Reviewing Visions of Japanese Modernity

It's been a quite busy month here at Yale, so I haven't been posting much. We hosted the Association for Japanese Literary Studies annual conference, using technology as the theme (we thus had a number of film-related papers). Now we have to work on publishing the proceedings. It was also midterms, but since Yale has no midterm break, everyone gets quite exhausted around this time of year. We did start our annual film series, however, sponsored by the Council on East Asian Studies, which these year focuses on off-beat jidaigeki. The first film was Vendetta at Sozenji Temple (Adauchi Sozenji baba), a dark but powerful work from 1957 by Makino Masahiro that features the clash of samurai and yakuza, and male and female values. We showed a 16mm print with English subtitles we got via the Japan Foundation. This week we will be showing Samurai Saga, a samurai version of Cyrano de Bergerac by Inagaki Hiroshi, and in two weeks, the superlative Brave Records of the Sanada Clan, a jidaigeki musical by the incomparable Kato Tai about the Sanada juyushi

Given the lull, I thought I should mention two reviews of my most recent book, Visions of Japanese Modernity, that can be read on the net. 

The Japan Times has always been good at reviewing my books, but unfortunately Donald Richie, who has reviewed all of my books so far, is still not quite up to the task (he's a lot better after his terrible bout with pneumonia; I delivered a copy of my book personally before leaving Japan). Still the Japan Times reviewer did a good job of introducing the book.

Also, in somewhat of a surprise, the fellow who runs a Kurosawa Akira blog ended up being probably the first person to review the book. I was impressed by the effort to see my book as providing context for Kurosawa and later cinema--which in many ways was my intention.

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