Monday, February 06, 2006
In his article, "Turning Un-Japanese" for Newsweek: International Editions, Christian Caryl mentions Donald Richie, author of several books from Stone Bridge Press, including The Japan Journals:
Donald Richie has been living in Japan for half a century. The American writer, translator and film scholar has spent most of that time explaining Japan to the English-speaking world. But lately he's found himself, somewhat disconcertingly, in an entirely new role—as an interpreter of Japan to the Japanese.
The Tokyo university students who attend his lectures on the great postwar filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu no longer understand the world portrayed in the 1953 classic Tokyo Story. They don't know anything about the family system because the family system doesn't exist anymore," says Richie. "So I have to reconstruct it for them." They can still understand the traditional, intricately polite version of Japanese used in the movies, but that language sounds alien, as if it comes from a "vanished" world, he says.