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Inhaltsangabe: This is a collection of vivid accounts of the most notorious criminals and criminal acts to shake modern Japanese society. Read about sleazy samurai and subway sarin attacks and rub shoulders with anarchists, informers and femme fatales.
Vom Verlag: An online interview with the author:
Could you tell us a little about your background?
"I'm a pedigreed U.S. Army brat--both parents were World War II veterans. Most of my childhood we moved from assignment to assignment, including about 4 years in Europe, and I was exposed to a lot of foreign cultures and languages. When I was 17, my father was transferred to Okinawa. Instead of remaining behind and matriculating at a U.S. college, I came along to the Far East and wound up making my home here for most of the past 36 years. It was always my dream to write, and I felt certain that Asia would provide me with plenty of topics and ideas. From early on my parents encouraged me to study Japanese and Chinese. More than anything else, it's knowledge of these languages that opened doors to my writing activities."
What motivated you to write this book?
"In 1996 I published a book on famous crimes in Japan after World War II, and it gradually dawned on me that Japan has preserved a treasure trove of true crime history going back to medieval times. Then I was hospitalized due to an accident in September 1997, and a very kind Japanese policeman I knew paid me an unexpected visit. He brought me some reading matter from police archives that got me focused on what I had already been thinking. The series, under the title 'Crime and Punishment in Old Japan,' began running in the Mainichi Daily News from July 1998."
Could you tell us a little about the contents of the book?
"It goes without saying that heads roll--literally in this case. Basically I cover the past 400 years, from the beginning of the Tokugawa Period (1603) to the end of the 20th century. The accounts are arranged chronological order. In addition to the 'infamous' crime stories about cops and robbers of yore, the I devote a few chapters to the administration of the law--police, judges, penal system, even rudimentary forensic pathology--in feudal times. Japan's opening to the West and modernization after 1868 saw how this centuries-old ancient system moved to adopt Western law and penology. And oh yes, the book is extensively illustrated with woodblock prints and photographs, so readers get some occasionally shocking images to go with the text."
What do you see as the centerpiece of the book?
"How does anyone absorb 400 years of Japanese history in a couple hours of reading? It's a tall order. What I try to do is use crime stories as the springboard. It's a lot easier to absorb snippets of history--say, on Japanese relations with and attitudes toward foreigners, toward religion, toward social hierarchies, their morals, superstitions, sexual practices, and so on. Reading about the rise and fall of colorful and eccentric individuals is essentially a painless and enjoyable way to pick up some useful snippets of history and enjoy one's self in the process."
What did you yourself learn from writing the book?
"Above all, I gained an appreciation for the enthusiasm and delight that Japanese people feel toward their national history, and beyond that, their deep reverence for the printed word. Many of my sources were published not by historians or academics, but amateur history buffs who very tenaciously dug up these old stories in their spare time. Ultimately their enthusiasm proved contagious and I caught the bug. The Dark Side reflects a sentiment that we are all duty-bound to preserve our history; I've come to understand what a meaningful undertaking it can be."
What would you like readers to take away with them after reading this book?
"That Japanese believe in rewarding good and punishing evil, just like people elsewhere. It's one of the things that reaffirms our common humanity. Of course, they can enjoy reading about bad guys; but the book will also appeal to people with an interest in the law and the criminal justice system. It even touches on some of the sleazier aspects of Japanese society, such as the fetish for S&M style bondage that apparently has roots going back hundreds of years. The stories I present serve as a useful benchmark by which to compare Japan's history and culture with our own."
What people or books were influential in the writing of your book?
"Back in the 1950s, the late Robert van Gulik, a Dutch diplomat and scholar, wrote a series of 'Judge Dee' stories featuring characters spun off from his earlier translation of a traditional Chinese mystery novel. Up to that point, Asian characters mostly figured in English books either as evil villains like Fu Manchu, or else as objects of racist satire or ridicule. Dr. van Gulik brought an Asian hero to life, in a way with which today's Western readers could empathize. He passed away in 1967, but most of his Judge Dee books remain in print, and continue to thrill new generations of readers. I can recommend them without reservation."
What are your plans for the future, in terms of new books or other projects?
"I'd like to try my hand at writing something about Asia for kids. When I was about eight years old, I read a children's story about five Chinese brothers, based on a famous traditional tale. This instilled in me a lifelong fascination for Asia. I'd like to do my part to wean kids away from TV and electronic games and steer them back to the printed word. I'd also like to try my hand at fiction."
Is there anything else the reader should know?
"A lot of fascinating knowledge about Asia, and the world in general, remains obscured due to linguistic and cultural bottlenecks. The process to revive this knowledge, from discovery to research, from compilation to translation, and finally to publication, might almost be described as a kind of modern-day archeology. Being able to open a window on mankind's past has been an exhilarating experience."
Buchbeschreibung Kodansha International (JPN), 2002. Buchzustand: Good. First Edition. N/A. Ships from Reno, NV. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Buchnummer des Verkäufers GRP93639818
Buchbeschreibung Kodansha Amer Inc. Hardcover. Buchzustand: As New. Book appears to be new. Buchnummer des Verkäufers G4770028067I2N00
Buchbeschreibung Kodansha International (JPN), 2002. Hardcover. Buchzustand: Used: Good. Buchnummer des Verkäufers SONG4770028067
Buchbeschreibung Buchzustand: Good. Book Condition: Good. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 97847700280684.0
Buchbeschreibung Tokyo ; London : Kodansha, 2001. Buchzustand: Sehr gut. 250 p. : ill. ; mit s/w. Abbildungen und Illustrationen, Fotos, Zustand: geringe Gebrauchs- u. Lagerspuren, sehr gutes Exemplar. Text / Sprache: Englisch , The Dark Side : Infamous Japanese Crimes and Criminals, Includes bibliographic references. Inhalt: Edo Period (1603-1868). Roots of the law - Lawmen and their assistants - Behind bars - The death penalty - Famous rogues - Criminal women courted cruel fates - Exile and rehabilitation - Quacks, phonies and other con artists of yore - Scary times for foreigners - Meiji Period (1868-1912). Early Meiji times - The mid-Meiji period - Foreigners in Japan - The late Meiji period - Taisho Period (1912-1926). The early Taisho period - The late Taisho period - Showa (1926-1989) and Heisei (1989- ) Periods. The early Showa period - The war years - The postwar period - Rightists and leftists - Urban crimes and celebrity criminals - Faceless killers, unknown motives - The aum debacle. 11700A ISBN 4770028067 Sprache: Englisch Gewicht in Gramm: 440 20 cm, gebundene Ausgabe mit Original-SchutzUmschlag, Buchnummer des Verkäufers 38003
Buchbeschreibung Kodansha International (JPN), 2002. Hardcover. Buchzustand: New. book. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 4770028067
Buchbeschreibung Kodansha International (JPN), 2002. Buchzustand: very good. Gently used. Expect delivery in 20 days. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 9784770028068-3
Buchbeschreibung Kodansha International (JPN) 0. HARDCOVER Crime-General . USED, Standard. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 01978477002806805
Buchbeschreibung Kodansha International (JPN), 2001. Hardcover. Buchzustand: New. Hardcover and dust jacket. Fine binding and cover. Clean, unmarked pages. Ships daily. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 1005110192
Buchbeschreibung Kodansha International (JPN), 2002. Hardcover. Buchzustand: Good. Good condition, some are ex-library and can have markings. Buchnummer des Verkäufers GD-112-76-0833740