- The Journal
KJ writers & artists
Without input from our contributors, KJ would not exist. Here we introduce some, but not all, of the people who make KJ what it is. This page, like KJ itself, is a work in progress. A Yuko Abe Jacoba Akazawa Lisa Y Allen John Ashburne B Ry Beville Vinayak Bharne Winifred Bird Robert Brady John Brandi Philip Brasor Sarah Brayer Everett K. Brown Ted Burger C Trevor Carolan Margaret Chula Stephen Cooley Andy Couturier Lucinda “Ping” Cowing David Cozy Joseph Cronin Paul Crouse D Thomas Daniell Paul Denhoed Lauren W. Deutsch Patricia Donegan John Dougill Jean Downey E John Einarsen Sage Einarsen Scott Ezell F Avery Fischer Udagawa Jeff Fuchs G Micah Gampel Morgan Gibson Stephen Gill David Greer Gail Gutradt H Jenny Hall Julie Hall Roy Hamric Stephanie Han Molly Harberger Michael Hofmann Preston Houser Kimberley Hughes I Jeffrey Irish Pico Iyer J Eric Johnston Lois P Jones K Kaneko Amane Takuya Kamibayashi Kawasaki Takeshi Marc Peter Keane Alex Kerr Koo Bohnchang Kimberlye Kowalcyzk Robert Kowalcyzk W. David Kubiak L Michael Lambe Alan Lau Tiery Le Taigen Leighton Matthias Ley Eric Luong M Gaetano Maeda Sachiko Matsuyama Deidre May N Sherry Nakanishi O Leanne Ogasawara Okazaki Taka Jeffrey Osborn Sean O’Toole Rebecca Otawa P Susan Pavloska Catherine Pawasat Midori Paxton Marlies Peeters Lynda Grace Philippson Q R Vinita Ramani Mohan Ken Rodgers S Jonah Salz Paul Scott Albie Sharp Edith Shiffert Jane Singer Rasoul Sorkhabi Gary Snyder Richard Steiner Suzuki Kazue Tomas Svab Arthur Sze T Holly Thompson Toshiya Kamei Toyoshima Mizuho Royall Tyler U V W Markuz Wernli Saito Stewart Wachs Christal Whelan Brian Williams Mark Willis Harold Wright Y Rimi Yang
LISA Y ALLEN
LISA Y ALLEN has lived in Kyoto since 2012. Born in Tokyo and with roots in Nara, she has lived in London, the Washington DC area, North Carolina and Buenos Aires. Her adventures have now brought her full circle back to Japan. Currently, Lisa is (mainly) a freelance writer and high school/ children's English teacher. She also snaps photos and adds a short story of her meanderings in Kyoto on her photo blog ethnicallydisoriented.tumblr.com. If she's not out roaming the mountains and nature of Kyoto on her bicycle, she can be found at Impact Hub Kyoto or at one of the many amazing veg restaurants in town.
Yorkshire-born John Ashburne is an award-winning photographer, writer, artist and peripatetic bon vivant who specializes in Japan, its culture and cuisine. Resident in Japan since the late 1980s, he has written for countless international publications including Vogue (Entertaining and Travel), Gourmet Traveller, Newsweek Japan, Lonely Planet, and Louis Vuitton’s City Guide Kyoto Nara 2011. As primary restaurant reviewer for the latter, his arm was twisted into visiting over 50 of Kyoto’s finest eateries, yet you are just as likely to find him in a soba shop atop a Gunma mountain as in a Gion ryotei. His collection of photographs Fujori no Mori ‘The Forest of the Absurd’ will be available as soon as he finds a publisher who understands that steam-irons come embedded with nails.
Ry Beville is the publisher of Koe Magazine, a bilingual underground culture magazine in Japan (www.koemagazine.com). He has also translated two volumes of poetry by Nakahara Chuya, and contributed an article to KJ about the issues in translating this early 20th century great. He received his masters in Japanese studies from the University of California, Berkeley, was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Tokyo, and is finishing his PhD on modern Japanese poetic form. He also publishes a popular seasonal journal called The Japan Beer Times, which is Japan's only beer magazine (www.japanbeertimes.com).
Vinayak Bharne, a native of India, is an award-winning urban designer, author and professor of urban design at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. A former Asia-Pacific Development Commission Traveling Scholar to Japan, he has written widely on Japanese culture and architecture for sources such as the Japan Foundation, Journal of Architectural Education, Society for Asian Art, and Kyoto Journal, including an afterword to the Slovenian translation of Junichiro Tanizaki's classic "In Praise of Shadows" (Koda Press, 2002). He is the contributing author of books such as "Los Angeles: Building the Polycentric Region" (CNU 2005), "Aesthetics of Sustainable Architecture" (010 Publishers, 2011), "Planning Los Angeles" (APA Planners Press, 2012), and the Editor and contributing author of the forthcoming book '"The Emerging Asian City: Concomitant Urbanities & Urbanisms" (Routledge, 2012). He currently lives in Pasadena, California with his wife and two children.
Winifred Bird is a freelance writer living in rural Japan. Her work focuses on the natural world and people’s place within it.
Robert Brady, who has been keeping a journal since the 1960s, has taken up the blog format as a natural extension, in which he now engages pretty much daily at
John Brandi, poet, painter, essayist, and haijin, was born in Los Angeles in 1943. Author of three-dozen books of poetry, essays and haiku, John Brandi has given readings internationally. Travels to Cuba, Vietnam, China, Indonesia, India and Nepal have informed much of his writing. In 2005 he co-edited The Unswept Path: Contemporary American Haiku and in 2008 presented lectures on “The Haiku Journey: Basho to Kerouac,” and on “Haiku: Walking the Contemporary Path” for the Palace of Governors Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 2009 he gave the keynote speech for the Haiku North America Conference in Ottawa, Canada. In 2010 he was invited to India to lecture on the practice of haiku. John Brandi lives with his wife, Renée Gregorio, in New Mexico, in a house of earth and hand-hewn timbers. Recent books of longer poems include Facing High Water and In What Disappears. His newest, Seeding the Cosmos, presents haiku selections from 30 years devoted to the craft.
Sarah Brayer is known internationally for her poured washi paperworks and aquatint prints. Drawn to Japanese art through raku-style ceramics and the color aquatints of Mary Cassatt, she studied Japanese woodblock printing with Yoshida Toshi (1911-1996), the son of influential artist Yoshida Hiroshi. In 1986 she opened her own print studio in an old kimono weaving factory in northern Kyoto. Brayer first encountered poured washi — the technique she soon adopted — during a visit to Dieu Donné Papermill in New York City in 1986. This somewhat unpredictable yet painterly technique seemed a perfect blend of chance and design, leading her to the ancient Japanese paper center of Echizen to experiment with large-scale poured-paper images. Her largest to date is Katsura Squares, a 42 ft.-long washi mural installed at Ozumo restaurant in Oakland, CA (2008). In 1992, she was the first artist ever invited to exhibit at Byodoin Temple, a World Heritage site dating from the Heian period, as part of Kyoto’s 1200-year celebration. Residing in Kyoto since 1980, Sarah Brayer divides her working time among Kyoto, Imadate (in Fukui pref.), and New York City. Her art is in the collections of the British Museum, the Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian, and the American Embassy, Tokyo.
EVERETT K. BROWN
Everett Kennedy Brown is a photojournalist and writer based in Tokyo. His work appears regularly in Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Financial Times, The International Herald Tribune and other major media. At present, he is the Regional Chief Photographer for European Pressphoto Agency (EPA).
Everett's awards include Picture of the Year from Geo Magazine, Germany and selection in MILK: A Celebration of Humanity. His photographs are exhibited regularly in galleries and museums worldwide. His books include Ganguro Girls (Konneman), Ore-tachi no Nippon (Shogakukan) and Ikete-iru Iin-jyan-nai (Kindai-eiga-sha).
Everett lives with his wife and essayist, Deco Nakajima, and their five children in an old Japanese farmhouse where he grows heirloom rice varieties as part of his on-going study of Japan's fundamental culture.
Edward Burger is a documentary filmmaker. He studied religion at The College of Wooster, where he began studying Buddhism, and studied abroad in Bodh Gaya, India. While living in China for 9 years, Burger studied under his Buddhist Master there- the inspiration for his first documentary, Amongst White Clouds. His feature documentaries include portraits of Buddhist hermits in China's Zhongnan Mountains and shadow puppeteers in the village streets of China's Shaanxi Province. He is currently producing a series of academic short films on Buddhist life in Modern China entitled, The Dreaming Buddhas Project. Burger now lives in Vietnam.
Charlie Canning spent ten years teaching English at Naruto University of Education and Konan Women’s University before enrolling in the PhD program in creative writing at the University of Adelaide. His contributions to Kyoto Journal include the feature article Nothing Like a Hundred Miles in KJ 65, Inoue Yasushi’s English Grammar Lesson in KJ 66, and two book reviews. The 89th Temple is his first novel.
Trevor Carolan writes from North Vancouver where he served as an elected District Councilman and teaches English at nearby University of the Fraser Valley. His 16 books include the recent anthologies Another Kind of Paradise: Short Stories from the New Asia-Pacific and The Lotus Singers: Contemporary Stories from South Asia (Cheng & Tsui). His Return To Stillness: Twenty Years with a Tai Chi Master, is a frequently cited text on the subjects of Tai Chi and Taoism; and his memoir Giving Up Poetry: With Allen Ginsberg at Hollyhock, has become a favourite title in Beat Lit Studies. His lengthy essay entitled “Ecosystems, Mandalas, and Watersheds : The Dharma Citizenship of Gary Snyder” appears in Making Waves: Reading B.C. and Pacific Northwest Literature. The international editor of Pacific Rim Review of Books, he earned an interdisciplinary PhD at Bond University, Queensland, and has campaigned on behalf of Canadian environmental, Aboriginal land-claim, and Pacific Rim human rights issues.
Margaret Chula lived in a traditional Japanese house in Kyoto with her husband John Hall for twelve years. Besides teaching creative writing at Kyoto Seika College and Doshisha Womens' College, she also studied ikebana and woodblock printing. On her free days, she'd drive her 50cc motorbike up to Ohara temples to write haiku. Now living in Portland, Oregon, she enjoys hiking, gardening, swimming, and giving poetry readings at bookstores, conferences, and zen centers. To view her six collections of poetry visit her website at http://www.margaretchula.com/ She also keeps a blog at She keeps a blog at http://www.margaretchula.blogspot.com
Stephen Cooley is currently employed as a Regional Coordinator with the Native-speaking English Teacher (NET) Section, Education Bureau (EDB), Hong Kong, where he coordinates professional development programs and develops English language learning and teaching resources for Hong Kong secondary schools.
Stephen’s first experience living in Asia was when he came to Shiga Prefecture to teach English in the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program in the early 1990s. This experience altered the direction of his life, giving him a new critical lens through which to view his own cultural background, while gaining an appreciation of Japan and other cultures.
Stephen is originally from Westchester County, New York. He has been living in Hong Kong with his wife Kaori and their daughter Lisa since 2000. He is particularly interested in post-colonial literature and cross-cultural communication and is a long-time friend of KJ.
Stephen can be contacted at kscooley41[at]yahoo.com
Andy Couturier, MA, is the author of A Different Kind of Luxury: Japanese Lessons in Simple Living and Inner Abundance (Stone Bridge Press, 2010) and Writing Open the Mind: Tapping the Subconscious to Free The Writing and the Writer (Ulysses Press, 2005). He is an essayist, a poet and a professionally-trained writing teacher. His writing has appeared in newspapers, magazines and literary journals including Adbusters, Creative Non-Fiction, The Japan Times, The North American Review, The Oakland Tribune, Kyoto Journal, Fiber Arts, The Writer, and others. One of his essays received an editor's nomination for a Pushcart Prize and another appeared in an anthology of ecological writings put out by MIT Press. He has taught writing at California State University, Hayward, the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology and JFK University. The website for his writing courses is http://theopening.org and the blog for his book on Japanese environmentalists is http://differentkindofluxury.com If you would like to contact Andy by email: andy[at]theopening.org
LUCINDA "PING" COWING
Lucinda “Ping” Cowing is Associate Editor for Kyoto Journal, having joined as in intern in 2010, overseeing KJ's transition to a digital publication.
Ping is the Kyoto representative for
David Cozy wasn’t, and then, on the outskirts of Los Angeles, he was. Nurtured by loving parents and the television series that defined those years, he grew up wondering why the Peter Gunn theme song excited him so much more than the show it heralded, and why the same was true for I Spy. He is eternally grateful to his father for prying the Hardy Boys mystery out of his hands and replacing it with something by Ed McBain, and wonders how he could ever have delighted in the high jinx of Frank and Joe.
Music and books, including and in addition to McBain and Peter Gunn, enabled him to avoid and augment the education to which he was subjected, until at last, he escaped from it altogether. He was, for some years, a freeter, before washing up in Japan, where, to his amazement, people pay him to read and write about books. At home on the Shonan coast, he is not based anywhere and never divides his time.
Joseph Cronin has lived in Japan for more than 25 years. He teaches English in Kyoto. He has written a biography of Oishi Seinosuke (1867-1911) – The Life of Seinosuke: Dr. Oishi and the High Treason Incident (2007). He has also translated the autobiography of Nishimura Isaku (1884-1963) – Ware ni eki ari: Nishimura Isaku jiden (1960). It was published as Freethinker: the Autobiography of Nishimura Isaku (2010).
Photographer Paul Crouse came to Kyoto in the mid 1990s after working as a staff newspaper photographer with the Grand Rapids Press in Michigan, USA. His current day job is at the Kyoto YWCA (that’s “W” not “M”) where he gets to work with wonderful people — including toddlers — as opposed to taking pictures of car accidents, murders and political propaganda. He likes hanging out with two-year-olds much better. See his photos at:
Paul Denhoed writes and lectures about the history, technique, and culture of Japanese hand papermaking. He completed his graduate studies at the University of Iowa Center for the Book, and in Japan he has trained with Richard Flavin, Shinichiro Abe, and Hiroaki Imai. He is currently teaching at Asia University in Tokyo.
LAUREN W. DEUTSCH
Lauren says "I offer a bow to the people of Tohoku who are capable of maintaining their humanity while surviving the aftermath of the tsunami / earthquake / nuclear reactor melt-down. The rest is just history"
Patricia Donegan is a poet, translator and promoter of haiku as an awareness practice. She was faculty of East-West poetics at Naropa University under Allen Ginsberg and Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a student of haiku master Seishi Yamaguchi and a Fulbright scholar to Japan. She is a meditation teacher and has been the poetry editor/a contributing editor of Kyoto Journal. Her haiku works include: Chiyo-ni Woman Haiku Master co-authored with Yoshie Ishibashi. Haiku (for Kids), Haiku Mind: 108 Poems to Cultivate Awareness & Open Your Heart, and Love Haiku: Japanese Poems of Yearning, Passion & Remembrance (translated with Ishibashi). Her poetry collections include: Without Warning, Bone Poems, Heralding the Milk Light, and Hot Haiku. She now resides in Chicago by Lake Michigan.
John Dougill grew up in Grimsby, UK, and has spent the rest of his life getting as far away as possible. His student days took place at Leeds University and Queen's College, Oxford, in the heady days of the early 1970s, but his education only really started when he spent a year travelling round the world: Nepal and Bali were his favourites. As an EFL teacher, he spent three years in the Middle East and seven years in Oxford before moving to Japan in 1986. He is currently professor of British Studies at Ryukoku University in Kyoto. He has written guide books to Oxford, a book on British Film, and Kyoto: A Cultural History, and In Search of Japan’s Hidden Christians (Tuttle). Amongst his hobbies are chess, haiku and the spirit of place –
In the deepening woods:
Red, red berries
Jean Miyake Downey's connection with KJ began in 1991, she saw No. 17 on a magazine stand in a bookstore next to the Almond coffeeshop at Roppongi crossing in Tokyo. The cover was illustrated with Walt Whitman quote ("Divine nimbus exhales from it head to foot, It attracts with fierce undeniable attraction, I am drawn by its breath as if I were no more than a helpless vapor...) and a drawing by Athanasius Kircher, an 17th c. archaeologist who drew upon knowledge of Aztecs, Hindus, and Buddhists to create a theory that all world civilizations had a single origin. Ten years later, Jean began writing for KJ, exploring similar themes of shared global cultural roots, in articles on the Ainu, Japanese multicultural history, and the Silk Road. She also writes on nonviolent social change, engaged arts and has also contributed to The Encyclopedia of Love in World Religions, The Asia-Pacific Journal and Turning Wheel.
Alexander was born in Germany and is currently working as a illustrator and concept artist. He studied illustration at the School of Art and Design Kassel in Germany and moved to Japan in 2011 to further his studies in the Faculty of Manga at Kyoto Seika University. He has been working as an illustrator in various fields such as children's books, games and print magazines, and has been contributing to Kyoto Journal by illustrating various stories and articles (see especially 'On Passage,' KJ 78). His hobbies are cycling, games, science and a lot of good food. You can see some of his work at http://www.draude.com
John Einarsen is the founding editor and art director of Kyoto Journal. His first encounter with Asia was on a minesweeper that conducted operations in Haiphong Harbor during the last days of the Vietnam War. On his tour of duty he came to Yokusuka for fire fighting school and fell in love with Japan, vowing to return someday. He made it, and put down roots in Kyoto after he buried his backpack in the Eastern Hills in the early eighties. He helped produce Journey East with Robert Kowalczyk, an exhibition of Asian art, music and dance that was held in Moscow in 1994, and PeaceWorks, an exhibition of "Peace Photography" that was held at Yokohama Zaim in August of 2008. He has designed many books, as well as published his own, including Zen and Kyoto and In the Realm of Bicycle. He presently teaches at Kyoto Seika University and Kyoto University of Foreign Languages, and is interested in photography and Buddhism.
SEIJU MORITA EINARSEN
Seiju grew up in Kyoto, went to the Kyoto International school, and spent summers swimming in Kiyotaki. In spring 2011, he graduated from the Tisch School of Art at New York University where he studied filmmaking and animation. He presently lives in New York and is working on an animated short film.
Scott Ezell is a Pacific Rim poet and multi-genre artist. He grew up in California and studied literature at the Universities of California and Washington, but was derailed by Chinese poetry — he took a leave of absence from graduate school to study Mandarin in Taiwan, and stayed a dozen years in Asia.
As a folksinger, Scott became friends with Taiwanese aboriginal musicians in Taipei, and later moved to Dulan, an Amis tribal village on Taiwan’s Pacific coast. As he built a recording studio in an abandoned farmhouse, he began writing about issues of identity among his aboriginal friends, and some of these columns were published in KJ. Questions of identity, place, marginalization, and the relationship between minority peoples and industrial society have been primary themes in his work ever since.
Scott now lives in Hanoi, where he came in 2009 to try to understand and write about Vietnam as something more than a war movie.
His poetry books include Petroglyph Americana and Songs from a Yahi Bow, and his collection of essays on Dulan, A Far Corner, is pending publication. Please visit his website to see and hear more about his writing, music, and paintings.
AVERY FISCHER UDAGAWA
Avery Fischer Udagawa grew up in Kansas and studied English and Asian Studies at St. Olaf College in Minnesota. She holds an MA in Advanced Japanese Studies from the University of Sheffield. She has studied at Nanzan University, Nagoya, on a Fulbright Fellowship, and at the Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies, Yokohama. She currently parents, writes, and translates in her bicultural (American/Japanese) family living north of Bangkok. Her writing for Kyoto Journal has included "Of Singing Clams and Soccer Camp: Searching for Japanese Children's Literature in English translation" (No. 68). She has translated the middle-grade novel J-Boys: Kazuo's World, Tokyo, 1965 (Stone Bridge Press, 2011). Learn more by visiting her website:
Jeff Fuchs’ work centers on indigenous mountain cultures, oral histories and trade routes through the Himalayas. He was recently awarded the ‘Wild China Explorer of the Year’ for his efforts to bring the Himalayan trade routes to light and hisphoto-essay on Tibetan nomads was a finalist in PDN's World in Focus pro-photocontest. His photos have appeared on three continents in such publications as The Toronto Star, Kyoto Journal, World Geographic, The Spanish Expedition Society, Silkroad Foundation, The China Post Newspaper, and Outpost amongstothers. Fuchs has consulted for National Geographic, contributing information on the Himalayan trade routes. His recent book The Ancient Tea Horse Road (Penguin-Viking Publishers) details his 8-month groundbreaking journey traveling and chronicling one of the world’s great trade routes, being the first westerner todo so. Fuchs' most recent expedition was to document the ‘Tsalam’ (Salt Road) in eastern Tibet.
Micah is a Canadian photographer living on the edges of Japan in Kyoto. He has photographed Kyoto geisha pouring drinks, a Brazilian TV star posing as a geisha, friends and foreign diplomats here at conferences and to change the world, beautiful older ladies (and young). He chases the stars as a "paparazzi" and tries to photograph himself doing this.
Morgan Gibson is a poet, scholar, critic, and prose-writer who won a Mutiny Fiction First Award for “Nice Work If” and an Outstanding Scholarly Book Award from Choice library journal for his Revolutionary Rexroth: Poet of East-West Wisdom. His work has been published in Japan, England, Canada, Switzerland, Thailand, and Italy, as well as the USA, and some has been translated into Japanese, French, and Italian. He has given many readings and lectures in the USA and Japan, where he taught in universities in each country for twenty years. For his next book he is editing his countercultural prose and “Madam CIA,” a doggerel Brechtian farce performed by the Demilitarized Zone Troup at anti-war demonstrations. He has a BA from Oberlin College and an MA and PhD from the State University of Iowa, where he participated in poetry writing workshops taught by Robert Lowell, Karl Shapiro, and Paul Engle. His archives are in the University of Chicago Regenstein Library. You can view his blog here. His e-mail: nonzenpoet[at]mac.com
Poet and BBC scriptwriter, Stephen began writing haiku in English in 1972. His ‘Insect Musicians’ won the Sony Prize for Best Radio Arts Feature in 1989. In the 1990s he edited ‘Rediscovering Basho.’ Stephen leads an English haiku circle called Hailstone, linking about 50 Kansai-based poets. They have published seven books to date (http://hailhaiku.wordpress.com/). Stephen is involved in conservation work on Mt. Ogura in Kyoto, taking groups up the hill to remove rubbish, maintain footpaths, fences and forest there (http://www.facebook.com/PTOgura). He has also developed a unique stone arrangement art form he calls ike'ishi. His haiku name is ‘Tito.’
David Greer, who has lived in Kochi City since 1982, adapts Japanese nonfiction books into magazine-length articles. "I try to echo in English the original authors' voices," Greer writes, "imagining how the writers would retell their stories within 15 minutes." He especially enjoys corresponding with the authors, who are gratified that their books appeal to an audience beyond that of readers of Japanese. "It's a great way to get the autographs of people I admire," Greer adds.
Gail Gutradt studied anthropology and fine arts at the University of Michigan. After college she worked for public television as a film animator, and played street music in the back alleys of Cambridge, Mass. She spent twenty years running a little shop in Bar Harbor Maine, selling wonderful things gleaned from world travel. After volunteering with a small NGO in Cambodia with children affected by HIV/AIDS, she wrote a piece for Kyoto Journal called, "The Things We've Gone Through Together," which was published in turn by Utne Reader. It was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Other pieces written for KJ include "The Sea Monkey Child," and "Varanasi," a poem. Gail is now seeking a publisher for "A Rocket Made of Ice," a book of stories about the lives of the children of The Wat Opot Children's Community, the first generation of children to grow up HIV positive. In 2008 she learned she had cancer, and discovered that, far from being a teacher to the children, it was they who had taught her how to live with grace, courage and joy in the face of a life-threatening illness. Her email address is: gailgutradt(at)mac.com
Jenny is an academic publisher of Asian books for Monash University Press, Melbourne. She is also a writer, photographer and chronic traveller. She has had work published in The Age and Bangkok Airways inflight magazine, Fah Thai. She is a KJ contributing editor. Her photographic stock library can be viewed at
My photography is both a creative practice and a way to engage with the world and explore what it means to be human and alive. This doesn't happen alone. Countless people allow me into their worlds and collaborate with me to make this work come to life. Love makes the world go 'round in small acts of radical generosity and respect for our astonishing diversity and common humanity. Creating and sharing this work is no small task. If you appreciate it, please consider purchasing a fine art print, which helps me keep it going. All images are available as digital giclées on fine art bamboo paper in single, diptych, tripych and polyptych prints! I also have a book project in progress, which you can see here.
Roy Hamric has published articles in the KJ on many topics, including the writer-translator Red Pine (aka Bill Porter), poets Gary Snyder and Jim Harrison, Thomas Merton, Vietnamese literature, and other topics on literature, poetry and religion. His spiritual home is a cross between the Big Bend country on the Texas-Mexico border and a mountain village in Asia. His favorite poets are Harrison, Snyder, Philip Larkin, Stonehouse, Han Shan and Su Tung-po. His favorite writer-thinkers are Emerson, Thoreau, Stanley Cavell, William Empson and Dogen.
Two writers he’s most indebted to: D.T. Suzuki and Harold Bloom for making it all available.
Two writers he would have liked to spend an evening with on the town: John Blofeld and Jack Reynolds.
Best drink: Water.
Tastiest food: Apple
Stephanie Han (MA, MFA) is a 4th generation Korean American writer who resides in a rural village outside of Hong Kong. She has worked in the U.S., Korea and Hong Kong, and has published her fiction and poetry in numerous publications including Nimrod International Literary Journal (Katherine Ann Porter Prize), The South China Morning Post (Fiction Award), Santa Fe Writer’s Project (Fiction Award) Women’s Studies Quarterly, DisOrient, and The Louisville Review. She is currently a PhD student at City University of Hong Kong. Her website is
Molly Harbarger is a reporter for The Oregonian in Portland. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a with bachelors' in International Studies and Journalism in 2010, and has worked for the Columbia Missourian as an editor and reporter covering education, and in Washington, D.C., covering national politics for Hearst Newspapers. She also once moonlighted as a tennis writer for a few weeks in Beijing, China, covering the China Open. When not in the newsroom, Molly is in the woods climbing or hiking, or playing music on the radio or on her drums.
Molly interned with KJ during the spring of 2009 while studying at Kwansei Gakuin Daigaku in Nishinomiya. Since leaving Japan, her language abilities have plummeted, but she still plays taiko occasionally and hopes to work abroad again, whether in Japan or elsewhere.
James Heaton is President and Creative Director of Tronvig Group, Inc. Born the last son of a radical preacher man outside of Chicago, he grew up in Florida. He left the US at age 19 for an 8 year stay in Asia where, among other things, he became a Theravadan Buddhist monk, a student of the master calligrapher Murakami Santo, fluent in Japanese, proficient in Chinese, and he earned degrees in fine art photography and East Asian history from Eckerd College and finally, Art History at Kyoto University Graduate School.
In Japan he worked as a photographer and writer for Rasen-sha, the boutique Kyoto based ad agency run by Yoshifumi Takeda. He also contributed photographs and essays in Japanese to projects published in Esquire Japan, Seven Seas Magazine and Kyoto Journal. Moving to New York City in 1991 he entered the studio of the artists and philosophers Arakawa Shusaku and Madeline Gins, where he worked on Helen Keller or Arakawa (Burning books, 1994), Ubiquitous Site - Nagi's Ryoanji at the Nagi Museum of Contemporary Art, Site of Reversible Destiny - Yoro Park, Gifu, Japan, and the Guggenheim Museum retrospective exhibition. In 1996 he founded and published his own art and general interest magazine, the Exhibitionist which later converted into a design studio, and then finally a branding and digital agency serving a variety of business and non-profit clients.
James has developed an effective brand philosophy based on the power and efficiency of truth. He speaks on branding, marketing and social media and blogs on the Tronvig Group website
Image: Joshua Zukerman
Michael was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, After college and a year on the Overland Trail though Asia, he ended up in Kyoto in June of 1972 where he became the disciple of the painter and Zen priest Jikihara Gyokusei. Over the years, Michael's work has found its way to the pages of the Kyoto Journal, accompanying the essays and poetry of various Kansai writers including Pico Iyer, David Jenkins and Moriguchi Yasu, He recently made the big move back to California where he set up home in Sonoma County. He paints and gives classes in sumi-e, and occasionally bicycles down the road to work in a friend's ceramics studio. At the end of a summer's day, he says there's nothing better than taking a dip in the nearby Russian River.
Preston was born in Kansas in 1952, living in California before coming to Japan in 1981. He has traveled extensively throughout Europe, Korea, China, Tibet, Nepal, and India. He holds a doctorate in English Literature and Criticism and a teaching license in shakuhachi. You can listen to his own shakuhachi recordings at http://keidokyoto.wordpress.com/
Preston is professor at Otani University, Kyoto and his interests include Early Modern Literature (Marlowe and Shakespeare), Post-Modern Literature, and Zen Buddhism.
Kimberly Hughes is a Tokyo-based freelance translator, writer, educator and community organizer who contributes to the KJ-affiliated blog project "Ten Thousand Things." http://tenthousandthingsfromkyoto.blogspot.com/
She has also written for various international online and print magazines, and has translated/co-translated three books (the wartime diary of a Japanese soldier in China, and two gender/sexuality-related anthologies). A full list of her writings and translations is available at http://kimmiesunshine.wordpress.com/articles-and-translations/
She also lectures at two universities in the Tokyo metropolitan area, and helps raise awareness of peace-related issues among youth by organizing music, dance, and cultural-themed events through the grassroots collective Peace Not War Japan (http://www.pnwj.org).
Bonnie Huie is a writer and translator whose work appears in Afterimage and The Brooklyn Rail. She wrote and starred in The Mountain of Signs (2003), a film homage to the essayistic genre of zuihitsu ("follow the brush") in classical Japanese literature. She was named one of twelve recipients of the 2012 PEN Translation Fund Grant for her translation of Qiu Miaojin. http://www.pen.org/blog/?p=16887
Jeffrey Irish is a scholar and translator who has long been immersed in life in rural Japan. A contributing editor to the Kyoto Journal, Irish has been a columnist for a Japanese newspaper for seven years and is the author of the Japanese-language books Prewar Kagoshima and Island Life. He was recently elected "mayor" of his 28-person village.
Pico Iyer has been idling around Nara since 1992, eating sweet tangerines on his 30-inch terrace, watching the leaves turn and, mostly, playing furious games of ping-pong every evening with local grandmothers, who allow him to take a point every lunar new year or so. Once a writer on World Affairs at Time magazine, he left New York in 1986 with hopes of spending a year in a Zen temple in Kyoto. He ended up in Nara instead, and spends much of the rest of his time in a Benedictine hermitage along the California coastline.
His account of failing to find himself his first year in Kyoto is called The Lady and the Monk, and he recently published an investigation into Graham Greene, fathers and hauntedness called The Man Within My Head. Photo: Derek Shapton
Eric Johnston is Deputy Editor for The Japan Times Osaka office and veteran of UN conferences in Japan and abroad, including the 1997 Kyoto Protocol conference and the 2009 Copenhagen conference. He covered the COP10 conference for The Japan Times, and guest-edited KJ's recent publication Fresh Currents: Japan's flow from a nuclear past to a renewable future
LOIS P JONES
Lois believes in all manner of flying and can claim skydiving and hot air ballooning as her introduction to highfalutin. When she isn't dreaming of dirigibles, she makes herself useful as co-founder of Word Walker Press and co-host of Moonday East and West, two monthly poetry reading series inSouthern California. Her poems and photographs have been published in American Poetry Journal, Tiferet, Raven Chronicles, The CaliforniaQuarterly, and other print and on-line journals in the U.S. and abroad. She has featured internationally as well as locally, including the Distinguished Writers Series in Tacoma, Washington and venues throughout the west coast. She hosts Poet's Cafe, a radio show on 90.7 KPFK, Pacifica Radio, where she interviews local and international poets. She is Associate Poetry Editor of Kyoto Journal and a Pushcart nominee. Her poem “Ouija” won Poem of the Year in 2010, judged by The New Yorker staff writer Dana Goodyear. Portrait by Ali Al-Ameri.
Amane Kaneko graduated from Parsons School of Design in New York City with a BFA in Communication Design.
He now works full-time as a freelance artist on both design and illustration projects. Being both designer and illustrator enables him to enjoy working on a wide variety of projects from book covers to magazine illustrations, sometimes combining both disciplines.
Having grown up in several different countries, including India, England, Japan, Sri Lanka, and Hong Kong, he describes his design sensibility as a mixture of the diverse cultural influences. His current client list includes Wiley-Blackwell, Elsevier, the State University of New York Press, the American Bar Association, and the Los Angeles County Bar Association. His illustration work has appeared in various publications in Canada, the U.K., Australia, and Japan, as well as here in the U.S., including The New York Times.
Suzanne Kamata, KJ's fiction editor, originally came to Japan from the U.S. on the JET Program in 1988 and never left. She is the author of the novels Losing Kei and Gadget Girl; an award-winning short story collection, The Beautiful One Has Come; and the editor of three anthologies including The Broken Bridge: Fiction from Expatriates in Literary Japan. She currently lives in Tokushima with her family.
MARC PETER KEANE
Marc Peter Keane is a garden designer and author based in Ithaca, New York. He lived in Kyoto, Japan, for 18 years, designing gardens for private individuals, companies and temples, and continues that work now from his studio in Ithaca. He also lectures widely on various aspects of Japanese gardens, dabbles in sculpture and ceramics, tends a small kitchen garden at home, and bakes a variety of slow-rise breads. Of all these things, he finds, bread is by far the most important. More about Keane’s work can be found at
Kimberlye Kowalczyk was born and raised in Kyoto to an American father and a Korean mother. She is a writer, musician, business trainer, Peace Media trainer, and photographer, currently living in Kyoto. You can visit her website at
Robert Kowalczyk has lived in Kyoto, yet often Outside, since 1972 when he came "for a short visit", following three years in Seoul with the U.S. Peace Corps. He is currently on the brink of being freed from chains as Professor and former Chair of the Department of Intercultural Studies at Kinki University (Osaka).
For the past 34 years, Robert's intercultural work has included grim and joyous efforts in photography and filmmaking. Gifts bestowed on those wide-spread journeys can be viewed at http://www.journeyeast.net. Through the years, he also somehow slipped into becoming the coordinator/director of a number of NGOs/NPOs, including Journey East, Group 21, and The Peace Mask Project.
Robert has been a contributing editor of Kyoto Journal since its first issue. (Almost) all that he understands about life was gleaned from the writings of Joseph Conrad, Herman Hesse, and most deeply, Leonard Cohen, first among his many teachers of the heart. He looks forward to coming lessons, those yet undone.
Image: Mind and Being (Lausanne, Switzerland) 2006
Michael teaches English at Heian Senior High School. His blog, Deep Kyoto, covers his interests in poetry, conservation, art, music, the avant garde, food, and booze. He isn't very keen on the Kyoto Aquarium.
Less Can Mean More
I am trying to burrow my way into the underbrush that grows above the rock walls surrounding Gosho. It's early autumn and the sun has just set. Finding shuteye curled up in a sleeping bag is futile as the chirp and rustle of birds competes with the moans of young lovers for my attention. The year is 1968 and it's my first trip hitch hiking around Japan. But how I ended up here was more happy accident than pre-meditated planning.
Back then I was going to what was then known as San Francisco State College and we were in the midst of a Third World Student Strike with demands for ethnic studies classes to be added to the curriculum. The President at the time, S. I. Hayakawa was unrelenting and the strike dragged on for months. What that movement instilled in many of us was a need to serve community and and hunger to find our identity by exploring cultural roots. Unfortunately at that time, Nixon has not yet visited China and access was difficult. So instead I boarded a boat bound for Yokohama via Manila.
The first Japanese sentence I learned may very well have been, "Please don't be alarmed, I am a guy!" so as not to freak out Japanese men when i entered the public bath with my long hair. And surely the first song I learned in Japan was "Shina no Yoru" ("China Nights"). Whenever I told Japanese that I was Chinese American, they would misunderstand and start serenading me with their rendition of a song that brought back memories of their war time experience spend as foot soldiers in Manchuria. That would be followed by shouts of "Kompai! Kompai!" and encouragements to drink up.
IMy first brush with Japanese culture was comical. The grandmother of the boarding house I stayed at (as an illegal boarder with a bunch of Doshisha University students) tried to teach me tea ceremony while simultaneously watching Japanese Pro Wrestling on the television. The click and clack of Nishijin looms competed with her cries pleading with Giant Baba to get up off the mat before he was counted out.
Eventually my time spent living in Japan would leave an indelible impression on my artistic development as both a visual artist and poet. "Try to find the weight of silence between the noise." Less can mean more."
Alan Chong Lau - Seattle-based artist and poet
Image: "Give me some word, amsterdam series, number 1," Courtesy of Francine Seders Gallery in Seattle (www.sedersgallery.com).
Tiery Le… is a French artist living in Japan since 1999… After studying Art in kindergarten and at the National Art School of Cergy, Paris, he has been exploring the meanderings of human existence through painting, cartoons, photography, video, various trips in various places, procrastination and daily chores… Some of the resulting images have been published in magazines, newspapers and books in France, Africa, Japan, Canada and the U.S., or exhibited in a variety of art spaces and galleries in Europe, America and Japan. He has been contributing to KJ with illustrations, photos, cover and general design since 2000...
Dustin W. Leavitt teaches creative nonfiction writing at the University of Redlands. His work appears in a variety of periodicals and collections, and is regularly selected for the anthology The Best Travel Writing. In addition to other grants and awards, he has been the recipient of a Japanese Ministry of Culture Fellowship for Visiting Artists from Abroad.
Taigen Leighton is a Soto Zen priest and Dharma heir, as of 2000, in the Suzuki Roshi lineage of San Francisco Zen Center. Taigen was deeply inspired by visiting temples in Kyoto and Nara for three months in 1970, and four years later met a Soto Zen priest in New York City and began everyday zazen practice. From 1990 through 1992 Taigen had the great privilege of living in Kyoto, co-translating two books of Eihei Dogen’s writings; training with Japanese Soto Zen teachers; teaching at Otani University and Kansai University in Osaka; and publishing an article in Kyoto Journal. Taigen has authored or co-translated a number of books including Cultivating the Empty Field: The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi; Dogen’s Extensive Record: A Translation of Eihei Koroku; Faces of Compassion: Classic Bodhisattva Archetypes and Their Modern Expression; and Visions of Awakening Space and Time: Dogen and the Lotus Sutra. His book Zen Questions: Zazen, Dogen, and the Spirit of Inquiry is forthcoming. Taigen currently teaches at Loyola University Chicago and online at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, from where he has his Ph.D., and now lives in Chicago where he leads the Ancient Dragon Zen Gate meditation center. Taigen has enjoyed visits to Kyoto since living there, most recently in late 2008, after performing the ceremony of honorary abbot at the Soto Zen headquarter temples Eiheiji and Sojiji, and receiving teacher authorization from the Soto shu.
F. J. LOGAN
F. J. (“Fritz” Logan was born in Iowa and grew up in suburban Chicago. There, at Elmhurst College, he studied writing with Gwendolyn Brooks, and, later, at the University of Windsor, with Joyce Carol Oates. Finally, at the University of Alberta, he studied American Literature and especially the journalism of Ambrose Bierce with the critic M. L. Ross. Received his doctorate from U. Alberta in 1974, where he taught for a decade. Since then he has worked — as a writer / editor / teacher — in Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Japan, and New Zealand.
In Japan, he taught his first class for U. Maryland - Asia in 1985. In the ensuing 26 years he has written a few books or portions thereof and quite a few stories and articles. These articles — in Tokyo Journal, Intersect, Kyoto Journal, and many of the other magazines in this part of the world — concern life in Asia. Recently, FYI Online ran an interview about his novel Big Motorcycle.
His wife is Japanese; they have two children: George, (pictured), and Erica.
GAETANO KAZUO MAIDA
Gaetano Maeda was an organizer of the American Premium Tea Institute and a publisher of the industry journal Tea Trade. Currently serves as the executive director of the nonprofit Tea Arts Institute, and is the North American delegate to the World Tea Union in China. Was also a founding director of the Buddhist quarterly Tricycle, and currently is executive director of the Buddhist Film Foundation. Guest-edited KJ's classic special issue on Tea (#71), which was superbly designed by his wife Ayelet.
Sachiko Matsuyama runs a company that offers the best of traditional Japanese craft, Monomo.
Ralph McCarthy lives in Southern California. His recent translations include Otogizoshi: The Fairy Tale Book of Dazai Osamu and Infinity Net: The Autobiography of Yayoi Kusama, but his personal favorite is the much-reviled Popular Hits of the Showa Era by Murakami Ryu. KJ has featured a number of his fine translations, an interview with Murakami Ryu, and excerpts from his own fiction work, "100 Views of Raoul." He discovered late in life that world events really are manipulated by a small cabal of ruthless bluebloods waging war on humankind, and now he’s no fun to be around.
Sherry is a singer/songwriter from Vancouver, Canada who fell in love with images of sabi and ma. She has been living in Japan for almost two decades. Kyoto flows like a river: the river carries and sustains. She says "Japan has a lot to give the world and she gives in her silence courage and strength. I feel so grateful to live here and be a part of this. Kyoto Journal is prophets, writers, artists, and the thing in common they have is that their hearts are on the outside of their T- shirts. Going on-line, join on this beautiful path."
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Leanne has loved reading, writing, and dream journeying since she was a little girl. Before coming to Japan, she spent time in Yogyakarta and Ubud studying dance and has also studied Japanese tea ceremony and calligraphy. A freelance Japanese-English translator and writer, Leanne has been a friend of the KJ team for more than ten years (see KJ 39 and KJ 47). In 2010 she worked as special editor for the magazine’s Silk Road Special Issue (which included contributions by Pico Iyer, Bill Porter and Mark Mordue, among many others). She also blogs at Tang Dynasty Times.
Jeffrey Osborn is currently the creative director of Burning Q Media, a multimedia design studio based in Washington, DC. Before founding BQM, he worked for ten years as an art director at National Geographic Magazine. Jeffrey also teaches design courses at Boston University's Center for Digital Imaging Arts. Intercultural communication, and the intersection of art and science, are areas of particular interest and focus.
Sean O’Toole is a Cape Town-based journalist, art critic and author. He has previously lived in Johannesburg, London, Berlin and Tokushima, the latter a city he has often returned to for extended visits, most recently to complete Shikoku’s 88 temple pilgrimage for a second time on a bicycle. He writes a regular column for the London-based contemporary art magazine frieze and contributes to the Sunday Times and Mail & Guardian newspapers in his native South Africa. In 2006 he published a collection of short stories under the wholly un-exportable title, The Marquis of Mooikloof and Other Stories; it included a story set in Japan and another awarded the 2006 HSBC/SA Pen Award, judged by JM Coetzee. Currently researching the ontological fuzziness and imprecise borders of art criticism at the University of Cape Town, he recently summitted Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania with a worn copy of Kyoto Journal’s special issue on sacred mountains tucked into his backpack. He remains undecided whether Sugimoto Hiroshi or Moriyama Daido is his favourite Japanese photographer. He welcomes guidance on this intractable point of debate.
Rebecca Otawa is a long-time resident of Kyoto and Shiga, arriving in Japan via California and Australia. After graduating from University of Queensland, she took an MA in Buddhist Studies from Otani Univeristy in Kyoto, and then married into an old Eastern Shiga farming family with a 350-year-old house, raising two sons in the Japanese school system. She has taught ESL, and also done her share of translations, for Chanoyu Quarterly, Eastern Buddhist, and others, but her real loves are drawing, painting and writing. Her articles have appeared in KJ, Eigo Kyoiku, and illustrations in the SWET Journal. She published her first book, At Home in Japan, in 2011. When not at her desk, she can be found growing vegetables, sewing, cooking, and caring for her workaholic husband and her four cats – as well as diligently pursuing inner growth.
Associate Editor Susan Pavloska first learned about Japan from her father, who served in Guam during the closing months of World War II, and from a favorite aunt, who took her to New York sushi bars at a time when the only other customers were Japanese businessmen. She teaches language and literature at Doshisha University in Kyoto, where she lives with her partner, Masao Sugiyama, two daughters, and their cat, Nyansaburo.
Catherine Pawasarat lived in Kyoto for 15 years, and for the last six has spent a third of the year there, a third in British Columbia, and a third traveling to various countries presenting teachings of universal liberation. She combines these with a career in environmental journalism and studies in traditional Japanese arts to promote creativity and sustainability in whatever situation she encounters. See more of her work at
Marlies Peeters grew up in the Netherlands and studied graphic design at HKU Utrecht School of the Arts. She fell in love with Japan while on an exchange semester at Kyoto Seika University and returned there in April2013 under the Monbukagakusho Scholarship to pursue research on the relation between culture, national identity and design.Despite being called the 'square meter child' by her mother when she was little (meaning she only needed a square meter to amuse herself), Marlies now actually loves outdoorsy stuff like hiking, camping and running. She writes about her adventures on her blog Alleen in Kyoto (in Dutch) and you can check out her portfolio website (in English) http://www.marliespeeters.com/.
Midori Paxton is a Regional Technical Adviser (Ecosystems and Biodiversity) of the UNDP’s Environment and Energy Group based in Bangkok. She supports countries in the Asia-Pacific Region in developing and managing projects that aim; 1) to improve management effectiveness and sustainability of protected areas (national parks, nature reserves etc.) and 2) to mainstream biodiversity management objectives into economic sector activities. Between 2000 and 2010, Midori was based in Namibia, working for the UNDP Country Office for the first 4 years and then for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism as the Project Coordinator for the UNDP/GEF supported Strengthening the Protected Area Network (SPAN) Project. She also worked as an environmental journalist and served as a UN volunteer in Somalia and Tanzania. She started her career as the staff writer for the Japan Times and has written numerous articles both in English and Japanese, and has had five books published in Japanese.
Matteo (Matthew) Pistono is a writer and a practitioner of engaged Buddhism especially in connection with Tibet. He is the author of In the Shadow of the Buddha: Secret Journeys, Sacred Histories and Spiritual Discovery in Tibet, and writes on the subjects of Tibet and the culture and politics of the Himalayan region for a number of publications including The Washington Post, BBC’s In-Pictures, Men’s Journal, Kyoto Journal and Himal Southasian. He is also the founder of Nekorpa, which works to preserve and protect sacred pilgrimage sites around the world. His forthcoming biography of 19th century Tibetan mystic will be out in late 2013. www.matteopistono.com www.nekorpa.org
LYNDA GRACE PHILIPPSEN
Lynda Grace Philippsen writes about people, places and subjects that catch her imagination. From 2001 until her retirement in 2010 she worked as both a public school teacher and freelance writer. Her reviews, essays and feature stories have appeared in various publications in Canada and internationally. Follow or contact Lynda at
VINITA RAMANI MOHAN
Vinita Ramani Mohan is an editor, writer and a novice ukulele player, as well as the co-founder of the regionally-focused human rights NGO Access to Justice Asia LLP. She has worked as a writer and researcher for the Singapore and Toronto International Film Festivals (2002, 2004, 2005) and as a music and film critic since 1996, writing for publications such as BigO (Singapore), Exclaim! (Canada), Ekran (Slovenia) and Criticine (Southeast Asia). A former journalist, she is currently a contributing editor to Kyoto Journal and Editor of the National Museum of Singapore’s Cinémathèque Quarterly – a publication dedicated to thought-provoking writing on cinema. She lives in Singapore with her husband, human rights lawyer and law professor Mahdev Mohan. They are frequently visited by a whole host of Macaque monkeys who live in the nature reserve next to their apartment. She has dubbed them ‘Hanuman’s Army’ and hopes that praying to the monkey god in charge will provide protection and prevent mishaps.
In the early 1960s, Ken Rodgers marveled at incomprehensible kanji-inscribed bamboo cast up on southern ocean beaches of Tasmania. Later graduated in printmaking, read Basho, Snyder, Kawabata; worked in B&W TV film editing, Johannesburg apartheid-era screen-printery, Tasmania's state art school, state library, state mental hospital, and underground in a hard-rock mine (classified long-hole driller). Hit the road at age 30; came to Kyoto on a working holiday in 1982. Fascinated by Japanese garden design, stayed on, married, settled down; never left. KJ contributor since issue #1; managing editor since #22. Ran the Kyoto Connection monthly open mic gathering for nearly 15 years. Works in the international office of Kyoto Seika University, and in his fantastically-insect-rich Iwakura vegetable patch. Misses the roar of the ocean; still struggles with kanji.
Edith Marion Marcombe Shiffert is a Canadian-born poet and translator of Japanese haiku masters. Her books are inspired by the natural and human worlds, and the aesthetic, philosophical and literary traditions of Japan. Since 1963 she has lived in Kyoto. Initially invited to teach English at Doshisha University, after five years she accepted a position at Kyoto Seika University as a professor of English where she taught until her retirement in 1983. She married Minoru Sawano in 1981. In Kyoto she has steadily published poetry and collaborated in multiple translations. Her first collection of poetry written abroad was The Kyoto Years (1971), which contains poems influenced by Buddhism and her studies of Japanese literature. The same year she teamed up with Yuki Sawa to publish Anthology of Modern Japanese Poetry (1971) and Haiku Master Buson (1978), the first book in English to feature writings of Buson. Stimulated by exposure to Buson's writing, Shiffert put out her fourth set of poems A Grasshopper, published as a chapbook by White Pine Press in 1976. This was followed by The New and Selected Poems (White Pines Press, 1979), A Way to Find Out (Raiju Press, 1979), Kyoto Dwelling (C.E. Tuttle Co., 1987), When at the Edge (White Pine Press, 1991), and Forest House with Cat(Unio Corp, 1991). Two of her most recent works include The Light Comes Slowly (Katsura Press, 1997), and In the Ninth Decade (Katsura Press, 1999), which feature illustrations of traditional ink paintings by Kohka Saito, a renowned artist of the genre.
Jane Singer, a long-time Kyoto resident, writes on Japanese culture and society and about development and environmental concerns. An associate professor at the Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies, Kyoto University, she specializes in migration and displacement issues in Southeast Asia.
KEITH HARMON SNOW
Keith Harmon Snow is a war correspondent, photographer and independent investigator, and a four time (2003, 2006, 2007, 2010) Project Censored award winner. He is also the 2009 Regent's Lecturer in Law & Society at the University of California Santa Barbara, recognized for over a decade of work, outside of academia, contesting official narratives on war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide while also working as a genocide investigator for the United Nations and other bodies. The first UCSB Regent's Lecturer, in 1960, was Aldous Huxley; other recipients include Margaret Mead, Peter Matthiessen and Meredith Monk.
A poet and essayist who has been described as "the poet laureate of deep ecology," Gary Snyder studied Buddhism (and Shugendo animism) in Kyoto from 1956 to 1968. Since1993, with an exclusive publication of extracts from his 1959 journal, "Of All the Wild Sakura" in #24, and "Stories to Save the World" in #22, he has generously allowed KJ to feature notable writings including "Walking the Great Ridge Omine on the Womb-Diamond Trail" in #25 (Sacred Mountains of Asia), "Language Goes Two Ways" in #29 (Word), "Writers and the War Against Nature" in #62, "Ecology, Place and the Awakening of Compassion" in #75 (Biodiversity) — and (in 2002) his hilariously relevant recasting of Chuang-tzu's 3rd century BC "Discourse on Swords," as "Coyote Man, Mr. President & the Gunfighters" in #61. Gary is best-known for his Pulitzer-winning Turtle Island; A Place in Space; the re-inhabitory Mountains and Rivers Without End; The Practice of the Wild; No Nature, and most recently, Back on the Fire. Lives in the Sierra Nevada, at
north of the South Yuba River
near the headwaters of Blind Shady Creek
in the trees at the high end of a bunchgrass meadow
Photo by Giuseppe Moretti
Rasoul Sorkhabi, a native of Iran has lived in India, Japan and USA for over three decades. His love of reading literature, poetry, science, philosophy and history goes back to his teen years. Rasoul is a geologist by training who did his Ph.D. research work on the Ladakh-Zanskar region of the Himalayas. A multi-linguist, global trekker and a “Silk Road runner to America,” he is a research professor at the University of Utah’s Energy & Geoscience Institute. He lives in Salt Lake City with his wife Setsuko (a painting artist from Kyoto) and daughter. He founded the Rumi Poetry Club (www.rumipoetryclub.com) in 2007 as an East-West platform to celebrate insightful and inspirational poetry like that of Rumi. Aside from work and family, the following keep him quite busy: Good books, good movies, good food, nice chats, writing, traveling, photography, nature and “gardening.” (Note added by Setsuko: “His gardening is actually oftentimes lawn-mowing.”)
Richard Steiner was born in Michigan, partially educated at U of M, worked as a fashion photographer in NYC for a short time, then in 1970 accepted an English teaching job in Hiroshima. While there, he met the well-known woodblock printmaker, Masahiko Tokumitsu. He began studying under him, fell in love with the medium, and has devoted his long years here to teaching printmaking and creating his own works. Richard moved to Kyoto in 1972 but continued to return to Hiroshima for more study for 8 more years. At the end of this period, he got his hanga name, Tosai, and a teacher’s license. He begin teaching foreigners at Friends World College, but soon classes began to be filled with Japanese. Around 1985, he started to hold workshop exhibitions almost every year; number 25 was in 2010. In 1997, he created the Kyoto International Woodprint Association, KIWA, which holds large exhibitions every 4 years of woodblock prints gathered from around the world. Number 6 was held in March/April, 2011, in the Kyoto Municipal Museum, Annex. Richard is married to translator Kimiko; no children, only weasels, snakes and other assorted beings and birds living in the garden.
Yasu Suzuka is well-known for his photographs of wayfarers on the 88-temple pilgrimage in Shikoku (see KJ 59), which were part of a huge installation, the Engi Mandala, at Toji Temple in Kyoto in 2006. His ongoing series Samsara features sunrises from different points of the coastline of Japan. Suzuka takes these images with a 8x10 pinhole camera (see KJ 69). He founded the Pinhole Photographic Arts Society, collects cowboy boots, makes his own soba, is a master of the Ogawa School of Tea, and lives in Kyoto.
Tomas svab, born in Prague, 1974 immigrated to Canada with his family through a crack the iron curtain. He is a photographer and Bohemian; in a photography school in Montreal he was told by his excited instructor, “These shots are really –––– up. But I like ‘em.” He graduated from the photography program at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver where his photographs exploring the boundary between our bodies and the state won a national award. Since 2007 he works from his Uzumasa studio in Kyoto where he has been working on photographic sculptures combining landscapes and globes. Recently he has exhibited at Art Space Niji in Kyoto and the Biwako Biennale. His series of panoramas covering the four seasons of Chion-In is permanently exhibited in the Wajun-Kaikan in Kyoto. His other work has been shown and published in Japan and Canada. His photographs of museum spaces and artwork were included in catalogues for MOMAK and for Kansai artists including Kenji Yanobe.
Arthur Sze is the author of eight books of poetry, including The Ginkgo Light (2009), Quipu, The Redshifting Web: Poems 1970-1998, and Archipelago from Copper Canyon Press. He has also published one book of translations of Chinese poetry, The Silk Dragon, and is the editor of Chinese Writers on Writing (Trinity University Press, 2010). His poems have been translated or are being translated into Albanian, Bosnian, Burmese, Chinese, Dutch, French, Italian, Portugese, Romanian, Spanish, Turkish, and Uzbek. He has read his poetry at such international festivals as the XIX International Poetry Festival of Medellín (2009), the Delhi International Literary Festival (2008), the Yellow Mountain Poetry Festival in England (2008), the Yellow Mountain Poetry Festival in China (2007), the Pacific International Poetry Festival (Taiwan, 2008), Poetry International (Rotterdam, 2007),and the Hong Kong International Literary Festival (2002).
A professor emeritus at the Institute of American Indian Arts, he lives with his wife, Carol Moldaw, and daughter, Sarah, in Santa Fe. In the summer, when the monsoon rains sweep across northern New Mexico, he is also an avid mushroom hunter and can be spotted in the mountains collecting boletes, chanterelles, and matsutake.
Based in Kyoto, Ted's work has appeared in The Japan Times, Kyoto Journal, Kansai Time Out, Skyward:JAL's Inflight Magazine, Outdoor Japan, Resurgence, and Elephant Journal, as well as in various print and online publications. A Contributing Editor at Kyoto Journal, he won the top prize in the Kyoto International Cultural Association Essay Contest. He is currently at work on a series of books about walking Japan's ancient highways.
JENNIFER L. TEETER
Jennifer Louise Teeter is a human rights advocate, a free-lance translator, and a teacher. Growing up in a diverse suburb of Chicago and coming from a family of mixed religious and cultural ancestry exposed her to the beauty of multifaceted perspectives. Her current areas of interest are global issues in language education, sustainable development, nuclear abolition, and indigenous-led education, with an Ainu focus.
Holly Thompson writes for children through adults and is the author of the young adult verse novel Orchards (Delacorte/Random House), the picture book The Wakame Gatherers (Shen’s Books), and the novel Ash (Stone Bridge Press). Longtime resident of Japan, she serves as Regional Advisor for the Tokyo chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and teaches creative and academic writing at Yokohama City University. Visit her website:
Born in Tokyo, Mizuho traveled around the world as a reporter in her 20s, and has settled in Kyoto since 2000. A contributing editor to KJ since 1989, she is also a mother, book translator and coordinator for artists and Buddhists. Mizuho researches scientific subjects as a bridge for general readers. She can be contacted at aquamix2[at]gmail.com
Born in England a long time ago and educated partly in France, Royall Tyler has a doctorate in Japanese literature from Columbia University. After teaching at universities in the US and Canada, he moved to Norway and then, in 1990, to the Australian National University in Canberra. He retired in 2000. He and his wife now breed alpacas on a farm in New South Wales. Some of his publications are Japanese Tales (Pantheon, 1987), Japanese Nô Dramas (Penguin, 1992), and The Tale of Genji (Penguin, 2001). He hopes soon to publish, also from Penguin, a translation of The Tale of the Heike.
Stewart Wachs, who has lived in Japan since 1984, earned a masters degree in journalism at UC Berkeley. Stewart served as associate editor of Kyoto Journal from 1998 to 2012 and is currently editorial director of Heian-kyo Media, KJ's new media services agency. Stewart is a professor specializing in writing courses at Kyoto University of Foreign Studies. He is a non-fiction writer of profiles, interviews and essays that include narratives. He is also a dedicated photographer and periodic videographer. His writings have appeared in books, magazines and newspapers, including the Travel Section and the Op-Ed page of The New York Times. Get in touch at email@example.com
John Wells is a photographer and painter living in Kyoto. He has shot many documentary films and is available for video work in Japan.
MARKUZ WERNLI SAITO
Markuz Wernli Saito is a visual artist who playfully directs – rather than restricts – the engagement of his project participants. The creation of unusual situations and encounters in everyday life becomes his work, be it in the form of “The Payphone Memorial” (Berlin, 2007), “Thank You Notes to the Garbage Men” (Hakodate, 2007), “Growing Radishes With 30 Families (Kyoto, 2009) or “Dancing Cooks, The No-Menu Restaurant” (Anyang, 2010). Markuz was born in Switzerland where he didn’t become a mountain farmer (possibly a great career choice he believes) and works as independent artist, creative trouble-shooter and advisor for alternative art initiatives in Asia and beyond.
Christal Whelan, Ph.D., began her nomadic existence shortly after birth. Her father, an army surgeon specializing in war wounds, moved the family every three or four years to a new location — Germany, Hawai’i, Boston, the Maryland-D.C. frontier, driving Christal to eventually became an anthropologist to make sense of these multiple worlds. She first arrived in Japan in 1990 to research seventeenthcentury Japanese-Portuguese relations that soon led to a long sojourn in the remote Goto Islands to record the remnant of that early encounter in the traditions of contemporary Hidden Christians. She has published extensively in both scholarly and popular press on all aspects of Japanese religion, and currently writes a monthly column — Kansai Culturescapes — for The Daily Yomiuri newspaper. She lives just off the Philosopher’s Path in the eastern hills of Kyoto.
Brian Williams is an expatriate artist, born in Peru in 1950, raised there and in Chile. He attended University of California, Santa Barbara, '68 〜'72 and has resided in Japan since then. Light . . . Atmosphere . . . Stillness . . . These define Brian's landscape painting. Brian has held over one hundred solo exhibitions of his works —which include watercolor, oil, and prints — at galleries all over Japan, and abroad. He lives in 200-year-old renovated farmhouse near Lake Biwa. As a landscape painter, he feels environmental destruction more keenly and directly than most, and believes his job description includes efforts to protect and restore that landscape. His conviction is that ‘natural beauty is a key indicator of environmental health’.
In the early years of Kyoto Journal, Mark Willis contributed short stories and personal essays (see “The Upstairs Thing?” in KJ#1), and he later read story submissions as the magazine’s fiction editor. Although he still enjoys a good, well-told story, Mark has swapped the keyboard for the fretboard and has directed much of his creative energy over the past ten years into playing the classical guitar. He lives in northeastern Kyoto near Saginomori Shrine with his companions Nobuko and Mon, one female, the other feline.
Harold Wright has been poking around trash piles and treasure troves of Japanese literature and culture for over half a century. He discovered Japanese poetry while working as a construction inspector in Yamaguchi Prefecture in 1952. After that initial adventure in Japan, his life has revolved around bookstores, libraries, and universities in Hawaii, New York, Tokyo, Kyoto, and eventually back in Ohio, where he taught at Antioch college until his retirement in 2005. In 1986 he received a National Endowment for the Arts Grant to translate a second book of the renowned poet Tanikawa Shuntaro. Living and writing in Kyoto for two years, Harold discovered the campus of Kyoto Seika University and helped start up the Antioch Education Abroad exchange program in Japan, with KSU as their unique “sister college.” He also discovered while living in Kyoto, not only Kyoto Journal but also the famed Kyoto Connection, where he was a regular performer of poetry and “trashy” plays like Ogata Gomi. Currently Harold and his wife, Jonatha, are active as professional storytellers. Performances and publications are listed on their website: www.jonathaandharold.com. One of the delights of Harold’s life, however, has been those times he walked the streets of Kyoto, after all these years, only to be stopped by someone saying, “Hey, you're the Big Trash guy! I remember you performing Ogata Gomi at the Kyoto Connection! And I read it, too, in Kyoto Journal! " This has happened... more than once!
Rimi Yang is an ethnic Korean who was born and raised in Osaka, Japan. In 1986 she moved to Ohio where she studied at Bowling Green University and then in 1991 to Los Angeles where she studied at California State University and the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art, the Otis College of Art and Design and spent a summer in Florence, Italy, studying at the Florence Academy of Art. She lives and works near the ocean in Marina Del Rey.
Known for her intense enthusiasm for vibrant color which is manifested in both her figurative and her abstract paintings, after many years in the field of books she came later to art, making up for that tardiness with her passion for her solitary studio practice.
Celebrating the chaotic emotional duality that exists in life in her art, she revels in the confusion mankind creates in its attempt to order the un-orderable and to explain the unexplainable. Adhering to Joseph Campbell’s dictum that the best things in life are those you cannot explain her paintings are intuitive, instinctive, balancing acts of contrasts.
Yang has exhibited in California, Florida, Georgia, New York, and Oho in the United States. British Columbia and Newfoundland in Canada and more recently her work has been exhibited in Europe, such as Copenhagen, Dublin, and England.