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“Kanazawa” by David Joiner

It was really a special experience for me to read this book in Kanazawa and saw the author in person there. Talking with David @ddjoiner over a cup of coffee in Kanazawa was one of my highlights of my stay in Japan.


When I met with him, I had just bought the book at Kinokuniya and hence read only the first half. Now in Berlin, I have finished the latter half. I really enjoyed the story and would like to thank David again for introducing Kanazawa and Izumi Kyoka in such a depth and various facets. This book took me to Kanazawa (for the third time) and made me realize its distinct attributes which can neither be found in Kyoto nor in Tokyo, one of a kind.


This story “Kanazawa” unfolds mainly with the interactions among Emmitt, his wife Mirai, and his parents in law. The past and future, Tokyo and Kanazawa, parents and children are juxtaposed with Izumi Kyoka’s works underlying the entire story. Emmitt comes to form deeper relationships with his wife and his parents in law respectively as the story unspools. Personally, I very much related to the protagonist, who abandons his teaching position at university and embarks on translating Izumi Kyoka’s works.

“Recklessness didn’t equal a considered willingness to take risks, and unconventional life decisions were too often deemed selfish.”

The city of Kanazawa is also explained beautifully and comprehensively. I myself was enchanted and moved by its unique beauty with sheer sophistication.

“On the Japan Sea, Kanazawa was famed for its arts and crafts, gardens, and geisha districts, cuisine, and gold leaf- its traditions dating back to the first Maeda lord in the late sixteenth century- not to mention its annual snowfall.”

Last but not least, this work gave me an insight into Izumi Kyoka. If I had been more familiar with his works, I could have enjoyed it more.

“For Kyoka, language possessed a supernatural life force, and he considered letters and words not only to be alive, but also to possess the capacity to “live on”.”

Together with its superb introduction of Kanazawa and its representative author, this book makes readers think about work, life, and family. I liked it.

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