Donald Richie

Donald Richie

Donald Richie is first honorable visit to Japan took place in 1947. Since that time he became a celebrated film critic, author and composer, not to mention a journalist of many talents recording the changes of over half a century of life in Tokyo. Donald Richie contributed to the Tokyo Journal over the years and when asked about times in the nineties, Donald replied, Frightening but exhilarating. I think everybody with a pencil should be out there taking notes. Mr. Richie passed away in 2013.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016 00:00

The Legacy of Donald Richie

The Legacy of Donald Richie

The following is part of Tokyo Journal’s Living Tribute to Donald Richie who passed away on February 19, 2013. Donald Richie’s contribution was originally printed in the January 1995 edition of the Tokyo Journal. It was excerpted from Japan Journals 1947-2004 by Donald Richie (Stone Bridge Press. 2004). Donald Richie’s first visit to Japan took place in 1947. Since that time he became a celebrated film critic, author and composer, not to mention a journalist of many talents recording the changes of over half a century of life in Tokyo. Donald Richie contributed to the Tokyo Journal over the years and when asked about times in the ‘90s, Donald replied, “Frightening but exhilarating. I think everybody with a pencil should be out there taking notes.”

Some Autumn Days

Encounters with a world renowned sculptor, former ambassador and aged author in this excerpt from Donald Richie’s Japan Journals

On OCTOBER 18, 1982. At the conference, Isamu Noguchi, for the first time since I have known him, talked about himself. To be sure, he usually talks about his opinions, beliefs, etc., usually at length. But here he spoke of what it felt like to be him — of Japanese ancestry, born an American, back to Japan before the war, back to America, his work, then back to Japan after the war, then back and forth, back and forth. He spoke about what he discovered in Japan and in himself, talked about stone and rock.

Thursday, 16 October 2014 22:22

The Legacy of Donald Richie

The Legacy of Donald Richie

The following is part of Tokyo Journal’s Living Tribute to Donald Richie who passed away on February 19, 2013. Donald Richie’s contribution was originally printed in the January 1995 edition of the Tokyo Journal. It was excerpted from “Japan Journals 1947-2004” by Donald Richie (Stone Bridge Press. 2004). Donald Richie’s first visit to Japan took place in 1947. Since that time he became a celebrated film critic, author and composer, not to mention a journalist of many talents recording the changes of over half a century of life in Tokyo. Donald Richie contributed to the Tokyo Journal over the years and when asked about times in the nineties, Donald replied, “Frightening but exhilarating. I think everybody with a pencil should be out there taking notes.”

THE LAST SAMURAI

This fourth installment from his Japan Journals features Donald Richie’s elegy for Yukio Mishima,written shortly after the novelist’s suicide.

15 November 1970. It has been some days now since Mishima killed himself, yet the sense of loss continues. It is not that he did it. I guess we all expected that. It was the way in which he did it. It was like a rape. (So all of us victims are trying to account for it. I will write an essay and give it to the paper.)

The shock that so many felt at the manner of Yukio Mishima’s death was deepened by an equally strong sense of loss. No contemporary writer had more completely disclosed himself; none had more honestly shared his most deeply personal emotions. From Confessions of a Mask onwards, Mishima was himself his own subject and his varied works are all, to an extent, autobiographical.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014 23:21

After the Inferno

After the Inferno

by Donald Richie

In this installment of a series, Donald Richie recalls a poignant post-war moment with Nobel Prize-winner Yasunari Kawabata

It was 1947 and the Sumida River, silver in the winter sun, glistened beneath us. Yasunari Kawabata and I were on the roof of the Asakusa subway terminal tower, looking out over downtown Tokyo, still in ruins, still showing the conflagration of two years earlier, the burned concrete black against the lemon yellow of new wood.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013 09:49

Igor at the Kabuki

Igor at the Kabuki

By Donald Richie

Even geisha couldn’t rival Stravinsky’s legendary charm, as Donald Richie recalls in this excerpt from his Japan Journals: 1947 – 1994

The following is part of Tokyo Journal’s Living Tribute to Donald Richie, who passed away on February 19, 2013. Donald Richie’s contribution was originally printed in the October 1994 edition of the Tokyo Journal. It was excerpted from his memoirs, “Japan Journals 1947 – 1994.” Donald Richie’s first visit to Japan took place in 1947. He went on to become a celebrated film critic, author and composer, not to mention a journalist of many talents who recorded the changes of over half a century of life in Tokyo. Donald Richie contributed to the Tokyo Journal over the years and when asked about times in the nineties, Donald replied, “Frightening but exhilarating. I think everybody with a pencil should be out there taking notes.”

Friday, 17 May 2013 11:03

Donald Richie: A Living Tribute

Honorable Visitors: Ulysses S. Grant, Rudyard Kipling and Charlie Chaplin

The following is part of Tokyo Journal’s Living Tribute to Donald Richie who passed away on February 19, 2013. Donald Richie’s contribution was originally printed in the April 1994 edition of the Tokyo Journal. It was excerpted from “The Honorable Visitors” by Donald Richie (Charles E. Tuttle Publishing Co., Tokyo. May 1994). Donald Richie’s first honorable visit to Japan took place in 1947. Since that time he became a celebrated film critic, author and composer, not to mention a journalist of many talents recording the changes of over half a century of life in Tokyo. Donald Richie contributed to the Tokyo Journal over the years and when asked about times in the nineties, Donald replied, “Frightening but exhilarating. I think everybody with a pencil should be out there taking notes.”

Thursday, 16 May 2013 00:00

Winter Solstice:1947

The following article by Donald Richie is a reprint of his article that first appeared in the Tokyo Journal in April 1991.


IN 1947 Postwar Tokyo was a city of silence, its populace stunned by massive destruction and despair. Yet a young GI witnessed signs that the people were on a slow mend, ready to rebuild Tokyo and themselves. It was winter – cold, crisp, clear – and Mt. Fuji stood sharp on the horizon, growing purple, then indigo in the fading light. I was standing at the main crossing at Ginza 4-chome.

There was no smoke because there were few factories, no fumes because the few cars were charcoal-burning. Fuji looked much as it had for Hokusai and Hiroshige.

Then the sky darkened and the stars appeared – bright, near. The horizon stayed white in the winter light after the sun had vanished and Fuji had turned a solid black.

The Ginza was illuminated by acetylene torches of the night stalls and the passing headlights of Occupation jeeps and trucks. In the darkness Fuji remained visible, a jagged shadow fading into the winter night.

Most of the buildings were cinders. It was wasteland. And from the crossing Japan’s familiar peak was seen as it had not been seen since Edo times and as it would not be again seen until another catastrophe.
At the crossing there were only two large buildings still standing. One was the Ginza branch of the Mitsukoshi Department Store. But it was gutted, hit by a fire bomb, and even the window frames had been twisted by the heat. Across the street was the white stone Hattori Building with its clock tower. It was much as it had always been, once the clock itself was repaired. With its curved front window, cornices, and pediments, it remained from the pre-war Ginza.

The complete article is available in Issue #271. Click here to order from Amazon

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