“Some Japanese stories end violently. Others never end at all, but only cut away, at the moment of extreme crisis, to a butterfly, or the wind, or the moon.”—Brian Phillips
Visitors from the West look with amazement, and sometimes concern, at Japan’s monolithic social structures and unique, complex culture industry; the gigantic scale of its tech corporations and the resilience of its traditions; the extraordinary diversity of the subcultures that flourish in its “post-human” megacities. The country nonetheless remains an impossibly complicated jigsaw puzzle whose overall design eludes us. Its inscrutability has made the country an inexhaustible source of inspiration for stories, reflections, and reportage.
The subjects in this volume range from the Japanese veneration of the dead to the Tokyo music scene, from urban alienation to cinema, from sumo to machismo. Caught between an ageing population and extreme post-modernity, immobile yet futuristic, Japan is an ideal observation point from which to understand our age and the one to come.
“These books are so rich and engrossing that it is rewarding to read them even when one is stuck at home.”—The TLS
“It has a strong focus on storytelling, with pages given over to a mix of essays, playlists and sideways glances at subcultures and thorny urban issues.”—MONOCLE, The Stack
“Half-magazine, half-book… think of [The Passenger] as an erudite and literary travel equivalent to National Geographic, with stunning photography and illustration and fascinating writing about place.”—Independent.ie (Best series of the year – 2021)
“The Passenger readers will find none of the typical travel guide sections on where to eat or what sights to see. Consider the books, rather, more like a literary vacation--the kind you can take without braving a long flight in the time of Covid-19.”—Publisher's Weekly
“Fresh and diverting, informative and topical without being slight or ephemeral [...] This supremely well-edited combination of current affairs, journalism, commentary, and fun facts is perfect for our pause-button moment.”—Australian Financial Review (Best Books of the Year)
“Tremendously eclectic and classily produced...each volume gets under the skin of a country or a city in a multifaceted way that feels essential in these times of narrowing national horizons.”—The Bookseller