Kyoto Journal Issue 74


In the West, the Silk Road has since Roman times conjured an exotic, mysterious Orient…In the East, the Road itself is the more powerful metaphor. Every path of personal development, in martial or aesthetic arts, is a Way.



The catalyst for this special themed issue was Leanne Ogasawara’s blog, In posts reading as dispatches from outposts on a journey of exploration deep into the history of East-West relations, Leanne reflects on aspects of what a truly global culture might encompass, presenting Tang multiculturalism and Silk Road cosmopolitanism (and much, much more) as reference points for our present times…

Metaphorically, silk speaks of brilliant threads weaving complex interfaces, intricate interplay of elaborate craft processes, subtle aesthetics and the erotic charge of luxury and wealth. In the West, it has since Roman times conjured an exotic, mysterious Orient. Ever pragmatic, China traded silk for the ‘heavenly horses’ of Central Asia, up to forty bolts of silk for each fleet mount, buying its military equal footing with the nomadic foes that harassed its borders. In the East, the Road itself is the more powerful metaphor. Every path of personal development, in martial or aesthetic arts, is a Way. In the even bigger picture, the Dao — written with the same character as ‘road’ — signifies the true nature of the universe.


  • Of Bonds, ‘the Word’ and Trade – Jeff Fuchs
  • The Road to Oxiana – Leanne Ogasawara
  • The Great Kashgar Bus Convoy – Bill Porter
  • Along the Silk Road Today – Pico Iyer
  • The Kashgar Case – Mark Mordue
  • Observations from the Field: Space and Its Discontents in Kashgar –Isaac Blacksin
  • Over Samarkand – Nicolas Chorier
  • Digital Bezeklik – Leanne Ogasawara
  • On the Trail of Texts – Isaac Blacksin
  • Alexander Csoma de Kõrösi, The Grandfather of Modern Day Tibetan Translation – Matteo Pistano
  • Civilizations Never Clash, Ignorance Does – Hattori Eiji
  • Tibet and Xinjiang: the New Bamboo Curtain – Parag Khana
  • Beauty and Power on the Silk Road – Sam Crane
  • The Treasures of Dunhuang (1) 2000 Buddhas – poem by Jerome Rothenburg
  • Gandhara – Leanne Ogasawara
  • The Hollow Staff: Western Music and the Silk Road – Paul Rodriguez
  • Silk Road Synchronicity – Preston Houser
  • Collaboration in Harmony: An Interview with Miki Minoru – C.B.Liddell and Leanne Ogasawara
  • Reflections on the Hagoromo Legend – Umewaka Yasunori
  • Pig’s Heaven Inn – poem by Arthur Sze
  • Journeys to the Western Realm – Jean Miyake Downey
  • Kuchean Dancers and the Sogdian Whirl – Leanne Ogasawara
  • Behind Glass: Japan’s Silk Roads Memorabilia – Iaac Blacksin
  • Japan’s Birthplace Commemorates its Silk Roads Heritage – Shinno Haruka
  • Marco Polo’s India – Namit Arora
  • Rawak Stupa – Don Croner
  • Bright Road – Robert Brady
  • All the Peonies of Chang’an – Leanne Ogasawara


  • Shadow of the Silk Road, by Colin Thubron— James Dalglish (plus a short interview with the author, July 2008 – read the full version)
  • Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present, by Christopher I. Beckwith — Stephen Dodson
  • Did Marco Polo Go to China?, by Frances Wood; Marco Polo and the Discovery of the World, by John Larner; Invisible Cities, by Italo Calvino — Ken Rodgers
  • Religions of the Silk Road: Overland Trade and Cultural Exchange from Antiquity to the Fifteenth Century, by Richard C. Foltz — Preston L. Houser
  • The Silk Road: Art and History, by Jonathon Tucker — Winnie Shiraishi
  • Ghost Train to the Eastern Star, by Paul Theroux — Rasoul Sorkhabi

Cover Image by Oleg Novikov
114 pp
published June 25, 2010