JAPAN: Portrait of a Paradox by Quentin Crewe

JAPAN: Portrait of a Paradox

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An English writer and editor who picked up wife, child and typewriter for a long sojourn in Japan now gives us a vivid and perceptive picture of that nation as it is today. He warns us at the first that he found Japan no longer the romantic, oriental lantern country of storybook and song. His experiences soon prove that to the reader. Here is Tokyo with its department stores, commuter trains, 30,000 bars, slums and suburbs. Here is the historic Tokaido Highway---a vital thread running through Japanese history, religion, and economics---with its towns constantly changing and growing. Here too are the long conversations with professors, students, innkeepers, common people, which illustrate most effectively the state of flux between the old and the new in which Japan now finds itself. Sidelight views of Geisha life, of a professor's family, or the pathos of Hiroshima victims, bring the human side of the story into even sharper focus. Out of all the travels, the talks and study, a paradoxical picture emerged of a nation trying to accept western ideas while still imbued with oriental fatalism, or of a people whose leisurely attitude toward life is more and more threatened by the fast western of their cities. Valuable for students of the East, and especially for those who plan to journey there themselves soon.

Pub Date: March 19th, 1962
Publisher: Nelson