Kyoto Journal Issue 11
The Politics of Memory
Tsubo Niwa: Japanese Courtyard Gardens
The Nagaragawa: Last Stand for Japan’s Rivers
Forced to Confess: The Case of Sakae Menda
Marx Meets Syntho-Pop in China
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In July 1983, Menda Sakae, who had been in prison for 33 years under sentence of death for murder, was declared not guilty. Twenty-three years old when arrested, he eventually walked out of prison and the shadow of the gallows at the age of 57, an innocent man terribly wronged. He had been longer under sentence of death than any other prisoner known to Amnesty International. The Igarashi article reveals that Menda’s case is not merely an isolated human tragedy, but is part of a general pattern of abuse of human rights by police in Japan which, little understood in Japan itself, is virtually unknown outside the country. —Igarashi Futaba, Forced to Confess.
The Japanese garden is in a perilous situation. Its native habitat is being destroyed at an alarming rate to make room for tall, modern, more profitable buildings. At best, these buildings may have a forlorn scrap of a garden shoehorned into a corner in front. Even where there is space to be had there is some question whether the Japanese garden can keep pace with society and still have meaning and purpose in the years to come. Overseas, certainly the Japanese garden languishes as a “cultural artifact” or a “museum piece,” sharing no cohesive tradition to give it a sense of belonging. Yet, among the myriad gardens to be found in Japan, one type might easily bridge the culture/time gap and thrive in the future. Just like the treasure of The Tongue-Cut Sparrow, this precious thing is to be found in the tiniest package; in this case the tsubo niwa (courtyard garden).—Marc P. Keane, Tsubo Niwa: Japanese Courtyard Gardens
Takahashi had lived his 42 years in blissful ignorance of a practically infinite number of things, as we all do, and had gotten along tolerably in the world among his fellow pedestrians, commuters, office workers etc. There was nothing at all remarkable about Takahashi; no sign that he was about to be touched by the cosmic vectors in a most singular way. One morning though, while boarding the city bus for the final leg of his daily commute to the office, Takahashi paused in line to look about him. This unforeseen delay placed him at an especially momentous coincidence in the workings of the universe, where he was struck forcibly by the crystal mallet of meaning not once, not twice, but thrice…
— Robert Brady, The First Man-Made Natural Orange and Other Stories
Ankoku Buto: The Premodern and Postmodern Influences on the Dance of Utter Darkness, by Susan Blakeley — Jonah Salz
Cover Image by Hosoi Hisato
published July 15th, 1989
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