Tales from the cracks: 10 of the best books about Japan released in 2016

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It’s been a difficult year — one that felt like humanity was living on a fracturing ice shelf. That uncertainty came from our exposure to wars and natural disasters, and even our struggles with “truth” itself. The best Japan-related books released in 2016 seemed to channel this feeling of instability by looking inside the growing cultural cracks. Here are 10 that went beyond old narratives about Japan and its people and delved deeper into Japan’s fragmented past, present and future: from alternative views of the Pearl Harbor attack to Japanese prostitutes in the American West and from radical 1960s anarchists to the story of an inspector trapped in a bureaucratic nightmare.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently announced his plan to visit Pearl Harbor to mark the 75th anniversary of the attack, making him the first Japanese leader to visit to the USS Arizona Memorial. “Countdown to Pearl Harbor,” Pulitzer Prize-winner Steve Twomey’s reappraisal of the events leading to the attack, is required reading for those wondering why the Japanese chose such a perilous path to World War II and why the U.S. fleet was caught unguarded. It goes far beyond the slew of op-eds, think-pieces and below-the-line arguments about Abe’s plan. Read more

Source: Japan Times

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