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Japan in 100 words


Language, the cornerstone of every culture, is one of the most effective keys to understanding a people, their way of thinking, their contradictions and the society in which they live.

Japan, hidden as it is behind its complex rituals, may seem like an impenetrable mystery. To help the reader approach this world, the book takes inspiration from 100 Japanese words that are not commonly translated but used in their original form: each of them is explained by simple but enlightening texts and illustrated by a Japanese artist in a personal and captivating. Some entries contain short additional texts that explain secondary terms related to the main one.

The authors, thanks to their profound knowledge of the country, its history and the Japanese language, thus reveal the most indecipherable secrets of this magnificent culture, from the most traditional aspects to those linked to the contemporary. An index of all the Japanese terms that occur in the volume will help the reader to orient himself, in a system of cross references.

Reasons of interest:

  • Japan revealed through the most well-known words of its language and the key concepts that help define it.
  • False myths and clichés about Japan finally debunked thanks to simple and clear explanations.
  • Accompanying the texts are refined and brightly colored works by a highly original Japanese artist to illustrate the meaning of each term in more detail.
  • Size: 21.5 × 26.5 cm
  • 208 pages
  • 4 color printing
  • Dutch paperback

Gavin Blair, Tokyo correspondent for France 24 TV, writes for the Christian Science Monitor, the Hollywood Reporter and other publications. He has lived in Japan for years and travels around the country describing its complex reality.

Ornella Civardi has translated and edited literary texts by famous Japanese writers and poets. He has written articles and edited works on Japanese culture and art. For Tales in the Palm of the Hand by Yasunari Kawabata he won the Alcantara Prize for translation in 2005.

Ayano Otani is a Japanese illustrator who uses different techniques and also collaborates with fashion designers. For NuiNui he illustrated various albums and stories for children, including the book The Bakedanuki and the Japanese Ghosts, in which he demonstrates a highly original style.

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