A Tokyo Romance by Ian Buruma

A Tokyo Romance

A classic memoir of self-invention in a strange land: Ian Buruma's unflinching account of his amazing journey into the heart of Tokyo's underground culture as a young man in the 1970'sWhen Ian Buruma arrived in Tokyo in 1975, Japan was little more than an idea in his mind, a fantasy of a distant land. A sensitive misfit in the world of his upper middleclass youth, what he longed for wasn't so much the exotic as the raw, unfiltered humanity he had...

Details A Tokyo Romance

TitleA Tokyo Romance
Release DateMar 6th, 2018
PublisherPenguin Press
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Cultural, Japan, Asia, Travel, Biography Memoir, History

Reviews A Tokyo Romance

  • Tosh
    Over the years, and especially going back and forth from Japan, I have read many books by fellow Americans and some British citizens on their time spent in Japan. A lot of them are crap. The ones that stand out are the ones that wrote about Japanese cinema and literature. The girls or guys who went there to get a job as an English teacher are usually not that interesting, but alas, those who are devoted to a specific Japanese artist or thinker, t...
  • Jim Coleman
    Exceptional meditation/memoir of the author's years in Japan in the mid-70's, mostly as a student. Do not look to this to help you understand Japan or the Japanese. Such understanding would come obliquely, as the author examines his "otherness" vis-a-vis both the Japanese and Westerners as well.Buruma has a Dutch father and an English mother. His mother brought him up with a lot of English traditions which led to his feeling apart in Holland. The...
  • Adriana
    Buruma spent several years in Japan experiencing all he could about the post-war, avant-garde theater scene in Tokyo. It’s incredibly interesting to get such a privileged view of the somewhat crazy and hyper-cultural counter culture of Japan in the 70s, even more so when it comes from an outsider/foreigner who managed to luck into some very rare opportunities. Every troupe and individual worth mentioning in the time period is someone Buruma eit...
  • Gayle Zawilla
    West meets East and past meets future in this somewhat self-indulgent retrospective into the “gaijin” author’s foray into the creative, if sometimes seedy, underground culture of 1970s Tokyo. It reads like an ethnography in parts, which I guess it is. I was given an advance copy courtesy of LitHub First Readers’ Club Book Giveaway (thank you).
  • Sara
    I was prepared to love this book and looked forward to a trip down memory lane since I was also in Japan during the time period Buruma is writing about. But it's more of a brag about his own youthful sexual exploits and unless you have a really strong interest in Japanese cinema, a lot of this is old hat and just another gaijin in Japan story. There were moments when he did express some deeper and more interesting thoughts so the book is not a to...
  • Charlie
    A great source of reading ideas for me these days is the weekly NYTimes Book Review "By The Book" column where I was first introduced to Ian Buruma who I hadn't heard of before. The idea of this book resonated with me as my wife and I spent two years in Japan. Buruma was attracted to Japan by the Japanese cinema and spent much of his time there among some of the most radical, innovative theatrical producers and movie directors in the country at t...
  • Sam Law
    This is a memoir, by the editor of the New York Review of Books, which takes us largely to his life in Japan, between 1975 and 1981.Read More Book Reviews on my blog It's Good To Read SummaryA restless, bored, middle-class youth in the Netherlands, Buruma felt that he never fit in to his own society, that he was always on the fringes, the outsider looking in. He travels to Japan, where he explores both his emerging self, and the Japanese film an...
  • Jim Coughenour
    An unfinished book that regularly reappears on my bedside table is The Donald Richie Reader: 50 Years of Writing on Japan, or its alternate, The Japan Journals: 1947-2004. Richie arrived in Japan in 1947 and ended up enjoying the rest of his life there – the journals, writings on Japanese cinema and culture (not to mention, The Inland Sea), never lose their charm for me. Richie appears in the first sentence of Buruma’s new book, and I was gui...
  • Jenny
    This is a memoir about a "gaijin" (a white person) in Japan in the late '70s. I was surprised at the contemporary films, theater, and art scene described (at times reminiscent of what I've read about the Andy Warhol scene at the Factory in its outrageousness). Ultimately everything had a foreign feel, but what resonated for me was the attempted immersion into another culture described in this book.Thanks to First to Read- Penguin Books USA for th...
  • Sam May
    Very interesting read about an expat’s experience in the elusive Japanese way of life and the clash of cultures between gaijin and Japanese.
  • Michelle Olms
    Great book
  • T
    4.5It was fascinating to learn about Ankoku Butoh, a modern Japanese form "invented" by Hijikata in the late 1950's as a deliberately grotesque aesthetic reaction against Western ballet and classical Japanese dance. Rebelling against ballet, what a unique idea. Some dances might include rape scenes, castration, or a live chicken killed during the performance. I liked knowing that this art form exists in the world, just because.
  • bookreader
    As the author himself admits, John Nathan's Japan memoir is both more interesting & impressive.