New Books Network

John W. Traphagan, “Cosmopolitan Rurality, Depopulation, and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in 21st-Century Japan” (Cambria Press, 2020)
John W. Traphagan’s Cosmopolitan Rurality, Depopulation, and Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in 21st-Century Japan (Cambria Press, 2020) presents a series of deeply contextualized ethnographies of small-business entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial ecosystem of contemporary rural Japan. Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, Japan has been experiencing an unprecedented decline in population that... Read More
Fabio Rambelli, “Spirits and Animism in Contemporary Japan” (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019)
In Japan, a country popularly perceived as highly secularized and technologically advanced, ontological assumptions about spirits (tama or tamashii) seem to be quite deeply ingrained in the cultural fabric. From ancestor cults to anime, spirits, ghosts, and other invisible dimensions of reality appear to be pervasive. In Spirits and Animism... Read More
Ann-elise Lewallen, “The Fabric of Indigeneity: Ainu Identity, Gender, and Settler Colonialism in Japan” (U New Mexico Press, 2016)
The Fabric of Indigeneity: Ainu Identity, Gender, and Settler Colonialism in Japan (University of New Mexico Press) is a recent addition to the growing scholarship on Ainu identity and settler colonialism in Japan. Combining ethnographic fieldwork in contemporary Ainu communities and organizations with museum and archival research, Dr. Lewallen shows... Read More
Adam Broinowski, “Cultural Responses to Occupation in Japan: The Performing Body During and After the Cold War” (Bloomsbury 2016)
In Cultural Responses to Occupation in Japan: The Performing Body During and After the Cold War (Bloomsbury 2016), Adam Broinowski analyzes the emergence of Ankoku Butoh (dance of darkness) in the context of America’s de jure and then de facto occupation of Japan following the Second World War. Broinowski traces... Read More
Nozomi Naoi, “Yumeji Modern: Designing the Everyday in Twentieth-Century Japan” (U Washington Press, 2020)
Nozomi Naoi’s Yumeji Modern: Designing the Everyday in Twentieth-Century Japan (University of Washington Press, 2020) is the first book-length English-language study of one of Japan’s iconic twentieth-century artists, Takehisa Yumeji (1884–1934). While he is most famous for portraits of beautiful women and stylish graphic design―which remain enormously popular and ubiquitous in... Read More
Daniel P. Aldrich, “Black Wave: How Networks and Governance Shaped Japan’s 3/11 Disasters” (U Chicago Press, 2020)
Despite the devastation caused by the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and 60-foot tsunami that struck Japan in 2011, some 96% of those living and working in the most disaster-stricken region of Tōhoku made it through. Smaller earthquakes and tsunamis have killed far more people in nearby China and India. What accounts... Read More
Takashi Miura, “Agents of World Renewal: The Rise of Yonaoshi Gods in Japan” (U Hawaii Press, 2019)
In this interview, we talk to Takashi Miura, assistant professor in the Department of East Asian Studies, University of Arizona, about his book Agents of World Renewal: The Rise of Yonaoshi Gods in Japan, (University of Hawaii Press, 2019). The book examines a category of Japanese divinities that centered on... Read More
Elisheva A. Perelman, “American Evangelists and Tuberculosis in Modern Japan” (Hong Kong UP, 2020)
Elisheva A. Perelman‘s new book American Evangelists and Tuberculosis in Modern Japan (Hong Kong University Press, 2020) examines the consequences of Japan’s decision not to tackle the tuberculosis epidemic that ravaged the country during the last quarter of the nineteenth century and the first quarter of the twentieth. TB was a... Read More
Katarzyna J. Cwiertka, “Branding Japan’s Food: From Meibutsu to Washoku” (U Hawaii Press, 2020)
Katarzyna J. Cwiertka and Yasuhara Miho’s Branding Japan’s Food: From Meibutsu to Washoku (University of Hawaii Press, 2020) explores historical and contemporary practices of place branding through food in Japan. The book’s narrative centers on the event that precipitated its writing, namely, the 2013 addition of “Washoku, traditional dietary cultures... Read More
Tatiana Linkhoeva, “Revolution Goes East: Imperial Japan and Soviet Communism” (Cornell UP, 2020)
A century ago it wasn’t a virus whose spread was eliciting reactions around the world, but an idea. As Russia’s 1917 October Revolution distended itself across north Asia and reverberated globally, socialism acted – not unlike today’s pandemic – as a Rorschach test revealing divisions in societies and politics, and... Read More