The private collections of longtime Japan resident and expert on modern Japanese culture Donald Richie capture the personalities of certain Japanese people--some famous, some unknown--with insight and humor.
This extraordinary collection of individual portraits is perhaps the first book about the Japanese to view them entirely unhindered by the various theories about them—people as complicated, as simple, as inscrutable, and as understandable as anyone else.
In these fifty–four pieces there are both the famous—Mishima, Kawabata, Mifune, Kurosawa—and the unknown: the would–be geisha, the ex–boxer turned gangster, the scheming bar madame and the old man dying alone. Here is the notorious Sada Abe, who mutilated her dead lover and whose story was filmed in Oshima's The Realm of the Senses
And here is Oshima himself, dead drunk and making perfect sense; here is the actress who played Abe, exiled in Rome. Here too is the delivery boy who kills himself for love, the girl who loved a Korean, and the actress, a public idol, who suddenly and permanently disappeared from view.
And there are dozens of others, individuals who have in common, besides their Japanese nationality, the fact that they knew the author, and that —fortunatly for us—he knew them. This highly personal reminiscences form one of the most original and deeply felt books on Japan ever to appear.
About the Author: Donald Richie is perhaps best known as the leading Western authority on the Japanese film and has lived in Japan since 1947. Author of the definitive works on Kurosawa and Ozu, his most recent is A Hundred Years of Japanese Film. He also write on other aspects of japan and is the author of thirty books and dozens of essays. Richie is especially well-known for his travel memoir The Inland Sea which has been adapted into a popular PBS documentary. His best-known collection is The Donald Richie Reader, which contains 50 years of his writings on Japan.