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Book Title: The Japan Journals: 1947-2004|
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 7.38 MB
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The author of the book: Donald Richie
Edition: Stone Bridge Press
Date of issue: September 1st 2005
ISBN 13: 9781880656976
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Reader ratings: 7.6
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Donald Richie has been observing and writing about Japan from the moment he arrived on New Year’s Eve, 1946. Detailing his life, his lovers, and his ideas on matters high and low, The Japan Journals is a record of both a nation and an evolving expatriate sensibility. As Japan modernizes and as the author ages, the tone grows elegiac, and The Japan Journals—now in paperback after the critically acclaimed hardcover edition—becomes a bittersweet chronicle of a complicated life well lived and captivatingly told.
Donald Richie, the eminent film historian, novelist, and essayist, still lives in Tokyo.
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Read information about the authorDonald Richie is an American-born author who has written about the Japanese people and Japanese cinema. Although he considers himself only a writer, Richie has directed many experimental films, the first when he was 17. Although Richie speaks Japanese fluently, he can neither read nor write it.
During World War II, he served aboard Liberty ships as a purser and medical officer. By then he had already published his first work, "Tumblebugs" (1942), a short story.
In 1947, Richie first visited Japan with the American occupation force, a job he saw as an opportunity to escape from Lima, Ohio. He first worked as a typist, and then as a civilian staff writer for the Pacific Stars and Stripes. While in Tokyo, he became fascinated with Japanese culture, particularly Japanese cinema. He was soon writing movie reviews in the Stars and Stripes. In 1948 he met Kashiko Kawakita who introduced him to Yasujiro Ozu. During their long friendship, Richie and Kawakita collaborated closely in promoting Japanese film in the West.
After returning to the United States, he enrolled at Columbia University's School of General Studies in 1949, and received his Bachelor's Degree in English in 1953. Richie then returned to Japan as film critic for the The Japan Times and spent much of the second half of the twentieth century living there. In 1959, he published his first book, The Japanese Film: Art and Industry, coauthored with Joseph Anderson. In this work, the authors gave the first English language account of Japanese film. Richie served as Curator of Film at the New York Museum of Modern Art from 1969 to 1972. In 1988, he was invited to become the first guest director at the Telluride Film Festival.
Among his most noted works on Japan are The Inland Sea, a travel classic, and Public People, Private People, a look at some of Japan's most significant and most mundane people. He has compiled two collections of essays on Japan: A Lateral View and Partial Views. A collection of his writings has been published to commemorate fifty years of writing about Japan: The Donald Richie Reader. The Japan Journals: 1947-2004 consists of extended excerpts from his diaries.
In 1991, filmmakers Lucille Carra and Brian Cotnoir produced a film version of The Inland Sea, which Richie narrated. Produced by Travelfilm Company, the film won numerous awards, including Best Documentary at the Hawaii International Film Festival (1991) and the Earthwatch Film Award. It screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 1992.
Author Tom Wolfe describes Richie as: "the Lafcadio Hearn of our time, a subtle, stylish, and deceptively lucid medium between two cultures that confuse one another: the Japanese and the American."
Richie's most widely recognized accomplishment has been his analysis of Japanese cinema. From his first published book, Richie has revised not only the library of films he discusses, but the way he analyzes them. With each subsequent book, he has focused less on film theory and more on the conditions in which the films were made. One thing that has emerged in his works is an emphasis on the "presentational" nature of Japan's cinema, in contrast to the "representational" films of the West. His book, A Hundred Years Of Japanese Film includes a helpful guide to the availability of the films on home video and DVD mentioned in the main text. In the foreword to this book, Paul Schrader says: "Whatever we in the West know about Japanese film, and how we know it, we most likely owe to Donald Richie." Richie also has written analyses of two of Japan's best known filmmakers: Yasujiro Ozu and Akira Kurosawa.
Richie has written the English subtitles for Akira Kurosawa's films Kagemusha (1980) and Dreams (1990).
In the 21st century, Richie has become noted for his erudite audio commentaries for The Criterion Collection on DVDs of various classic Japanese films, notably those of Ozu (A Story of Floating Weeds, Early Summer), Mikio Naruse (When a Woman Ascend
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