0 out of 5 stars Japan is always not anime culture.
Everybody of the world may know Hayao Miyazaki's animation movies because his movie won an Academy Award. On the other hands, forigners may have the thought that Japan is a developing country on animation genre. But true Japan charm never finish by only that off course.

The Japanese uniqueness expand to many genres, anime, TV culture, movie, manga, music...

Comics are called Manga in Japan. The manga culture started after World War 2 mainly, the flame work as manga was made by Osamu Teduka(he is no alive now). His famouse manga is Tetsuwan Atomu. The main story is very simple that the main character Atom(robot) beat the evil character. But the age that the manga was published was 1950'. At those days, people worked very hard in debris because the time after WW2 had finished was very short. Atomu was a hero for such hard workers in poverty.
Even now Teduka is a hero for all Japanese manga or anime creaters, for all Japanese even. That reason is always not just the pioneer on the genre, he included hisself messages to his mangas always, for instance anti war philosophy, the opinion for environmental destruction and so on.. By doing such things, manga became to be not just fun genre.

Or as Japanese unique comic genre, there are Syoujo comic(comics for girls). The genre is very unique Japan only. The most famouse manga may be Berusaiyu No Bara. The main theme was Europian knights story in the Middle Ages of France. By using beautiful atmosphere like old France style or pure love story of knights, the creaters tempted girls very well. Japanese girls want such pure love story manga in some cases. Though I do not know the detail emotion because of a man, they may do the imaginary romance in such manga. The tendency have not change until now.

Japanese movies are unique genre in Japan too. Some foreigners may know the name Takeshi Kitano who won Europian movie awards. Japanese movie genre is variouse so that I can not explain by one word. When I dare to explain, the most famouse theme is Yakuza story(Japanese gangu). Off course some Japanese feel fears to Yakuza. But on the other hands, some Japanese watch Yakuza movies. On Yakuza world, the relationship between up and down posiion is very important. For instance, in the some movie, low position yakuza say"I can die for senior yakuzas", that is, absolute loyalty exict in Yakuza world.
Such unique stance will tempt some Japanese watcher, in the age that such stance is being lost, whether the stance is bad or not.

Thank you for reading poor English.

5-0 out of 5 stars pop culture encyclopedia = contradiction in terms
it's not possible.It just is -not- possible to do a pop culture encyclopedia no matter how hard one tries to.If you're going to do one, though, the key ingredients are to pick the lasting phenomenas and to assure your reader there's a depth in it worth covering.

Schilling doesn't cover most of what I remember from Japan.He doesn't cover rock music.He doesn't cover kogaru.He doesn't cover ramune or pocky.Honestly, on an encounter level with other similar books I've found myself insulted by the lack of knowledge presented in their so-called "encyclopedia".But with what he covers, he covers it well and authoratatively and with an expressed but not hideously overt sense of irony about the entire situation.

I've found myself keeping it for a reference piece because what he does cover tends to get incorporated into a lot of what he doesn't.

3-0 out of 5 stars A good attempt
Before you purchase this book, as yourself, "when have I ever seen a review of popular culture that covered everything?" The answer, probably, is never, and if so, this book won't change that. The author states as much in the introduction. Having said that, the book is very good at what it attempts to do, namely give novice readers a basic understanding of the key elements of Japanese popular culture in the post-War era. A book which covered every fad, popular music group, TV program and movie during that time period would be larger than several phone books and would have a hard time selling. What this book does well is describe, in a fair amount of detail, the important cultural icons, from Misora Hibari and Sazae-san, through Pink Lady and Doraemon, ending with SMAP and Sailor Moon. If you're looking for a primer on Japanese pop culture over the last 50 years, this is the book. If you already have deep personal knowledge or are interested in only one thing (like anime), you may be disappointed.One other small problem with the book is that because it is in print form, the information is fixed in time, but Japanese culture goes on. In other words, some of the stuff in this book is dated. The concept of the book might better be served by a web site, but I doubt that Mr. Schilling could make a profit with such a site. If anybody decides to try though, please let me know.I'd visit! ... Read more

7. The Japanese Have a Word for It: The Complete Guide to Japanese Thought and Culture
by Boye Lafayette De Mente
Paperback: 400 Pages (1997-10-11)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$9.79
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Asin: 0844283169
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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This is an ideal introduction to Japanese th ought and culture and a practical guide, both for anticipati ng Japanese behaviour and avoiding cultural faux pas. The co mpanion will interest tourists, students and business travel lers to Japan. ' ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

4-0 out of 5 stars Informative, Though Organized in a Tedious Format
On the whole, The Japanese Have a Word For It provides an interesting, if now dated, view of Japanese culture. The author is clearly well versed in the nuances of Japanese social constructs and the insane nuances of Japanese language.It is mostly aimed at those interested in possibly doing business in Japan or with native Japanese rather than the lay person, but De Mente writes in an easy to read and follow manner. Many of his insights are quite interesting and, for anime/manga fans like myself, can add a new level of understanding to events in your favorite series. Be warned, though, that the book was written in 1997, and some of the things noted is no longer true or less common than it was when the book was written.

The biggest drawback I found with the book was its format. It is arranged as 230 "phrase-focused" chapters of 1-2 pages each, that provides a bit of info on what he considers to be "key words and expressions". With such an arrangement, the last 1/3 of the book or so became increasingly difficult to read because it became more and more repetitive.There are a small number of major points that seem to repeated in almost every chapter, and the latter chapters seem like mildly varied repeats of the previous ones. I think this book would have worked far better if it he done a different arrangement that focused on different aspects of Japan rather than the phrase-focused method.

On the whole, I'd recommend this one for anyone interested in reading more on Japanese culture, but I'd suggest reading half of it, then putting the rest aside for awhile before reading the second half to avoid the tedium.

5-0 out of 5 stars Some wonderful content for a language learner
I'm going to use a game metaphor; in certain MMORPG games (Such as World of Warcraft), once your character hits the level cap and you no longer have to run the level treadmill, you focus on what is called "end-game" content. This book is the "end-game" content for players of "World of Japanese."

I've been studying Japanese for a while now, and I lived in Japan for a few months. I can speak, read and write Japanese fluently. I am now focusing on Chinese, but I still like to learn new things about the Japanese culture I've come to know and love. It only took a couple minutes of reading this book at the local bookstore that I realized, this book is just what I needed to continue my studies. Interesting, nuanced and full of cultural insight. Check it out once you're no longer busting you brain over kanji or the JLPT.

4-0 out of 5 stars interesting bites of culture, but what's with that font?
I am enjoying this book, and learning a lot. As others have said, the short essays are great. My only complaint is about the font. I find it hard to read because it's a fairly strong serif font, in my opinion. And maybe it's just my copy, but the ink has a bit of spread, though not enough to make up for the thinner parts of the letters, so that makes it harder, too. My eyes are just fine, and I'm in my 20s. Compared to other books I have read, I find it harder to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Just Buy it!
This is going to be short and sweet. Buy the book, you won't be disappointed.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good book, slow read, very educational on Japanese culture
This book has been by my nightstand for almost 2 years now. I read a little bit each time. I am very interested in Japanese culture and if that is where your interest lies, culture and history of this rich unique country, then you will enjoy this book. Each phrase and expression is analyzed and broken down into its very roots as well as the current usage. I like what I have read so far, but hardly see myself finishing it any day soon :)! ... Read more

8. Introduction to Japanese Culture
by Daniel Sosnoski
Paperback: 104 Pages (1996-06-15)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$9.00
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Asin: 0804820562
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Good book
I had to buy this book for my Japanese Culture class in college. It's not a typical textbook. I often found myself reading beyond what I was supposed to because there are so many interesting things about Japan.

I'd recommend it to anyone who plans on visiting Japan or is just interested in their culture. ... Read more

9. Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U.S.
by Roland Kelts
Paperback: 256 Pages (2007-11-13)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$7.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 140398476X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Japanamerica is the first book that directly addresses the American experience with the Japanese pop culture craze--including anime from Hayao Miyazaki's epics to the burgeoning world of hentai, or violent pornographic anime to Haruki Murakami's fiction. Including interviews with the inventor of Pac-man and executives from TokyoPop, GDH, and other major Japanese and American production companies, this book highlights the shared conflicts both countries face as anime and manga become a global form of entertainment and change both the United States and Japan in the process.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Book
This book was interesting, accessible and thoughtful. I have been interested in the american anime culture for several years and am considering academic work on cosplay culture. This book is already on my bibliography.

4-0 out of 5 stars Nice Pop Culture Guide
This book was very well written and very informative about some of the anime history. For someone who is interested in some of the research behind the popularity of anime and its history, this is one of the best books out there. It doesn't do a good job at explaining the earliest history of anime and how it influenced cartooning. It's more based on Japanese economy than world economy. It's more based on the cultural aspects than anything else.

5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting insights into a complex phenomena
PROS: A breezy, readable, yet informative look at how Japanese pop culture has become part of US culture, mixing theories, the big picture, and personal stories.

CONS: The book's approach makes it more useful for getting the big picture than direct research.Some theories may seem odd or vague.

SUMMARY: An interesting and thought-provoking book that can help you get a good picture of how Japanese culture has become prominent in the US, why it may have happened, and the future.

I picked up Japanamerica after I realized that despite my interest in things Japanese, there was a lot I hadn't understood - and I, geek that I am, hadn't given thought to how Japanese culture was affecting the U.S.This may seem to be an odd statement, but I'm USED to the fact it's become prominent and hadn't given thoughts to why.

So with this book having good reviews, I picked it up.

Japanamerica is a journey - in some cases literally - through the world of Japanese Pop Culture in Japan and America, the fused world of "Japanamerica".Mixing visiting historical places and persons, talking to individuals, and speculation, author Roland Kelts asks just why and how Japanese Culture is big in America, and what it may mean.

This is a phenomenally difficult task quite frankly, and he does a good job of it.

Kelts approaches his subject in several ways, mixing them together throughout the book:

* The development of and traits of Japanese media companies.
* The history of the U.S. interests and how those intersected with Japanese products.
* The changing relations and technologies that made this possible.

The author handles these by using a mix of history, interviews, statistics, and speculation.Much as it's hard to break out one factor from another, Kelts doesn't really try - the entire "Japanamerica" phenomena is studied from its facets as opposed to broken down.

Thus the book looks at everything from the way Japanese media companies have developed the ability to produce effective niche media, to the effect of Star Wars and 9/11 on American media interests, to contrasts of artistic styles between Japanese and American aesthetics.The structure of the book itself is personal, almost like a story, and thus there are no "hard answers", so much as look at the players and their interactions.

I found the book to be very informative, mostly because of this approach - without overarching theories or simplistic answers, the book invites you to discover what's going on through the eyes of Kelts and the people he talks to.You don't go to this book for a list of answers - you go to it to get a feel for what's going on.

The book succeeds quite well, its only major flaw being that when the author hints at definite theories - he believes 9/11's impact had a big effect on American culture that primed it for certain interests - that the book seems to falter.It disrupts the nuanced approach, though thankfully these moments are few.

I can't classify this as a must-read because of the specialized subject matter - I myself am glad I bought it and learned quite a deal.I would say it is best for:

* Those working in industries that have a heavy presence or strong relations in Japan like animation, manga, or video games.There are some wonderful cultural, historical, and practical tidbits help you get a big picture of your industry.
* People who are general Japanese pop culture enthusiasts, especially anime and manga, who have a general curiosity of how the cultural fusion of "Japanamerica" came about.
* Anyone interested in working in Japan because of their hobbies.
* Those who work with anime conventions and similar events - it'll give you a lot of ideas for panels and so forth.
* It's also a good gift, though be warned the author does take time to discuss some of the seedier aspects of Japanese pop culture, which could shock some, despite his approach.

I hope Kelts continues to write on these subjects.This was a useful and informative book - that now I have to lend out to a few friends . . .

4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, perhaps overreaching
I bought this book after seeing the author speak at the 2009 anime festival in Seattle.He has a significant and enlightening story to tell about the emergence of anime and manga in America.He describes how the American version is distinct from the original, and which personalities made it what it is today.

I found the first half fascinating, the next quarter interesting, and the final quarter of the book difficult to digest and even harder to gain much credence.Personally, I think anime is what it is, and where it goes next cannot be predicted.By the end, I also thought, for all its elegance and fascination, anime is more attitude than it is substance.

Nevertheless, this major cultural movement defies casual inspection, and this book is an excellent guide for the inquisitive.

2-0 out of 5 stars Misleading title
Despite the subtitle, there's very little information on Japanese pop culture's adoption by America since World War II.Most of the material covers the phenomenon from the business angle and so there's very little about the actual genres, the major creators, or their impact on the American consciousness other than half a chapter on American fandom. While focusing on the post-Pokemon era, Kelts ignores the decades of interest in Japan stimulated by Godzilla films, the giant robot series like Ultraman and early animes such as Star Blazers. He even fails to mention the enormously popular Transformers--originally a Japanese concept. To my surprise he also ignored the way in which anime and manga have already affected American animation and cartooning--an influence so obvious and pervasive that it surely deserved some mention here. In fact, most of the book is about the anime/manga business in Japan, not the United States.Kelts interest in anime/manga appears to be less for its aesthetic or cultural qualities and more for its changing role in a twenty-first century global economy. ... Read more

10. Japanese Aesthetics and Culture (Suny Series on Asian Studies Development)
Paperback: 400 Pages (1995-07-01)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$26.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0791424006
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This anthology is intended to supplement courses in which Japanese aesthetics and culture are taught. The essays assume little background knowledge; they do represent seminal thought in literary, cultural, and aesthetic criticism, and are well known to scholars for their clarity and straightforward exposition, making them especially useful to the Westerner who does not speak Japanese.

Some of the essays provide a general introduction to the basic theories of Japanese aesthetics, others deal with poetry and theater, and a third group discusses cultural phenomena directly related to classic Japanese literature. The text includes notes on historical periods and language, a glossary of the most significant literary and aesthetic vocabulary, and an extensive, annotated bibliography that guides the reader to primary materials, critical studies, general histories, anthologies, encyclopedias, and lists of films and audio-visual materials. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Japanese Aesthetics and Culture
Book was an excellant source of information. well written and easy to read and understand

5-0 out of 5 stars JAPANESE AESTHETICS is an extremely useful book.
This books tidily fills a significant niche among books on Japan.In one volume is a selection of the best, current writing on Japanses culture from tea to flowers with an emphasis on literature.Especially laudable are the introductions to the pieces and the explanatory notes, so essential to arcane topics. ... Read more

11. The Culture of Japanese Fascism (Asia-Pacific: Culture, Politics, and Society)
Paperback: 496 Pages (2009-01-01)
list price: US$27.95 -- used & new: US$23.95
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Asin: 0822344688
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This bold collection of essays demonstrates the necessity of understanding fascism in cultural terms rather than only or even primarily in terms of political structures and events. Contributors from history, literature, film, art history, and anthropology describe a culture of fascism in Japan in the decades preceding the end of the Asia-Pacific War. In so doing, they challenge past scholarship, which has generally rejected descriptions of pre-1945 Japan as fascist. The contributors explain how a fascist ideology was diffused throughout Japanese culture via literature, popular culture, film, design, and everyday discourse. Alan Tansman’s introduction places the essays in historical context and situates them in relation to previous scholarly inquiries into the existence of fascism in Japan.

Several contributors examine how fascism was understood in the 1930s by, for example, influential theorists, an antifascist literary group, and leading intellectuals responding to capitalist modernization. Others explore the idea that fascism’s solution to alienation and exploitation lay in efforts to beautify work, the workplace, and everyday life. Still others analyze the realization of and limits to fascist aesthetics in film, memorial design, architecture, animal imagery, a military museum, and a national exposition. Contributors also assess both manifestations of and resistance to fascist ideology in the work of renowned authors including the Nobel-prize-winning novelist and short-story writer Kawabata Yasunari and the mystery writers Edogawa Ranpo and Hamao Shirō. In the work of these final two, the tropes of sexual perversity and paranoia open a new perspective on fascist culture. This volume makes Japanese fascism available as a critical point of comparison for scholars of fascism worldwide. The concluding essay models such work by comparing Spanish and Japanese fascisms.

Contributors. Noriko Aso, Michael Baskett, Kim Brandt, Nina Cornyetz, Kevin M. Doak, James Dorsey, Aaron Gerow, Harry Harootunian, Marilyn Ivy, Angus Lockyer, Jim Reichert, Jonathan Reynolds, Ellen Schattschneider, Aaron Skabelund, Akiko Takenaka, Alan Tansman, Richard Torrance, Keith Vincent, Alejandro Yarza

... Read more

12. The Cambridge Companion to Modern Japanese Culture (Cambridge Companions to Culture)
Paperback: 430 Pages (2009-06-30)
list price: US$29.99 -- used & new: US$19.95
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Asin: 0521706637
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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This Companion provides a comprehensive overview of the influences that have shaped modern-day Japan. Spanning one and a half centuries from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 to the beginning of the twenty-first century, this volume covers topics such as technology, food, nationalism and rise of anime and manga in the visual arts. The Cambridge Companion to Modern Japanese Culture traces the cultural transformation that took place over the course of the twentieth century, and paints a picture of a nation rich in cultural diversity. With contributions from some of the most prominent scholars in the field, The Cambridge Companion to Modern Japanese Culture is an authoritative introduction to this subject. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Recommended if you don't mind an academic approach
Originally published in 2009 so it is up to date. We get 19 longer chapters by various authors. The book is focused on popular modern culture. You don't get much on the contemporary elite culture and you don't get anything about contemporary politics or economics. I have no problem with this focus. I find the book interesting, but as the other reviewer wrote it is very academic. So the book will not be suited for everyone.

2-0 out of 5 stars Sahara
Far, far, far too dry and academic. This iss, in all senses sof the word, a live subject and they don't do it justice ... Read more

13. Japan Pop!: Inside the World of Japanese Popular Culture
Paperback: 360 Pages (2000-06)
list price: US$27.95 -- used & new: US$17.01
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Asin: 0765605619
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (7)

1-0 out of 5 stars an academic tired of bad academics
In a word, this book is a mess.Methodologically suspect and theoretically uninformed, it relies on antiquated Orientalist assumptions of essential cultural identity and unchanging social forms to make the multifarious sources it cites all sound the same, which is too bad, because it is the only English-language 'scholarship' available at present on many of the topics covered.A wasted opportunity that makes me sad and mad.

5-0 out of 5 stars Japan Pop! Fascinating and entertaining
For anyone who has noticed the ubiquity of anime, sushi shops, Japanese style and other aspects of Japanese culture, this book provides a welcome and readable introduction to what Japanese popular culture is and where it comes from.I particularly liked the chapters on music but I probably learned more about Japanese culture and the mind set behind it from the chapters on television and anime.This book explains not only that there is a Japanese poular culture, but why it is the way it is.Highly recommended.

1-0 out of 5 stars Very poor introduction to the subject
Claiming to be a book which bridges the divide between the worlds of academia and populism, Japan Pop! gets off to a poor start with an absurdly high cover price likely to put it out of reach of the casual J-Pop Culture fan. The price might have been justified had this been a glossy, photo-packed book, but seems ludicrous given that it is merely a collection of 17 essays. The essays dwell on four major areas of contemporary J-Pop Culture: music, manga and animation, TV & film and the popularity of J-Pop Culture outside of the country. It comes as little surprise that Mark Schilling's contribution, about the Tora-san character in the Otoko wa Tsurai yo (It's Tough Being a Man) film series, is the most interesting - not necessarily because of the topic, but because Schilling is the only contributor who is a writer of any repute. The majority of these essays are written by academics and it shows: footnotes abound, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers get analysed to the nth degree and claims are made that "Sailor Moon's rearrangement of the traditional superhero myth bears hints of not only a new social order, but also the kind of moral struggles, alliances, and identities that may create and accompany it." The book also contains a number of confidence-sapping factual errors (example: Osaka band Shonen Knife "started playing in the mid-1980s" which is not true, they started playing in December 1981). Schilling's Encyclopedia of Japanese Pop Culture (Weatherhill) remains the definitive starting point for those seeking a good, accessible introduction to the subject; Japan Pop! is only for the otaku completist, and a wealthy one at that.

5-0 out of 5 stars fascinating read
A fascinating and enjoyable read. "Japan pop" gave me a fresh and informitive insight into Japans modern culture and and in to the psychology of its people. Loved this book and I highly recommed it. ray brooks

5-0 out of 5 stars A "must" for students of Japanese studies & popular culture.
Japan Pop! considers various forms of Japanese popular culture, from popmusic and animated cartoons to films and television. The result is ananalysis of Japanese society, cultural identity, and daily life whichprovide absorbing surveys into Japanese psychology. A 'must' for anycollege-level student of Japanese studies. ... Read more

14. Tokyo Cyberpunk: Posthumanism in Japanese Visual Culture
by Steven T. Brown
Paperback: 272 Pages (2010-07-15)
list price: US$27.00 -- used & new: US$23.00
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Asin: 023010360X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Engaging some of the most ground-breaking and thought-provoking anime, manga, and science fiction films, Tokyo Cyberpunk offers insightful analysis of Japanese visual culture. Steven T. Brown draws new conclusions about electronically mediated forms of social interaction, as well as specific Japanese socioeconomic issues, all in the context of globalization and advanced capitalism. Penetrating and nuanced, this book makes a major contribution to the debate about what it means to be human in a posthuman world.

... Read more

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5-0 out of 5 stars Eyeopening and thoughtful study on some of Japan's most provocative contemporary media.
Tokyo Cyberpunk is a thought provoking and extremely well researched text that explores not only themes of posthumanism in contemporary Japanese visual culture, but also carefully reveals how these themes are linked in a larger network of ideas and imagery.In addition to intricate implementation of philosophy and critical theory--from Deleuze and Guattari to Donna Haraway, from Nietzsche to Freud--Brown provides thorough descriptions of the film and anime texts with nuanced analysis.To do so, the author takes a "rhizomatic" approach, meaning that he explores the texts in relation to other texts, finding the common ground and compatible ideas in distinct media as they impact and borrow from each other.In this way, Brown reveals meanings in not just individual texts, but ideas between texts: recurrent and developing ideas across cultures and time.

This approach makes the text accessible in two important and distinct ways.

First, Tokyo Cyberpunk will be interesting for readers who have backgrounds in critical theory and philosophy, but are perhaps not familiar with Japanese culture and media (or even world cinema).The very detailed description of plots and accompanying scene analysis allows readers to engage with the applied ideas without a precondition of specific media and cultural literacy.Moreover, since Brown draws on extensive and diverse examples--from 17th century Japanese puppet plays to Fritz Lang's Metropolis, from the films of David Cronenberg to the current hikkikomori phenomenon, from the sculptures and photographs of Hans Bellmer to reinterpretations of the Avalon myth of Arthurian legend--he opens up application of theory to diversity, encouraging the reader to draw from their own arsenal of visual examples, whatever their background.The rhizomatic method prompts readers to also join in and say, "oh, this is also like xyz" from their own experience.

Second, although the seemingly heavy list of notoriously difficult theorists Brown employs (e.g. Deleuze, Nietzsche, Derrida, Descartes) might seem formidable to readers coming to Tokyo Cyberpunk from a background in Japanese pop culture, the author is also careful to use the theory in an approachable way.Inevitably, the book will, and should, attract readers with a primary interest in Japanese film and anime.Although the more theoretical sections of the text are dense, pop culture enthusiasts should not be afraid to take the plunge.Just as Tokyo Cyberpunk encourages academics of the lit crit crowd to explore visual culture, Brown's rhizomatic reading will prompt interest in larger philosophical ideas and thought perhaps previously unknown to the casual fan.

Readers from both camps could also take the rhizomatic path (paths?) as I did and read Tokyo Cyberpunk not just for the ideas and images in the book, but as a jumping off point to explore other texts and ideas beyond, but similar to, the text in their hands.

5-0 out of 5 stars Table of Contents
Tokyo Cyberpunk's table of contents is as follows:

Introduction: Posthumanism after _AKIRA_

Part I: Machinic Desires: Hans Bellmer's Dolls and the Technological Uncanny in _Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence_

Part II: Desiring Machines: Biomechanoid Eros and Other Techno-Fetishes in _Tetsuo: The Iron Man_ and Its Precursors

Part III: Consensual Hallucinations and the Phantoms of Electronic Presence in _Kairo_ and _Avalon_

Conclusion: Software in a Body: Critical Posthumanism and _Serial Experiments Lain_

Notes, Bibliography, Index ... Read more

15. Recentering Globalization: Popular Culture and Japanese Transnationalism
by Koichi Iwabuchi
Paperback: 288 Pages (2002-01-01)
list price: US$23.95 -- used & new: US$9.80
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Asin: 0822328917
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Globalization is usually thought of as the worldwide spread of Western—particularly American—popular culture. Yet if one nation stands out in the dissemination of pop culture in East and Southeast Asia, it is Japan. Pokémon, anime, pop music, television dramas such as Tokyo Love Story and Long Vacation—the export of Japanese media and culture is big business. In Recentering Globalization, Koichi Iwabuchi explores how Japanese popular culture circulates in Asia. He situates the rise of Japan’s cultural power in light of decentering globalization processes and demonstrates how Japan’s extensive cultural interactions with the other parts of Asia complicate its sense of being "in but above" or "similar but superior to" the region.

Iwabuchi has conducted extensive interviews with producers, promoters, and consumers of popular culture in Japan and East Asia. Drawing upon this research, he analyzes Japan’s "localizing" strategy of repackaging Western pop culture for Asian consumption and the ways Japanese popular culture arouses regional cultural resonances. He considers how transnational cultural flows are experienced differently in various geographic areas by looking at bilateral cultural flows in East Asia. He shows how Japanese popular music and television dramas are promoted and understood in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, and how "Asian" popular culture (especially Hong Kong’s) is received in Japan.

Rich in empirical detail and theoretical insight, Recentering Globalization is a significant contribution to thinking about cultural globalization and transnationalism, particularly in the context of East Asian cultural studies. ... Read more

16. Traditional Japanese Arts And Culture: An Illustrated Sourcebook
Hardcover: 253 Pages (2006-02)
list price: US$62.00 -- used & new: US$42.18
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Asin: 082482878X
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Music, poetry, the visual arts, literature, and theater have played a vital part in Japanese society.But, although Japanese artists, musicians, actors, and authors have written much over the centuries about the creation, meaning, and appreciation of these various arts, most of these works are scattered among countless hard-to-find sources or make only a fleeting appearance in books devoted to other subjects. Compiled in this volume is a wealth of original material on Japanese arts and culture from the prehistoric era to the Meiji Restoration (1867). These carefully selected sources, including many translated here for the first time, are placed in their historical context and outfitted with brief commentaries, allowing the reader to make connections to larger concepts and values found in Japanese culture.

Although the book focuses on the visual and literary arts, it contains material on topics not easily classified in Western categories, such as the martial and culinary arts, the art of tea, and flower arranging. More than 60 color and black and white illustrations enrich the collection and provide further insights into Japanese artistic and cultural values. Included as well are a bibliography of English-language and Japanese sources and an extensive list of suggested further readings.

Traditional Japanese Arts and Culture offers an authentic look at the conceptual richness, diversity, and continuity of the Japanese cultural traditions. Rather than impose a thick layer of interpretation, this inspired and diverse collection allows the original writers and artists to speak directly to people in all areas of Japanese studies interested in what lies beneath the surface of Japanese arts and culture. ... Read more

17. Japanese Art & Culture (World Art & Culture)
by Kamini Khanduri
Paperback: 56 Pages (2005-09-15)
list price: US$9.99
Isbn: 1410921077
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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When does a poem become a picture? What is the tea ceremony? How were the first color woodblock prints made? Arts and crafts offer a window into Japanese culture, reflecting its history, technology, beliefs, and every-day life. Every piece of Japanese art

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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A fascinating introduction to the art forms of the Japanese
With the success of the Tom Cruise film "The Last Samurai" doing for this generation of students what the mini-series version of "Shogun" did a couple of decades earlier, interest in Japanese culture should be on the rise in schools."Japanese Art & Culture" provides an introduction that establishes the great importance of natural materials being used in Japanese art, which reveals a great deal about Japanese culture.Kamini Khanduri devotes sections to ten different types of Japanese art.

This book provides a background and examples of painting on everything from folding screens to decorated fans, woodblock prints including the famous "The Great Wave" by Hokusai, sculptures in wood and bronze, metalwork including samurai armor, pottery in clay and porcelain, lacquer ware, the architecture of temples and castles, gardens, calligraphy as poetic art, and the theater traditions of Noh and Kabuki plays.Khanduri's emphasis is on how every piece of Japanese art tells us something about both the environment and the culture in which it was developed.The idea is for young readers to understand how and why the Japanese made their art.

Khanduri takes pains to explain these details throughout the book.I almost want to say the book is under-illustrated because there is never more than one color photograph on any page in the volume.However, the examples that are provided are choice, from a late 12th-century hand scroll showing a rabbit and frog wrestling and Ogata Korin's painting "Irises" to a netsuke made of ivory called "Hotei and his Treasure Bag" and Hon'ami Koetsu's early 17th-century lacquered writing box.There are also contemporary photographs of The Temple of the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto and Himeji Castle.

There is a lot covered here in terms of these various forms of Japanese art but Khanduri provides a concise introduction to each type so that young readers get a sense of the techniques, designs, and styles involved.Those who only got a glimpse of Japanese art in "The Last Samurai" will find a much more revealing look at it in this book. The back of the book includes a map and timeline, ideas for further research, and a glossary of unfamiliar terms and index.Other titles in the World Art & Culture series include volumes on Africa, Indian, and Mexican art and culture. ... Read more

18. An Absent Presence: Japanese Americans in Postwar American Culture, 1945–1960 (New Americanists)
by CarolineChung Simpson
Paperback: 248 Pages (2001-01-01)
list price: US$22.95 -- used & new: US$13.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0822327465
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There have been many studies on the forced relocation and internment of nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. But An Absent Presence is the first to focus on how popular representations of this unparalleled episode in U.S. history affected the formation of Cold War culture. Caroline Chung Simpson shows how the portrayal of this economic and social disenfranchisement haunted—and even shaped—the expression of American race relations and national identity throughout the middle of the twentieth century.

Simpson argues that when popular journals or social theorists engaged the topic of Japanese American history or identity in the Cold War era they did so in a manner that tended to efface or diminish the complexity of their political and historical experience. As a result, the shadowy figuration of Japanese American identity often took on the semblance of an “absent presence.” Individual chapters feature such topics as the case of the alleged Tokyo Rose, the Hiroshima Maidens Project, and Japanese war brides. Drawing on issues of race, gender, and nation, Simpson connects the internment episode to broader themes of postwar American culture, including the atomic bomb, McCarthyism, the crises of racial integration, and the anxiety over middle-class gender roles.

By recapturing and reexamining these vital flashpoints in the projection of Japanese American identity, Simpson fills a critical and historical void in a number of fields including Asian American studies, American studies, and Cold War history. ... Read more

19. The Japanese Art of War: Understanding the Culture of Strategy (Shambhala Classics)
by Thomas Cleary
Paperback: 144 Pages (2005-05-10)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$6.70
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1590302451
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Military rule and the martial tradition of the samurai dominated Japanese culture for more than eight hundred years. According to Thomas Cleary—translator of more than thirty-five classics of Asian philosophy—the Japanese people have been so steeped in the way of the warrior that some of the manners and mentality of this outlook remain embedded in their individual and collective consciousness. Cleary shows how well-known attributes such as the reserve and mystery of formal Japanese behavior are deeply rooted in the ancient strategies of the traditional arts of war. Citing original Japanese sources that are popular among Japanese readers today, he reveals the hidden forces behind Japanese attitudes and conduct in political, business, social, and personal life. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars THANK YOU
Acute observation not hindered by bias opinion makes this book an essential, a provocative and a nearly breathtaking insight.Again, thank you, Mr. cleary.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent basic guide to the Japanese philosophy of war.
As a life-long student of the martial arts, most especially Japanese combat arts, I found this book to be an excellent basic guide to the heart and soul of the Japanese Bushi(Warrior-Samurai).The author is well-known for his expertise on asian culture. He is a Buddhist scholar and lived in Japan for six years.This volume covers the history of warfare in Japan, the role of Zen in the warrior philosophy, schemes of the samurai, the thirty strategies of war, bushido and christianty, and the Zen razor.In conclusion, this is a book that will be of interest to serious students of Japanese martial arts, as well as for scholars of Asian history.Rating: 5 Stars.Joseph J. Truncale (Author: Season of the Warrior: a poetic tribute to warriors, Martial Art Myths, Never Trust a Politician, Tanto-Jutsu manual, Wakizashi-Jutsu, Samurai Aerobics, PR-24 Police Baton Advanced Techniques).

4-0 out of 5 stars Robert Lane - Dayton Ohio
7.15.05 - Clearly a secret weapon in business today. If you take time to study what the book is sharing the information can be applied to every aspect of business.The information is very old but timeless.What is remarkable is how applicable the information is to the American buying and sell process.Salesmen - put down your modivational books and start studying information that will make a difference in your customers lives.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting to the lover of Asian history.
In history most nations are always taking ideas and beliefs from others, even when they don't know it. Japan is no different. Much of the Far East classes in American colleges spend much of their time teaching students about where Japan gets much of its culture, language and traditions.
The Art of War is like everything else that came to Japan. They took it, made it Japanese and used it in the way THEY felt was best. The Art of War soon spread into areas of business and philosophy. The ideas were soon adapted and proved to be useful rules for every walk of Japanese life. It could guide a warrior or help a baker do his best. ... Read more

20. Pandemonium and Parade: Japanese Monsters and the Culture of Yokai
by Michael Dylan Foster
Paperback: 312 Pages (2008-11-03)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$17.51
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0520253620
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

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Water sprites, mountain goblins, shape-shifting animals, and the monsters known as yôkai have long haunted the Japanese cultural landscape. This history of the strange and mysterious in Japan seeks out these creatures in folklore, encyclopedias, literature, art, science, games, manga, magazines, and movies, exploring their meanings in the Japanese cultural imagination and offering an abundance of valuable and, until now, understudied material. Michael Dylan Foster tracks yôkai over three centuries, from their appearance in seventeenth-century natural histories to their starring role in twentieth-century popular media. Focusing on the intertwining of belief and commodification, fear and pleasure, horror and humor, he illuminates different conceptions of the "natural" and the "ordinary" and sheds light on broader social and historical paradigms--and ultimately on the construction of Japan as a nation. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

3-0 out of 5 stars detailed, but few pictures
A detailed record of yokai folklore and culture in japan, with various descriptions and information, but lacks a comprehensive list of creatures and pictorial archive (wich is bad, because it is so easy to find yokai images in the net, so why not pay more atention to it?)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Few Drawbacks, But Still Worthy
Yes, the book is academic and it can sometimes bog down in boring rhetoric. It is rarely engaging to the point of one's being unable to put it down, but, after the longwinded introductory chapter, it does provide a very interesting overview of the history and significance of yokai in Japanese culture, past and present (including manga and anime). Michael Dylan Foster not only explains some of the chief representatives of traditional and contemporary yokai, he provides an excellent history of how yokai evolved as a serious subject of inquiry and also discusses the place of yokai in the matrix of Japanese culture. Academics are likely to appreciate the book for its insights more than those mainly interested in light reading about the yokai phenomenon. The book shouldn't be compared to those that are chiefly collections of old myths and legends.

For me, a major drawback is the relative lack of space devoted to one major form of yokai, the yurei or ghost, which is so important in Japanese literature, theatre, and art. And, despite the author's expert analysis of the kuchi-sake-onna or Slit-Mouthed-Woman, I was surprised that he never alludes to the possibility of potential influence from the gabu head in the bunraku puppet theatre. The gabu shows the face of a pretty girl but when the puppeteer pulls a string the upper and lower parts of the face are split by a gruesome, ear-to-ear mouth of sharp gold teeth, the effect of which is heightened by eyes that widen to become large squares, and horns that sprout from the hair. The character is really a serpent spirit in disguise. Come to think of it, Japan's upbiquitous serpents also get short shrift in this book, which, admittedly, does not attempt to be an encyclopedia, like Yokai Attack!

Pandemonium and Parade isn't perfect but it's a very worthy contribution.

5-0 out of 5 stars More than bumps in the night
Many people interested in Yokai are probably just following a manga whim or other pop-ish fascination. Those readers especially will be stunned by Foster's deeper and more historical look at things. What this book offers is a compelling back story of Japan's centuries-long cultural infatuation with monsters, mythic creatures, and other "through the looking glass" creations. A formidable yet highly readable scholar (no purple prose here) Foster shows us that from a cultural standpoint, monsters matter.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good diachronic survey.
Nice diachronic look at youkai/fushigi. But like most books of this nature, cherry-picking is a little inevitable. Still, it is an engaging text that provides GREAT context. It pairs VERY well with Gerald Figal's more in-depth study of youkai in the Meiji era - "Civilization and Monsters: Spirits of Modernity in Meiji Japan (Asia-Pacific: Culture, Politics, and Society)." In a pinch, I'd say I prefer Figal's, but I definitely recommend reading both.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great read on a great topic
This is a fascinating, well-written history of monsters and the science of monsters, that appeals both to the Japan specialist and the general reader with an interest in the topic.The best work on the subject in English. ... Read more

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