If There Were No Japan

If There Were No Japan

A Cultural Memoir

Roger Pulvers

Published by JPIC | Hardcover | ISBN 978-4-916055-44-6 | 248 pages | 210mm (h) x 148mm (w) | March 2015


ロジャー・パルバース 著
集英社インターナショナル 刊


About the Book

An award-winning writer and translator who has immersed himself in Japanese culture for half a century delivers a firsthand account of the country’s customs and the profound changes occurring in contemporary Japanese society.

Originally published in Japanese, If There Were No Japan: A Cultural Memoir was acclaimed for its insights into Japanese life, bringing together aspects of history, culture and everyday life to paint an original and revealing portrait of the Japanese people and the pressing issues facing them today. This national bestseller was hailed as a roadmap for “innovation of the mind”—essential knowledge that could guide Japan out of the economic and psychological doldrums that have held sway for the past two decades.
  During his decades of passionate engagement with Japan, Pulvers became close friends with many of the most gifted writers, filmmakers, actors and journalists in the country. Whether delving into ancient traditions or providing vivid accounts of contemporary customs, analyzing characters in Japanese fiction or recounting personal encounters with individuals, the author illuminates those inventive elements that have made Japanese culture and design the envy of the world—and that signal a way forward into the twenty-first century.

About the Author


Roger Pulvers is an acclaimed author, playwright, theater director, translator and journalist. He has published more than forty books in Japanese and English, including novels such as The Death of Urashima Taro, General Yamashita’s Treasure, The Honey and the Fires and The Dream of Lafcadio Hearn. His most recent novel, Starsand (2015), was written in Japanese and is published by Kodansha. He received the Kenji Miyazawa Prize in 2008 and the Noma Award for the Translation of Japanese Literature in 2013. Over the past forty-five years he has translated prose, drama and poetry from Japanese, Russian and Polish.
  His plays have been widely performed in Australia, Japan and the United States, including his translation and adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s The Government Inspector for two actors, which enjoyed a month-long run at the Sydney Opera House and a national tour in Australia in 2007. He has twice directed at the Adelaide Festival of the Arts.
  Pulvers has also worked in film and television. He was assistant to director Nagisa Oshima on Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence. He also co-wrote the script for the Japanese film Ashita e no Yuigon (Best Wishes for Tomorrow), which won the Crystal Simorgh Prize for Best Script at the 27th Fajr International Film Festival in Tehran. In 2010–11 he hosted and wrote the popular weekly NHK television show about famous sayings in Japan and around the world, Gift: E-meigen no Sekai.
  Roger Pulvers currently divides his time between Sydney, Australia, and Japan.