Shutting Out the Sun: How Japan Created Its Own Lost Generation by Michael Zielenziger

The first 120 or so pages of Shutting Out the Sun (2006) are fascinating, and indeed, Zielenziger’s portrayal of a number of Japanese hikikomori (shut-ins), their families, and those working the help bring them back out into the public world, manages to be very thoughtful and compassionate, and even, at times, moving. Later chapters are less […]


Yeah, for you Errol Morris fans, that’s a double-gobble: Well, here are some links for you to gobble down, and think about later: I’m a little dubious about the idea we’ll have enough energy to fuel anything as expansive as what is discussed in this video featuring a talk by Jesse Schell (a Carnegie Mellon University Professor), but I […]

The Great Wave: Gilded Age Misfits, Japanese Eccentrics, and the Opening of Old Japan by Christopher Benfey

This book should be required reading for all who want to talk about Korea’s constant, deep-seated anxiety regarding the lack of a place in the Western imagination held by South Korea, and many Koreans’ jealousy of the place that Japan and China have in the Western mind, the foolish attempts to “brand” Korea and market […]