Minor Press

Newtral is easily the most beautiful free magazine we’ve ever seen and is based on an innovative concept: you can donate money later if you’ve enjoyed the magazine, or simply return it to a pick-up location. These are bookstores in Shibuya, and the motivation would seem to be to encourage you to visit these stores. Some of the stores give you a small gift. If you make a donation, you can then download the electronic version.

The magazine caters to “creatives in their 20s” but we see no reason why anyone can’t enjoy it. The recent spring/summer edition (#5) features nearly 60 pages of photography, art and articles, most of which are interviews with artists, musicians and writers. Many of the articles are bilingual, too (the English could use a little editing). Newtral is on high-quality A4 size matte paper with a glued-in spine. The most recent edition features eleven covers in a unique design that allows you to see parts of all of them through the “hole.” Get one, and marvel for yourself.



Endô Shûsaku

Borderless Reading

With Oe Kenzaburô having won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1994, and Murakami Haruki running a monopoly on world-wide interest in Japanese literature with half-baked novels, most have forgotten late 20th century author Endô Shûsaku. The Kanagawa Modern Literature Museum at least hosted a recent exhibition on his life and works so not all hope is lost!

Endô is often labeled a Christian novelist but his work goes deeper than his Catholic faith. Many of his characters face some moral dilemma and often the author himself is, at some deeper level, questioning his faith.

Endô’s Silence, regarded as his masterpiece, follows a Portuguese missionary to 17th century Japan. Other significant novels include The Sea and Poison which re-imagines an actual historical event where live vivisections were carried out on captured U.S. airmen during WWII. The novel was made into a movie in 1986, featuring none other than a young Watanabe Ken. Our personal favorite is Samurai, an historical novel about a samurai’s diplomatic mission overseas in the 17th century. Many of Endô’s works are available in English translation.

1994 年に大江健三郎がノーベル文学賞を受賞し、村上春樹が不完全な小説で日本文学への世界的な関心を独占している中、20世紀末の作家、遠藤周作は忘れ去られてしまったかに見えた。しかし神奈川近代文学館が最近、彼の生涯と作品の展示を開催した。すべての希望が失われたわけではないのだ!



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