Japan´s Master Gardens:Lessons in Space and Environment Stephen Mansfield
One of the most fascinating aspects of World War II was Japan´s use of suicide pilots known around the globe as kamikazes, though the Japanese referred to them as Tokubetsu kōgekitai (´´Special Attack Units´´). Translated as ´´God Wind´´, ´´Divine Wind´´, and ´´God Spirit´´, kamikazes would sink 47 Allied vessels and damage over 300 by the end of the war, but the rise in the use of kamikaze attacks was evidence of the loss of Japan´s air superiority and its waning industrial might. This method of fighting would become more common by the time Iwo Jima was fought over in early 1945, and it was especially prevalent during the invasion of Okinawa in April 1945. The ´´privilege´´ of being selected as a kamikaze pilot played directly into the deep-seated Japanese mindset of ´´death before defeat´´. The pilot training manual assured each kamikaze candidate that when they eliminated all thoughts of life and death, fear of losing the earthly life can be easily overcome. Still, not all cases of those chosen to be kamikazes were equally noble. Recruits were trained with torturous regimens or corporal punishment, and stories of mental impairment caused by drugs or saki abound. Some were described as ´´tottering´´ and dazed, being carried to their planes by maintenance officers, and forcibly pushed in if they backed down. Pilots who could not find their targets were told to turn around and spare their own lives for another day, but if a pilot returned nine times, he was to be shot. At the moment of collision, he was instructed to keep his eyes open at all times, and to shout ´´Hissatsu´´ (´´clear kill´´). The Kamikazes chronicles the history of Japan´s famous suicide pilots and explains when, why, and how Japan resorted to their use near the end of war. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Stan Chandler. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/034713/bk_acx0_034713_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
The samurai are among the most iconic warriors in history. The fighting elite of feudal Japan, they have played a dominant role in the country´s life for over 1,000 years. Even today, a century and a half after the rule of the samurai has formally ended, they remain a powerful symbol of martial might, and the embodiment of the stoic warrior. Like the knights who fought in Europe during the same era, the samurai were a feudal aristocracy. Militarily, politically, socially, and economically, they were the most powerful, the most influential, and the most privileged members of society. Though not all samurai were equal in power and status, they were almost always better off than the rest of Japanese society. The word samurai, meaning ´´those who serve´´, indicates the foundation upon which their power was built. As a feudal society, medieval Japan was shaped by a hierarchy of land ownership and its associated obligations. Most samurai held their land for a more senior overlord, to whom they owed military service. That overlord owed service to his overlord, and so on up the hierarchy, which allowed the most powerful lords to raise great armies. A proud and dominant force, the collective dominance of the samurai arose from a dedication to service. Such service also created the opportunity for revolt, as a lord with enough loyal followers might try to usurp his master, and battles for land and power between competing samurai factions dominated Japanese history for centuries as a result. The wealth of the samurai not only led to their role as leaders but as a hard-hitting military elite as well, mostly because they could afford the armor, weapons, and horses that gave them an edge in battle. Supported by the labor of the people who lived on their lands, they were also able to spare the time to train for war, something for which young men of the samurai class were prepared from an early age. The Samurai: The History and Legacy of Japan’s 1. Language: English. Narrator: Jim D. Johnston. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/106791/bk_acx0_106791_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Masterfully narrated by Simon Vance, winner of 14 Audie Awards and 61 Earphone Awards, comes the heartbreaking true story of a natural disaster and the resilience of Japan. The definitive account of what happened, why, and, above all, how it felt when catastrophe hit Japan - by the Japan correspondent of The Times (London) and author of People Who Eat Darkness. On March 11, 2011, a powerful earthquake sent a 120-foot-high tsunami smashing into the coast of Northeast Japan. By the time the sea retreated, more than 18,000 people had been crushed, burned to death, or drowned. It was Japan´s greatest single loss of life since the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. It set off a national crisis and the meltdown of a nuclear power plant. And even after the immediate emergency had abated, the trauma of the disaster continued to express itself in bizarre and mysterious ways. Richard Lloyd Parry, an award-winning foreign correspondent, lived through the earthquake in Tokyo and spent six years reporting from the disaster zone. There he encountered stories of ghosts and hauntings and met a priest who exorcised the spirits of the dead. And he found himself drawn back again and again to a village that had suffered the greatest loss of all, a community tormented by unbearable mysteries of its own. What really happened to the local children as they waited in the schoolyard in the moments before the tsunami? Why did their teachers not evacuate them to safety? And why was the unbearable truth being so stubbornly covered up? Ghosts of the Tsunami is a soon-to-be classic intimate account of an epic tragedy, told through the accounts of those who lived through it. It tells the story of how a nation faced a catastrophe and the struggle to find consolation in the ruins. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Simon Vance. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/aren/002642/bk_aren_002642_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Hayao Miyazaki is one of the world´s most respected Japanese animation filmmakers. He is known for creating compelling characters, engaging stories, and breathtaking animation, all of which have earned him international acclaim while setting box-office records. Miyazaki, who began his career in 1963 as an in-betweener for Toei Doga studio, soon found his true calling as an anime and manga artist, working on classic Japanese features and television series and writing the best-selling manga, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. In 1985, he cofounded Studio Ghibli, and in 1989, wrote and produced its breakthrough hit animated feature, Kiki´s Delivery Service. Since then, Miyazaki has directed some of the most successful and popular anime features of all time, including Howl´s Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke, Ponyo, and Spirited Away, entertaining audiences around the world and raising the bar for the art of animation. Here is his complete story of becoming heralded as Japan´s premier anime storyteller. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Mark Douglas Nelson. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/009637/bk_acx0_009637_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Winner of the Rathbones Folio Prize 2018 On 11 March 2011, a massive earthquake sent a 120-foot-high tsunami smashing into the coast of Northeast Japan. By the time the sea retreated, more than 18,000 people had been crushed, burned to death, or drowned. It was Japan´s greatest single loss of life since the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. It set off a national crisis and the meltdown of a nuclear power plant. And even after the immediate emergency had abated, the trauma of the disaster continued to express itself in bizarre and mysterious ways. Richard Lloyd Parry, an award-winning foreign correspondent, lived through the earthquake in Tokyo and spent six years reporting from the disaster zone. There he encountered stories of ghosts and hauntings. He met a priest who performed exorcisms on people possessed by the spirits of the dead. And he found himself drawn back again and again to a village which had suffered the greatest loss of all, a community tormented by unbearable mysteries of its own. What really happened to the local children as they waited in the school playground in the moments before the tsunami? Why did their teachers not evacuate them to safety? And why was the unbearable truth being so stubbornly covered up? Ghosts of the Tsunami is a classic of literary nonfiction, a heartbreaking and intimate account of an epic tragedy told through the personal accounts of those who lived through it. It tells the story of how a nation faced a catastrophe and the bleak struggle to find consolation in the ruins. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Simon Vance. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/adbl/031140/bk_adbl_031140_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Fought over bitterly cold flecks of rock and tundra scattered across the remote waters marking the boundary between the Bering Sea and the Pacific Ocean, the Aleutian Islands campaign represented one of the strangest encounters of World War II. Curving southwestward from the southwest coast of Alaska like the tail of a stingray, the rugged, volcanic Aleutians belong to both the United States and Russia. The westernmost island, Attu, lies much closer to Russia´s Kamchatka Peninsula than to Alaska; the distance to Anchorage, Alaska measures approximately 2,000 miles. The moral impact of the Doolittle Raid in response to Pearl Harbor far outweighed the relatively minor material damage it inflicted; Japan lost face and the faith of its people in ultimate victory declined sharply. Americans responded with delight and a fresh upsurge of hope. Despite interrogating the eight American aircrew they captured (and butchering tens of thousands of Chinese civilians in reprisal for assisting the rest in their escape), the Japanese leadership remained divided in their opinions about the bombers´ origin. Many believed that the Americans had indeed devised a method of launching such large aircraft from an ordinary aircraft carrier. Many others, however, insisted the B-25s came from a land base, and only the Aleutians lay within a medium bomber´s operational range. In any case, Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku planned a move against Midway. Attacking the Aleutians provided an excellent diversion, in his opinion, permitting him time to take Midway and organize land-based strike aircraft there. He could then take his carriers to annihilate America´s Pacific Fleet, caught between the Aleutian Islands and Midway. Due to the belief that the Aleutian Islands might support the airfields from which the Doolittle bombers launched, Navy Order Eighteen from Imperial general HQ included a section decreeing ´´the invasion and occupation of the western Aleutians... in order to 1. Language: English. Narrator: David Zarbock. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/073086/bk_acx0_073086_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Following their rampage through Southeast Asia and the Pacific in the five months after Pearl Harbor, Japanese forces moved into the Solomon Islands, intending to cut off the critical American supply line to Australia. But when they began to construct an airfield on Guadalcanal in July 1942, the Americans captured the almost completed airfield for their own strategic use. The Japanese Army countered by sending to Guadalcanal a reinforced battalion under the command of Col. Kiyonao Ichiki. The attack that followed would prove to be the first of four attempts by the Japanese over six months to retake the airfield, resulting in some of the most vicious fighting of the Pacific War. During the initial battle on the night of August 20-21, 1942, Marines wiped out Ichiki´s men, who - imbued with ´´victory fever´´ - had expected a quick and easy victory. William H. Bartsch draws on correspondence, interviews, diaries, memoirs, and official war records, including those translated from Japanese sources, to offer an intensely human narrative of the failed attempt to recapture Guadalcanal´s vital airfield. The book is published by Texas A&M University Press. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Bill Nevitt. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/064498/bk_acx0_064498_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.