White, Merry. The Japanese Educational Challenge: A Commitment to Children. New York, NY: The Free Press, 1987. Analyzes the Japanese educational system and culture in order to draw lessons and inspiration for the U.S. educational system. Of particular interest is the Japanese societal commitment to children and their education, including cultural attitudes towards both parents and teachers.
Chavouet, Florent. Tokyo on Foot: Travels in the City's Most Colorful Neighborhoods. Tokyo, Rutland, VT, and Singapore: Tuttle Publishing, 2009. Part memoir of the graphic artist's time in Tokyo and part travel guide, the illustrated Tokyo on Foot provides an illustrated and humorous exploration of the city of Tokyo and its neighborhoods.
Yoda, Hiroko and Matt Alt. Ninja Attack!: True Tales of Assassins, Samurai, and Outlaws. Illus. Yutaka Kondo. Tokyo, Rutland, VT, and Singapore: Tuttle Publishing, 2010. The authors of Ninja Attack! looked beyond the popular media image of the ninja to uncover historically accurate (but still thrilling) stories of real ninja and their adventures. Each individual ninja is accompanied by a manga-style drawing and other information, including photographs and retellings of their exploits. Recommended for Grades 8 and up.
Hearn, Lafcadio. Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things. Boston, MA, Rutlant, VT, and Tokyo: Tuttle Publishing, 1971. A collection of Japanese ghost stories and folk tales compiled and translated by Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1904), also known as Koizumi Yakumo. Hearn was one of the first Westerners to study and write about Japanese culture. Kwaidan is his most well-known publication, and it served as the basis for the 1965 horror film of the same name by Masaki Kobayashi.
Allison, Anne. Millennial Monsters: Japanese Toys and the Global Imagination. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2006. Anthropologist Anne Allison examines Japanese youth culture and its increasingly global popularity, from manga to karaoke, investigating the capitalistic nature of these forms of play and the cultural exchange between Japan and the U.S. in particular.
Place, Francois. The Old Man Mad About Drawing: A Tale of Hokusai. Trans. Wiliam Rodarmor. Jaffrey, NH: Godine, 2004. Illustrated biographical account of the renowned woodblock printmaker Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), who called himself "the old man mad about drawing," told through the eyes of his fictional apprentice, Tojiro. Recounts the life and work of the extremely prolific Hokusai, best known for his series "The 36 Views of Mt. Fuji." Illustrations are a combination of Hokusai's own work and Place's watercolors. Recommended for Grades 4 and up.
Ishinomori, Shotaro. Japan, Inc.: Introduction to Japanese Economics. 1st ed. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1988. Adaptation and translation of the manga (comic) strip on the Japanese economy that orignially ran in 1986 in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper. The stories, packed with data and charts, provide an overview of the Japanese "bubble" economy of the 1980s through the lens of a fictional company considering moving production off-shore.
White, Merry. Perfectly Japanese: Making Families in an Era of Upheaval. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 2002. Anthropologist Merry White explores 20th century transformations in family structure in Japan, comparing the reality with two idealized models from the Meiji and postwar periods.