Monday, December 22, 2008

Japanamerica in this week's NEW YORKER magazine


I was interviewed by Dana Goodyear this fall for a story that is just out in this week's New Yorker magazine, about Japan's rising tribes of cell phone novelists (online here): "I (Heart) Novels."

Dana very skillfully balances skepticism with curiosity--and manages some fine reporting on a difficult subject for any journalist to pursue (accidental authors who opt to remain both pseudonymous and anonymous), let alone a non-Japanese journalist who neither lives in Japan nor speaks the language. Kudos to Dana and to her encyclopedic assistant on the ground in Tokyo, the ever-brilliant David d'Heilly.

My passage begins thusly: "Roland Kelts, a half-Japanese writer born in the United States and the author of “Japanamerica,” sees the Internet as an escape valve for a society that can be oppressive in its expectation of normative, group-minded behavior. 'In Japan, conflict is not celebrated—consensus is celebrated ... '"

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