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Cultural centres
The Bilbao effect
If you build it, will they come?
Dec 21st 2013 | From the print edition

Visitors’ spending in Bilbao in the first three years after the museum opened raised over €100m ($110m) in taxes for the regional government, enough to recoup the construction costs and leave something over. Last year more than 1m people visited the museum, at least half of them from abroad. This was the third-highest number ever, so the building continues to attract visitors even though the collection on display is modest. Other cities without historic cultural centres now look to Bilbao as a model for what vision and imagination can achieve.

スペインのビルバオ美術館の成功例から始まっているこの記事ですが、If you build it, will they come?というサブタイトルにまず目にいきました。ええ、映画『フィールドオブドリームズ』のあのシーンが目に浮かびます。

といっても、コンテンツも揃えないと来場者は増えないようです。ですから、If you build it, will they come?と疑問形になっているのでしょう。

The example of the new Ordos Art Museum in Inner Mongolia, beautifully designed by a firm of Beijing architects, suggests that just building a terrific museum is not enough to ensure success. The city of Ordos has sprung up fast and is relatively rich, thanks to discoveries of oil and gas, but the museum has no collections and precious few plans for exhibitions. No wonder it is devoid of visitors. There may be a lesson here for the new cultural centres about to be built in other parts of the world.


Mad about museums
China is building thousands of new museums, but how will it fill them?
Dec 21st 2013 | From the print edition

美術館・博物館が増えている状況をグラフで表してくれているのですが、From red books to guide booksというタイトルをつけています。「毛沢東語録」のことを英語ではred bookとかlittle red bookなどと呼んでいるようです。キャッチーに訳そうとすれば「文革から文化へ」てな感じでしょうか。

In 1949, when the Communist Party took control, China had just 25 museums. Many were burned down during the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76 and their collections dispersed. But the rapid growth and urbanisation that accompanied Deng Xiaoping’s “reform and opening up” policies after 1978 also launched a museum-building boom that did far more than simply replace what had been lost. Every provincial capital now seems to be constructing a new museum, or upgrading one it has already. This is seen as a good way to kickstart a cultural programme, even if the building has nothing to display for a while. Rich Chinese collectors are also putting up private museums to show off their treasures.

According to the current five-year plan, China was to have 3,500 museums by 2015, a target it achieved three years early. Last year a record 451 new museums opened, pushing the total by the end of 2012 to 3,866, says An Laishun, vice-president of the China Museums Association. By contrast, in America only 20-40 museums a year were built in the decade before the 2008 financial crash.


The best of these satisfy a growing public demand for culture. The Mao Zedong generation was taught that China’s traditional art was backward and not worth bothering about. Now young Chinese are interested in both traditional and contemporary art. One area that has recently gained a following is contemporary Chinese ink painting, a new take on an old tradition by young artists. “Fresh Ink”, a small exhibition of ten artists at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 2010, and a bigger show, “Ink Art”, which opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York earlier this month, have attracted much attention in China.


In contemporary art, with its ironies and its multiple readings, Chinese artists test the patience of officialdom. The boundaries are fluid, but most Chinese know how far they can push them. Zhang Peili, the director of the OCAT Contemporary Art Terminal in Shanghai, a well-established private gallery, offers a list of prohibited items: “A show about Falun Gong, the Dalai Lama or the Tiananmen Square uprising; anything that insults our national leaders; or any art that shows private parts.”

最後の記事のタイトルculture vultureはオックスフォードの学習辞典にも載っているほどの単語だったのですね。音の響きが似ている単語なのでキャッチーになっていますね。

Future strategies
Feeding the culture-vultures
What museums must do to satisfy an increasingly demanding public
Dec 21st 2013 | From the print edition

culture vulture
(humorous) a person who is very interested in serious art, music, literature, etc.

culture vulture
(informal) a person considered to be excessively, and often pretentiously, interested in the arts


But there is one shining exception: the century-old Prince of Wales Museum in Mumbai, which now has a tongue-twisting new name—the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya—that abbreviates to CSMVS. Until recently the CSMVS was as dilapidated as the rest, but today the museum has over 1m visitors a year, a handsome government subsidy and a devoted group of private fund-raisers. What saved it was a decision in 2007 to do things differently. When its energetic director, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, asked his staff what it should be doing, chief among the ideas put forward was to reach out far more, not just to Mumbai city-dwellers who would normally never think of visiting a museum but to other museums around the world. Now the CSMVS has partnerships with the BM, the Getty and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Such international partnerships are about much more than money. Neil MacGregor, the BM’s director, believes that museums can be a force for nation-building and peace. This month his institution sent its famous Cyrus cylinder (pictured) to Mumbai as part of a journey that has already taken it to Iran and America. The 2,600-year-old clay cylinder is covered in cuneiform script proclaiming that Cyrus the Great, the emperor of Persia, would allow anyone who had been imprisoned or enslaved by his predecessors to return home, and that the statues of their different gods could be returned to their original shrines to be freely worshipped. No ruler before Cyrus had done anything like this. This sort of show—about man’s common humanity—captures the public imagination. Museums which can do that still have a bright future.





英語のmuseumは日本語の「美術館」「博物館」の両方を指していますが、記事では囲み記事としてOddball museumsと面白トピックのmuseumを紹介してくれています。

a building in which objects of artistic, cultural, historical, or scientific interest are kept and shown to the public
a museum of modern art
a science museum

Temples of delight
Museums the world over are doing amazingly well, says Fiammetta Rocco. But can they keep the visitors coming?
Dec 21st 2013 | From the print edition

Cultural centres
The Bilbao effect
If you build it, will they come?
Dec 21st 2013 | From the print edition

Contemporary art
On a wing and a prayer
Why so many museums are venturing into new works

Dec 21st 2013 | From the print edition

Mad about museums
China is building thousands of new museums, but how will it fill them?

Dec 21st 2013 | From the print edition

Future strategies
Feeding the culture-vultures
What museums must do to satisfy an increasingly demanding public

Dec 21st 2013 | From the print edition


To be sure, museums remain showcases for collections and repositories of scholarship, but they have also become pits of popular debate and places where children go for sleepovers (pictured, above, at the British Museum). They are no longer places where people look on in awe but where they learn and argue, as they would at universities or art schools. Sir Nicholas Serota, director of Britain’s Tate galleries, describes the museum as “a forum as much as a treasure box”.

(North American English also slumber party)
a party for children or young people when a group of them spend the night at one house


“We Chinese are very good at building hardware,” commented your correspondent’s interpreter after leaving yet another half-empty museum, this time in Shanghai. “Building software is another matter altogether.” In China’s museum world, “software” covers everything from building up collections to actually running the place. Private museums that have succeeded in this include the Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing and two new museums in Shanghai, the Aurora (a treasure trove of ancient bronzes and jades designed by Tadao Ando, a Japanese architect) and the Rockbund Art Museum (a thriving contemporary-art centre).


Small, niche museums with imaginative leadership are also likely to retain a devoted following. Ask museum directors to pick a favourite, and many give the same answer: the Chichu Art Museum on Naoshima island in southern Japan. Designed by Tadao Ando, the building is itself a work of art. Inside there are a few carefully selected installations. Visitors arrive by boat and are encouraged to stay the night so they can see James Turrell’s “Open Sky” installation at sunset.





まわれ まわれ まわれよ 水車まわれ
まわって お日さん 呼んでこい
まわって お日さん 呼んでこい
鳥 虫 けもの 草 木 花
春 夏 秋 冬 連れてこい
春 夏 秋 冬 連れてこい

まわれ まわれ まわれよ 水車まわれ
まわって お日さん 呼んでこい
まわって お日さん 呼んでこい
鳥 虫 けもの 草 木 花
咲いて 実って 散ったとて
生まれて 育って 死んだとて
風が吹き 雨が降り 水車まわり
せんぐり いのちが よみがえる
せんぐり いのちが よみがえる


‘Kaguya-hime no Monogatari (The Tale of Princess Kaguya)’
Ghibli's Takahata returns triumphant after 14 years

His exploration, though, has little to do with plot, everything to do with his heroine’s emotional and spiritual journey — and the way it ends. Not to enter spoiler territory, but the climax is a haunting, wrenching evocation of mono no aware — or as it is literally translated, the pathos of things. The basis of Japanese aesthetics since time immemorial, mono no aware is hard to define, but “The Tale of Princess Kaguya” brilliantly illuminates it with images of life at its transient loveliest, of parting in its terrible finality.


美術手帖 2014年 01月号 [雑誌]美術手帖 2014年 01月号 [雑誌]



『竹取物語』なんて学校の授業で習ったかどうかもあやふやになっているので、恥ずかしながら「あはれ」の部分を確認してみました。絶版になっているのが残念ですが、川端康成が現代語訳、ドナルドキーンが英訳した豪華版の『竹取物語』が出版されていたのですね。最後の天の羽衣(The Celestial Robe of Feathers)の書き出し付近と、昇天の際の歌の英訳を確認します。

対訳 竹取物語 - The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter対訳 竹取物語 - The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter
川端 康成、ドナルド キーン 他




Her maidservant informed the Bamboo Cutter: "Kaguya-hime has always looked with deep emotion at the moon, but she has seemed rather strange of late. She must be terribly upset over something. Please keep an eye on her."
The old man asked Kaguya-hime. "What makes you look so pensively at the moon?"
She answered. "When I look at the moon the world seems lonely and sad. What else would here be to worn me?"




“Now that the moment has come to put on the robe of feathers, how longingly I recall my lord!”



"Mono no Aware" and Japanese Beauty
April 17th (Wed.) to June 16th (Sun.)
Mono no Aware signifies the deep, sensitive, exquisite feelings experienced in encountering the subtleties of human life or the changing seasons. The phrase, which has a long history in Japanese literary criticism, continues to have elegant resonances for us today.
As the Heian-period Poems Ancient and Modern and The Tale of Genji tell us, the Japanese have long spun the beauties of nature and the joys and sorrows of human life into poems and tales. The diaries, poems, and narrative works created by aristocrats at the Heian imperial court reveal their love of the cherry blossoms of spring, the foliage and grasses of autumn, the calls of the uguisu and hototogisu, birds that herald the arrival of spring and summer, the moon gleaming in the night sky: archetypical natural phenomena invoking the beauties of nature in Japan and its seasonal transitions.

『対訳 竹取物語』はアマゾンの古書だと1万円以上もするので、近隣のブックオフにないか捜索に出てみようと思います。












『富嶽三十六景』(Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji)の神奈川沖浪裏(Great Wave Off Kanagawa)や凱風快晴(Fine Wind, Clear Morning)という有名どころもありました。北斎の名前はさすがにロングマンやオックスフォードの学習英英辞典には載っていませんが、ネイティブ向けの定評ある辞書は取り上げています。

Ho·ku·sai, Katsushika 1760-1849.
Japanese artist and printmaker who is remembered for his historical scenes and landscapes, including Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (1826-1833)

Katsushika. 1760–1849, Japanese artist, noted for the draughtsmanship of his colour wood-block prints, which influenced the impressionists


Famous as a precursor to Impressionism, Hokusai (1760-1849) may be the best-known Japanese artist in the West. His woodblock prints began to influence artists and designers in Europe almost as soon as they began to be seen there in the 1850's. Especially influential were his "36 Views of Mount Fuji," from the early 1830's, especially "The Great Wave," a work almost as widely quoted, imitated and parodied as Munch's "Scream."

"The Great Wave," from the final half of Hokusai's career, is prominently displayed in the exhibition's introductory gallery, which briefly encapsulates his range of mediums. It is a fierce physical image, and only slightly less daunting than the opening work: a late hanging scroll of a levitating demon with red skin like live embers, who swirls out of a coil of smoke and cinders.










あたかも倫理が頻出するかのタイトルをつけてしまいましたが、用語自体はそれほど出ません。ただ、公式サイトにあるパート6のサンプル問題でemployee code-of-ethics agreement(従業員倫理規定)が登場していました。

I am pleased to confirm our offer of part-time employment at Western Enterprises. In your role as research assistant, you will report to Dr. Emma Walton, who will keep you informed of your specific duties and projects. Because you will be working with confidential information, you will be expected to follow the enclosed employee code-of-ethics agreement.



you will report to Dr. Emma Walton
(Emma Walton博士の下で勤務します)

Dr. Emma Walton, who will keep you informed of your specific duties
(Emma Walton博士が具体的な指示を伝えます)

you will be working with confidential information

you will be expected to follow the enclosed employee code-of-ethics agreement




モスバーグのEthics Statementの最初を見ていきます。当たり前のことですが、取材する企業から金銭の授受を否定しています。

Ethics Statement
Here is a statement of my ethics and coverage policies. It is more than most of you want to know, but, in the age of suspicion of the media, I am laying it all out.

I am not an objective news reporter, and am not responsible for business coverage of technology companies. I am a subjective opinion columnist, a reviewer of consumer technology products and a commentator on technology issues. I don’t offer investment advice, or follow the financial progress or stock prices of technology companies. I focus on products and services, not revenues and earnings.

I don’t accept any money, free products, or anything else of value, from the companies whose products I cover, or from their public relations or advertising agencies. I also don’t accept trips, speaking fees, or product discounts from companies whose products I cover, or from their public relations or advertising agencies. I don’t serve as a consultant to any companies, or serve on any corporate boards or advisory boards.

I do occasionally take a free t-shirt from these companies, but my wife hates it when I wear them, as she considers them ugly.

I don’t own a single share of stock in any of the companies whose products I cover, or any shares in technology-oriented mutual funds.

日本ではメディアがマスゴミと呼ばれたり、ステマが話題になったりしますが、アメリカでもメディア不信は相当あるのでしょうね。特にAll Things Dは新商品紹介などもしていますから、(日本の多くのメディアのように)企業広報に成り下がってしまいやすいからでしょうか。また編集権の独立を訴えNBCのような親会社の意向から独立していることを最後に訴えています。

My reviews have total editorial independence from these investors, even when they touch on products and services these companies produce, compete with, or invest in. The same goes for all content on Re/code and at our conferences.

スイッシャーさんの方のEthics Statementです。Spouseがグーグルに務めていることを正直に伝えています。(個人的には同性愛者であることも驚きですが。。。)グーグルに都合の悪いことは伝えないのではという批判に対しては、これまでの仕事ぶりを評価して欲しいと伝えています。

Ethics Statement
Here is a statement of my ethics and coverage policies. It is more than most of you want to know, but, in the age of suspicion of the media, I am laying it all out.

Let’s begin with a critical piece of information every reader of this site needs to know about me: My longtime spouse, Megan Smith, has been an executive at search giant Google since 2003, where she has had a number of jobs, including as vice president of new business development and general manager of the company’s philanthropic arm, Google.org. She is currently working at Google[x], the division of the company dedicated to “moon shot” experiments such driverless cars, Project Glass (wearable computers) and Project Loon (Internet access delivered by high-altitude balloons). She does not share information with me about any of these projects or any others at Google.

Obviously, a substantial amount of Megan’s income from Google has been in shares and options, some of which she has sold and some of which she still holds. Megan makes all her own decisions related to these shares and options, and I do not own any of them. Further, I have signed legal documents that disallow me from future rights to own them and, in the event of her death, her wealth will pass directly to our two children. In addition, Megan still holds a number of shares and options (none of which I own or have future rights to own) in PlanetOut, where she served as CEO before she moved to Google.

While some may raise objections, I would hope that readers will judge my work on its merits, especially in light of my extensive experience covering the technology industry for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and in two books about AOL I authored in the 1990s. In fact, I began reporting on Google itself in 1999, well before others did, and wrote many articles about the company years before Megan worked there.

Honoring a long-term commitment to high standards of journalism is key to the success of my work. I am well aware of the controversies surrounding ethics online now swirling about, some of which have resulted in giving readers some pause about the quality and honesty of some in the blogosphere. Such wariness is always a good thing for everyone and I encourage readers to ask tough questions and demand more of those providing them information of all kinds. I know that I am asking for a large measure of trust from readers of the site, and I pledge to do everything I can to be deserving of that trust.



Bloomberg News reaffirms ban on writing about Mike Bloomberg
December 13, 2013: 5:00 AM ET
The news organization owned by Bloomberg LP has an unusual, self-imposed policy preventing itself from writing about its founder.
By Peter Elkind, editor-at-large

FORTUNE -- When Michael Bloomberg retires as New York's mayor in January after 12 years in office, it's unclear what exactly he'll do (beyond claiming a desk back at Bloomberg LP, the financial data giant he founded). Whatever he does, he's sure to keep making news.

You can count on him to keep fighting for new gun-control laws. He could well continue to push his public-health initiatives against sugary drinks and smoking. And he's certain to make headline-grabbing charitable gifts: He's worth an estimated $31 billion, and gave $350 million just in 2013 to Johns Hopkins (bringing his lifetime total giving to his alma mater over $1 billion).

But there's one place you won't read about any of it: Bloomberg News. Since the creation of its journalism arm in 1990, Bloomberg LP -- 85% owned by Mike (as he is referred to at the company and will be referred to here to avoid confusion) -- has banned coverage of the company and its owner on the grounds that it would be a conflict of interest. Bloomberg News made a limited exception for covering Mike's official actions as New York's mayor. But his return to private life will bring an end to all that.

That's the result, Fortune has learned, of a decision by Bloomberg News editor-in-chief Matt Winkler to reject an internal recommendation urging the company to change its policy. "I see no reason to change a policy that was conceived at the inception of Bloomberg News, and has served us well," Winkler told Fortune in late October, during an interview for an in-depth report on Bloomberg LP. ("The trouble at Bloomberg," subscription required; Fortune is a competitor of Bloomberg News and its magazines.) The company this week confirmed that Winkler's view will prevail.



先ほどのブログ記事ではAll Things DのブランドはWSJが引き継ぐとありましたが、WSJDと名前を変えて引き継いだようです。ツイッターのアカウントも名前が変わっていました。以下がWSJDの始まりの挨拶です。

Introducing WSJD
Updated Jan. 1, 2014 12:15 a.m. ET

Welcome to WSJD, The Wall Street Journal's new home for technology news, analysis, commentary, daily buzz and consumer-product reviews.
Jonathan Krim

This new section is the latest example of our expansion of technology coverage around the world, with a growing team of dedicated journalists spread from Silicon Valley to Israel, China, Korea and beyond. We're doing this because technology is transforming everything, from our economy to our workplaces, and to the gadgets, apps and software that have become central to our lives.

さらっとですが、新たに立ち上がったモスバーグたちのサイトに触れています。社交辞令もあるでしょうがWe wish them well in their new pursuit.と新たな旅立ちにエールを送っています。

If you've landed here from AllThingsD.com, our former partners Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher will be launching a new company with a new site and new name on Jan. 2. We wish them well in their new pursuit.

一方のRe/codeの方もWSJの新規セクションについてニュースにしていて、We wish them well in their efforts.とこちらも述べています。

The Wall Street Journal Redesigns Its Tech Section
January 2, 2014, 2:53 AM PST
By Kara Swisher
The Wall Street Journal, our former partner, has redesigned its tech section and announced a new digitally focused conference in the fall too. We wish them well in their efforts.

まあ、どちらも事実しか述べていないので、エールの交換というほどではないですが、英語学習的には決まり文句としてWe wish them well in…という表現を学べますね。

We wish them well in their new pursuit.
We wish them well in their efforts.




以下のブログニュースでも触れられていましたが、All Things Dを率いていたウォルト・モスバーグらが新たなサイトRe/Codeを立ち上げました。

田中善一郎2013年10月22日 17:27


 NYTのネイト・シルバー(Nate Silver)氏は8月に辞めてESPNに移った。彼の活躍の場であったブログFiveThirtyEightはNYTのアーカイブに残し、同じブランド名のFiveThirtyEightを再び立ち上げ中である。WSJのウォルト・モスバーグ(Walt Mossberg)氏とカラ・スウィシャー(Kara Swisher)氏はWSJとの契約を年内に終え、また2人が中核になってニュースメディアを立ち上げる。ガーディアンのグレン・グリーンワールド(Glenn Greenwald)氏は先週末に退社することを発表したばかりで、億万長者の支援を受けてニュースメディアを立ち上げる予定だ。


Happy Re/new Year!
January 1, 2014, 8:00 AM PST

We are thrilled to announce that we are forming our own new and independent media company, Revere Digital, with a pair of respected investors and partners — the NBCUniversal News Group and Terry Semel’s Windsor Media. Revere will be operating news sites and apps, as well as a series of conferences.

First up is Re/code, a new tech and media news, reviews and analysis site launching today, with the same talented team we’ve worked with for many years at the former All Things Digital site we ran for Dow Jones & Co beginning in 2007.

We are also immediately opening registration for our new premier executive tech conference, the Code Conference, to be held May 27 to 29, near Los Angeles. Like the site, the conference will be run by the same team that produced our former conferences under the D banner since 2003. We plan to offer other events with our primary event media partner, CNBC, throughout the year, with more details to come.

Why have we chosen Re/code as the name for our new creation? Simply put: Because everything in tech and media is constantly being refreshed, renewed and reimagined. And this is the reinvention of ourselves.

While we are presenting an improved new face, we promise that, if you liked what we were doing at All Things Digital and the D conferences, you will love what we are now planning for Re/code. We pledge to bring the same energy and standards to our news, reviews and events, with the plus of adding in even more talented staff and resources to the mix.

We hold the controlling interest in Revere. But we are tremendously proud and excited to have the help of the NBCUniversal News Group and Windsor as investors in our endeavor. In addition to funding our new venture, they will be strategic partners in the true sense of the word.

Revere and the News Group will be each others’ close media partners, for example, featuring our top-notch journalism on each of our platforms, including websites and TV networks such as NBC, CNBC and MSNBC.

Re/codeという名前の由来について語っている部分です。the reinvention of ourselvesなんて年明けにふさわしいですね。

Why have we chosen Re/code as the name for our new creation? Simply put: Because everything in tech and media is constantly being refreshed, renewed and reimagined. And this is the reinvention of ourselves.



David Pillingさんの新刊についての書評が英国メディアのガーディアンやインデペンデントで出ていました。どちらもeccentricitiesとかenigmatic and mysterious countryとして書き出しています。英国の一般の人の感覚はそのようなものかもしれません。

Book review: Bending Adversity: Japan and the Art of Survival
David Pilling presents an eye-opening portrait of Japan’s peculiar charms
By John Kampfner / The Guardian

Is Japan the most culturally specific country on Earth? Each time I go there I marvel at the eccentricities: the taxi and bus drivers with their gloves, the ritual of the onsen bath house and the incessant bowing. Nowhere else induces in me such feelings of amused amazement.

Bending Adversity, By David Pilling - Review
DOUG JOHNSTONE Sunday 29 December 2013
From the outside, Japan can seem like an enigmatic and mysterious country. Historically closed off to foreign influence until relatively recently, the island nation can seem to Western eyes to be almost incomprehensible in its outlook – culturally, politically and even economically.

This fascinating and well-researched book seeks to shed some light on that culture. Subtitled “Japan and the Art of Survival”, Bending Adversity takes as its starting point the earthquake and tsunami of 2011, and looks in detail at how the Japanese coped, or otherwise, in the aftermath of that terrible natural disaster.


BENDING ADVERSITY: Japan and the Art of Survival. By David Pilling. Allen Lane
Literary Review - December
Working in Japan as a foreign correspondent, as your reviewer did three decades ago for The Economist and as David Pilling did brilliantly for the Financial Times from 2002-08, can be a frustrating business. You quickly realize that the big news about Japan is that there’s no news there. Or, more strictly, that Japan is a culture of processes, of evolutions, not of big events or flashy announcements or dramas. Which actually makes it more fascinating, but produces another phenomenon, born also out of frustration: a yearning, especially among foreign observers but also many Japanese, for a big exception to this rule, for a crisis that might suddenly accelerate these processes and produce a transformation.

Rivals: How the Power Struggle Between China, India, and Japan Will Shape Our Next DecadeRivals: How the Power Struggle Between China, India, and Japan Will Shape Our Next Decade
Bill Emmott



Now, in fact, the crisis-theory is mutating, showing the constant lure of wishful thinking, into one in which the Tokyo Olympic Games of 2020 provides a new organizational focus for the mooted transformation, channelling a nation’s energies as did, in myth at least, the last Tokyo games of 1964. Japan even has a name and a neologism with which to identify and to force along this change, in the form of “Abenomics”, led by the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, who returned to power a year ago for a second go at the job, six years after his first effort ended in failure and humiliation.

The mission of this book by Pilling, now Asia Editor of the Financial Times in Hong Kong, is, in effect, to rescue Japan from this notion and, indeed, from all such superficial theories. His title indicates that he wants to replace it with a subtler and more realistic idea: that change-through-adversity, whether wartime defeat or natural disasters or indeed financial crashes, is indeed a Japanese characteristic, especially because such adversity has been such a feature of life in that archipelago. But it doesn’t occur in the rapid, wham-bam-thank-you-mam manner of the crisis theories but rather in more gradual ways, ones less easy to discern. It really is a place of processes more than of news.

Most of all, Pilling, like many writers who come to love Japan and to enjoy its many eccentricities, wants to rescue the country from the standard one-dimensional images of the country as some sort of model (pre-1990) or cautionary tale (post-1990), and even more so from the even older idea of an inscrutable, mysterious east. It is a place populated by real people, with real complexities and real struggles, especially struggles about how to turn simple recipes about what should be done into actual practice.


Such a culture is not one prone to messianic visions or sudden bursts of leadership or inspiration. The one period when Japan did turn a tad messianic, seeking to emulate European colonialism, the result was calamity. Evolution, altering things step-by-step, is much the safer option—and Japan is above all a country of caution, of trying to reduce uncertainty. So we need to drop fantasies of dramatic change, and most immediately of “Abenomics” or the Olympics as a source of renaissance. And to read this book, to find that Japan is a much more interesting and engaging place, for all its flaws and frustrations, than the drama theorists would have us believe.



今年はもう少し本や雑誌New YorkerやAtlanticなどの記事をブログで紹介できたらと考えています。

Bending Adversity: Japan and the Art of SurvivalBending Adversity: Japan and the Art of Survival
David Pilling


今年最初の本として紹介したいのが、フィナンシャルタイムズの2002年から2008年まで東京支局で記者をしていたDavid Pillingさんによる日本についての本です。AERA Englishでコラムも書かれていましたね。年末に洋書コーナーで見つけたのですが、Kindleでの発売日は今日でした。ちょうど前書きが読み終わったところです。東京支局で働いていた頃から日本についての本を書きたいと思っていたけれどもなかなか時間がとれなかったが、2011年の東日本大震災で再び日本を取材をすることがきっかけとなり一冊の本としてまとめることになったようです。ですから、10年近くに及ぶ日本滞在の集大成といえるかもしれません。


Book launch
Bending Adversity: Japan and the Art of Survival

Book launch details:
17 January 2014
Event time: 6:00 – 7:00pm
Drinks reception: 7:00pm – 8:00pm
13/14 Cornwall Terrace, London, NW1 4QP
Organised by The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation
Fully booked

David Pilling will talk about his newly released book Bending Adversity, a portrait of contemporary Japan. Despite years of stagnation, Japan remains one of the world’s largest economies and a country which exerts a remarkable cultural fascination. David Pilling’s new book is an entertaining, deeply knowledgeable and surprising analysis of a group of islands which have shown great resilience, both in the face of financial distress and when confronted with the overwhelming disaster of the 2011 earthquake.

Throughout its history, Japan has weathered calamities from natural disasters such as the 2011 tsunami to crushing defeat in war and its more recent loss of economic vigour. The 2011 tsunami, which killed some 19,000 people, and subsequent nuclear catastrophe highlighted both the deeply impressive practical resilience of ordinary Japanese and a political culture of extraordinary carelessness and arrogance. Pilling describes the emergency and its aftermath, but then writes far more broadly about many aspects of Japan which are little known to outsiders and which do so much to explain these contradictory responses to the disaster.

Drawing on a wide range of contemporary Japanese voices and on the author’s own experiences living in Japan as a foreign correspondent for six years, his book draws together many threads – economics, history, politics and contemporary reportage – in one highly readable volume. Its publication coincides with a surge of renewed interest in Japan, still the most important US ally in Asia, as its territorial disputes with China heat up dangerously, its government attempts a radical revival of the economy, and the Fukushima nuclear disaster rumbles on. Bending Adversity is a superb work of reportage and an essential book even for those who already feel they know the country well.

About the contributors
David Pilling
David Pilling is based in Hong Kong as the Asia Editor of the Financial Times, overseeing coverage of a region that includes China, India and Japan. He writes an award-winning weekly column on Asian affairs and frequently interviews leading regional figures from the worlds of politics, business and the arts. He was FT Bureau Chief in Tokyo from 2002 to 2008. His book Bending Adversity: Japan and the Art of Survival will be published by Penguin in January 2014.

Bending Adversity: Japan and the Art of Survivalというタイトルについてですが、前書きでも語っていましたが、恐らく「災い転じて福となす」という日本語から来ていると思います。恐らくと書いたのは英語の説明しかなかったので、オリジナルの日本語が不明だったからです。英国のインデペンデントの書評でもその点について触れています。

Bending Adversity, By David Pilling - Review
DOUG JOHNSTONE Sunday 29 December 2013

The title Bending Adversity comes from a Japanese proverb about turning bad luck into good. While “good luck” might be stretching things, this book does an excellent job of demonstrating just how resilient the Japanese people have been in the face of recent environmental, social, and economic disaster.