What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Japan, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 296
1. ‘Animation’ by Kosai Sekine

Music video by Kosai Sekine for the single "Animation" by Young Juvenile Youth.

0 Comments on ‘Animation’ by Kosai Sekine as of 11/22/2015 8:18:00 PM
Add a Comment
2. Pierre the Maze Detective

pierrecoverPierre the Maze Detective: The Search for the Stolen Maze Stone written by Chihiro Maruyama, illustrated by by Hiro Kamigaki and IC4Design and translated by Emma Sakamiya and Elizabeth Jenner is quite something.

The Maze Stone, which has the power to turn the whole of Opera City into a maze, has been stolen, and you – dear reader – are needed to help track down the culprit and restore this magical object.

Why should you take up this challenge?

Because en route…

  • you’ll journey by air balloon, through the most impressive treehouses you’ve ever seen, in and out of Escher-esque buildings, across giant octopus infected oceans and through a bizarre underground fleamarket where just about anything you can imagine is up for sale.
  • you’ll enter a strange hybrid land set in the 1920s-30s, half-video game half-astonishing book, collecting extra points and hidden items, watching out for traps and more. All you need to do is imagine the soundtrack.
  • you’ll be dazzled by incredibly intricate illustrations packed with many more stories than the primary one following the fate of the maze stone. Every “wrong” turning as you try to crack the maze on each page will give you reason to wonder what’s been happening, and what will happen next!

  • If you’ve a child poorly in bed, or it’s just a rainy day calling out for a duvet on the sofa, Pierre the Maze Detective is a rich and rewarding rabbit hole ready for anyone who loves losing themselves in an adventure of almost unimaginable detail and scale.


    This stop-motion video showing how one of the double page spreads was planned out gives you a good impression of the labyrinthine, meticulous nature of the illustrations:

    A picture book for older children (and their grown-ups) who love a challenge or who are inspired by the imaginative possibilities of vast landscapes and settings, Pierre the Maze Detective helpfully comes with a key to all the mazes, and also a page of extra delights to go back and look for – all printed in the style of a vintage newspaper.


    Playful, precise, interactive and highly imaginative, this incredibly well produced book (with its lovely paper and large size) is original and eye-opening. As I said, it’s quite something!

    Pierre the Maze Detective owes something, I believe, to the work of another Japanese picture book creator: Mitsumasa Anno. Anno created a whole series of detailed wordless picture books where a tiny character wends his way through different landscapes, and although his books weren’t mazes as such, they share with Pierre the sense of journeying, immense details, and rich stories being told away from the most direct path to the final destination.


    Having enjoyed the mazes, the details and the adventures in Pierre the Maze Detective we decided it was time to make our own mazes. Using the basic design principles outlined here, we decided to build our maze out of lego and turn it into a marble run.


    We all really enjoyed making each other different mazes to try out. The lego made it really easy to create new mazes and kept the kids happily occupied for a good couple of hours – longer than I had anticipated!


    Whilst creating our mazes we listened (rather eclectically) to:

  • Missing in the Corn Maze by vogelJoy
  • It’s A Maze from the Original Broadway Cast Recording of “The Secret Garden”
  • Private Investigations by Dire Straits

  • Other maze activities which might work well alongside reading Pierre the Maze Detective include:

  • Going to the park and making a maze out of leaves – perfect for this time of year in the UK
  • Creating a maze out of books – perhaps with the help of your local library?
  • Making the most of lots of cardboard and using it to create a giant maze – here’s one idea from Viviane Schwarz, and here’s another.
  • Creating a ‘lazer’ maze for the kids to try and make their way through
  • If you’d like to receive all my posts from this blog please sign up by inputting your email address in the box below:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher.

    4 Comments on Pierre the Maze Detective, last added: 11/5/2015
    Display Comments Add a Comment
    3. ‘Macky and Eucky in Midnight Gallery’ by Rushio Moriyama

    Macky and Eucky break into an art gallery to steal a valuable picture late at night. The film pays tribute to American animation from the 1920s and '30s, while incorporating modern elements.

    0 Comments on ‘Macky and Eucky in Midnight Gallery’ by Rushio Moriyama as of 11/2/2015 2:50:00 PM
    Add a Comment
    4. 5 Reasons Why Books with Characters of Diversity Are Important

    I’m optimistic that, through literature that explores and celebrates diversity, all kids will be able to comfortably go on any adventure with any character to anywhere.

    Add a Comment
    5. Emily’s Balloon

    emilysballoonFriends are fun to play with. Friends keep you company. Friends comfort you. All this Emily knows.

    She also knows a simple balloon can be your friend.

    Emily’s Balloon by Komako Sakai is the gentlest of observations about how nothing more than a plain balloon and a little bit of imagination can be the cause great happiness.

    Emily receives a balloon and takes it home to play with. Soon she’s sharing everything with her balloon and takes it outside to play house with. One gust of wind, however, and it is stuck in a nearby tree. What will Emily do now? What will console her?

    The innocence and lucidity of this story gives it charm that is utterly captivating. It celebrates a sense of wonder that we sometimes lose as we grow older, but which we’re only too happy to be reminded of. Emily’s natural openness, her ability to imagine and indeed truly see her balloon as a friend – to show such a easy leap of faith – will warm all but the coldest of hearts.



    Sakai’s illustrations have a quiet magic about them, capturing Emily’s body language like poetry; in a way that seems so right, so simple and yet still startling in its accuracy. Minimal use of colour and lots of wide open white space create a sense of meditative timelessness. All in all a peaceful, lyrical picture book with the hallmarks of a classic.


    Not all playing by the book needs to be complicated. Recently all we did to celebrate a book was eat some cheesecake. (Tough life!). This time, all that was needed was a yellow helium filled balloon to play with after school.


    We batted it about, we took it outside, we played “chicken” letting it float away and then catching it before it flew out of grasp!


    We tied a spoon to the string and found the “balance point” – using blutack we added and removed tiny weights until the balloon with the spoon floated mysteriously in mid-air, neither touching the ground, nor flying up to the ceiling.


    This turned into a science lesson the next day when we saw how how the helium appeared to become less effective at lifting the balloon (this is actually due to helium leaking out of the balloon, through the relatively porous latex) and we had to reduce the weight of the spoon to re-find the balance point.

    Whilst playing with our balloon we listened to:

  • It Only Takes One Night to Make a Balloon Your Friend by Lunch Money (this really is a GORGEOUS song)
  • Balloons by Skyboat
  • Can We Buy a New Car (So I Can Have a Balloon)? by Eric Herman. ‘Coz I’m a sucker for a bit of steel guitar.

  • Other activities which might work well alongside reading Emily’s Balloon include:

  • Reading Sakai’s Hannah’s Night – my very favourite book in any genre from 2013.
  • Making a hat for your balloon (as Emily does) – this is a really easy tutorial using an old pair of leggings, from This Simple Home.
  • Creating a flower garland (like Emily does) to wear in your hair. If you haven’t fresh flowers, try this tutorial using a paper bag from Happy Hooligans.

  • If you liked this post you might like these other posts by me:

  • A review of a wordless picture book, The Yellow Balloon by Charlotte Dematons
  • Learning how to stick a knitting needle through a balloon without it popping!
  • One of my all time favourite Playing by the book activities, inspired by Up with Birds! by John Yeoman and Quentin Blake
  • balloons

    If you’d like to receive all my posts from this blog please sign up by inputting your email address in the box below:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher. Whilst this book has been translated from Japanese, there is no information available regarding the translator.

    Emily’s Balloon
    Komako Sakai
    Chronicle Books
    £5.99 • Paperback •

    3 Comments on Emily’s Balloon, last added: 10/15/2015
    Display Comments Add a Comment
    6. “Death Note” Creators Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata Announce “Platinum’s End”

      You, me, and everyone into manga around 2006 should remember Death Note, the fantastic psychological thriller about a bored teenage genius outwitting the police and a reclusive detective as he reshapes the world one murder at a time.  Following the series’ conclusion, creators Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata went on to create the light-hearted Bakuman, […]

    0 Comments on “Death Note” Creators Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata Announce “Platinum’s End” as of 1/1/1900
    Add a Comment
    7. Comics Illustrators of the Week :: Gurihiru
















    I think this is the 2nd time we’ve honored a pair of illustrators together(the other being Los Bros Hernandez), but for all intents and purposes the Japanese dynamic duo “illustration unit” Gurihiru is “one” illustrator in the way the two works seamlessly together, focusing their particular talents in different skill sets to produce one beautiful picture. The Gurihiru team consists of Naoko Kawano(design, colors, webdesign) and Chifuyu Sasaki (design, pencils, inks). 

    Gurihiru is known for their comics work on titles such as Avatar: The Last Airbender, Wolverine and Power Pack, and A-babies vs. X-babies, to name a few. Team Gurihiru is also known for producing many dynamic variant covers for comics, including this week’s Silk #7 variant.

    You can check out more of Gurihiru’s art, including some of their game art design and animation work, on their website here.

    For more comics related art, you can follow me on my website comicstavern.com – Andy Yates

    0 Comments on Comics Illustrators of the Week :: Gurihiru as of 9/3/2015 4:13:00 PM
    Add a Comment
    8. Japanese Bookseller Fights Amazon With New Murakami Book

    Add a Comment
    9. What can we expect at Japan’s 70th war commemoration?

    As we approach the 70th anniversary of the end of Japan's War, Japan’s “history problem” – a mix of politics, identity, and nationalism in East Asia, brewing actively since the late 1990s – is at center stage. Nationalists in Japan, China, and the Koreas have found a toxic formula: turning war memory into a contest of national interests and identity, and a stew of national resentments.

    The post What can we expect at Japan’s 70th war commemoration? appeared first on OUPblog.

    0 Comments on What can we expect at Japan’s 70th war commemoration? as of 1/1/1900
    Add a Comment
    10. ‘The Synesthesia Ghost’ by Atsushi Makino

    A music video from Japan for Sasanomaly's "The Synesthesia Ghost."

    0 Comments on ‘The Synesthesia Ghost’ by Atsushi Makino as of 7/4/2015 8:56:00 PM
    Add a Comment
    11. Library Wars: Love and War

    Library Wars: Love & War Kiiro Yumi, original concept Hiro Arikawa, translated from the Japanese by John Werry

    This is a mega-review of vol. 1-13 (aka, the ones that are currently available in English)

    The Library Freedom Act

    Libraries have the freedom to acquire their collections.

    Libraries have the freedom to circulate materials in their collections.

    Libraries guarantee the privacy of their patrons.

    Libraries oppose any type of censorship.

    When libraries are imperiled, librarians will join together to secure their freedom.

    In the not-to-distant future, Japan passes the "Media Betterment Act" which censors objectionable material. Librarians are against censorship and will fight to keep their collections free and available. Literally fight. Like, they made an army. To fight against the federal censors(and their army).


    I devoured this series. Like, read all of them in a week, often staying up way past bedtime because I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN. I love the overall concept. Plus, not only is about people fighting to protect access to materials (with their literal lives!), but it's a shoju manga, so SO MUCH SEXUAL TENSION.

    Our main character, Iku Kasahara wants to join the Library Defense Force to be like her "prince"-- a member who saved a book she wanted to buy from censorship. She has passion, but not a lot of skill and is driven hard by her Sargent Dojo (who, um, OBVIOUSLY is her "prince.") She eventually becomes the first woman on a super elite squad that has to both be an army fighter, but also an actual librarian. But, over the run of the series, this is far from the only relationship we see (I won't say my favorite, because it develops pretty late and is a bit of a spoiler.)

    I love the politics and maneuvering the library forces do. I like the plotline where Kasahara's parents don't know what she does because she knows they won't approve. I love love love Kasahara's roommate, Asako Shibazaki. She's very beautiful and a bit aloof and a lot of people read her as shallow, but she has a lot going on beneath the surface. She's a librarian with some serious hidden talents. I love the way her character develops. (In fact, she might be my favorite character.)

    I like that there are cultural end notes to explain things, and several bonus mangas at the end of most volumes to fill in some quiet moments.

    The over-the-top melodrama of some of the relationship stuff gets old, but I'm starting to recognize that it's standard for a lot of shoju manga.


    If I understand Wikipedia correctly, there are 15 total volumes in this series. 13 are out in English now, and the 14th comes out in October. Based on past publication schedules, I'm guessing the 15th will be out next April. My one regret? This is based on a novel series and the source material doesn't seem to be available in English.

    Books Provided by... my local library

    Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support Biblio File by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links. Read my full disclosure statement.

    0 Comments on Library Wars: Love and War as of 7/1/2015 10:12:00 AM
    Add a Comment
    12. Artist of the Day: Nutoguran

    Discover the work of Nutoguran, Cartoon Brew's Artist of the Day!

    0 Comments on Artist of the Day: Nutoguran as of 6/3/2015 7:08:00 PM
    Add a Comment
    13. ‘Divide, Multiply’ by Keita Onishi

    A music video for Julien Mier & Magical Mistakes' "Divide, Multiply."

    0 Comments on ‘Divide, Multiply’ by Keita Onishi as of 5/26/2015 6:38:00 AM
    Add a Comment
    14. Obama Thanks Japan for Anime

    Cartoons bring the world together!

    0 Comments on Obama Thanks Japan for Anime as of 4/29/2015 6:39:00 AM
    Add a Comment
    15. The long history of World War II

    World War Two was the most devastating conflict in recorded human history. It was both global in extent and total in character. It has understandably left a long and dark shadow across the decades. Yet it is three generations since hostilities formally ended in 1945 and the conflict is now a lived memory for only a few. And this growing distance in time has allowed historians to think differently about how to describe it, how to explain its course, and what subjects to focus on when considering the wartime experience.

    The post The long history of World War II appeared first on OUPblog.

    0 Comments on The long history of World War II as of 4/18/2015 5:57:00 AM
    Add a Comment
    16. Artist of the Day: Momoro

    Discover the work of Momoro, Cartoon Brew's Artist of the Day!

    0 Comments on Artist of the Day: Momoro as of 4/14/2015 2:09:00 PM
    Add a Comment
    17. The Snow Kimono

    A buzz has been building about Australian author Mark Henshaw’s long awaited second novel after Out of the Line of Fire. The Snow Kimono (Text) is a literary psychological thriller set in Japan and France. Insights into both those countries shape the contours, ridges and atmosphere of the novel. Paris is wet and snowy and […]

    Add a Comment
    18. Japanese Company SoftBank In Talks To Buy DreamWorks Animation: Explained

    Everything you need to know about the possible sale of DreamWorks to Japanese company SoftBank.

    0 Comments on Japanese Company SoftBank In Talks To Buy DreamWorks Animation: Explained as of 9/29/2014 8:01:00 PM
    Add a Comment
    19. Gentlemen, Samurai, and Germans in China

    One hundred years ago today, far from the erupting battlefields of Europe, a small German force in the city of Tsingtau (Qingdao), Germany’s most important possession in China, was preparing for an impending siege. The small fishing village of Qingdao and the surrounding area had been reluctantly leased to the German Empire by the Chinese government for 99 years in 1898, and German colonists soon set about transforming this minor outpost into a vibrant city boasting many of the comforts of home, including the forerunner of the now-famous Tsingtao Brewery. By 1914, Qingdao had over 50,000 residents and was the primary trading port in the region. Given its further role as the base for the Far East Fleet of the Imperial German Navy, however, Qingdao was unable to avoid becoming caught up in the faraway European war.

    The forces that besieged Qingdao in the autumn of 1914 were composed of troops from Britain and Japan, the latter entering the war against Germany in accord with the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. The Alliance had been agreed in 1902 amid growing anxiety in Britain regarding its interests in East Asia, and rapidly modernizing Japan was seen as a useful ally in the region. For Japanese leaders, the signing of such an agreement with the most powerful empire of the day was seen as a major diplomatic accomplishment and an acknowledgement of Japan’s arrival as one of the world’s great powers. More immediately, the Alliance effectively guaranteed the neutrality of third parties in Japan’s looming war with Russia, and Japan’s victory in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 sent shockwaves across the globe as the first defeat of a great European empire by a non-Western country in a conventional modern war.

    Samurai!: Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA. Photo taken by Lorianne DiSabato available on Flickr (Creative Commons).
    Samurai!: Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA. By Lorianne DiSabato. CC-BY-NC-ND-3.0 via Flickr.

    In Britain, Japan’s victory was celebrated as a confirmation of the strength of its Asian ally, and represented the peak of a fascination with Japan in Britain that marked the first decade of the twentieth century. This culminated in the 1910 Japan-British Exhibition in London, which saw over eight million visitors pass through during its six-month tenure. In contrast, before the 1890s, Japan had been portrayed in Britain primarily as a relatively backward yet culturally interesting nation, with artists and intellectuals displaying considerable interest in Japanese art and literature. Japan’s importance as a military force was first recognized during the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95, and especially from the time of the Russo-Japanese War, Japan’s military prowess was popularly attributed to a supposedly ancient warrior spirit that was embodied in ‘bushido’, or the ‘way of the samurai’.

    The ‘bushido’ ideal was popularized around the world especially through the prominent Japanese educator Nitobe Inazo’s (1862-1933) book Bushido: The Soul of Japan, which was originally published in English in 1900 and achieved global bestseller status around the time of the Russo-Japanese War (a Japanese translation first appeared in 1908). The British public took a positive view towards the ‘national spirit’ of its ally, and many saw Japan as a model for curing perceived social ills. Fabian Socialists such as Beatrice Webb (1858-1943) and Oliver Lodge (1851-1940) lauded the supposed collectivism of ‘bushido’, while Alfred Stead (1877-1933) and other promoters of the Efficiency Movement celebrated Japan’s rapid modernization. For his part, H.G. Wells 1905 novel A Modern Utopia included a ‘voluntary nobility’ called ‘samurai,’ who guided society from atop a governing structure that he compared to Plato’s ideal republic. At the same time, British writers lamented the supposed decline of European chivalry from an earlier ideal, contrasting it with the Japanese who had seemingly managed to turn their ‘knightly code’ into a national ethic followed by citizens of all social classes.

    The ‘bushido boom’ in Britain was not mere Orientalization of a distant society, however, but was strongly influenced by contemporary Japanese discourse on the subject. The term ‘bushido’ only came into widespread use around 1900, and even a decade earlier most Japanese would have been bemused by the notion of a national ethic based on the former samurai class. Rather than being an ancient tradition, the modern ‘way of the samurai’ developed from a search for identity among Japanese intellectuals at the end of the nineteenth century. This process saw an increasing shift away from both Chinese and European thought towards supposedly native ideals, and the former samurai class provided a useful foundation. The construction of an ethic based on the ‘feudal’ samurai was given apparent legitimacy by the popularity of idealized chivalry and knighthood in nineteenth-century Europe, with the notion that English ‘gentlemanship’ was rooted in that nation’s ‘feudal knighthood’ proving especially influential. This early ‘bushido’ discourse profited from the nationalistic fervor following Japan’s victory over China in 1895, and the concept increasingly came to be portrayed as a unique and ancient martial ethic. At the same time, those theories that had drawn inspiration from European models came to be ignored, with one prominent Japanese promoter of ‘bushido’ deriding European chivalry as ‘mere woman-worship’.

    In the first years of the twentieth century, the Anglo-Japanese Alliance contributed greatly to the positive reception in Britain of theories positing a Japanese ‘martial race’, and the fate of ‘bushido’ in the UK demonstrated the effect of geopolitics on theories of ‘national characteristics’. By 1914, British attitudes had begun to change amid increasing concern regarding Japan’s growing assertiveness. Even the Anglo-Japanese operation that finally captured Qingdao in November was marked by British distrust of Japanese aims in China, a sentiment that was strengthened by Japan’s excessive demands on China the following year. Following the war, Japan’s reluctance to return the captured territory to China caused British opposition to Japan’s China policy to increase, leading to the end of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance in 1923. The two countries subsequently drifted even further apart, and by the 1930s, ‘bushido’ was popularly described in Britain as an ethic of treachery and cruelty, only regaining its positive status after 1945 through samurai films and other popular culture as Japan and Britain again became firm allies in the Cold War.

    Headline image credit: Former German Governor’s Residence in Qingdao, by Brücke-Osteuropa. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

    The post Gentlemen, Samurai, and Germans in China appeared first on OUPblog.

    0 Comments on Gentlemen, Samurai, and Germans in China as of 11/1/2014 5:05:00 AM
    Add a Comment
    20. Book Review: The Name of the Blade by Zoe Marriott

    The Name of the Blade
    by Zoë Marriott

    Mio Yamato has a secret sword hidden in the attic. Her grandfather, Ojiichan, showed it to her when she was nine years old, He told her that the sword would be hers when she turns 16, but he made her promise not to touch it before then. Ojiichan planned to teach her about the katana, but he never got a chance, because the next day he died from a massive stroke.

    All these years, Mio has avoided the sword as she promised her ojiichan, and kept it hidden away, even from the rest of her family. But when she needs a katana to complete her costume for a costume party a few days before her sixteenth birthday, she figures that she's close enough to 16 to take it. As soon as she touches the sword, though, strange things start happening. She feels an immediate connection to the sword; it's almost as if the sword is alive and speaking to her. Then a giant, catlike, many-tailed monster called the Nekomata appears. The Nekomata claims the katana, and threatens to kill everyone that Mio cares about to get it.

    With a distinctive teen voice and an action-packed plot full of Japanese monsters, sword battles, Kitsune, and a super-hot 500 year old Japanese dude, The Name of the Blade is loaded with teen appeal. It should especially appeal to anyone who likes anime, Japanese folklore or culture, but there's so much Japanese influence in pop culture today that its appeal should be much broader than that.

    The characters are interesting, well-rounded, and authentic teens. Mio is ethnically Japanese, but culturally she's a Londoner. Her ojiichan taught her Kendo and some Japanese folklore when he was still alive, but her father eschews his Japanese heritage, and Mio knows very little about Japan except for Kendo and anime. Mio's impulsiveness in taking the sword and her other early behavior show an immaturity that she starts to grow out of throughout the book, as she begins to take responsibility for the consequences.

    Her best friend Jack (Jacqueline) is a bit of a rebel, with pink and purple streaked hair and black fingernails. Both girls get along with their families, although Mio's relationship with her father is somewhat strained. Shinobu, the 500-year-old Japanese boy, is mostly a one-note character, but his hotness more than makes up for that. He looks out for Mio, and yet I found it refreshing that he doesn't try to take the sword from her, even though they both have a claim to it, and he lets her take the lead in battle. (Although he does teach her a few things about combat).

    There is also a young Kitsune (fox spirit) named Hikaru. The Kitsune are one of my favorite parts of this book. Apparently, there's a London court of Kitsune; how cool is that? Mio, Jack, and Shinobu get caught up in Kitsune politics when they visit the court to ask for assistance.

    The plot is exciting but well-paced. The story alternates the big battle scenes with quieter moments and other challenges. It's quite an enjoyable read.

    There are a few things that weren't explained, but since this is the first book in a trilogy, I hope that everything will be explained fully before the end.


    The Name of the Blade does well on diversity. Besides Mio's Japanese heritage, Jack and her sister Rachel had a grandmother who came from Barbados, and they have brown skin. Jack is also a lesbian, which comes up a few times, but doesn't really play a role in the story, except when Jack has to tell a Kitsune who is sweet on her that he isn't her type. The girls are multifaceted personalities that are not defined by their ethnicity or sexuality.

    Who would like this book:

    Anyone with an interest in Japanese folklore, culture, martial arts, or anime. Anyone who likes stories where the contemporary world intersects with the fantastic.

    FTC required disclosure: Review copy sent by the publisher to enable me to write this review. The bookstore links above are affiliate links, and I earn a very small percentage of any sales made through the links. Neither of these things influenced my review.

    0 Comments on Book Review: The Name of the Blade by Zoe Marriott as of 1/1/1900
    Add a Comment
    21. ‘Na Ni Nu Ne No No’ by Manabu Himeda

    Hey Nu! Hey You! We have to be "Na Ni Ne No" without you! Hey Nu.

    0 Comments on ‘Na Ni Nu Ne No No’ by Manabu Himeda as of 1/5/2015 3:17:00 PM
    Add a Comment
    22. Misunderstanding World War II

    The Second World War affected me quite directly, when along with the other students of the boarding school in Swanage on the south coast of England I spent lots of time in the air raid shelter in the summer of 1940. A large German bomb dropped into the school grounds fortunately did not explode so that we survived. To process for entry into the United States, I then had to go to London and thus experienced the beginnings of the Blitz before crossing the Atlantic in September. Perhaps this experience had some influence on my deciding to write on the origins and course of the Second World War.

    Over the years, there have been four trends in the writing on that conflict that seemed and still seem defective to me. One has been the tendency to overlook the fact that the earth is round. The Axis Powers made the huge mistake of failing to engage this fact during the war and never coordinated their strategies accordingly, and too many have followed this bad example in looking at the conflict in retrospect. Events in Europe, North Africa, and the Pacific often influenced each other, and it has always seemed to me that it was the ability of Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt to engage the global reality that made a significant contribution to the victory of the Allies.

    A second element in distortions of the war has been the influence of mendacious memoirs of German generals and diplomats, especially those translated into English. The enthusiasm of Germany’s higher commanders for Adolf Hitler and his projects vanished in the postwar years as they blamed him for whatever went wrong, imagined that it was cold and snowed only on the German army in Russia, and evaded their own involvement in massive atrocities against Jews and vast numbers of other civilians. They were happy to accept bribes, decorations, and promotions from the leader they adored; but in an interesting reversal of their fakery after the First World War, when they blamed defeat on an imaginary “stab-in-the-back,” this time they blamed their defeat on the man at the top. Nothing in their memoirs can be believed unless substantiated by contemporary evidence.

    A third contribution to misunderstanding of the great conflict comes from an all too frequent neglect of the massive sources that have become available in recent decades. It is much easier to manufacture fairy tales at home and in a library than to dig through the enormous masses of paper in archives. A simple but important example relates to the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan. One can always dream up alternative scenarios, but working through the mass of intercepted and decoded Japanese messages is indeed tedious work. It does, however, lead to the detailed recommendation of the Japanese ambassador in Moscow in the summer of 1945 urging surrender rather than following the German example of fighting to the bitter end, and to the reply from Tokyo thanking him for his advice and telling him that the governing council had discussed and unanimously rejected it.

    Nagasaki, Japan. Photo by Cpl. Lynn P. Walker, Jr. (Marine Corps). Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
    Nagasaki, Japan. Photo by Cpl. Lynn P. Walker, Jr. (Marine Corps). Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

    A fourth type of misunderstanding comes from a failure to recognize the purpose of the war Germany initiated. Hitler did not go to war because the French refused to let him visit the Eiffel tower, invade the Soviet Union because Joseph Stalin would not let the German Labor Front place a “Strength through Joy” cruise ship on the Caspian Sea, or have a murder commando attached to the headquarters of Erwin Rommel in Egypt in the summer of 1942 to dismantle one of the pyramids for erection near Berlin renamed “Germania.” The purpose of the war was not, like most prior wars, for adjacent territory, more colonies, bases, status, resources, and influence. It was for a demographic revolution on the globe of which the extermination of all Jews was one facet in the creation of a world inhabited solely by Germanic and allegedly similar peoples. Ironically it was the failure of Germany’s major allies to understand this concept that led them over and over again, beginning in late 1941, to urge Hitler to make peace with the Soviet Union and concentrate on crushing Great Britain and the United States. World War II was fundamentally different from World War I and earlier conflicts. If we are ever to understand it, we need to look for something other than the number popularly attached to it.

    Featured image credit: Air raid shelter, by Rasevic. CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

    The post Misunderstanding World War II appeared first on OUPblog.

    0 Comments on Misunderstanding World War II as of 1/6/2015 12:01:00 AM
    Add a Comment
    23. Our Five Favorite Books This February

    This month on Five First Book Favorites you’ll find books that help kids understand civil rights and fair wages, explore different cultures… or even explore the moon!

    For PreK – 1st (Ages 2-6)

    yakyuTake Me Out To The Yakyu By Aaron Meshon

    The narrator of this delightful book is a boy who loves baseball – in two different countries! He goes to games in the U.S. with his American grandfather (pop pop) and games in Japan with his Japanese grandfather (ji ji). Bold, colorful illustrations show, side-by-side, the trip to each stadium. It’s a wonderful invitation for kids to compare and contrast two different experiences and also reflect on the countries and cultures of their own families.

    For Grades 1-3 (Ages 5-8)

    Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers’ brave_girlStrike of 1909 written by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Melissa Sweet

    Clara Lemlich immigrated to New York with nothing aside from her family, clothes, and a few words of English. When her parents were unable to find work, she took a job as a garment factory worker – earning a few dollars a month for countless hours bent over a sewing machine. With a blend of vivid watercolors and stitched fabrics, this book tells the story of how Clara led her coworkers on strike to protest their horrendous working conditions. Bosses of the factories paid for Clara to be beaten and arrested repeatedly, but nothing could stop this gritty, five-foot tall woman from securing a better life for millions.

    For Grades 2-5 (Ages 6-10)

    moonshotMoonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca

    The moment Apollo 11’s Eagle touched down on the Moon, it became a defining moment for a nation that had lived up to a President’s lofty goal. With stunning illustrations,  this poetic story allows you to join Armstrong, Collins, and Aldrin as they prepare for liftoff, follows them at every stage of the mission, and doesn’t let go until they are safely back home. Brian Floca has created a work of art worthy of inspiring young readers to dream beyond what is easy, and strive for what is hard.

    For Grades 5+ (Ages 10 and up)


    The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin

    Loading 500-pound bombs into a Navy warship is, to say the least, a dangerous job. On July 17th, 1944, the fears of the untrained men who held this job became reality when an explosion claimed the lives of 320 men, the majority of whom were black. During this time, the Navy, like every other part of the United States Military, was segregated,frequently leaving black men to be treated as second class citizens serving menial roles. This masterfully crafted nonfiction book follows the fifty men who refused to go back to this life-threatening and degrading work, and the court case that followed.


    For Grades 6+ (Age 11 and up)

    okay_for_nowOkay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt

    There are few characters you will ever root for more than Doug Swieteck. On the surface, he is a good for nothing, skinny thug with a reading disability. Just ask his teachers and they’ll tell you. However in the depths of Doug Swieteck, where this book takes place, you find a boy who is trapped – one brother a bully, one a vacant shell of his pre-war self, and an abusive alcoholic for a father who has left a horrific mark on his youngest son. The secrets Doug is holding back from the reader are gut-wrenching, but with the help of a few strangers-turned-friends and a newfound passion for art, this fourteen-year-old will inspire every person lucky enough to pick up his story.

    The post Our Five Favorite Books This February appeared first on First Book Blog.

    0 Comments on Our Five Favorite Books This February as of 2/19/2015 12:11:00 PM
    Add a Comment
    24. Exorcising the Past: A Reading & Talk

    Marie Mockett's childhood notebook

    On March 5, Marie Mutsuki Mockett and I will be reading and talking about exorcising the past (all meanings of exorcise possible) at McNally Jackson at 6 p.m.

    Marie’s wonderful new book, Where the Dead Pause and the Japanese Say Goodbye, is about death and grief and family and ghosts and so much more. She’ll read from it, and I’ll read from the working introduction to my book on the science and superstition of ancestry, and then we’ll talk about all of that and take questions and comments from you. Hope to see you there!

    This image is from one of Marie’s childhood notebooks; she shared it with the Asian American Writers’ Workshop when they visited her writing studio.

    Add a Comment
    25. ‘Doraemon’ Beats ‘American Sniper’ at Japanese Box Office

    America's deadliest marksman gets taken out by a loveable blue robotic cat creature.

    0 Comments on ‘Doraemon’ Beats ‘American Sniper’ at Japanese Box Office as of 3/9/2015 5:38:00 PM
    Add a Comment

    View Next 25 Posts