By Donald Richie

The deepest collections of longtime Japan resident and professional on glossy jap tradition Donald Richie trap the personalities of yes eastern people--some recognized, a few unknown--with perception and humor.

This impressive choice of person pix is likely to be the 1st booklet concerning the jap to view them fullyyt unhindered through a number of the theories approximately them—people as advanced, as uncomplicated, as inscrutable, and as comprehensible as an individual else.

In those fifty–four items there are either the famous—Mishima, Kawabata, Mifune, Kurosawa—and the unknown: the would–be geisha, the ex–boxer grew to become gangster, the scheming bar madame and the previous guy death on my own. here's the infamous Sada Abe, who mutilated her useless lover and whose tale was once filmed in Oshima's The Realm of the Senses

And this is Oshima himself, lifeless inebriated and making excellent feel; this is the actress who performed Abe, exiled in Rome. right here too is the supply boy who kills himself for romance, the lady who enjoyed a Korean, and the actress, a public idol, who all at once and completely disappeared from view.

And there are dozens of others, people who have in universal, in addition to their jap nationality, the truth that they knew the writer, and that —fortunatly for us—he knew them. This hugely own memories shape probably the most unique and deeply felt books on Japan ever to seem.

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Yasunari Kawabata The Sumida River, silver within the wintry weather solar, glistened underneath us. We have been at the roof of the Asakusa subway terminal tower, looking over downtown Tokyo, nonetheless in ruins, nonetheless exhibiting the conflagration of 2 years past, scorched concrete black opposed to the lemon yellow of recent wooden. This have been the entertainment region of Tokyo. round the nice temple of Kannon, now a blackened, empty sq., had as soon as been a warren of bars, theaters, archery stalls, circus tents, peep indicates, locations I had examine the place the all-girl opera sang and kicked, the place the tattooed gamblers met and guess, the place proficient canines walked on hind legs and Japan's fattest woman sat in nation. Now, years finally of this had long gone up in flames, after such a lot of of these who labored and performed the following had burned within the streets or boiled within the canals because the incendiary bombs fell and the B-29s thundered over—now the empty squares have been back changing into lanes as tents, reed lean-tos, and some body structures began to appear. women in wedgies sat in entrance of latest tea-rooms, yet i may see no signal of the fats girl. might be she had bubbled away within the fireplace. What was once he pondering, I puzzled, the avian profile of the middle-aged guy status beside me, defined opposed to the light sky. I had no approach of figuring out. He spoke no English and that i spoke no eastern. i didn't recognize that Yasunari Kawabata was once already well-known and could turn into extra well-known nonetheless. yet I did comprehend he used to be a author who had written approximately Asakusa, and it used to be where itself that me. - Yumiko, I stated. This was once the identify of the heroine of the unconventional Asakusa Kurenaidan, which Kawabata had written when—twenty years ahead of, at concerning the related age as i used to be now, and simply as enraptured with the place—he had walked the labyrinth and noticeable the jazz experiences, the kiss-dances, the White Russian ladies parading, and the passing jap flappers with their rolled stockings. It used to be right here in this roof the place we have been status that Yumiko had faced the gangster, overwhelmed an arsenic tablet among her the teeth, then kissed him complete at the lips. probably he was once deliberating his misplaced heroine—tough, muscled, appealing. Or, as he gazed at that blackened panorama lower than this massive white iciness sky, maybe he used to be feeling an outstanding sorrow. All these lives misplaced. I checked out that birdlike profile. It didn't appear unhappy. in reality, he smiled, peering over the parapet and pointing on the river. This was once the place Yumiko, having given the fellow the kiss of loss of life, slipped in the course of the porthole of a ready boat and sped away simply because the river police arrived. I knew this with no understanding any jap simply because as a member of the Allied career forces I had translators at my command and had requested for an English précis of the radical. Now, taking a look at the writer leaning over the railing, as Left-Handed Hiko had performed while he observed Yumiko making her break out, i presumed approximately Kawabata's love for Asakusa. He had began his booklet with the goal of writing "a lengthy and curious tale set in Asakusa ...

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