Skip to Main Content
Go to Penn Libraries homepage   Go to Guides homepage

Alumni Travel Reading 2018-2019: Insider's Japan


People sitting in teahouse overlooking trees

Kyoto, by Moyan Brenn

Great East Japan Disasters, March 2011

desolated buildings in aftermath of tsunami


Natori, Miyagi, by ChiefHira, via Wikimedia Commons


The 3/11 (March 2011) earthquake, tsunami, and reactor meltdown in northeast Japan reverberated through the nation, and continues to impact life today, including in politics and energy policy, community revitalization efforts, activism, and cultural works.

No Man's Zone official trailer

Read a review of the flm from the Berlin Film Review

Contemporary Art and Architecture

Japan's Sights

Multi-level temple on water

Kinkaku-ji. Image by Matt Boulton. Obtained of flickr with a Creative Commons license.

Insider's Japan

Mt. Fuji, by non-euclidean photography

Japan is rich with culture and history that becomes amplified  with captivation when personally adventuring through the nation. Offering visitors the best of all ends of the spectrum, Japan allows travelers to relax during a serene walk through many of their colorful gardens and ancient paths, challenge Mt. Fuji on an unparalleled hike, and enjoy their proclaimed "geek life," within the district exemplifying the country's video-game and anime culture. In addition, visitors can explore history in real-time with the exploration of Hiroshima, and immersing oneself in past and present Japanese culture and customs.


Selected and Annotated By:

Molly Des Jardin
Japanese Studies Librarian
mollydes @

For more information, visit the Penn Alumni Travel Website.

Pop Culture

City street at night with neon and billboards

Akihabara District at Night, by IQRemix

Traveling to the Countryside

Japanese History

Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan

Read this book online through

Underground Tokyo

tokyo from the mori art museum, by non-euclidean photography

Enjoy Japan's Natural Beauty

Windmill and tulips

Netherlands in Japan, by Agustin Rafael Reyes

Foreigners' Travels in Old Japan

Black and white portrait of man looking down

Lafcadio Hearn, by Frederick Gutekunst, via Wikimedia Commons

These books offer accounts of travelers to Japan as it was modernizing in the late 1800s, providing valuable evidence of the ways in which early modern Japan was existing alongside Western influences. They give an interesting picture of Japanese daily life and customs in a time period vastly different from present day Japan.

Tokyo Sonata

Preview Tokyo Sonata at Youtube


These films cover the election campaigns of underdog candidate Kazuhiko Yamauchi, aka 'Yama-san.' First, he ran for Kawasaki city council (outside Tokyo) in 2005 as former PM Jun'ichirō Koizumi's handpicked choice, and then again with an anti-nuclear message several years later in response to the Fukushima disaster.

Nippon Kaigi, aka Japan Council, is a rising rightwing organization with close ties to the Abe administration, and has considerable influence on Japanese politics. These articles provide an introduction to the issue of rightwing politics in contemporary Japan through the case of Nippon Kaigi, and historical context for understanding Japan's political conflicts in East Asia.

Japan's Largest Rightwing Organization: An Introduction to Nippon Kaigi (article, Japan Focus)

Nippon Kaigi: Empire, Contradiction, and Japan's Future (article, Japan Focus)


Penn Libraries Home Franklin Home
(215) 898-7555