BEHIND THE MASK. On Sexual Demons, Sacred Mothers, Transvestites, Gangsters, Drifters And Other Japanese Cultural Heroes. by Ian. Ian Buruma, Behind the Mask: On Sexual Demons, Sacred Mothers, Transvestites, Gangsters, Drifters, and Other Japanese Cultural Heroes. Behind the mask: on sexual demons, sacred mothers, transvestites, gangsters, and other Japanese cultural heroes. Front Cover. Ian Buruma. New American.

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Jul 21, Sarah – There is nothing that upsets me more than a bad book! I wish the book could be updated to make more modern references in light of this phenomenon, which would provide invaluable weight to the contemporary Japanese entertainment landscape. As this book was written before directors like Kitano Takeshi and Miike Takashi came on the scene, it would be interesting to see how Buruma would interpret their work as fitting into this continuum. How it is developed from ancient empire time through modern era nowadays.

Liz rated it it was amazing Jun 07, That annoying characteristic aside, he does manage a pretty compelling hypothesis about the transmission of certain characteristics prominent in the Japanese psyche from the earliest historical records to the present.

BEHIND THE MASK by Ian Buruma | Kirkus Reviews

There was a problem adding your email address. We are sometimes presented with contextual information and close-reading of a few works by the one author; other sources receive just a cursory glance as they relate to an overarching theme. More judgmental and less insightful than the author’s other books on Japan, with some glaring, repeated factual errors.

This book is a very interesting insight into the soul of Japanese culture. Given the author’s background and interest in film, this medium receives healthy attention in most chapters.

Behind the Mask

Keeping in mind that people in Japan, like all countries, are individuals and do not conform to some unitary national mode of thinking, it is immensely helpful to understand the standard cultural tropes with which people describe and relate to the world behinv live in. Each week, our editors select the one author and one book they believe to be most worthy of your attention and highlight them in our Pro Connect email alert.


Buruma begins with Japanese behond myths, which in a few crucial ways differ greatly from those of Ancient Greece and Rome or even other Asian nations.

However, he is always entertaining, never simplistic, and rarely judgmental at least not in any traditional sense.

It has left me determined to read more Buruma and more about contemporary Japan with its passions for both continuity and innovation. Oct 21, Iztok rated it really liked it. Even one more page per chapter expanding on the social aspect of things outside of fiction could have really provided that extra reinforcement for the ideas being presented that I think this book needs.

There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Tom Barker rated it it was amazing Oct teh, Nevertheless, be careful reading it as ixn is 30 years old and some aspects of society of course have changed.

His deliberately weird method of romanizing certain Japanese words was probably meant for businessmen and those only tangentially interested in Japan who he figured would otherwise never figure out how to Ian Buruma is a great writer: Across the board, high to low, “everyone is dressed for his or her part.

The last iwn of bdhind book sum up: One of the first books I got into with respect to Japanese sub-culture. However, it was a fascinating personal exercise to draw parallels between the themes he spoke about and the anime characters I know and love.

Behind the Mask : Ian Buruma :

No trivia or quizzes yet. Nov 30, Kit Fox rated it it was amazing.


His writing generally strikes a fair balance. Japan has strong links with its past. There’s a glitch in Goodreads. But with the same few, stereotypical points made over and over. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. The fantasies and stories he analyses revolve massk sex prostitution, pornography and the pure idealrelationships between men and women, loyalty amongst men and from women for men – it doesn’t work the other wayYakuza tough guys, violence and cruelty.

Although certainly dated, I found the general ideas to be quite illuminating. The history is a mirror that reflects modern Japanese society and through the past you come to understand this unique country. Preview — Behind the Mask by Ian Buruma.

The morbid and sometimes grotesque taste that runs through Japanese culture–and has done so for centuries–is a direct result of being made to conform to such a strict and limiting code of normality.

Jan 07, Jap Hengky rated it really liked it Shelves: Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Naturally, these reflect different times and circumstances In another sense, this is an extremely unique work, however, in that not only does each chapter stand alone as genuinely insightful film or fiction criticism but together the essays constitute a nearly complete, nuanced and sensitive account of what one might call a “pr Ian Buruma’s nonfiction tends to be wonderful, and this book is no exception.

Film, theatre, comics, poetry and literary works are the thee through which the examines these themes.