The received myth is that the Japanese are a race so different from the rest of us that no outsider can understand them - a myth they seem rather enjoy. But one that Ian Buruma explodes in this fascinating study of the Japanese character through an analysis of the way they perceive and, more importantly, portray themselves in their popular culture. Anyone who has ever been intrigued by the images of kamikaze pilots, geisha girls or the intricate arts of Japan will find this book a revelation.
In this scintillating book, Ian Buruma peels away the myths that surround Japanese culture. With piercing analysis of cinema, theatre, television, art and legend, he shows the Japanese both 'as they imagine themselves to be, and as they would like themselves to be.' A Japanese Mirror examines samurai and gangsters, transvestites and goddesses to paint an eloquent picture of life in Japan. This is a country long shrouded in enigma and in his compelling book, Buruma reveals a culture rich in poetry, beauty and wonder.