IN THE REVIEW

Tears on the Kimono

A Tale of Flowering Fortunes: Annals of Japanese Aristocratic Life in the Heian Period

translated with an introduction and notes by William H. McCullough and Helen Craig McCullough
The Heian age in Japanese history lasted for some four hundred years, from the end of the eighth century AD to the closing decades of the twelfth. The name Heian (“Peace and Tranquillity”) comes from Heian-kyo, the capital city established in 794, in emulation of the T’ang metropolis in China, …

Cult of the Sword

Some Japanese Portraits

by Donald Keene

Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai

by Tsunetomo Yamamoto, translated by William Scott Wilson
Gentleman and roughneck—the Japanese warriors of the feudal age can appear in either guise. On the one hand we observe fine feeling, good breeding, and taste; on the other there is the implacable readiness of the samurai to inflict violent death on others, as well as on himself, for what …