When the U.S military dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, the American government portrayed the weapons as equivalent to large conventional bombs. Military censors restricted access to Hiroshima, but a young journalist named John Hersey managed to get there and write a devastating account of the death, destruction and radiation poisoning he encountered. Author Lesley M.M. Blume tells Hersey's story in her book, Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-up and the Reporter Who Revealed it to the World.
Author Yoko Ogawa's Hotel Iris, published in Japanese in 1996, is the latest of her books to be translated into English. Critic Maureen Corrigan says the story, about a 17-year-old girl who begins an intense, sometimes violent affair with a tenant of her mother's rundown hotel, is decadent and profoundly sad.
Working for Japan's Yomiuri Shinbone newspaper, reporter Jake Adelstein uncovered a world unknown to many of the Japanese public, let alone to foreigners: the world of organized crime. He details its landscape -- and the dangers of covering it -- in a new memoir.
Louie Psihoyos' new film graphically — and movingly — documents the sale and slaughter of dolphins captured by Japanese fishermen. David Edelstein says the movie could be a game-changer for the industry.
Historian John Dower is the author of "Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II" (W.W. Norton) about the aftermath of the war on Japan, and the American military occupation. Dower says he wanted to capture a sense of what it meant to start over in a "ruined world" for people at all levels of society and how that time became a "touchstone for affirming a commitment to 'peace and democracy.'" Dower is the Elting E. Morrison Professor of History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Novelist Arthur Golden wrote the bestseller, "Memoirs of a Geisha" which was on the New York Times Bestseller List for one year. It's now out in paperback, and a movie version will be made by Stephen Spielberg. "Memoirs of a Geisha" was GOLDEN's debut as a novelist.(
Eric Lomax was captured by the Japanese during World War II. He was used as forced labor to help build the Burma-Siam railroad. He was also tortured by the Japanese. He has reconciled with the Japanese interpreter present during his beatings. His book The Railway Man: A P.O.W.'s Searing Account of War, Brutality and Forgiveness (W.W. Norton & Company 1995) chronicles his story from WWII and his life 50 years later.
Ian Buruma has just written the book, "The Wages of Guilt," which explores the different ways in which the people of Germany and Japan remember World War II. He seeks to explain why Germany has a collective sense of guilt over its war crimes, while Japan tries to forget its involvement in the war. Buruma's other books include "God's Dust" and "Playing the Game."
Economist Lester Thurow (say it like "Thoreau"), author of "The Coming Economic Battle Between America, Europe, and Japan." THUROW will discuss how Euorpe and Japan are playing by a new set of business rules and that it's time to update our own.
Author Norma Field. Field teaches Japanese literature at the University Chicago and was born to a Japanese mother and an American father. Her new book, "In the Realm Of A Dying Emperor," tells the true stories of three Japanese who went against the ultra-conformist Japanese society, and the condemnation they suffered. (It's published by Pantheon). (Interview by Marty Moss-Coane)
Television critic David Bianculli reviews two of the many specials commemorating the 50th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Tonight's two hour special on ABC, "Pearl Harbor: Two Hours That Changed the World," and Saturday's special on CBS, called "Remember Pearl Harbor."
Washington editor of "The Atlantic," James Fallows. He's also a commentator for NPR's Morning Edition. And he's writing a book about the future of East Asia. He lived in Japan for years and frequently writes about relations between America and Japan, and the cultural differences involved. He'll talk with Terry about how the Japanese view the upcoming anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Leonard Koren. He's written, "283 Useful Ideas From Japan," which lists innovative products and services in Japan. It includes such things as the two-headed public telephone, a combination sink/toilet, and capsule hotels. Koren has been an architect, graphic designer, and publisher. He works and lives in San Francisco and Tokyo. (Interview by Sedge Thomson)
Film critic Stephen Schiff reviews "Black Rain." It stars Michael Douglas as a New York City cop who goes to Japan to try to track down a killer. The movie's directed by Ridley Scott, who also made "Blade Runner" and "Alien."
Fallows writes for the Atlantic Monthly, and reports on Asia. His new book, More Like Us, examines the cultural differences between the United States and Asian countries, and argues that America needs to embrace its unique diversity -- and work to resolve class differences -- in order to reach its full potential.
Smith is host of a popular PBS television program and author of the best-sellers The Money Game, Supermoney and Paper Money. His new book, titled The Roaring 80s, looks at the previous decade, which he says has been characterized by easy debt, easy spending and an amiable hands-off attitude by Washington. Smith says a camparison with another era of high living - the roaring 20s - is unavoidable.