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The Inland Sea [Paperback]

By Donald Richie & Pico Iyer (Introduction by)
Our Price $ 14.41  
Retail Value $ 16.95  
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Item Number 297399  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   260
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.32" Width: 5.26" Height: 0.74"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2002
Publisher   Stone Bridge Press
ISBN  1880656698  
EAN  9781880656693  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...

"Earns its place on the very short shelf of books on Japan that are of permanent value."--"Times Literary Supplement. "

"Richie is a stupendous travel writer; the book shines with bright witticisms, deft characterizations of fisherfolk, merchants, monks and wistful adolescents, and keen comparisons of Japanes and Western culture." --"San Francisco Chronicle"

"A learned, beautifully paced elegy."--"London Review of Books"

Sheltered between Japan's major islands lies the Inland Sea, a place modernity passed by. In this classic travel memoir, Donald Richie embarks on a quest to find Japan's timeless heart among its mysterious waters and forgotten islands. This edition features an introduction by Pico Iyer, photographs from the award-winning PBS documentary, and a new afterword. First published in 1971, "The Inland Sea "is a lucid, tender voyage of discovery and self-revelation.

Donald Richie is the foremost authority on Japanese culture and cinema with 40+ books in print.

Buy The Inland Sea by Donald Richie & Pico Iyer from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9781880656693 & 1880656698

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More About Donald Richie & Pico Iyer

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Donald Richie has been writing about Japan for over 50 years from his base in Tokyo and is the author of over 40 books and hundreds of essays and reviews. He is widely admired for his incisive film studies on Ozu and Kurosawa, and for his stylish and incisive observations on Japanese culture.

Donald Richie currently resides in Lima. Donald Richie was born in 1924 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Museum of Modern Art, New York.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Why does Japan attract so many good writers?  Jun 24, 2008
Japan seems unusually well-represented by travel writers with the skills to really bring the country alive. Perhaps it's the nature of the society there that both brings out amusing mockery in some authors (not this one) or lends itself to serious reflection (very definitely this one.)

It's strange -- in reading this book, rightfully considered a classic, I was brought to mind a book called 'Dinner with Persephone' by Patricia Storace. The two writers couldn't be any less similar, but both are fascinating characters whose books (and this is not a complaint) are far more about themselves than the lands in which they find themselves. In less worthy hands, such a trip could be like being trapped on a Jehovah's Witness bus, but Ritchie brings enough interesting detail and understanding of Japanese life to make this journey rewarding.
I don't care if I never go back...  Feb 16, 2008
"I hear they are building a bridge
To the island of Tsu.
To what now
Shall I compare myself?"
- old Japanese poem, included at the start of the book.

The reason I decided to read this book is that the idea of ambling around some quiet Japanese islands with an Ozu nut sounded like a good time. And I was not wrong. I can only echo most of the sentiments expressed by reviewers above. This is a wonderful book.
Ostensibly, it's a travelogue, and a farewell letter to a Japan that was fading from existence when Richie made his trip in the early 60s. While I'd be the first to sympathise with Richie's remorse at the changing face of Japanese society (had I experienced it, that is!), I visited Japan for the first time last year and when reading this book on my return found many of my impressions reflected in the book (if much more eloquently than they existed in my head) Furthermore, while the book undoubtedly appeals to many at some stage of "the syndrome" as Richie calls it, it is really a book for anyone who has wished to cast themselves off for sea, and utter those words that bracket Richie's story, and that title this review. This is a man who has sought a world in which he will always be a stranger.
In the afterword to the original edition, the author states that Japan is a mirror to the western soul. Perhaps it's not so much that, as that other cultures cast our own ways into relief and force us to ask questions of ourselves; for many westerners, the questions that Japan asks are fascinating.
As other reviewers have noted, prudes or puritans ought to be a little wary; others may wish to be a little subjective about which lines they read between. Still, something had to happen in Onomichi to stop it turning into a lecture on Ozu I suppose.

Regarding this new edition. I have to agree with Willy D's comments. I can put up with the two columns of print (sort of giving it the book a bottom of the backpack quality; to take out and meditate on at random), and I haven't even bothered with the new introduction. But while the new afterward is interesting, the omission of the old one is a bad mistake, and worst of all, the replacement of the beautiful photos in the original edition (sorry I forget the photographer's name) with some tacky little low contrast snaps of places visited is very sinful. Perhaps the next edition could fix these errors up...?

So if you can, get to the library and find the crusty old 1971 edition, but whichever version you read, I highly recommend this terrific book by a wonderful writer.

The Honest Word  Jan 28, 2008
Honesty is a characteristic of Richie's writing, along with humor, insight, and detail. He's often quite brutally honest, in fact, and though he hides little about his own failings, he's sometimes a bit more judgemental of others. But aren't we all and his observations are so entertaining, sometimes astonishing, that I always have a hard time putting his books down.

There are times, however, when Richie's judgement wears on me. The qualities that allow him to do his best writing, his marvelous detachment and curiosity, seem to make him miss aspects of the humanity of those he's observing. He romanticizes where it serves his personal needs and dismisses, sometimes churlishly, where he becomes tired or irritated with the scene and the people who he then allows to become only part of that scenery.

I recently had the enormous pleasure of reading his Japan journals while traveling Japan. The journals extend to 2004, well after "Inland Sea," and I find less of the irritating Richie in them.

In the final analysis, I just can't help mostly loving Richie. This small volume is just another gem in the wonderful body of work from this writer who should be appreciated as a writer, not just as a writer on Japan.
Donald Richie is one of the best Japan Travelogue writer  Sep 23, 2007
Donald Richie wrote a journal in 1962 which formed the ground work for everything in the book. In the 9 years until he decided to publish his journal/book, he reprised the journal with additional insertions, in which he sometimes took pieces of his experiences within Japan, that although they did not occur in the Inland Sea of Japan and during the time the journal was written, he nevertheless recognized them as very much a part of what he considers to represent Japan before modernization. Although it is unknown what exactly didn't occur within Japan's Inland Sea, it is undeniable that the book is a masterpiece of a travelogue that very much captures the essence of everything he specifically mentions. He may well have written the journal with the expectation of it being published eventually, once he was ready.

In many ways it is hard to think of it as a travelogue due to the fact that Donald Richie has already experienced half of his life within Japan, and what appears to be an individual reflecting much of his personal life into the narration. It comes across more as an journal written by an individual whom by this point into the published version has become established within Japanese culture and integrated his life within Japan, and is so able to absorb himself into his encounter, that a deeper visual presence of this world and his psyche emerges integrated into this work, that not even a well developed visual experience within cinema could do it justice.

Donald Richie has written many books on Japanese Cinema, namely Kurosawa and Ozu. His visual thinking style is very evident in this book, and I must mention he has a gift for visualization. Compared to Alan Booth, he appears to be far better at writing, and is a far more reflective an individual. Able to decipher the meaning to things, he doesn't simply note down the illogical peculiarities of the individuals he encounters. A note of warning though is that Richie has some definite vices, namely he acts upon sexual gratification with young women, and almost gets taken away with a high-school girl. He doesn't do anything illegal in the story (at least, not that I'm totally familiar with, given the time and place, and nothing with which you couldn't do, and get away with, in the US.) Although he does so during a marriage, and his actions would well be chastised by many readers, he is who he is. The end notes of his book (in the first edition, published 1971) do tell the reader of his decision to keep much of the journal writings intact without any changes made to the events. By doing so, some may find his encounters reason enough to steer clear of the book; however I must let you know you will be missing out on a very memorable experience.

The man is a brilliant writer, and one you will not find too common-place. It is also an incredibly rare experience, even more so that time has passed since then. Not to mention, the book does not come across as a book written from memory, as the writing takes a very concerted effort to engage the reader as though the reader were Donald Richie, living scene by scene in real-time. And more importantly is that the book is even better with some of the hilarious aspects of his adventure, and is much more believable with accuracy than Alan Booth. Not to mention, is Donald Richies noticeable appreciation for the Japanese people, despite clear impression to avert from some of the fine nuances that are presented in their culture, and which one might believe that he is seeking to escape his own cultural background, as if a vagabond in search of his soul. In this way he seems to have a sad and endearing appreciation for something that doesn't entirely isolate itself to Japan, although in many ways unique to it. In part because he gets caught into the moment of his experience, he sometimes steps back and picks at nuances, sometimes disrespectfully callow; though this is rare for him in this instance. Read it and maybe what I said will make sense, as I didn't write this too well.

A 10 star book but...  Aug 26, 2006
I really could not praise this book enough. It is one of my favorite books of all time and a truly astounding piece of "travel writing". However, this edition is a bit wanting.

The new afterward is very good but a bit sobering, confirming that, yes, to a large extent the place you have just read about is now dead as the dodo, all too effectively ending your "fever dream". Also, the new pictures are junk. They look as though they came from a Lonely Planet guide, whilst the original edition had beautiful, mysterious, haunting, high contrast photos that came across more like paintings.

Most puzzling is the page layout which consists of 2 columns per page, like a magazine article. Why? So it looks like something from "Outside" or GQ? Needless to say I preferred the musty tome from the library that read like some brilliant forgotten diary.

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