Japan

Flash Fiction

We are inundated by fiction. Every trip to the few remaining bookshops has more and more books marching along the shelves, magically procreating like the enchanted brooms in Disney’s Fantasia. There are so many books and so little time, especially when most of our reading now takes place online, in reading web articles and ever-shorter […]

Cat Heaven: Neko-sama in Animanga

There is a small fishing island in Japan, Tashirojima, which has been dubbed “cat heaven” because of the phenomenal amount of stray cats living there – there are more cats than people! It sounds, to me, completely idyllic – what could be better than walking out your front door to be greeted by a group […]

The Impossibility of Escaping the Palm of Buddha’s Hand

“Mortal, you have angered Shaka-sama and now Pigsy will eat your face.” This is one of the improbable lines that is never spoken in the foundational saga of Buddhist fiction. Many other improbable lines are. Further out on the improbability spectrum: Shingo Katori costumes up as a monkey.

Jazz and Drama: A Kids on the Slope Review

Even casual fans of anime have heard of Cowboy Bebop, the jazziest, classiest, most sophisticated space opera anime to ever be created (whoops, my bias is showing).  Bebop’s director, Shinichiro Watanabe, and musical composter, Yoko Kanno, teamed up once again in 2012 to work on Kids on the Slope, the anime adaptation of Yuki Kodama’s […]

The Galapagos Frontier Thesis

The formative American experience was the conquest of the western frontier. Would science fiction and fantasy exist without the frontier model? What does Japan’s parallel conquest of Hokkaido tell us about the legacy of colonial expansion?